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Obituaries

J. Herman Sitrick, WWII veteran credited with single-handedly capturing 21 Nazis, dies at 93

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J. Herman Sitrick, posing with a photo of himself as a young soldier, during a ceremony to receive the French Legion of Honor at the French Consulate in Chicago in 2017.
(Sitrick family photo)

Some 70 years later, he remembered how it began. A German soldier at the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium approached him, he said, and declared in German: “Don’t shoot! I have three children.”

Jules Herman Sitrick, who was then a young soldier patrolling alone, said he allowed the German to seek refuge in the basement of a bombed-out farmhouse. More Nazi soldiers came, and all were directed to the basement. Eventually, according to Sitrick’s account, he had single-handedly captured 21 enemy soldiers.

Sitrick, a native of Davenport, Iowa, who went on to a career in broadcasting and advertising in Chicago, died on Jan. 12 of a subdural hematoma after a fall in his home in Morton Grove, Ill., according to his son, Michael Sitrick, who runs a Los Angeles-based crisis communications company. The elder Sitrick was 93.

Among the honors eventually accorded Jules Sitrick was the French Legion of Honor, which is given to U.S. soldiers who saw combat in France during World War II. “They must have fought on French soil, which was very clear for Mr. Sitrick,” said Pascale Thome, a spokeswoman for the French Consulate in Chicago. “He was just a wonderful man.”

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Sitrick received the honor in 2017. Previously, he had received the Bronze Star, as well as a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained in combat, his son said.

After the war, Sitrick went into broadcasting in the Chicago area and later opened his own advertising agency, J. Herman Sitrick Advertising in Skokie, Ill. Among his clients were the Chicago Cubs, Michael Sitrick said. He added that his father worked continuously until his fall last week.

In addition to Michael Sitrick, he is survived by two other sons, attorneys David Sitrick of Pacific Palisades and Ronald Sitrick of Chicago; six grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. His wife of 71 years, Marcia Sitrick, died in 2017.


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