Some of the most inspiring stories about the Ritchie Boys concerned Jewish refugees who fled Nazi atrocities in Europe, but bravely returned to fight for the family members and communities they’d lost to Hitler’s genocide.
“This was their war, perhaps more than anyone else’s,” says Grove.
Eddy cites examples like Ernst Cramera German Jew who at 18 years old was imprisoned at the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp. Cramer was one of the lucky few to get an affidavit for release to America. The minute he stepped on U.S. soil, Cramer enlisted in the Army and was sent to Camp Ritchie to train in psychological warfare.
During the war, Cramer wrote pamphlets urging German soldiers to surrender, and when the war was finally over, Cramer helped establish independent newspapers in destroyed German cities.
“He was remarkable,” says Eddy. “He was one of the very few German-born Jews who was determined to stay in Germany after the war and work for reconciliation.”
In 1937, Albert Rosenberg was a university student in Göttingen, Germany, when he was brutally attacked by an antisemitic mob. He escaped to America, joined the Army and became the leader of a Ritchie Boy interrogation team responsible for extracting information from high-value Nazi targets.
Like Cramer, Rosenberg lost his entire family in Hitler’s death camps, and he was determined to see Nazi war criminals brought to justice.
“At the end of the war, Rosenberg and his team were assigned by General Eisenhower to investigate Buchenwald,” says Eddy. “They interviewed prisoners to learn exactly how the camp was organized and who was in charge. Those materials were used at the Nuremberg trials.”