Fun Fact: The Ritchie Boys – Masters of Military Intelligence

The Ritchie Boys were a secret American intelligence unit who fought in World War II. They took their name from the place they trained. Camp Ritchie is in Washington County, MD.

Most of the Ritchie Boys were German-born Jews who had fled their homeland at the start of the war (many leaving their entire family behind). After arriving in America, they joined the U.S. Army.

Many of these German-speaking immigrants were used primarily for interrogation of prisoners on the front lines and counterintelligence in Europe because of their knowledge of the German language and culture. They were responsible for 60-plus percent of the actionable intelligence gathered on the battlefield and played a critical role in the Nuremberg trials as prosecutors and translators. 

In May of 2021, the Ritchie Boys were featured on an episode of 60 Minutes. Learn more and read interviews from that episode on the CBS News website and check out the development of the formerly abandoned Fort Ritchie on Conduit Street.

Do you have a fun fact to share about your county? If so, please send it to Allison Valliant to be featured in MACo’s weekly Fun Fact on Conduit Street.