Speed Reads

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WWII interrogators say there was no need for torture

P.O. Box 1142 wasn't a place to pick up mail, but rather a secret camp outside of Washington, D.C., where the U.S. military interrogated high-ranking Nazis during World War II. Interrogators there did not use torture, researchers say, but rather attempted to gain trust by making the prisoners feel comfortable.

The camp was run by military intelligence services, and young German Jewish men who fled Germany and were recruited to serve as interrogators. Rudolph Pins, 94, told CBS News that when he was an interrogator, the strategy was to make prisoners feel relaxed, with the goal of opening them up. "You don't get people to talk by beating them or waterboarding or anything of that nature," he said.

Researcher Brandon Bies, a ranger with the National Park Service, interviewed dozens of interrogators and Nazi prisoners, including Anthony Leonhardt, a guard at a Nazi work camp. Leonhardt recalled one prisoner being hit — it was reported to the Red Cross — and was himself interrogated only once, telling the Americans that he thought the photos of concentration camps he was shown were fake.

The interrogators did use psychological tricks. For example, some prisoners who did not cooperate were told they would be handed over to the Russian military; some interrogators even dressed up in Russian uniforms to make prisoners think they were close to being transferred.