‘GHOST ARMY’ FOOLED GERMANS
Artist-soldier in WWII ploy lives quietly in Schaumburg
Art is the thread that has run through 95-year-old Bernie Bluestein’s life.
It has stretched from his youth sketching newspaper comic strips and pinup girls in Cleveland to his golden years racking up 30 years’ tenure as an emeritus art student at Harper College in Palatine.
His tidy four-room apartment in Schaumburg is a testament to his lifelong devotion, nearly every inch filled with paintings, etchings, sketches, carvings, standing sculptures and handmade furniture.
But it was in the role of soldier where he created perhaps his most remarkable work.
A lifetime ago, on the edge of manhood, a 19-yearold Bluestein chose a path of subversion and trickery on behalf of the U.S. military during World War II in an assignment so secretive the details were only declassified in 1996.
“Our outfit was a top secret outfit. Nobody knew about it,” Bluestein said plainly of his stealthy work with the 603rd Camouflage Engineers battalion more than 70 years ago.
“When I wrote home, (Army officials) deleted anything that indicated where we were, or what we were doing or anything. Nobody knew about this: my parents, my
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A dummy tank from the World War II “Ghost Army.”