The Ritchie Boys: America’s Jewish Secret Weapon During World War II

  • Wednesday, May 05, 2021
  • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Online via Zoom

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The OLLI Distinguished Speakers Series presents
Al Treidel on

The Ritchie Boys:

America’s Jewish Secret Weapon During World War II

May 5, 2021 at 7:00 pm Eastern

Online via Zoom 
Click here to register safely and securely online
or call 413.236.2190 (M-F 9am-4pm) to register by phone with a credit card.

In late 1942, the US Army decided to create a special program to make use of recently arrived Jewish emigres’ familiarity with Germany and its language. Approximately 2,000 young Jewish men (primarily from Germany) were secretly recruited to train at Fort Ritchie in Maryland to be schooled in interrogation and counter-intelligence techniques. Most of these young men had left their families behind in Europe and were anxious to become an important part of the defeat of the Nazis.

Taking their lives into their own hands, the “Ritchie Boys” provided roughly 2/3 of the human intelligence used in the fight against the Nazis. Their work saved hundreds of thousands of lives and may have actually shortened the war. Inasmuch as they were directed not to share this classified information about their training and exploits during the war, only recently have we learned about these special individuals. Hear about these incredible young men and their daring exploits directly from the son of a Ritchie Boy.

 

Information about the Ritchie Boys was only declassified about 10 years ago. After doing considerable research, Al Treidel discovered that his father was a Ritchie Boy. Al has received a number of prestigious awards and recognitions including the Solomon Schechter Award in 2017. Since retiring in 2016, Treidel has taught a number of adult education courses and has made presentations on the Ritchie Boys up and down the east coast of the United States.

Mr. Treidel has enjoyed a 50-year career as a public-school administrator and teacher on all levels of public education and at the university level instructing both undergraduate and graduate students. He holds B.A. and M.Ed. degrees from the University of Hartford and advanced degrees from Columbia University. For the final 10 years of his career, Mr. Treidel served as a turnaround specialist for struggling schools.

Admission is $10 for OLLI at BCC and Berkshire Museum members, and $15 for the general public.  Admission is free for Berkshire Community College students, youth 17 and under, and those holding WIC, EBT/SNAP, or ConnectorCare cards.

Pre-registration is required. Click here to register safely and securely online or call 413.236.2190 (M-F 9am-4pm) to register by phone with a credit card.

In Partnership with the Berkshire Museum



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