Historical Nonfiction

fun facts, quotes, and pictures from history
This man is the only known American who fought for both the American army and the Soviet army during World War II. Joseph Beyrle landed as a paratrooper on D-day, but was too low and got separated from his fellows after crash landing. He managed to blow up a power station before being captured by Germans.
It just gets more exciting: he was put in a POW camp and escaped, trying to reach the approaching Soviet army. But instead of getting on a train to Poland, he and another POW accidentally took one towards Berlin! Beyrle got picked up by the Gestapo and was beaten and tortured, because they thought he was a spy who had been dropped in Berlin. Right before they executed him by firing squad, officials determined that Beyrle was in fact a POW, whom the Gestapo had no authority over. So he got put in another camp, called Stalag III-C, in late 1944.
But he quickly escaped again, this time in the right direction. Within a few weeks,  in January of 1945, Beyrle encountered a Soviet tank brigade. He raised his hands, holding a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes, and shouted in Russian, ‘Amerikansky tovarishch! (“American comrade!”). He convinced them to let him join the brigade, and helped free his former POW camp Stalag III-C. He was injured in January, though, and eventually wound up at the US Embassy in Moscow under armed Marine guard — reported Killed in Action, with a funeral in his home town, the embassy officials were unsure of his story until his identity was verified by fingerprints.

This man is the only known American who fought for both the American army and the Soviet army during World War II. Joseph Beyrle landed as a paratrooper on D-day, but was too low and got separated from his fellows after crash landing. He managed to blow up a power station before being captured by Germans.

It just gets more exciting: he was put in a POW camp and escaped, trying to reach the approaching Soviet army. But instead of getting on a train to Poland, he and another POW accidentally took one towards Berlin! Beyrle got picked up by the Gestapo and was beaten and tortured, because they thought he was a spy who had been dropped in Berlin. Right before they executed him by firing squad, officials determined that Beyrle was in fact a POW, whom the Gestapo had no authority over. So he got put in another camp, called Stalag III-C, in late 1944.

But he quickly escaped again, this time in the right direction. Within a few weeks,  in January of 1945, Beyrle encountered a Soviet tank brigade. He raised his hands, holding a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes, and shouted in Russian, ‘Amerikansky tovarishch! (“American comrade!”). He convinced them to let him join the brigade, and helped free his former POW camp Stalag III-C. He was injured in January, though, and eventually wound up at the US Embassy in Moscow under armed Marine guard — reported Killed in Action, with a funeral in his home town, the embassy officials were unsure of his story until his identity was verified by fingerprints.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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    His son went on to serve as US Ambassador to Russia for many years.
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    What did you do during the war, daddy?
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