While the US government for decades claimed that no Allied POWs were held in German concentration camps, 168 Allied airmen were beaten, experimented on, and otherwise abused in Buchenwald,
Betrayed is the true story of two men on opposing sides in WWII, one a sergeant in the US Air Corps who was shot down, betrayed, and imprisoned in Buchenwald Concentration Camp. The other was a Nazi engineer, an SS-major who obtained slave laborers from Buchenwald for his V-2 factory at the Mittelwerk. The Nazi engineer was Dr. Wernher von Braun, a national hero of the Third Reich.
After the war, the records of both men were classified Top Secret and concealed by threats, denials, and misrepresentations. The US government refuted the sergeant’s accurate account, while promoting a fabricated history for the engineer, who became as famous and revered in the US as he had been in Nazi Germany. Betrayed demonstrates how an unconstrained military intelligence operation disrupted the lives of American ex-POWs in the name of national security.
Important revelations of government impropriety
Growing up, I was aware that my father, a Jewish American WWII Veteran was very upset by the accolades and privilege afforded Werner von Braun and the other German scientists, brought to America after the war, to build our rocket and space program. He insisted the government had overlooked, or hidden for expediency, the Nazi past of this group. I had no idea that the government collusion on the immigration of these supposed neutral scientists was only the tip of the iceberg. That not only were they involved in Nazi criminality but that their victims extended to American POWs, some held at Buchenwald.
The author's story of his father, Fred Martini, one of the Buchenwald airmen is well documented, traumatic, personal as well as political. The complicity of the VA medical community in denying services to these damaged American soldiers upon repatriation after the war is indefensible.
The book has 3 aspects in viewing the situation, researched and well documented in the appendix for other researchers to follow should they need or just want to. The first is the purely technical war, aircraft and training, maneuvers specific. Not my category but for military buffs, a trove of material. The second is another documentation of German atrocities, hard to read even 50+ years after I was first exposed to it in my youth, from an historical sense and from meeting community members who were Holocaust survivors. Every new source that exposes this catastrophe needs to be applauded so it could never happen again, especially as those who deny the Holocaust are still making news. The third is the personal story of Fred, his family and life both before and after the war. It saddens me that several US government agencies, even the VA, could not adequately serve and support these survivors and were complicit in the cover-up.
This is a well written and documented book. If all three of these categories suit you, or even if only some of them are of interest, it is worth the read. The book contains so much information that needs to be made a part of the history of American ethics.