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“We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess

Fort Hunt’s Quiet Men Break Silence on WWII
Interrogators Fought ‘Battle of Wits’

By Petula Dvorak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 6, 2007; A01

For six decades, they held their silence.

The group of World War II veterans kept a military code and the decorum
of their generation, telling virtually no one of their top-secret work
interrogating Nazi prisoners of war at Fort Hunt.

When about two dozen veterans got together yesterday for the first time
since the 1940s, many of the proud men lamented the chasm between the
way they conducted interrogations during the war and the harsh measures
used today in questioning terrorism suspects.

Back then, they and their commanders wrestled with the morality of
bugging prisoners’ cells with listening devices. They felt bad about
censoring letters. They took prisoners out for steak dinners to soften
them up. They played games with them.

“We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess
or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture,” said Henry Kolm,
90, an MIT physicist who had been assigned to play chess in Germany
with Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess.

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