FREE SPEECH -- CNN reports that 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 because they were, or were thought to be, Jewsand upon liberation were sworn to secrecy about the experience.
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.
The Army's decision came after CNN originally broke the soldiers' story last month and two Congressmenone of them Joe Baca (D-San Bernardino)wrote U.S. Army Secretary Peter Geren and asked him to recognize the 350 soldiers.
The original story states:
The U.S. Army Center of Military History provided CNN a copy of the
document signed by soldiers at the camp before they were sent back
home. "You must be particularly on your guard with persons representing
the press," it says. "You must give no account of your experience in
books, newspapers, periodicals, or in broadcasts or in lectures."
The document ends with: "I understand that disclosure to anyone else will make me liable to disciplinary action."
The information was kept secret "to protect escape and evasion
techniques and the names of personnel who helped POW escapees," said
Frank Shirer, the chief archivist at the U.S. Army Center for Military