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Eric Schwarzkopf

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Eric Schwarzkopf (born 1922) is a World War II soldier who was born to Jewish parents, Simon and Thekla,[1] and grew up in Waldshut, Germany with 4 older siblings.

Jewish extermination and persecution had already begun in the mid-1930s and by 1937 the family escaped the Nazis (thanks to Thekla's dual Swiss citizenship) and fled to the United States.[2]

In 1942 Eric volunteered for the US army along with his brothers Hans and Bernard (Hans would be captured and held in Africa until the war’s end). Eric was placed in Military Field Intelligence with the airborne troops. In the 18th corps., he fought with the 101st, the 82nd and 17th divisions.

He parachuted as a pathfinder at Normandy on the night of June 5, 1944 and participated in the Battle of the Bulge, as well as other conflicts.

Toward the end of the war, his battalion took Essen. As the senior officer of the MIS team he was put in charge of the industrial city until he was called to serve near Oberursel. There, with his brother Bernard, he monitored captured SS officers’ conversations and translated them for evidence to be used at the Nuremberg Trials.

He returned to the US the day before Christmas Eve, 1945.


  1. Being named after St. Thecla is odd for a Jewish girl.
  2. ancestry.com re: Passenger and crew lists of vessels arriving at NY NY 1897-1957 National Archives Microfilm Publication T715, roll 6069, page 31, line 24.

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