Fritz, as Grandmother Hilda called him, his name was Fred, served as a lieutenant in the German army in World War I.He served on the western front, so he may have been fighting Americans.He won the Iron cross:
-Everyone went over the top, except me and this other fellow. So we looked at each other and decided it was better to be killed by the enemy than our own side.The job of the second line of the German army was to kill anyone in the first line who didn’t attack.We couldn’t find our guys, so we kept going; the other side must have withdrawn.Eventually our side caught up with us so they gave us the medal.
Years later, I realized that this is the story you tell when you don’t want to say what you did.
When Fritz got taken into concentration camp he wore that cross.They took it away from him.Hilda bribed a consulate for visas and got him and her family out of Germany.He was very calm describing the conditions in the camp except when he talked about them taking the cross.