Military History

Interview War of Words

Guy Stern

Early in World War II the U.S. Army recognized its need for skilled linguists to interrogate captured enemy troops or conduct covert operations in Axis-controlled areas. Recruits included both Americans possessing German, Italian and Japanese language skills and immigrants who had fled Europe and Asia for the United States. Among them were the “Ritchie Boys,” some 15,200 men who attended the Military Intelligence Training Center at Camp Ritchie, Md. Many were German- and Austrian-born Jews who had fled Adolf Hitler’s genocidal Nazi regime—making them most determined enemies of the Third Reich. Military History recently spoke with Guy Stern, a “Ritchie Boy” and Bronze Star recipient. Stern, 98, is a former professor of German literature and cultural history at Invisible Ink

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