T/Sgt Alpert Testimony
Declassified per executive order 12356, Section 3.3, 735027, By NND, Date 1973
For the WAR CRIMES OFFICE
Judge Advocate Generalís Department Ė War Department
United States of America
In the matter of beatings of Sgt. McGee, American soldier, by Swiss guards at Les Diablerets, Switzerland, in December 1944.
Perpetuation of Testimony of T/Sgt Jacob L. Alpert, (serial # omitted)
Taken at: Truax Field, Madison 7, Wisconsin
Date: 13 August 1945
Questions by: Robert A. Crone, Captain, A. C., (serial # omitted)
Q. Sergeant, state your name, rank, serial number, and permanent home address.
A. My permanent home address was just changed, and I donít know what the new one is. My folks just bought a new place and I donít know what the new address is going to be. I can give you a business address?
Q. You mean your permanent business address?
A. Yes. I can always be reached through that address. My name is T/Sgt Jacob L. Alpert, (serial # omitted), and my permanent address is (omitted), Monroe, Michigan.
Q. What is the date and place of your birth and of what country are you a citizen?
A. Iím a citizen of the United States. I was born June 26th, 1920, at Monroe, Michigan.
Q. When and where did you land in the United States after returning from overseas?
A. I entered at City Airport, Washington. D.C., January 27th, 1945.
Q. What educational institutions have you attended and for how long?
A. I have completed High School at Monroe, Michigan.
Q. State at what places you were employed as a civilian. The nature of each job and the period of time employed at each.
A. I was employed with my father as a salesman with the Alpert Furniture Company.
Q. How long sergeant?
A. Five (5) years.
Q. Did you hold any other jobs?
A. Yes, I held a couple others. I worked with the Robinson Furniture Company in Detroit for about six (6) months and I worked for a local contractor in Monroe for about six (6) months. His name was Doyle.
Q. Were you a Prisoner of War?
A. No I wasnít.
Q. What were you Sergeant?
A. An internee.
Q. Did you escape?
A. Yes, sir. I escaped from the Confinement Camp at Les Diablerets, Switzerland, 3 January 1945.
Q. At what places were you held Sergeant, and state the approximate dates.
A. The dates are going to be very hard to give. July and August, I was held in Camp Maloney, Switzerland.
Q. Can you give me the approximate dates?
A. From July 13 until roughly the end of August, 1944. From about the 1st of September until the last of September, I was in Wengen, Switzerland. From the last of September until about the 1st of October, I was at Wauilermoos Prison Camp near Wauwilermoos.
Q. That was a military prison?
A. Yes, sir. For the thirty (30) days following that, I returned to Wengen and then I was sent to Les Diablerets where I remained until I escaped.
Q. State in your own words, what you know about the beatings of Sergeant McGee, the American soldier, by Swiss guards at this Les Diablerets Confinement Camp.
A. While I was at Les Diablerets, the guards were very sullen and if you didnít do everything they told you to, or if they wanted you to do something, I saw them jab fellows in the back with the butt of their rifle. Quite frequently, someone would escape from the prison and then at frequent intervals during the night of the escape, the guards would come in and wake us up by prodding us with their bayonets..
Q. What was the reason to wake you up Sergeant?
A. To take roll call and to find out who escaped.
Q. What time during the night was that?
A. That went on all night long every time somebody escaped. About every half hour or so, theyíd come back and wake us up again. Then every once in a while they had Swiss guard dogs and it was a big joke with the Swiss guards to try to scare us by siccing the dogs on us and then theyíd call them back just as they caught our clothes. They did that three (3) times that I remember.
Q. Did any of them every snap at you?
A. No they didnít, but they did to some of the fellows next to me. Our barracks was the third in the row from the latrine, and we had to walk between and couple of barbed wire fences and there was a guard at each end who had a dog, and every once in a while the guards would get smart and sic a dog on us because we gave him a dirty look or something.
Q. Tell me Sergeant, just what happened regarding this beating of Sergeant McGee?
A. That occurred at Les Diablerets. We were supposed to be confined to the hotel, but if we asked permission from the Sergeant Major, or whoever he was at this hotel, he would permit one (1) or two (2) of us to go out and take walks if we were accompanied by a guard. Sgt. McGee, a couple other boys and myself went out and with the meager cash allowances we had, we got a couple rolls and coffee and while at this place, it was about 7 in the evening, Sgt. McGee got some kind of Schnapps or wine. He felt pretty good and the guard wanted to go and Sgt. McGee didnít want to. The rest of us went back with the guard then.
Q. Sgt. McGee then, was under the influence of liquor?
A. He wasnít intoxicated by no means, but he had a nice buzz on. He just had enough to make him feel pretty good. When we got back to the hotel with the guard, he sent two (2) more guards to get Sgt. McGee, and they brought him back. When I got back I went to my room and when I came back downstairs, one of the other guards either tripped or knocked Sgt. McGee down. He just hit the floor when I got downstairs. Once of the guards kicked him three (3) or four (4) times and pushed him down with the butt of his rifle or knocked him down with this shoe when he tried to get up.
Q. Just because he didnít move fast enough?
A. Of course, he didnít like to cooperate with them too much. Iíll be frank about that. He liked to take his time and didnít want them pushing him around. The guards liked to give the impression that they were pretty tough boys, and we were supposed to jump every time they wanted something. Of course, as soon as that happened, we started walking over there and the guards got between us. There were three (3) or four (4) of us. As soon as we started walking over there the guards let him get up and they took him in their office.
Q. Was Sgt. McGee hospitalized for any of the wounds occurred by the beating?
A. No, he had no wounds. Just black and blue marks and a big lump on his head. We had quite an argument with the Swiss guards. We were all very irate, to put it nicely, about the way they were treating Sgt. McGee. I think the Siss guards themselves were pretty scared that we would take over the place, so they tried to quiet us down and by that time one of the officers came down and tried to smooth things over and told us we should go to bed for the night and he would contact the American legation at the first opportunity so that they could take whatever action they deemed necessary.
Q. What did they do with Sgt. McGee?
A. They released him and we kept him upstairs so he wouldnít start any more trouble.
Q. Could you identify the guard that beat the Sgt.? Could you describe what he looked like and what his rank was?
A. I donít remember for sure, but I think his rank was equivalent to our Sgt. Major. He had two (2) stripes and a little insignia under the two (2) stripes. He was short and had a cruel looking face. He didnít have very heavy hair.
Q. How tall was he?
A. About 5í5Ē or 5í6Ē and he weight about One Hundred Fifty (150) or One hundred sixty (160) pounds.
Q. What was the color of his hair and eyes?
A. His hair was light brown and I didnít pay much attention to the color of his eyes.
Q. Did you notice any other distinguishing features that might describe him?
A. Nothing that could be used to recognize him except that he wore a fixed sneer.
I, Jacob L. Alpert, of lawful ago, being duly sworn on oath, state that I have read the foregoing transcription of my interrogation and all answers contained therein are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Subscribed and sworn to before me the 15th day of August 1945
Frederick A. Feltz, 1st Lt., A. C.
I, Robert A. Crone, Captain, A. C., (serial # omitted), certify that T/Sgt Jacob L. Alpert (serial # omitted), personally appeared before me on 13 August 1945 and testified concerning War Crimes; and that the foregoing is an accurate transcription of the answers given by him to the several questions set forth.
DETAILS OF ATROCITIES:
Kind of crime: torture, beatings or other cruelties.
Where it happened: Les Diablerets.
Who was the victim: Sgt. McGee, American, was beaten by Swiss guards at Diablerets Confinement Camp. I saw it myself.
Kind of crime: Imprisonment under improper conditions, and failure to provide Prisoners of War with proper medical care, food or quarters.
Where it happened: Les Diablerets
Who was the victim: Food, Sanitary conditions and quarters were very poor. Could only use the ditch we used for a latrine at specified times. Slept on dirty straw, and had only one (1) moth-eaten blanked to cover with in winter. In addition, we could not get wood for stove. The food wasnít fit for human consumption and there wasnít enough of it.
HAVE YOU PREVIOUSLY BEEN QUESTIONED BY ANY MILITARY OR NAVAL AUTHORITIES ABOUT ATROCITIES OR MISTREATMENT? Yes
IF YES, by WHOM, WHERE, WHEN. G2 Officer in England and Washington, D.C.
DID YOU MAKE A SIGNED STATEMENT? ?