Scrapbookpages Blog

August 9, 2015

In World War II, were there 2 Americans named Alfred DeGrazia?

During World War Ii, there were American soldiers known as

During World War Ii, there were American soldiers known as “the Ritchie boys.” (click to enlarge)

After a long e-mail exchange yesterday, with a reader of my blog, I have finally figured out that there must have been two American Jewish men, both with the exact same name: Alfred DeGrazia or Alfred de Grazia. One of these men was a member of “the Ritchie boys.”  The Ritchie boys now have their own Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ritchie-Boys-of-WWII/684490604906197

Wikipedia has a page about a man named Alfred DeGrazia which has the following information:

In World War II, Alfred de Grazia served in the ranks from private to captain, specializing in mechanized warfare, intelligence and psychological warfare.[14] He received training in this then new field at in Washington D.C. and the newly established Camp Ritchie, Maryland.[15][16][citation needed] He served with the 3rd, 5th and 7th US Armies and as a liaison officer with the British 8th Army.[citation needed] He took part in six campaigns, from North Africa to Italy (Battle of Monte Cassino) to France and Germany, receiving several decorations.[citation needed][17] He co-authored a report on psychological warfare for the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force.[18] By the end of the war, he was Commanding Officer of the Psychological Warfare Propaganda Team attached to the headquarters of the 7th Army.[19][citation

Yesterday, I received several e-mail messages from the son of  another Alfred DeGrazia, in which he claimed that his father was an ordinary soldier who participated in the liberation of Buchenwald and Auschwitz; he denied that his father was a member of a Psychological Warfare Propaganda Team.  He denied that his father, the other Alfred DeGrazia, was at Dachau. He denied that his father had posed for a photo in front of the outside wall of the Dachau gas chamber. I can’t show you the offensive photo because it shows the other Alfred DeGrazia.

The current Wikipedia page on Alfred DeGrazia, which has been modified, since I first read it, begins with this quote:

Alfred de Grazia (December 29, 1919 – July 13, 2014), born in Chicago, Illinois, was a political scientist and author. He developed techniques of computer-based social network analysis in the 1950s,[1] developed new ideas about personal digital archives in the 1970s,[2] and defended the catastrophism thesis of Immanuel Velikovsky.[3]

The current Wikipedia page on Alfred DeGrazia makes me think that there might have been two men with the exact same name.

Several years ago, I saw a film about the Ritchie Boys and I wrote about it on my scrapbookpages.com website.  The following information is from my website:

The Ritchie Boys were a US special military intelligence unit in World War II composed mainly of German-speaking immigrants to the United States. They were predominantly Jews, most of whom had fled Nazi persecution. They were primarily utilized for interrogation of prisoners on the front lines and counter-intelligence in Europe because of their knowledge of the German language and culture.

The Ritchie Boys [film] is not your typical war-is-hell documentary; this is a feel-good film, suitable for the whole family. There is a noticeable lack of bitterness in the interviews with the Ritchie boys. There is no mention that any of them lost relatives in the Holocaust, although the official web site for the film says that the father of Werner Angress was “killed in Auschwitz.”

[In the film] We are spared the scenes of the emaciated survivors of the concentration camps. Only a brief glimpse of the gate into the Buchenwald camp is shown as one of the Ritchie boys, Si Lewen, talks about the effect that his visit to the Buchenwald camp had on him. [No mention of Alfred DeGrazia visiting Buchenwald]

At the start of the film, one of the Ritchie boys says that “Europe was raped.” This is a reference to the Nazi conquest of Europe, not the literal rape of millions of German women by Russian soldiers or the sodomy of captured German soldiers on the Eastern front. There are no scenes of dead German soldiers, lying face down with their trousers pulled down around their knees, that you see in other documentaries. Most of the old film footage shown in the documentary has never been seen before, but nothing in these scenes made the audience gasp.

A few mild scenes of the bomb damage in Germany are shown in the film, but no newsreel footage of mile after mile of destruction in Berlin. No photos of the ruins of the magnificent cathedrals in Cologne, Dresden and Nuremberg are included.

It was important to [German] film-maker Christian Bauer to show the Jews as the “victors,” not as the “victims.” At the same time, Bauer was careful not to show the Germans as victims in this disingenuous documentary which gives a completely false picture of World War II.

During the Boelke Kaserne segment in the documentary [film], a shot of the crematorium at Dachau is shown with bodies piled up against the wooden structure in front of the outside wall. Then another shot of some sick prisoners in wagons, which was taken at Dachau, is shown. [No photo of one of the Ritchie boys standing in front of the Dachau gas chamber wall]

This footage [of Dachau] is from the film entitled “Nazi Concentration Camps,” which was made by Lt. Col. George C. Stevens a day or two after Dachau was liberated; it was shown during the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal. Christian Bauer obtained the film clips for his documentary from the US Archives.

[During World War II] There was a “recuperation camp” near the town of Nordhausen, where the [Jewish] factory workers were sent to recover when they were too sick to work in the underground factory. In the last months of the war, Jewish prisoners who had been evacuated from Auschwitz were brought to this sub-camp of Nordhausen, which was called Boelke Kaserne by the Germans.

A few days before the recuperation camp was liberated, it was bombed by American planes and around 1500 prisoners were killed. There were other prisoners who had died of tuberculosis or typhus and when the liberators arrived, there were around 3,000 unburied bodies and around 700 sick and dying prisoners who had been left behind when the camp was evacuated.

Christian Bauer obtained the film clips for his documentary from the US Archives.  Bauer now lives in Munich, 18 kilometers from Dachau. Surely, he must have recognized that this footage [in his documentary film] was taken at Dachau and not at the Nordhausen sick camp. Perhaps he used the scenes from Dachau instead of Nordhausen because so many of the bodies found at the Nordhausen “recuperation camp” had been blown to pieces by American bombs.

Christian Bauer is from the generation of Germans born after the war. He grew up during the Cold War and the American occupation of West Germany when the Germans were happy to have protection from the Communists who were just across the border in Czechoslovakia, poised to attack at any moment. America and Germany were allies by that time. Some of the Nazis were even allowed to hold government positions in Germany after the war, which was pointed out by Morris Parloff in the film.

Bauer told an American journalist in a phone interview that he “tried to reconnect with those who had to leave Germany during the war” because he felt that “an invaluable part of Germany [the Jews] had been killed or driven out of the country.”

The Ritchie boys had left Germany before the war, but in making this documentary film, Bauer was careful to conceal the fact that American immigration laws prevented more of the Jews from escaping to freedom in America.

8 Comments »

  1. “After a long e-mail exchange yesterday, with a reader of my blog, I have finally figured out that there must have been two American Jewish men, both with the exact same name: Alfred DeGrazia or Alfred de Grazia. One of these men was a member of “the Ritchie boys.” The Ritchie boys now have their own Facebook page.”

    I am the Administrator of the Ritchie Boys of WWII Facebook page and I am writing to correct an error in your blog post of 9 August 2015. The Alfred de Grazia that you wrote about who trained at Camp Ritchie, MD, was born in Chicago of immigrant parents from Sicily, Italy. According to a biography of de Grazia written in 2006, he was “. . . Baptized a Catholic, afterwards his religious indoctrination was nil. He was caused to pray as a Protestant at schools and camps, yet maintained a certain sympathy for the Roman Church.” While I have no information on another Alfred DeGrazia, as he did not attend Camp Ritchie, I am requesting that you update your blog to correct this error.

    Comment by Bernie Lubran — May 22, 2016 @ 8:15 pm

    • You wrote: “According to a biography of de Grazia written in 2006, he was “. . . Baptized a Catholic, afterwards his religious indoctrination was nil. He was caused to pray as a Protestant at schools and camps, yet maintained a certain sympathy for the Roman Church.”

      I have been reviewing this and trying to figure out the truth. Several years ago, I went to see a movie about the “Ritchie boys” which was being held in a public theater and anyone could attend. When I arrived at the theater, I saw that I was the only person there who did not look Jewish. A Jewish woman, whom I knew, was standing in line in front of me and she said that she was surprised to see me there because this was a movie about Jewish men who were “the Ritchie boys.”

      After the movie, the “Ritchie boys” came out and sat on the stage in front of the theater. They answered questions from the audience and told anecdotes about their war time activities. They delighted in telling stories about their illegal activities during war time. From their speech and their appearance, I surmised that all of them were Jewish.
      I have written several blog posts under the tag “the Ritchie boys”: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/the-ritchie-boys/

      Comment by furtherglory — May 23, 2016 @ 7:48 am

    • I have finally figured out what is going on. Yes, there were two men claiming to be Alfred de Grazia or Alfred DeGrazia. I don’t want to get involved in this, as one of these men has made threats on my life.

      Comment by furtherglory — May 23, 2016 @ 9:01 am

  2. “At the start of the film, one of the Ritchie boys says that “Europe was raped.””

    Europe was not only raped. It was even gang-raped as never before. The victory of Europe’s worst secular enemies – Britain, America & Russia – in 1945 was a catastrophe of epic & unparalelled proportions for the White – Update: Sorry. I mean “Rainbow” – continent. Too bad not enough European countries realized that during WW2 and all of Europe didn’t team up to turn those 3 anti-European territories into huge fields of blood and ashes once and for all…

    Comment by hermie — August 10, 2015 @ 6:30 am

    • Well, Hitler did try and turn the Soviet Union into a heap of blood and ashes, Hermie. Give Hitler a little credit. The rape you speak of started with Germany’s attack on Poland and continued on with each country Germany invaded. The Germans plundered each country they conquered, seizing people for slave labor, plundering materials, hauling away precious natural resources. And art, can’t forget art. Never could figure that out, everything else I’ve mentioned has a military/industrial value, but art? That smacks of thievery.

      Comment by HCW — August 11, 2015 @ 12:20 am

  3. The history of the Ritchie Boys, the Bergson Boys, Charles Dwork of the OSS along with the Marxist intellectuals of The Frankfurt School and the military service of Murray C. Bernays, Mickey Marcus and Herbert Marcuse (the only man in the world holding both a German and an American passport in l947) should be examined more closely by people who are curious about the behind-the-scenes history of the Holocaust. I’ve been saying for years that the psychological warfare, so successfully employed against the Axis during WWII, was then turned around and used on Americans by the social engineers who de-nazified Germany. SOLDIERS OF REASON The RAND Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire by Alex Abella is a good introduction to the territory. http://www.amazon.com/Soldiers-Reason-Corporation-American-Empire/dp/0156033445.
    My late father was with the 8th Army Air Force stationed at Nuthamstead Air Field on VE Day where his job was filing reports on non-combat air accidents involving B 17s. They just fell out of the sky sometimes. Unlike the Alfred de Grazia described above, at the end of his life he felt the duty he’d done and the risks undertaken for the country when he was young and politically niave were a profound waste of his precious time.

    Comment by who dares wings — August 9, 2015 @ 3:16 pm

  4. I have posted this on my father’s Wikipedia page:

    There may have been more than one Alfred deGrazia active in the military during WWII

    There may have been a second Alfred deGrazia with a parallel military record, now being confused with my father Alfred Joseph de Grazia. This Alfred deGrazia may have been associated with the so-called Ritchie boys whose job it was to disseminate propaganda of various sorts. I am sure my father was attached to the 3rd Army through the end of the war, and was one of those ordered into Buchenwald, not Auschwitz, at the end of the war when the territories surrounding those places were liberated by the American Army. There was a huge rush to move in before the Russians, and spare the Germans the decades of rape, robbery and iron rule that accompanied the Russian Occupation of Germany. The right wing is on the rise in Europe at the time this being written as a result of the refugee crisis, and there will be great efforts made to discredit the Americans and all liberal influences in hopes of staunching the flow of refugees with definitive force. Again, the source of much of the rancor stems from the days of the Battle of the Bulge. It was then that the Americans were unable to fall back enough to avoid surrenders, in some cases, and some of those who surrendered were massacred in an incident that is well-documented. This sort of thing did not happen in the Winter War before Rome, when there were also extensive American surrenders. Those who surrendered then spent the war in “Hogan’s Heroes” POW camps. The result of the massacre referred to was reprisals, and the Americans began to open fire on child soldiers attempting to surrender.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Alfred_de_Grazia#There_may_have_been_more_than_one_Alfred_deGrazia_active_in_the_military_during_WWII

    Comment by John DeGrazia — August 9, 2015 @ 11:40 am

    Comment by John DeGrazia — August 9, 2015 @ 11:41 am

    • The Alfred de Grazia that was purported to have done all the things attributed to him by you is the same as my father; however, I cannot say why he said any or all of these things, or what the Army actually used him for, or if and why he posted the picture as him when it wasn’t and isn’t. I replaced in the place I found it the actual picture of him posing in front of the stacked bodies at what I am sure was Buchenwald, and Anne-Marie von Hueber – de Grazia said that he had also been to Auschwitz. I did not know this until she made the statement on Facebook in connection with the photo. My father tended to self-aggrandizement and liked Jews who he thought were very smart. He also tended to be a Sophist, or sophistical. He could have written a lot with intent, or purposively. But still, why are you choosing this man, who did so much for humanity, as any sort of model for any sort of behavior that you might find unfavorable to your interests? The Nazis made their own bed and dragged the German people into it. The bombing of cities had already begun in WWI with German Zeppelins hitting London. The British chose to be the first to bomb German cities in WWII, but it would have started with German bombers in due time. I wandered the battlefields of Europe for years, just feeling the pain and division; even in my own mind and family, and grew up with young men and women who had lost their parents in the War, years before. Find someone else to pillory. Al de Grazia should be left in peace; he did his duty and it was rough from the start. He accomplished miracles considering all. Wikipedia is not good for you or your cause; it is filled with crap that anyone with a brain can see is made up to suit the authors’ purposes. I believe the term is “whole cloth;” right from the weaving mill and ready to be cut to suit the maker’s needs. If you are looking for allies in your future campaigns, you are going about it in entirely the wrong way. I’m going to look to England for friends, and never forget this, as would anyone else in the same circumstances.

      Comment by John DeGrazia — August 9, 2015 @ 1:14 pm


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