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THIS website is a private SUPPORT SITE for 4th ID veterans, active duty soldiers, family members, friends and everyone who supports our troops no matter how you feel about our leaders. Troublemakers, gossips. trolls, liars, etc are NOT welcome here. Posts that defame,, humiliate and/or intimidate other posters or the webmaster will be deleted without notice or comment. Please read the rules on the Main Page, thank you!
This forum has a long history, by interent standards anyway-unfortunately it has been abandoned for far too long due to real life circumstances knocking the heck out of what had been my very real desire to keep this board alive and well forever so that all of us could meet here and communicate with each other everyday.

I'm not sure that a forum like this is even needed nowadays since the advent of facebook, etc...but I hope that this once thriving BB does bring some of us back together again and that maybe some new folks will join us as well!   
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Army to honor soldiers enslaved by Nazis

Army to honor soldiers enslaved by Nazis

By Wayne Drash Senior Producer

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- The U.S. Army says it will honor the "heroism and sacrifice" of 350 U.S. soldiers who were held as slaves by Nazi Germany during World War II.

The decision by the Army effectively reverses decades of silence about what the soldiers endured in the final months of the war in 1945 at Berga an der Elster, a subcamp of Buchenwald where soldiers were beaten, starved, killed and forced to work in tunnels to hide German equipment.
More than 100 U.S. soldiers died in the camp or on a forced death march. Before they were sent back to the United States, survivors signed a secrecy document with the U.S. government to never speak about their captivity.

"The interests of American prisoners of war in the event of future wars, moreover, demand that the secrets of this war be vigorously safeguarded,"

the document says.

CNN last month reported the story of Anthony Acevedo, who was a 20-year-old medic when he was sent to Berga with the other soldiers. Acevedo kept a diary that details the day-to-day events inside the camp and lists names and prisoner numbers of men as they died or were executed. See inside Acevedo's diary »

That story prompted a chain of events, including hundreds of users urging their congressional leaders to honor the soldiers of Berga. Two congressmen, Reps. Joe Baca, D-California, and Spencer Bachus, R-Alabama, wrote U.S. Army Secretary Peter Geren and asked him to recognize the 350 soldiers.

The Army recently responded to the two congressmen, saying it is working "to determine an appropriate way to honor the heroism and sacrifice of these soldiers. We expect this review to be complete by March 6, 2009."
After learning of the Army's decision, Bachus said in a press release,
"The courage and perseverance they demonstrated in enduring such inhumane conditions is awe inspiring, and I am pleased the Army has opened a more extensive investigation into honoring these men."

For the dozen of Berga survivors who are still living, the news came as a shock. Many had long ago given up hope that their country would ever recognize them for what they endured.

"It's amazing," said Morty Brooks, now 83, when informed of the Army plans.
"It's a recognition that's many years past due. No particular notice was ever given to us by the government, and it should be part of the military's annals."

Acevedo, now 84, noted the ages of the remaining survivors -- all of whom are in their 80s. Some are in failing health. He said he hopes the Army can reach its decision before March, because of the possibility some could die before then.

"If they can do it a lot sooner, we would appreciate it much," he said. "I thank God I'm still able to communicate and express myself with dignity, and I'm hoping the other fellas are able to communicate also.

"I've always been proud to be a U.S. soldier. It did me some good, with God's help and faith. I'll pray for everybody, all my other fellas."

He said the 350 soldiers are heroes who "exposed our lives for our country, for democracy and freedom of speech." The soldiers, all of them survivors of the Battle of the Bulge, had originally been sent to a POW camp known as Stalag IX-B in Bad Orb, Germany. From there, the Nazis separated the 350 soldiers based on being Jewish or "looking like Jews" and sent them to the slave camp around February 8, 1945.Watch Acevedo describe treatment in the camp »

In Boston, Martin Vogel sits quietly in his home. His brother, Bernard "Jack" Vogel, died in Acevedo's arms at the age of 19 in April 1945. Bernard Vogel had tried to escape from Berga with another soldier named Izzy Cohen. Both were captured and forced to stand in their underwear outside the barracks for at least two days until they collapsed.

The last words Bernard Vogel ever uttered were "I want to die, I want to die." Listen as Acevedo tells brother of victim: "I held him in my arms" »

Martin Vogel, 82, said that
"since learning of my brother's death in 1945, a week has not passed that I don't think of his untimely death. Many questions had gone unanswered during this time."

After talking with and the few remaining survivors, he said,
"My thoughts have come into a clearer focus. I have learned of the last few days of [Bernard's] life and what horrendous event took place prior to death. This has at least crystallized the uncertainty of his death and brought a close to this chapter."

Vogel still gets emotional talking about his brother's death. He wrote his thoughts so he wouldn't cry talking about it.

He continued, writing that questions remain on many issues, including the fate of his brother's captors and
"the unwillingness of the Army to publicly document the capture and imprisonment of these soldiers. ... The least is I now know Jack