"The Ritchie Boys" - the "Jewish Reconnaissance" of the US Army in Europe
About 10,000 young German men, most of them Jewish refugees who were forced to flee their homeland by the Nazis, came to the United States, chose to join the army and return to Europe as US soldiers.
They were trained at the Army Intelligence Training Center in Maryland, known as Richie Camp.
They were practiced methods of psychological warfare. Their job was to study the enemy and demoralize it in order to achieve unconditional surrender. They adapted to this task because they knew the German language better than any soldier born in the United States.
After the United States declared war on Nazi Germany at the end of 1941, the Ritchie Boys were used as a powerful weapon for the Allies.
They entered Europe in the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 along with the other Allied forces.
Shortly after landing, they left their units in order to operate within the special task forces imposed on them.
They were able to feed the Allies with important information.
The Ritchie Boys helped to break German resistance by demoralization, both overtly and secretly.
They interrogated prisoners of war and German deserters to verify information about the size of the German forces, the movement of forces, and the physical and psychological condition of the Germans. By disseminating disinformation through newspaper announcements, flyers, radio broadcasts, and truckloads of loudspeakers, the army and the German population had to cease their opposition to the Allied invasion.
They did their work well at the front lines, among them the patrols of the Jewish general Morris Rose, commander of the 3rd Armored Division, who made sure to move with them in the head, and thus died.
They were in Paris before it was released.
They fought a "battle for the bulge" - in danger of being shot by the Americans because of their accent, and by the Germans, who might have exposed their being spies.
They were among the liberators of the concentration camps.
After the war many of them served as interpreters during the Nuremberg Trials.
Their efforts shortened the war and saved many lives on both sides.