The Germans who took up arms against Hitler





It's 65 years since Hitler drafted his will before committing suicide. The men who translated it were renegade Germans who fled to Britain to take up arms against their own country. Two new memoirs shed light on this little-known group.

The outbreak of World War II saw thousands of people across Europe volunteer for military service, in a bid to do their duty for their respective countries.

But among those who stepped forward for Britain were 10,000 German and Austrian nationals, who had fled the Nazis and were willing to fight against their own countrymen. Known as "the King's most loyal enemy aliens" many, but not all, were Jewish.

Among them was Herman Rothman, a Jew born in Berlin. He came to England aged 14 on the Kindertransport, fleeing Nazi persecution shortly before war broke out in 1939.

In October 1945, Mr Rothman and a handful of other German Jews were given a top-secret task - to translate the political and personal wills of Adolf Hitler. He had written them on 29 April earlier that year, then committed suicide, probably on 30 April - the exact date remains uncertain.

Now 85 and living in Ilford, Essex, Mr Rothman has written a book called Hitler's Will about his military service. He became a British citizen in 1947, meaning he fought for Britain while still a German.



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