Band of Brothers

Season 1 Episode 9

Why We Fight

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Oct 28, 2001 on HBO

Episode Recap

The men of Easy Company come face to face with the horrors of the Holocaust in "Why We Fight," the ninth installment of the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.

The episode opens with the company in Germany, where they find no enemy resistance. In fact, they find warm beds and hot meals in the houses they commandeer. Many of the men go about looting the German homes and farms for food and valuables. Spiers (Matthew Settle) is particularly industrious, sending several shipments home. At least one soldier is lucky enough to bed down with a willing Fraulein.

A new replacement, O'Keefe (Matt Hickey) arrives, and gets a typically cool reception from the veterans. Major Winters (Damian Lewis) is keeping a close eye on his friend, Nixon (Ron Livingston), who was recently involved in a jump in which nearly all the troops were killed. To make matters worse, Nixon gets the news that his wife is divorcing him. He starts devoting all of his energy to tracking down bottles of his favorite booze. It's clear to these men that the war is almost over, and they discuss their plans. Liebgott (Ross McCall) talks about going back to the cab company and finding "a nice Jewish girl," while Webster (Eion Bailey) plans to finish school at Harvard.

The men have grown increasingly cynical about what they've accomplished in Europe. Then they make a gruesome discovery -- a small concentration camp in the woods of Landsberg. Several of these combat-hardened veterans break down when they see the condition of the prisoners. Winters and his men are shocked to learn that the men who have been starved and murdered at the camp are not criminals, but Jews, Poles, and Gypsies. In a tragic twist of irony and to the dismay of the soldiers and the detainees as well, the soldiers are ordered to re-lock the gates in order to contain all the victims until the U.S. military could fully help them.
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