The Ritchie Boys

The Ritchie Boys were a special group of U.S. soldiers; many of which were German-born Jews who escaped the Nazis, fled to America and joined the U.S. Army. Understanding the German language and culture allowed the soldiers to better interrogate prisoners of war, translate and intercept messages and engage in psychological warfare.

Roughly 40% of the 20,000 soldiers who passed through Camp Ritchie during WWII were immigrants, and about 2,200 of them were refugees of the Holocaust. According to a U.S. Army report published in 1946, the Ritchie Boys were responsible for gathering 60 percent of all actionable battlefield intelligence during the war.

These were immigrants who came to the United States to escape the Nazi’s and wound up serving as interrogators and translators during the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals. The Ritchie Boys have been called the world’s greatest secret weapons for Army intelligence.

In this photo: Three of the “Ritchie Boys” who, as German-born Jews, defected to America and helped fight the Nazis. Image: Harper Collins