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The Jewish Refugees Who Fled Nazi Germany—Then Returned to Fight

When U.S. soldiers fought Germany during World War II, there was one group that was particularly motivated—about 2,000 mostly German and Austrian Jewish refugees who fled the Nazis and then returned to Europe to take on their tormentors as members of American military intelligence.

The so-called Ritchie Boys were among roughly 15,000 graduates of training programs at Camp Ritchie, a former National Guard Camp in Maryland named for the late Maryland Governor, Albert C. Ritchie. Many of the German and Austrian Jewish refugees reported to Camp Ritchie while still designated as “enemy aliens.” In exchange for their knowledge of German language, culture and topography, which proved critical in extracting information vital to the war effort, the Army offered citizenship.

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