Interrogators, scholars, and winners! | Life in Ludlow

Ned Luce
Posted 2/2/23

It was back in the middle of the last century when a naïve young man, I, matriculated at that bastion of male single sex higher education in Crawfordsville, Indiana known internationally as …

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Interrogators, scholars, and winners! | Life in Ludlow


It was back in the middle of the last century when a naïve young man, I, matriculated at that bastion of male single sex higher education in Crawfordsville, Indiana known internationally as Wabash College. 

I was assigned a faculty advisor named Karl-Heinz Planitz. As you may suspect from his name, he was the head and only member of the German language department at Wabash. 

My friend Barbara Berthiaume here in Port Ludlow recommended I read “Sons and Soldiers,” a book by Bruce Henderson. The book documents the development of a group of interrogators of German prisoners of war in the late stages of World War II. These men were primarily drawn from the ranks of Jewish boys who had escaped from Nazi Germany into the USA as teenagers in the late 1930s. They were either in or recently inducted into the U.S. Army and were motivated to support the Allied mission to defeat the Nazis. Camp Ritchie in Maryland served as the training center for the 1,985 German-born “Ritchie Boys” who served as interrogators during the war. 

One of Professor Planitz’s many successes in life was to serve as the chief translator for European Languages in the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office where his primary responsibility was interviewing German prisoners of war in the 1940s. I have gained a new respect for him and others who performed the same function. 

Unfortunately, a failure in his life was his inability to turn me into a Phi Beta Kappa eligible scholar. I knew some of them, though. “Ja.” 

I caught an updated presentation on the status of the programs in the Chimacum School District last week in front of about 20 folks at the Beach Club. 

Superintendent Scott Mauk reviewed the demographics of the district and the consequent challenges faced by the families, students, and staff in the district. He followed that with an inspiring description of strategies and actions addressing the solutions. 

In the years BJ and I have lived here we have seen the successes and heard of the failures of the Chimacum schools. I have never heard anybody from the schools ever describe the issues so cogently with an attitude that will lead to better results for the students than Scott did. I am optimistic he will get the support of far more than the folks at last week’s meeting. 

Gee, with the motivation he gave me I might have done better by Professor Planitz!

Yep, there is an election concerning a “levy lid lift” for fire and EMS services. BJ and I have been fortunate to not need much help yet, but we know it is coming. 

Frankly, it is not my age that bothers me, it’s those damn side effects, and I am certain I am going to need those guys sooner rather than later. It’s just weird being the same age as old people.

We went to the Beach Club to see a delightful performance by “Disorderly Conduct” last Saturday evening. They are a group of seven locals providing improvisational comedy on a fairly irregular, but entertaining, basis for the past few years. 

As outlined in last week’s Leader, local Nancy Peterson is the “Ham in Charge” and “Chief Goofball” while she has been fooling with the group since its inception. For $10/person we got some real laughs and a free cookie on a cold and somewhat snowy Port Ludlow eve. 

Yes, my friends. The Kansas City Chiefs prevailed in the AFC championship game over the Cincinnati Bengals and are going to the Super Bowl. 

Well, those who watched the game know that one of the Bengals players committed an unnecessary roughness penalty and gave the Chiefs the opportunity to kick the game-winning field goal. 

If only Professor Planitz had overlooked all of my scholastic penalties.

Love a curmudgeon and have a great week. 

(Ned Luce is a retired IBM executive and Port Ludlow resident. And as anyone who saw the Cincinati-Kansas City game can attest, when push comes to shove, the Chiefs win! Contact Ned at