ALBANY – B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany presents a Veteran’s Day tribute with the streaming of “The Ritchie Boys,” the often untold story of a group of young men who fled Nazi Germany and returned as soldiers in U.S. uniforms, and a discussion with the daughters of one of the soldiers.
The 90-minute movie will be available to view online Friday, Nov. 4, through Thursday, Nov. 10. Jill Franken Dugan and Debbie Springgate, daughters of a Ritchie Boy, will discuss their father’s role via Zoom on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m.
A Guilderland middle school Spanish teacher, Jill Franken Dugan only found out about her father’s service in January 2022 when her sister, Debby Springgate, did some searching after watching a “60 Minutes” story about the Ritchie Boys. Since then, Dugan and her family have explored her father’s contribution to the war efforts and how he and other refugees were critical in helping the Allies win World War II.
According to the documentary, the young soldiers knew the psychology and the language of the enemy better than anyone. In Camp Ritchie, Md., they were trained in intelligence and psychological warfare. Determined, bright and inventive, they fought their own kind of war; they were victors, not victims.
Some of these heroes, then in their 80s, were reunited when the 2004 documentary was made.
Directed by Christian Bauer, “The Ritchie Boys” was shortlisted for the 2005 Academy Award for “Best Documentary Feature,” garnered the Audience Favorite Award for Best Documentary at the Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival and the Audience Award (Documentary) at the Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival.
Links for the film and discussion are free for B’nai Sholom members and $5 for non-members.