MUSKEGON, Mich. — Congregation members and visitors to Samuel Lutheran Church were given the opportunity to hear the life story of Guy Stern of West Bloomfield, a Jewish refugee whose efforts helped fight the Nazis during WWII.
Fleeing Germany as a teenager in 1933, Stern had a very different experience during the war than many Jewish people, joining US military intelligence to provide and find information against the Nazis.
Stern was one of the “Ritchie Boys”; over 15,000 military intelligence servicemen stationed at Camp Ritchie – a camp which didn’t officially exist at the time. Jewish refugees were instrumental in building relationships and gaining valuable information that helped end the war because of their intimate knowledge of German culture.
Now at 97, Stern is again doing his part, contributing to a living history lesson, sharing his story with the public.
An event held annually, the Samuel Lutheran Church aims to make sure stories of Holocaust and WWII survivors are not forgotten. Guy Stern’s story and many others are featured in the book Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U. S. Army to Fight Hitler by Bruce Henderson.
“Survivors are really hard (to come by) but they’re the ones who tell the story, who have that experience,” event organizer Anna Alpern told FOX 17. “For people not to even hear them, but to be in the presence of these people makes that period of our history real. Because as you know, there are so many holocaust deniers now who say, that didn’t happen.”
Stern will be speaking Monday evening at the Spring Lake District Library at 6:30 p.m.