Gettysburg is a Mecca of Civil War history, but in World War II, a group of men hid among the ghosts of the Blue and Gray.
They had one mission: to bring down the man and army responsible for killing their friends and family. The way they did it was unlike any other in the country.
War-torn but determined, the select group of men trained to take on Germany in little old Gettysburg.
“It’s very, very cloak and dagger, spooky stuff, and it’s so interesting to know that they trained them right here under our nose down in Gettysburg,” said Kirk Gibson, president of the Central Pennsylvania World War II Roundtable.
“Many of them, actually, German-Jewish refugees from Hitler’s Germany and Austria, came here and trained in psych warfare,” said Beverley Driver Eddy, author of “Camp Sharpe’s Psycho Boys: From Gettysburg to Germany”.
Psych warfare may sound scary, but it was a simple approach.
“Well, the deal was they knew that the war was over, and to persuade them not to fight to the death like Hitler wanted them to do but to surrender and build a new Germany after the war,” Driver Eddy said.
Camp Sharpe soldiers used unique techniques like shooting educational pamphlets over enemy lines and going right to the source.
“They did things like going out in front of the lines by microphones and talking directly to the German soldiers,” Driver Eddy said.
The camp was rare — the only one in the country, but that doesn’t mean it was well known. Most people who lived in Gettysburg were clueless about the group of foreign men in American uniforms.
“They knew that there were soldiers in town, but they didn’t know what they were doing,” Driver Eddy said.
It wasn’t easy. Many men lost family in the war.
“I talked to one of the soldiers there — 24 family members died in Auschwitz,” Driver Eddy said.
However, their sacrifice is now documented and memorialized through ink and paper.
“The operation there lasted just a short while, but it was so incredibly well done, so undercover, if you will, and they did things that made a difference,” Gibson said.