Monday, March 22, 2010

The Ritchie Boys - A Documentary released in 2004 directed by Christian Bauer

Shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2005

This very interesting documentary was originally made for German TV, but was circulated widely. It is about a little known elite group of World War II Jewish American soldiers who were recruited because they had been born in Germany. These well-educated young soldiers were then secretly trained at Camp Ritchie in Maryland to conduct psychological warfare against the Germans. The film is made up of newsreel footage as well as current interviews with the ten survivors who are the focus of the documentary. They tell their stories, discussing their feelings about being refugees from Germany in the U.S. army helping the Allied cause against Germany, and they talk about their recruitment, their training at Camp Ritchie, their deployment and the strategies they developed to help the Allies win the war against Germany. To add to the complexity of the situation, some of the Ritchie boys still had family in Germany.

Many soldiers were trained. The movie focuses on the following ten:
Werner Angress
Victor Brombert
Fred Howard
Philip Glaessner
Si Lewen
Rudolf Michaels (formerly Michaelis)
Morris Parloff
Richard Schifter
Hans Spear
Guether (Guy) Stern

Click here to see pictures of the ten Ritchie boys featured in the film. By clicking on each picture you will see a biographical sketch which includes their assignments during the war and their post-war accomplishments. Many of them became very prominent members of their various professional communities. The documentary is available on DVD.

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