After 63 years, vet learns of brother's death in Nazi slave camp

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For 63 years, Martin Vogel longed for information about how his only brother -- his best friend and a fellow U.S. soldier -- died in World War II.

He knew that Bernard "Jack" Vogel had tried to escape from a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp, but the details were sketchy. Martin was so devastated after the war, he didn't ask too many questions. But as time passed, his thoughts often drifted to his brother.

"A month doesn't go by that it doesn't come up in the course of my own thoughts," said Martin Vogel, now 82. "But to me, it's always there: What if this? Why didn't he do this? And what happened to him? And that's what bothered me."

The Boston resident read an article last week on about Anthony Acevedo, a World War II medic who was among 350 U.S. soldiers held in a Nazi slave camp called Berga an der Elster, where dozens of soldiers were beaten, starved and killed. Less than half survived captivity.

In the piece, Acevedo mentioned a soldier by the name of Vogel who died in his arms.

For the first time in his life, Martin Vogel was about to learn the truth about his brother's death. By week's end, he would also learn about his uncle's undying love for his brother -- and what he believes is the ultimate betrayal by the country his brother died for, the United States of America.

"You don't know how much this means," Martin Vogel said between sobs."You don't know how much this means."

Born February 9, 1924, in Brooklyn, New York, Bernard Vogel was in his sophomore year at Brooklyn College when he was drafted for war in 1944. He arrived in the European Theater in September as a private first class in the 106th Infantry Division. He was captured by the Nazis in December of that year and first sent to a POW camp known as Stalag IX-B in Bad Orb, Germany.

From there, the Nazis separated 350 U.S. soldiers for being Jewish or"looking like Jews" and sent them to the slave camp around February 8, 1945. To this day, the U.S. Army has never officially recognized its soldiers were held as slaves inside Germany. Survivors of the camp signed documents to never speak about their captivity. In the piece, Acevedo mentioned a soldier by the name of Vogel who died in his arms.

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