Marlene Dietrich raised the spirits of the 44th soldiers when she played to them in April 1945. Dietrich also was on-hand at the dock in New York City to greet the division upon its return home aboard the Queen Elizabeth.
Before the advent of the war, Marlene had achieved the status of a Hollywood starlet, a true super-star. Born in Berlin, Germany, in 1901, she took up acting in her early teens. When the Nazi Party gained political power, she left Germany, immigrated to the United States and become a citizen in 1939. Dietrich openly despised Hitler and his party. After Pearl Harbor, she participated energetically in bond drives and lent her sultry voice to the production of anti-Nazi radio broadcasts. Her vehement denouncement of the Nazi regime and her participation in the propaganda radio broadcasts aimed at Germany earned her a death warrant. Despite this price on her head, Dietrich entertained American troops with the USO throughout North Africa and Europe, usually close to the front.
She withstood much privation in order to stay with ‘our boys.’ Her grueling schedule included more than performances, often done under battle conditions at the front. Dietrich not only entertained but helped out in the field hospitals and even in the mess halls. Had the Nazis caught her, she would have been executed. Yet she volunteered and persisted. Like Bob Hope, Marlene Dietrich is a true American hero.
left- Photograph is taken from the deck of the Queen Elizabeth by Signal Corp photographer "Andy" Anderson, as the division returns home to the states via New York City harbor to prepare for the invasion of Japan.