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.

April 8, 2013

Alfred de Grazia, Commanding Officer of the Psychological Warfare Propaganda Team attached to headquarters of the US 7th Army

Captain Alfred de Grazia stands in front of Dachau crematorium, May 1, 1945

Captain Alfred de Grazia stands in front of Dachau crematorium, May 1, 1945

Update August 8. 2015:  The Wikipedia page about Alfred de Grazia has been updated since I wrote this blog post.  The photo above is no longer on the page about Alfred de Grazia.  Wikipedia now has this page about the photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Capt.Alfred_de_Grazia_at_Dachau_concentration_camp,_ca_May_1st_1945.jpg

Continue reading my original blog post:

The photo above, borrowed from Wikipedia, shows Captain Alfred de Grazia, who was the Commanding Officer of the Psychological Warfare Propaganda team attached to the U.S. Seventh Army during World War II.  He is standing in front of a pile of bodies outside the Baracke X building at Dachau on May 1, 1945.

Did America really have an Army team, during World War II, that carried out PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE and PROPAGANDA?  To our everlasting shame — YES!!!

The men in America’s Psychological Warfare and Propaganda military unit were mostly Jewish immigrants from Germany, who had been trained at Camp Ritchie in Maryland; they were known as “The Ritchie Boys.”

This quote is from Wikipedia’s entry for Alfred de Grazia:

In World War II, Alfred de Grazia served in the ranks from private to captain, in artillery, intelligence, and psychological warfare.[11] He received training in this then new field at in Washington D.C. and the newly established Camp Ritchie, Maryland.[12][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.

He co-authored a report on psychological warfare for the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force.[14] By the end of the war, he was Commanding Officer of the Psychological Warfare Propaganda Team attached to the headquarters of the 7th Army.

May 1, 1945, the day that Alfred de Grazia arrived at Dachau, was the same day that a group of American Congressmen arrived.  The Congressmen had to wait until May 3rd before they could be photographed in the newly built gas chamber, which is shown in the photo below.

The delegation of US Congressmen had flown to Paris on April 22, 1945, at Eisenhower’s request, and had first visited Buchenwald on April 24, 1945, two weeks after the camp was liberated on April 11th. The Congressmen arrived in Dachau on May 1, 1945, the same day that newsreels were first released in American theaters, showing the Nazi atrocities at Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen. Dachau had been liberated on April 29, 1945, just two days before the Congressmen arrived.

U.S. Congressmen examine the gas chamber at Dachau on May 3, 1945

U.S. Congressmen in gas chamber at Dachau on May 3, 1945

Same view of Dachau gas chamber, May 2001

Same view of Dachau gas chamber, May 2001

What did the “gas chamber” at Dachau look like before the Psychological Warfare and Propaganda team arrived at Dachau? Before the shower room in Barrack X was converted into a gas chamber, it looked something like the shower room in the administration building, which is now the Dachau Museum.  The pipes and shower heads were removed before the building was turned into a Museum.

April 1945 photo of the shower room in the administration building at Dachau

April 1945 photo of the shower room in the administration building at Dachau

In 2004, I saw a documentary film about the Ritchie Boys. Alfred de Grazia was not included among the Ritchie Boys who were featured in the film.

I wrote a review of the film on my website.  This quote is from my review, which you can read in full here:

The movie does not fully explain why one of the Ritchie boys was sent to Nordhausen. It was not to interrogate the Jewish survivors, nor to gather evidence of war crimes, but to arrange for getting everything out of the V-2 rocket factory and on its way to America before the camp had to be turned over to the Russians in July 1945 because Nordhausen had been promised to the Soviet Union, since it was in their zone of occupation according to the terms of the Yalta agreement. The British had also been promised a share of the loot, but the Americans made sure that they got there first.

The significance of Nordhausen is lost in the film because of Parloff’s story about a Jew standing on a pile of ashes. There is no mention of the rocket technology that America stole from our Russian allies after they made such a great sacrifice to win the war, or the fact that this was a violation of President Roosevelt’s agreement with Uncle Joe at Yalta. The documentary implies that Nordhausen was a “death camp” where Jews were murdered and then cremated.

During the war crimes trial of the Nordhausen staff, held at Dachau after the war, the defense pointed out that it took one to three months to train a worker for the V-2 rocket factory, and the Germans did their best to keep these prisoners alive, although it was a losing battle due to the severe conditions in the tunnels and the typhus epidemics that were out of control in all of the camps at the end of the war. The prisoners who worked in the tunnels were political prisoners from Buchenwald; they worked side by side with German civilians in the rocket factory. They were even paid a small amount of money which they could use to buy cigarettes and food in the camp canteen, or to visit one of the prostitutes in the camp brothel.

However, there was also a “recuperation camp” near the town of Nordhausen where the 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.

During the Boelke Kaserne segment in the documentary, 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. This footage 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.

Bauer now lives in Munich, 18 kilometers from Dachau. Surely, he must have recognized that this footage 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.

August 22, 2011

Jews were sent to Dachau after Kristallnacht in 1938 and released weeks later

Filed under: Dachau, Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:01 am

According to an article in the Sacramento Bee, which you can read here, there were 70,000 Jews rounded up on Kristallnacht, which was the night of Nov. 9th and 10th in 1938; the Jews were sent to concentration camps, including Dachau.  Kristallnacht is considered by the Jews to be the start of the Holocaust. Prior to that, there were no Jews sent to the concentration camps just because they were Jews, although Jews had been sent to the camps for other reasons.

Jewish men in Baden-Baden were arrested on Nov. 10, 1938

This travesty, which was named Kristallnacht by the Nazis, took place after a three-day death watch over Ernst vom Rath, a diplomat at the German embassy in Paris who was shot by Herschel Grynzspan, a 17-year old Polish Jew. Herschel had fled to Paris when the Nazis announced in October 1938 that all Polish Jews in Germany would be deported back to Poland. The Polish government had already torn up their passports when they evicted them earlier and they would not allow them back into the country. Grynzspan’s parents and sister were forced to live in a refugee camp on the border; his motive for killing vom Rath was to call the attention of the world to the plight of these stateless Jews.

The Dachau Museum puts the number of Jews that were sent to Dachau, following Kristallnacht, at exactly 10,911. According to the Museum, another 20,000 Jews were sent to Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen with 10,000 being sent to each of these camps.   (more…)