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Philip Glaessner

»They broke through. And I remember, I was in the cellar together with some civilians and some other GIs and they came down. We threw up our hands, and said basically: “Kamerad nicht schiessen!” I mean, what could you do.
I had destroyed all my identification, because, imagine if they had realised who I was.«


Born 1919 in Lausanne, Switzerland Philip Glaessner, son to a musician and a well-known medic, spends his childhood in Vienna, Austria. In 1936 his concerned father sends him to England where he attends a college at Cambridge. In 1940 he is interned and brought to Canada. He is denied entry to the USA but is released after a year and moves to Cuba. In 1942 he finally immigrates into the United States and is reunited with his parents and two sisters in New York.

After three months at Columbia university Philip is drafted into the U.S. Army and receives intelligence training in Camp Ritchie. In 1944 he returns to Europe as an American soldier and arrives in Normandy shortly after D-Day. During the Battle of the Bulge he is captured but fortunately his Jewish origin is not revealed – he survives. In the POW camp he uses his training and his knowledge of languages for secretly gathering information about the war to keep up the morale of his fellow prisoners.

In spring 1945 the camp is liberated and Philip returns to the USA where he graduates in Economics. He works for the Federal Reserve in New York for the U.S. Government in Chile and Brazil and as Assistant Director for the Alliance for Progress and for the Interamerican Bank and World Bank in Washington. For the last 44 years he has lived in Bethesda near Washington.