Down East Seniors delve into war history

Published 8:28 pm Friday, November 4, 2016


The Down East Seniors Club held its Nov. 2 meeting at the Blind Center of North Carolina in Washington. President Ed Hamrick led the meeting. Jim Hackney played for the singing of “God Bless America,” and Charles Smith gave the invocation. Dick Paul provided humor.

Bill Cates announced that the club will ring the bell for the Salvation Army at Walmart on Dec. 5. He will have a sign-up sheet at the next meeting.

Mark Eakes introduced Bernie Dougherty as the speaker. Dougherty said that in 1979 the United States Justice Department formed the Office of Special Investigation to find and prosecute Nazi war criminals from World War II. Because of his military experience in Europe he was assigned to OSI. He investigated in this country and in Germany. After the war there were many refugees, called “displaced persons,” with some Nazi criminals hiding among them. He located many German military records which detailed criminal events and names of the criminals. Difficulties he encountered, in addition to finding these people, included the fact that since more than 30 years had passed, there were not many surviving witnesses, the appeals process for convicted criminals could be very drawn out and many of the criminals died before they could be convicted. In most cases, the crimes were not committed against Americans, so the criminals could not be tried in the U.S. In these cases the only thing OSI could do was to revoke these people’s visas and have them deported. When the Soviet Union started becoming a threat to the U.S., our government brought many of the WWII German scientists to the U.S., granted them amnesty and put them to work developing advanced military hardware.

Chip Ide won the 50/50 drawing.