In June 1942, Winston Churchill and his chief of staff devised an unusual plan: a new commando unit made up of Jewish refugees in the United Kingdom. Called “X Troop,” the unit included a motley group of intellectuals, artists, and athletes from Germany and Austria. Many had lost their families and homes, and would stop at nothing to defeat the Nazis.

The top-secret unit is the subject of Dr. Leah Garrett’s new book X Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II, released on May 25, 2021. Drawing on extensive original research, including interviews with the last surviving members, Garrett follows this unique band of brothers from Germany to England and back again, with stops at British internment camps, the beaches of Normandy, the battlefields of Italy and Holland, and the hellscape of Terezin concentration camp—the scene of one of the most dramatic, untold rescues of the war.

This book launch program features Garrett in conversation with Kim Masters, veteran entertainment journalist, editor-at-large of The Hollywood Reporter, and host of KCRW’s The Business, whose father Peter Masters was a member of the X Troop.

Watch the program below.


This program’s original recording transcript is below. This transcription was created automatically during a live program so may contain inaccurate transcriptions of some words.

Ari Goldstein: Alright, welcome everyone i'm Ari Goldstein Senior Public programs producer at the Museum of Jewish heritage, a living memorial to the Holocaust.

00:00:54.900 --> 00:01:04.140
Ari Goldstein: And it's a pleasure to welcome you to today's discussion celebrating the launch of Dr Leah carrots brand new book X troop the secret Jewish commandos of World War Two.

00:01:04.710 --> 00:01:13.920
Ari Goldstein: The book, which was just released today tells the amazing true story of a group of German Jewish refugees who escaped to United Kingdom for the Holocaust.

00:01:14.370 --> 00:01:23.580
Ari Goldstein: And then went back to Germany to fight the Nazis and an elite British special forces unit, you can order your copy of the book at the link in the zoom chat and we hope you will it's well worth reading.

00:01:24.600 --> 00:01:32.490
Ari Goldstein: And in addition to being the author of this new book Leah is the director and Professor of Jewish and Hebrew studies at hunter college.

00:01:32.880 --> 00:01:43.050
Ari Goldstein: she's published four books on Jewish literary history, including young lions how Jewish authors reinvented the American war novel, which was a finalist for the national Jewish book award and one that Jordan.

00:01:44.880 --> 00:01:53.400
Ari Goldstein: Lead isn't conversation today with Kim masters a veteran entertainment journalist editor at large at the Hollywood reporter and host of KC rw the business.

00:01:53.850 --> 00:02:04.530
Ari Goldstein: A former correspondent for npr Kim has also served as a contributing editor at vanity fair time and esquire and she was she's been named entertainment journalist of the year and print journalist of the year by the Los Angeles press club.

00:02:05.010 --> 00:02:15.840
Ari Goldstein: Most importantly for today's discussion kim's Father Peter masters, with a member of the extreme and His story is told and lisa's book so we're really delighted to be able to host the two of them in conversation.

00:02:16.860 --> 00:02:29.820
Ari Goldstein: As Leah and Kim discuss extra feel free to share questions in the zoom Q amp a box and we'll get to as many as we can, towards the end of the hour, without further ado, a warm welcome to you both congratulations on your new book Leah and Kim feel free to get started.

00:02:30.990 --> 00:02:39.960
Kim Masters: yeah I like to join you in congratulating me on this amazing book, which is really meaningful to my family and other families of extra burst.

00:02:40.980 --> 00:02:58.860
Kim Masters: Leah why don't you just give us an introduction I will correct are a little bit he said German Jewish and my father, as you well know, is was from Vienna, so there were German and Austrian choose among the specimen some random assorted others so but i'll let you explain more fully.

00:02:59.280 --> 00:03:09.300
Leah Garrett: Okay, thank you and thank you so much, Kim for doing the conversation today and sorry for getting this going and Nancy Fisher from the Museum of Jewish heritage, who got this.

00:03:09.690 --> 00:03:18.240
Leah Garrett: In the works like a year ago, so thank you so the X troop it's an extraordinary story that I could not believe I had the luck to get to tell.

00:03:18.870 --> 00:03:31.020
Leah Garrett: So in 1942 Churchill and the Brits were worrying because the war was not going their way, and they decided to create a special commando unit, as part of something larger called.

00:03:31.950 --> 00:03:39.810
Leah Garrett: commando and this commando unit would be comprised of German and Austrian and a few Hungarian refugees.

00:03:40.170 --> 00:03:56.040
Leah Garrett: The majority of which were of course Jewish so they started to get this idea in their head and they wanted to find out where they would find these men, but it wasn't hard to find these men, because there was a whole group of young Jewish and Austrian and German men.

00:03:57.180 --> 00:04:07.740
Leah Garrett: Who would come to the UK mostly as teenagers, as with kim's dad Peter and men had come on kindertransport as well, so they came to the UK because their parents were an.

00:04:08.010 --> 00:04:16.200
Leah Garrett: Absolute Lee desperate straits over in Germany and Austria, and they saw the writing on the wall and they had to get their kids out fast.

00:04:16.410 --> 00:04:24.240
Leah Garrett: And nobody wanted these Jews so some of them were being taken by England, because they had this good program called kindertransport and they had a refugee Program.

00:04:24.810 --> 00:04:31.830
Leah Garrett: They came over to the UK and for many of them, they thought, including Peter masters that you know, things are not going to get better.

00:04:32.130 --> 00:04:41.910
Leah Garrett: But when war was declared Churchill infamously said color the lot suggesting that there was a fifth column of Nazi sympathizers in England.

00:04:42.240 --> 00:04:49.740
Leah Garrett: Who were Germans and he made this edit, which meant that all these German refugees, particularly those who were young men.

00:04:50.070 --> 00:04:56.520
Leah Garrett: were rounded up and put into internment camps, including Peter masters and many of the others i'll talk about today.

00:04:56.850 --> 00:05:03.810
Leah Garrett: Because they weren't trustworthy and, of course, the British never thought about nor dealt with the fact that the vast majority of them were Jewish.

00:05:04.020 --> 00:05:09.630
Leah Garrett: And some of the internment camps were were completely horrific, and I can talk to talk about that later or not, if you want me to.

00:05:10.440 --> 00:05:18.750
Leah Garrett: So, then, the way that they were able to get out of the internment camps, was to join the military, which they all wanted to do they all wanted to fight back against the Nazis.

00:05:19.350 --> 00:05:26.190
Leah Garrett: But at first, they were only allowed to join something called the pioneer core, which was a hard Labor camp.

00:05:26.880 --> 00:05:30.870
Leah Garrett: Where you were not allowed to have guns and you weren't allowed to fight the enemy.

00:05:31.350 --> 00:05:40.710
Leah Garrett: But soon enough in 1942 they decided that they would seek out these young German speakers like I said, most of which were Jewish.

00:05:41.100 --> 00:05:50.670
Leah Garrett: and train them intensely as both commandos and encounter intelligence which is really unusual usually people are changed, either as commanders or encounter intelligence.

00:05:51.060 --> 00:06:00.270
Leah Garrett: These guys would do it both they would kill and capture the enemy, but then they would also interrogate them on the batter battlefield in German, so they were.

00:06:00.840 --> 00:06:08.370
Leah Garrett: Immediately perceived as an extraordinary assets and However, in order to take on this new commander role.

00:06:08.760 --> 00:06:20.670
Leah Garrett: All of them had to take on fake British names and personas so Peter masters was originally Peter ernie and he changed his name to Peter masters, all of them had to change their names to sound more British.

00:06:21.150 --> 00:06:26.430
Leah Garrett: They got Church of England dog tags if they were killed in battle, they would be buried under crosses.

00:06:26.760 --> 00:06:33.180
Leah Garrett: And they couldn't let anybody know their true origins, so they made a backstory is about why they had these accents that they had.

00:06:33.630 --> 00:06:43.710
Leah Garrett: And then, after a year or two of intense training these guys were setting to the front lines of all the most important major battles of World War Two.

00:06:44.070 --> 00:06:58.890
Leah Garrett: And what I argue in my book is they were crucial to the allied success absolutely crucial and then after the war, the men were used for detoxification efforts and to gather information for the trials of the Nazi war criminals.

00:06:59.700 --> 00:07:09.030
Leah Garrett: So it's a long story that that starts, you know with them, leaving Europe and ends with them in 1946 after a lot of the Nazis had been rounded up.

00:07:10.050 --> 00:07:18.930
Kim Masters: Yes, that is a sweeping Oh, let me go back to the beginning and fascinating stories that are part of the whole saga.

00:07:19.770 --> 00:07:29.040
Kim Masters: As you, as you know, you know my dad was from Ghana, he was a very i'd say he seemed to be quite a petted middle class what Jewish boy.

00:07:29.730 --> 00:07:43.680
Kim Masters: And you know, he was, as you note, he was interned he was completely hit the family had no money having escaped it did get to escape with his mother and sister.

00:07:44.130 --> 00:07:51.390
Kim Masters: Thanks to my my great aunt but he had no idea what to do with himself and and was sent to be a farmhand as you write in the book.

00:07:52.080 --> 00:08:04.710
Kim Masters: But he does not he had no idea how to be a farmer he really was it see and was writing these letters we have two teenage boys saying what should I do with my life, and he was thrown out of high school he couldn't.

00:08:05.850 --> 00:08:08.880
Kim Masters: You know, he should I be good to South America and become.

00:08:09.330 --> 00:08:17.700
Kim Masters: An art in agriculture, which, considering that, as a farmhand he was obviously considered a huge failure by the farmers were you having been the city boy.

00:08:17.970 --> 00:08:32.130
Kim Masters: However, he's at sea, but what you write about in the book is how much worse so many of these men had and the some of them were actually tortured and you know it's not the shining our for the British in terms of that on it, you tell us about that.

00:08:32.460 --> 00:08:44.940
Leah Garrett: yeah well, I mean, so I didn't know about the story of a tournament which, of course, as Americans, we think about in terms of the Japanese and so I didn't I had no idea about this British where there's been very little on it actually and so.

00:08:45.300 --> 00:08:53.310
Leah Garrett: I was completely stunned, to find out that there were in these determine can camps all over the UK Isle of Man was where Peter masters was.

00:08:53.550 --> 00:09:09.390
Leah Garrett: Others, which was actually considered one of the better ones others were just horrific, but the really bad places that they were sent with a ship these you have to realize traumatized Holocaust survivors on boats young men have lost everything.

00:09:10.410 --> 00:09:21.900
Leah Garrett: either to Canada or Australia, and in particular the ship to Australia was was a voyage of the damned it was horrific all the men had everything thrown overboard when they got on the ship.

00:09:22.350 --> 00:09:31.020
Leah Garrett: And they were very lucky, because the captain of the ship and his officers all Brits were profoundly anti Semitic so there was a bunch of German.

00:09:31.380 --> 00:09:36.120
Leah Garrett: prisoners of war on the ship and they were treated really well, but the vast majority were Jews.

00:09:36.600 --> 00:09:46.680
Leah Garrett: And when I wrote this book, I was extremely lucky because to commandos were still alive, when I was reading it, and one of them I interviewed had actually been on that ship the generic ship.

00:09:47.160 --> 00:09:52.470
Leah Garrett: And I read about it, and he described to me when the anti Semitic crew.

00:09:53.340 --> 00:10:02.370
Leah Garrett: every night they thought would be really funny to throw glass on the ship and have the guys run across their foot it and he talked to me about that i'd read about it, but to hear him talk about and still shake.

00:10:02.790 --> 00:10:16.200
Leah Garrett: You know 50 years later, with anchor about this so for the Australians they sent them to a camp in the outback of Australia, where they spent a year, with no newspapers or information.

00:10:16.740 --> 00:10:26.400
Leah Garrett: desperate to get home and eventually after the bombing of Pearl harbor the Brits revoked this act, and these guys were given the chance to come back.

00:10:26.760 --> 00:10:37.890
Leah Garrett: But just just to add that they really change the climate of Australia, those who didn't come back, we stayed there became at the forefront of culture and cooking they were because there were all these Austrian Jews who knew how to cook.

00:10:38.370 --> 00:10:46.590
Leah Garrett: So they changed Australia forever and they're they're called the generic boys, but in America and in the UK, nobody really knows this story, and it was a terrible story.

00:10:46.980 --> 00:10:55.020
Leah Garrett: But I should add, though, that when I wrote this book and you know interview commandos and families and listen to all the interviews.

00:10:56.070 --> 00:11:05.790
Leah Garrett: As as terrific that sounds to me for most of the commanders this was actually a minor story for them, the real story for them was that the Brits have given them the opportunity to fight the Nazis.

00:11:06.300 --> 00:11:17.490
Kim Masters: Yes, let me just pause for this one on this for a second further which is noted the pioneer core was the first offer you know my father was, in turn, they asked for, they were they all did want to do.

00:11:18.180 --> 00:11:29.340
Kim Masters: Please let us fight Nazis pioneer Court was not exactly a prestigious assignment, it was manual Labor it was kind of the reject unit they tried to see it up a bit right so that would be a bit more appealing.

00:11:29.640 --> 00:11:33.420
Kim Masters: And yet it's particularly these guys from Australia came back.

00:11:34.350 --> 00:11:51.240
Kim Masters: And he wrote 47 of them were killed, I think that that was the number in the book just coming back to be in this unglamorous it wasn't like they were signing up to be elite commandos, they were coming back to to move dirt and debris and logs but.

00:11:51.300 --> 00:11:53.640
Kim Masters: yeah the peril.

00:11:53.730 --> 00:11:57.000
Leah Garrett: yeah yeah yeah even coming back with huge peril because the.

00:11:57.840 --> 00:12:01.800
Leah Garrett: boats are being bombed by the Germans, but those who didn't make it back you know.

00:12:02.040 --> 00:12:09.570
Leah Garrett: They they immediately started agitating the pioneer core, including, of course, as you know, as your dad but all of them were writing letters to the commanding officer saying.

00:12:09.930 --> 00:12:23.670
Leah Garrett: My God you guys have this real deeply talented smart men who are desperate to get back there and fight Nazis who are killing our families as we speak, please utilize us like constantly doing this.

00:12:23.940 --> 00:12:33.240
Leah Garrett: And it took a while, but eventually the information got out and the war office decided, you know what these guys are going to be pretty invaluable and we're going to use them.

00:12:34.530 --> 00:12:41.520
Kim Masters: yeah I think it's very for me it's remarkable how these guys picked up English and when, in many cases, my father.

00:12:41.940 --> 00:12:48.600
Kim Masters: looks looking at his letters transitions to English quite quickly, I remember him talking about.

00:12:49.200 --> 00:13:04.050
Kim Masters: arriving in England and and he thinking he had learned some high school English some kid yelled something at him, you know the cigarette they collected cigarette cards in those days i'm being called them sounds bad today fag cards and the kid yelled got in fact card governor.

00:13:05.610 --> 00:13:11.070
Kim Masters: Father is like I don't speak this language is that so talk a little bit about that.

00:13:11.400 --> 00:13:18.060
Leah Garrett: yeah it was NUTS Okay, so these guys are in the pioneer core right and they're still who they are, which is German and Austrian shoes.

00:13:18.420 --> 00:13:27.720
Leah Garrett: And then so they're they're sent to London their hand picked the like the best and the brightest are handpicked they're sent to London to be interviewed by EMI five and the great Brian Hilton.

00:13:28.650 --> 00:13:36.840
Leah Garrett: We have a photo of who's going to end up being their commanding officer who they loved more than anything, he became sort of the father figure to all of them in.

00:13:37.440 --> 00:13:44.790
Leah Garrett: This is Brian Hilton Jones a dapper Welsh non Jewish guy who they just loved and there, he is again so.

00:13:45.540 --> 00:13:55.230
Leah Garrett: He has them all come into the office when they get there, and says basically come in and give me your new new name, as I said, so they have to walk in this office coming up, you know, make up a new name.

00:13:55.560 --> 00:14:12.360
Leah Garrett: And then they're leaving their that person so not only that person, they have the they have to come up with the backstory of why they have this German accent or Australian accent and then they're sent to Wales, of all places to Wales and they all have to build it with whales locals.

00:14:12.420 --> 00:14:13.410
Leah Garrett: Again, to.

00:14:13.650 --> 00:14:20.700
Leah Garrett: stress that the majority of them are traumatized by the Holocaust they've lost everything bunch of them were on the airship.

00:14:21.210 --> 00:14:28.380
Leah Garrett: And now I have to go live in the houses of Welsh locals and do their best to hide who they are not talk about it.

00:14:28.740 --> 00:14:32.400
Leah Garrett: they're not allowed to keep any books, with their names, they have to get rid of absolutely everything.

00:14:32.700 --> 00:14:41.640
Leah Garrett: And there's this great interview, I saw with a Welsh local afterwards, he said that they were always saying, but they are English, so they knew I mean they knew.

00:14:41.910 --> 00:14:48.270
Leah Garrett: But all of them had really come up with these really precise back stories they had a German nanny or whatever it was.

00:14:48.630 --> 00:14:55.950
Leah Garrett: And it didn't seem to get them into too much trouble over the years, because they had these back stories and like you said Kim.

00:14:56.520 --> 00:15:09.150
Leah Garrett: I mean when I was looking at mom for guns his diary who i'll probably talk about later it was astonishing how quickly he got not only fluent English but idiomatic English like they were.

00:15:09.630 --> 00:15:12.330
Leah Garrett: The they were the best and the brightest.

00:15:13.110 --> 00:15:27.000
Leah Garrett: Like I say in the book they were brains and body to be a commando and a counterintelligence officer, at the same time, never happens, but it's because I think that they were the they were incredibly.

00:15:27.300 --> 00:15:35.550
Leah Garrett: intelligent and also physically adapt they found these men had these combinations, although I know Peter masters struggled with it, he wrote about that in this.

00:15:35.880 --> 00:15:39.510
Leah Garrett: He wrote a brilliant book called striking back in which he talked about.

00:15:40.410 --> 00:15:53.340
Leah Garrett: there's this quote I love, where he says something like he could not believe, like a boy from Vienna was now with a blindfold on able to take a part of gun like you know they excel, but it was hot, it was really hard the training was incredibly hard for them.

00:15:53.520 --> 00:15:58.680
Kim Masters: Anyway, I find that incredible to because my father had many skills, but he was not exactly handy around.

00:15:59.940 --> 00:16:01.290
Kim Masters: me do that yeah.

00:16:01.560 --> 00:16:02.850
Kim Masters: What happened at that scale.

00:16:02.910 --> 00:16:06.390
Kim Masters: Because he couldn't it left him after the war let's.

00:16:06.390 --> 00:16:06.600

00:16:07.860 --> 00:16:14.490
Kim Masters: yeah I like I want to go back to some of the amazing drama, I mean one thing I learned from your book actually was that.

00:16:15.090 --> 00:16:36.300
Kim Masters: The how few made the cut there were hundreds and they were told to come to I think a hotel in London and they weren't told why they were told to come to this hotel and they came because they were so passionate about wanting to do more, but there's that moment, where they ask.

00:16:37.500 --> 00:16:39.840
Kim Masters: A person who had been hunts first.

00:16:39.990 --> 00:16:44.400
Kim Masters: You just described that that moment, where they they did what they say to him.

00:16:45.300 --> 00:16:47.460
Leah Garrett: So they is it with the Montgomery.

00:16:47.520 --> 00:16:49.920
Kim Masters: When he said he know he's in the room.

00:16:50.160 --> 00:16:56.100
Kim Masters: All right, he's being he's coming in, he doesn't know why he's there and his whole identity is about.

00:16:56.130 --> 00:17:03.960
Leah Garrett: Oh yeah so yeah oh God so part of the great joy of writing this book was getting to know these families and then not only getting to know these families but.

00:17:04.320 --> 00:17:13.230
Leah Garrett: being given access to all these diaries that their dads Captain memoir so one of the greatest figures I write about is Tony first.

00:17:13.530 --> 00:17:18.840
Leah Garrett: who wrote this hilarious private memoir that he shared with his daughter, and she shared it with me very privately.

00:17:19.170 --> 00:17:25.380
Leah Garrett: And every everything he says it's funny I mean like he talked about the dinara when when they're sent on the trains.

00:17:25.560 --> 00:17:34.170
Leah Garrett: To the outback and he said, well, they would have thrown all of our suitcases out the window, but they already done that, on the ship like everything's ton of tongue in cheek but he says, at this point that.

00:17:35.070 --> 00:17:41.430
Leah Garrett: For him he's interviewed and then afterwards, when he leaves his head just starts to spin and he says the.

00:17:41.790 --> 00:17:52.290
Leah Garrett: Basically, the shock of being men who aren't trusted enough to carry anything more than a shovel in the pioneer core now being told that they're being given guns to fight the Nazis.

00:17:52.590 --> 00:18:06.750
Leah Garrett: It was head head turning because in the pioneer core they were allowed to do nothing, and they were there, like a year, two years and now suddenly they're being told that they're going to be in the most advanced top Echelon commando unit.

00:18:07.560 --> 00:18:14.010
Leah Garrett: And to a man, they were so delighted and thrilled to have this opportunity yeah.

00:18:14.040 --> 00:18:32.070
Kim Masters: I love this moment I think it's been a beloved skipper he was to become blevins I think that was who was asking questions in this room, he says to the Hans First, what is your name and he says, my name is Hans for us and skipper says there is no Hans First, I think, because what you're.

00:18:32.580 --> 00:18:35.070
Leah Garrett: Right yeah from now on, you will be.

00:18:36.270 --> 00:18:36.720
Leah Garrett: you'll be.

00:18:37.200 --> 00:18:37.500
Kim Masters: telling me.

00:18:38.400 --> 00:18:45.090
Leah Garrett: He was an actor, so that was his staging was easy and he said, but don't and it later point he says, with someone else but don't all call yourself someone gone Murray.

00:18:45.390 --> 00:18:54.270
Leah Garrett: So some of them, it took a phone book like monfort gangs, he became Fred and then they took a phone book and hit Gray, you know and that's what happened and others just.

00:18:54.600 --> 00:19:08.700
Leah Garrett: arbitrarily just came up with names that sounded British to them there's one for fans who i'm sure we'll come back to you should say it's incredible, but we have a bunch of commando kids watching today, including monfort daughter of Eva is here as well.

00:19:09.030 --> 00:19:26.460
Kim Masters: Yes, hello to all the all of them, and everybody, but yes Manfred guns, who I was my father would call Freddie Gray, and then he came on and very close friend of our family as you write for many years, somebody I was the i'd say the commando I was most fond of after my dad.

00:19:28.440 --> 00:19:43.470
Kim Masters: So they they are then involved in the in the training and and you know i'll note my my name is masters, because my father chose Peter masters after someone else stole his first choice in line is RNA he was behind abramowitz.

00:19:44.310 --> 00:19:50.790
Kim Masters: abramowitz said, what are you going to choose, he said i'm going to be arlen and then abramowitz went in the room, and as you right.

00:19:51.570 --> 00:19:56.640
Leah Garrett: I know I remember your dad saying abramowitz had been a professional Boxer.

00:19:57.090 --> 00:19:59.130
Leah Garrett: And that was like okay that's fine.

00:19:59.340 --> 00:20:00.360
Kim Masters: It was like that's okay.

00:20:01.410 --> 00:20:02.760
Kim Masters: My name okay nevermind.

00:20:04.080 --> 00:20:16.080
Kim Masters: enjoy my name, so that they then, as you mentioned, they are sent to well look, I just want to pause again and say note that out of I think you mentioned, there were 350 interviewed for this.

00:20:16.320 --> 00:20:19.140
Kim Masters: yeah 87 accepted.

00:20:19.410 --> 00:20:30.090
Kim Masters: yeah I have to say I did not know that my dad was, I mean I knew it was elite commandos I didn't understand that at seven out of 350 made that cut.

00:20:30.240 --> 00:20:36.120
Leah Garrett: yeah and they had to what they were looking for like I said before, was extraordinary and completely unusual.

00:20:36.450 --> 00:20:41.910
Leah Garrett: This was not something that existed before commando counterintelligence folks so they had to find.

00:20:42.240 --> 00:20:47.370
Leah Garrett: Both incredible brilliance and, like in the book, I talked about how before your dad's interviewed.

00:20:47.640 --> 00:20:56.760
Leah Garrett: He starts training and starts running and started jogging so that he can have physical fitness because they know these guys sort of have an instinct that something serious is going to happen to them.

00:20:57.150 --> 00:21:09.240
Leah Garrett: And like mom for ganz who you are friends with who's a big focus of the book he was winning all the pioneer core running competition same with Paul stream, so these guys were standouts in the pioneer core.

00:21:09.510 --> 00:21:15.930
Leah Garrett: Both for physical deafness and for intelligence so yeah and then amongst them the best of the best were the ones that were chosen.

00:21:17.040 --> 00:21:21.810
Kim Masters: yeah the, the situation in Wales is.

00:21:23.070 --> 00:21:31.950
Kim Masters: You know I I made was thinking about doing this later, but maybe I will talk about it now they ultimately did put up a plaque to these men.

00:21:32.610 --> 00:21:37.830
Kim Masters: and write in the book and I found this hugely annoying not because of the book.

00:21:38.340 --> 00:21:51.690
Kim Masters: That they there was a lot of back and forth about acknowledging that most of these men were Jews, and that is not if you go to Abu Dhabi Wales where this trait very rigorous training happened there is a plaque and it doesn't mention that at all.

00:21:52.320 --> 00:21:59.250
Leah Garrett: yeah that's a that's that's a difficult story here because look like I said all but maybe two or three of them were Jewish right.

00:21:59.730 --> 00:22:06.330
Leah Garrett: However, after the war ends the vast majority keep their names mom for guns, is one of the only ones who switches back.

00:22:06.930 --> 00:22:15.270
Leah Garrett: And just the vast majority keep their personas they many of them never tell their kids that they have a Jewish roots or that their parents were Jewish.

00:22:15.570 --> 00:22:20.520
Leah Garrett: it's not something they want to go into which I understand I think the trauma that was associated was probably.

00:22:20.970 --> 00:22:34.320
Leah Garrett: So intense with the original name so after the war, many of them, particularly in the UK, not as much in the United States go on to live lives of very assimilated British Church of England type folks.

00:22:34.770 --> 00:22:42.570
Leah Garrett: And so i'm a few decades ago, when one of them, who I don't really write about in the book decides to start raising money for memorial.

00:22:42.930 --> 00:22:52.980
Leah Garrett: For the troop I have all these letter like there was thousands of letters amongst these commandos, there was a real fight amongst them about whether or not to use the word Jewish.

00:22:53.340 --> 00:23:04.920
Leah Garrett: and on one side battling to put the word in Jewish was Peter masters and mom for gans and Marin Roth child who was married to one of the commandos will probably talk about later called George lane.

00:23:05.910 --> 00:23:17.850
Leah Garrett: On the other side, though, a majority of those who the guy pulled at that point said we don't we don't we don't want to put it there and I read all the letters about the reasons for it, and it was it was real.

00:23:18.690 --> 00:23:26.760
Leah Garrett: difficult to read things like well do we really want to know the well we do we really want the Welsh people know that we're actually Jewish which implied something.

00:23:27.150 --> 00:23:34.890
Leah Garrett: Bad or we you know, we were all fighting the same fight, and it was a real toxic battle amongst them.

00:23:35.130 --> 00:23:41.910
Leah Garrett: And, in the end, as much as your dad and then for against nearing roster all desperately fought against it, the word was not included.

00:23:42.180 --> 00:23:47.850
Leah Garrett: However, over the last decade or so there's been a historian and the UK called Martin sugarman.

00:23:48.150 --> 00:23:57.840
Leah Garrett: who's been fighting with the Council and aberdyfi I mean, I have an email from them about from three months ago and they're still not budging on it and the the the.

00:23:58.110 --> 00:24:06.090
Leah Garrett: brochure that is written about them immoral doesn't mention the jewishness of the the true but I actually think that's kind of part of the story to.

00:24:06.420 --> 00:24:15.570
Leah Garrett: Was the sense of insecurity that many of the British Jews in particular felt about sort of confronting these background I did an interview.

00:24:15.960 --> 00:24:25.170
Leah Garrett: With the son of Jeff rodman who's on the cover of the book and here's the book that just came out but he's on the cover holding a Tommy gun.

00:24:25.530 --> 00:24:33.390
Leah Garrett: And when I interviewed him, I asked him about the memorial and he said something I thought was just so smart, he said, you know if you'd asked my dad at the time, if you wanted.

00:24:33.780 --> 00:24:48.660
Leah Garrett: It to have the word Jewish on it, he would have said no, because we're just like any other unit, but the prominence that history tells us the truth here, and this was in fact a Jewish unit, so the children of the men probably would have agitated to have that word there does that make sense.

00:24:49.590 --> 00:25:01.440
Kim Masters: I mean i'm aware from other command and other extra relatives say that there are such feelings, you know my dad was not a particularly religious youth in Vienna and.

00:25:01.920 --> 00:25:11.940
Kim Masters: But he knew he was to have some some kind of bar mitzvah I might not stand up to scrutiny, but he did i'm sure he did his grandfather was quite religious but it's sort of.

00:25:12.420 --> 00:25:19.710
Kim Masters: And then, when he when he came to him after the war, you know he didn't he didn't think he wasn't Jewish he did he didn't.

00:25:20.190 --> 00:25:29.070
Kim Masters: In the early years we were asked as kids not to broadcast that they were scared I mean they were they were trying to fit in but as he.

00:25:29.580 --> 00:25:33.750
Kim Masters: With time and he became, obviously, as you know, passionate about the.

00:25:34.170 --> 00:25:47.820
Kim Masters: heat his his whole thing was this narrative that Jews were led like lambs to the slaughter he wanted the counter counter narrative of these enormously, I mean when you read the book, you will see how enormously courageous and.

00:25:48.300 --> 00:25:56.370
Kim Masters: breathtakingly courageous these men were on a more shallow note, I will say some of these men were so handsome.

00:25:57.660 --> 00:25:59.460
Leah Garrett: yeah my dad.

00:25:59.850 --> 00:26:06.780
Kim Masters: That I almost wonder whether the skipper was looking at them and thinking you know we want guys who look good.

00:26:06.930 --> 00:26:07.860
Leah Garrett: Oh right.

00:26:07.890 --> 00:26:10.650
Kim Masters: yeah just wondered that I don't know if you had a thought like that.

00:26:11.070 --> 00:26:14.760
Leah Garrett: Can we put up the picture of the great column Ensign first, second and.

00:26:15.420 --> 00:26:17.130
Leah Garrett: Oh, my God, I was thinking George lane.

00:26:18.240 --> 00:26:18.450
Kim Masters: But.

00:26:18.570 --> 00:26:21.540
Leah Garrett: Mostly to go on, if you go back to.

00:26:22.230 --> 00:26:24.120
Kim Masters: Work I mean i'm sorry.

00:26:25.140 --> 00:26:26.670
Leah Garrett: All the Hungarian hunk.

00:26:27.000 --> 00:26:27.330

00:26:28.410 --> 00:26:33.930
Leah Garrett: yeah and I never thought about that, but i'm to a man, they were they were yeah I mean I don't know.

00:26:34.620 --> 00:26:47.970
Leah Garrett: But the thing is that, like when you read the book The heroism of them is unbelievable and the sense that they all had that they were fighting a cause that was much bigger than themselves like I tell the story of your dad when he sent.

00:26:48.900 --> 00:26:57.030
Leah Garrett: And there's an article today in the military times about it, everybody if you want to read about this specific incident when her dad Peter masters is sent.

00:26:57.570 --> 00:27:08.100
Leah Garrett: Just just after landing just after Normandy landings to go back to do advanced work to find a German machine gun nests and he says to himself, he wrote about this in his autobiography.

00:27:08.580 --> 00:27:18.240
Leah Garrett: You know they're probably gonna kill me but it's worth it, if it means we can breathe out the Germans, I mean they all were completely focused on the fact that the clock was ticking.

00:27:18.960 --> 00:27:28.410
Leah Garrett: Anyone who is still over there and the bad place had to be rescued, and they had to do it now, and even if it meant that they would sacrifice their lives, it was all part of a much bigger mission.

00:27:29.730 --> 00:27:36.300
Kim Masters: Yes, I remember I can't remember if it's off the top, this is Fred or in Paris or one of them was.

00:27:37.080 --> 00:27:48.480
Kim Masters: persecuted as a schoolboy in Germany right and has this thought in battle, I wonder if any of the people shooting back at me over my old schoolmates and you can kind of say what how that went.

00:27:49.950 --> 00:27:51.030
Leah Garrett: On for guns and.

00:27:51.240 --> 00:27:52.800
Leah Garrett: hair and hair in Harris.

00:27:54.060 --> 00:28:00.420
Leah Garrett: Had the same thought in Harris His story was was nuts, though, because in Harris, you know he's this Jewish kid.

00:28:00.780 --> 00:28:11.280
Leah Garrett: he's sent to this boarding school, which ends up being, as he said, later, in an interview a hotbed of National Socialism where they're literally training Nazi youth everyone's not to use in the school.

00:28:11.610 --> 00:28:20.880
Leah Garrett: And they're beating the crap out of the Jewish kids and part of what gets output, though, is a deep education in German military on on how Nazis March and what they say.

00:28:21.180 --> 00:28:25.410
Leah Garrett: And so, when the tables are turned and he's in battle after the landing at Normandy.

00:28:25.710 --> 00:28:34.950
Leah Garrett: He takes he remembers all have this training by his enemy and is now using it against them same thing with monfort john's mom for god's also had been treated.

00:28:35.340 --> 00:28:42.180
Leah Garrett: horribly in work in Germany, as had his family who were Orthodox Jewish and when you get when he lands to.

00:28:42.780 --> 00:28:57.750
Leah Garrett: there's a point in which both him and Peter masters when they're having to be in charge of like hundreds of German capture prisoners both of them rely on the German that they knew a schoolboys to keep them in they've captured in line it's crazy so like.

00:28:58.830 --> 00:29:12.090
Leah Garrett: it's ironic to that hitler's and the Germans passion to destroy these people actually was going to inspire them so much that they would be the ones who would destroy the Nazis who were trying to get them.

00:29:12.900 --> 00:29:18.600
Kim Masters: Yes, and I think it was in Harris who said, I wonder if i'm shooting at my schoolmates and then thought I hope so.

00:29:18.750 --> 00:29:19.050

00:29:20.550 --> 00:29:31.920
Leah Garrett: So not and later after the later after the war, when mom for guns goes back to he's actually sent back to Bork Bork in Germany, after the war, to be parts part of the day notification efforts.

00:29:32.340 --> 00:29:42.030
Leah Garrett: And he can he's immediately notice and Bork and who are the Nazis and who aren't the Nazis and these people who have been horrific to them he's the guy who can tell.

00:29:42.540 --> 00:29:55.620
Leah Garrett: The allies look this biology teacher like he'd beat the crap out of the Jews or whatever it was or he could say this German person hit some people, so they it was it was so close everything was so close and so personal as well.

00:29:56.700 --> 00:30:02.430
Kim Masters: So let's go to set this particular story that I thought was so interesting it's there in the earlier.

00:30:03.540 --> 00:30:15.120
Kim Masters: I think phase of extra activity, they are a unit is sent at maybe i'm wrong about the chronology you can correct me but George lane has a counter with well tell the story.

00:30:16.800 --> 00:30:18.360
Leah Garrett: so sure thought.

00:30:18.390 --> 00:30:26.700
Leah Garrett: Earlier, the Hungarian honk honk is sent in the weeks before D day because he's a real standout and he's also had been on the.

00:30:27.540 --> 00:30:38.610
Leah Garrett: alternate Olympic water polo team so he's really good with water, and he sent on in order to go and land at Normandy, and to try and figure out the type of minds that the Germans are using because there's a.

00:30:38.880 --> 00:30:50.160
Leah Garrett: there's a rumor out there that they're using a new kind of mine that's so destructive that the Allies cannot land on D day, so he is sent there to literally CAP swim over there capture mine and bring it back.

00:30:50.640 --> 00:30:58.380
Leah Garrett: He does two missions to capture mine he comes back both times and says look, these are just standard, mind you guys can do the invasion.

00:30:58.800 --> 00:31:04.170
Leah Garrett: They don't quite believe it so they send them a third time, the third time, he is captured.

00:31:04.530 --> 00:31:13.920
Leah Garrett: And he is he's captured with another command or not a not an ex trooper who sent with him and they're they're blindfolded and they're sent to the Chateau.

00:31:14.220 --> 00:31:22.050
Leah Garrett: And one of the guys comes in and system you better clean up you're going to meet somebody really important and so he's you know he's nervous he doesn't know what's going to happen.

00:31:22.440 --> 00:31:29.100
Leah Garrett: Is this SS what is this he sent in a room and he sent to have tea with field Marshal Rommel.

00:31:29.460 --> 00:31:36.000
Leah Garrett: who wrote, by the way, of all of the historical proof of this stuff because it sounds so insane but Rama wrote a letter like it's all true.

00:31:36.570 --> 00:31:45.330
Leah Garrett: And he has this like gentle conversation with Rommel about the war, and you know lane mentions the treatment of the Jews and he's pretending to be a Welshman.

00:31:45.720 --> 00:31:51.270
Kim Masters: A child will note you, as you say, in the book he's not supposed to do anything but kind of name rank serial number.

00:31:51.360 --> 00:31:52.530
Kim Masters: yeah right it's just.

00:31:52.740 --> 00:31:53.190
Kim Masters: A moment.

00:31:53.550 --> 00:32:00.840
Leah Garrett: You have to have this conversation with Rama because it cannot contain himself, but he's so charming and so exquisitely beautiful.

00:32:01.440 --> 00:32:09.390
Leah Garrett: That, after the conversation instead of sending him and the other commando because you remember, they don't realize their commanders are well they don't admit to being commandos.

00:32:10.230 --> 00:32:20.220
Leah Garrett: Instead of sending them for execution because Hitler had done a commando addict in which you execute all commandos he writes a letter and he gets them just sent to a standard prisoner of war camp.

00:32:20.730 --> 00:32:26.490
Leah Garrett: And he gets to the camp and he walks through the door, and you know he can hide it with the Germans that he's.

00:32:26.850 --> 00:32:35.220
Leah Garrett: That he's not really well, but with the Brits there they immediately think this guy has a stooge and she pulls one of them aside and that tells them the real story of who he is.

00:32:35.550 --> 00:32:41.010
Leah Garrett: And he says something crazy, as I looked at in my blindfold when they were taking me to be Rommel night, I think I might know.

00:32:41.340 --> 00:32:50.400
Leah Garrett: we're almost headquarters are because the Britain no idea where the headquarters were and he describes this strange Castle with this mode and all this stuff.

00:32:50.700 --> 00:33:02.190
Leah Garrett: And when the guys who send their says oh my God there's a book in our library, because this pow camp at a library, I know that count, that castles he runs me get the book he shows it to George line George line says.

00:33:02.550 --> 00:33:09.240
Leah Garrett: that's the place that's where Rommel is, and then they use a wire this radio to get the news out to London and like.

00:33:10.440 --> 00:33:16.980
Leah Garrett: A couple months later Ramos car is bombed, as he leaves and he's out of the war, so there you go.

00:33:17.610 --> 00:33:19.080
Leah Garrett: And that's every chapter of the book.

00:33:19.170 --> 00:33:25.770
Leah Garrett: audiences like this crazy stuff the stuff these guys did crazy heroic stuff and important stuff too.

00:33:26.580 --> 00:33:33.360
Kim Masters: yeah I mean I think they had a lot to do with figuring out the plan of attack on Normandy.

00:33:34.860 --> 00:33:53.820
Leah Garrett: yeah yeah exactly and they let all the tax, I mean man for guns lead attacks when he landed at sword beach half of his unit was wiped out and he and i'll talk about the bicycle trip to in a second, but when mom for guns lens of sword beach he everyone else has been slaughtered and he.

00:33:54.900 --> 00:34:04.050
Leah Garrett: Is such a Superman that he immediately captures 25 Germans and shit says to them in German show me the way off the beach throat show me through the minefield.

00:34:04.350 --> 00:34:13.710
Leah Garrett: And so, he gets all the rest of survivors from his commander unit to safety, just to add, which I haven't said before the war office quickly realizes these guys are extraordinary.

00:34:14.070 --> 00:34:19.710
Leah Garrett: And extra is never allowed to fight as its own unit they're all put in twos and threes with other units.

00:34:20.010 --> 00:34:32.070
Leah Garrett: Because they don't want to lose the whole troop if a bomb lands and that's it so none of them ever fight as the extreme they all fight with other units, which makes the story even more complicated and important, I think.

00:34:33.210 --> 00:34:39.780
Leah Garrett: And like your dad that picture of the bicycle troop her dad Peter masters and a couple of other extra burst.

00:34:40.290 --> 00:34:45.600
Leah Garrett: lands at sword beach on bicycles, the most awkward and uncomfortable thing in the world.

00:34:45.870 --> 00:34:58.350
Leah Garrett: But that idea and and I have to say that, unlike the other command is in the group he's with he sent to ride a bicycle the basically the day of the landing doesn't get any training whatsoever, which was really cruel and.

00:34:58.830 --> 00:34:59.850
Kim Masters: mean specifically with the.

00:34:59.850 --> 00:35:00.240
Leah Garrett: bicycle.

00:35:00.510 --> 00:35:01.920
Kim Masters: The rest of them i've been trying to lamps.

00:35:02.970 --> 00:35:11.190
Leah Garrett: Like and they're happy and they're weird and like, how do you carry your gun and he's like here's your bike do it and her dad with the bicycle true.

00:35:11.910 --> 00:35:22.800
Leah Garrett: The ideas that they can rush across the field, and you know make their way and they're the first ones to get across Pegasus bridge which is like a crucial crucial ally position.

00:35:23.070 --> 00:35:33.360
Leah Garrett: And there was this you know the wrong story of history was that Lord love it on longest day that their first but I saw letters between Lord love it and your dad Peter masters discussing this.

00:35:33.660 --> 00:35:44.670
Leah Garrett: And it was the bicycle trip who got there first to let them know the Dallas are coming so they were just oh my God, they were like at the forefront of everything capturing all these crucial positions.

00:35:45.030 --> 00:35:57.030
Kim Masters: yeah I would say the skipper I think probably was the biggest hero of every X trooper but Lord love it in terms of at least my dad that he was the inspiration to go forward, no matter what I mean not just.

00:35:57.390 --> 00:36:05.490
Kim Masters: Obviously the backstory as well, but the he seemed to be another Superman and and truly inspiring leader for these guys.

00:36:05.820 --> 00:36:12.120
Leah Garrett: And just to add to this for the audience it's Kim masters dad with another extra Bruce save.

00:36:12.660 --> 00:36:25.260
Leah Garrett: Who they save Lord love its life when he hit by shrapnel and near death and they care into safety so lauren loving this great figure from World War Two is saved by Peter masters and one of the other strippers So there you go.

00:36:25.590 --> 00:36:38.310
Kim Masters: Yes, very brave guys, so they as they go inward You know, as you mentioned, they were detailed in twos and threes or whatever it's these other and so they're the new guys every time.

00:36:38.430 --> 00:36:44.670
Kim Masters: Trojan horse there's skepticism about whether they can do anything, not long live, but it happens.

00:36:44.790 --> 00:36:52.530
Leah Garrett: yeah and also there's also the realization that like they they they got an extraordinary amount of promotions, but they should have gotten even more.

00:36:52.770 --> 00:37:02.760
Leah Garrett: But like Kim just said, every time they were the new guys and they had to prove themselves over and over again, some of them got lucky like mom for ganz who stayed with the commando unit, all the way through the war.

00:37:02.970 --> 00:37:12.060
Leah Garrett: But others like your dad were constantly moved around because they were seeing is so important to get someone like this in a different unit, as the war take takes place yep.

00:37:12.420 --> 00:37:22.530
Kim Masters: Of course my dad tells the story of when he's basically sent forward to draw fire, because he wasn't one of those guys and they can realize.

00:37:23.340 --> 00:37:24.840
Leah Garrett: us but go ahead.

00:37:25.350 --> 00:37:32.820
Leah Garrett: yeah he says, in that I they sending them the guy with the funny accent forward that's one of my favorite parts of the whole book.

00:37:33.210 --> 00:37:41.820
Leah Garrett: And so, he, this is the point at which he says to himself, you know they're going to kill me but it's going to be worth it, because whatever it takes to beat the Nazis, he goes forward.

00:37:42.210 --> 00:37:50.760
Leah Garrett: To draw the machine kind of fire and then he remembers the scene from gunga din the movie is it remember the actors right now.

00:37:51.000 --> 00:37:52.620
Kim Masters: But we're yells our grant sharing.

00:37:53.700 --> 00:37:54.150
Leah Garrett: out.

00:37:54.330 --> 00:38:04.830
Leah Garrett: To the locals you know come out come out just to avoid a shock them so Peter masters starts yelling and German come out come out, we have you surrounded it shocks them so much that instead of them.

00:38:05.100 --> 00:38:20.760
Leah Garrett: Shooting him directly it gives the guys behind him with his unit time to just advance, and then they end up wiping out the machine goodness, and he was right, I mean he really was ready to sacrifice sacrifice himself, because these guys were evil and had to be stopped at all costs.

00:38:20.970 --> 00:38:29.070
Kim Masters: And they often more than once use German and their native link as a native speaker, not an accented German took to kind of stone or bluff.

00:38:29.310 --> 00:38:30.750
Kim Masters: yeah at enemy.

00:38:31.110 --> 00:38:41.910
Leah Garrett: yeah like one of them over the right Ryan crossing with Harry drew was sent across in a boat to go capture and bring bring back some Germans right before the crossing of the Ryan.

00:38:42.180 --> 00:38:54.690
Leah Garrett: And it goes over on a little paddle boat and he finds to Germans, Nice and he decides i'm going to stun them and and then start speaking German and saying them German come out come out, we have to go do something and the Germans come out and then he captures them and they.

00:38:55.950 --> 00:39:04.020
Leah Garrett: Well, of course, the other Germans are firing machine guns at them and your dad to play this crucial role in the Ryan crossing because.

00:39:04.380 --> 00:39:13.980
Leah Garrett: He and Ian Harris who was another superhero of the group they capture to German engineers, right after the Ryan crossing This is like a really crucial time.

00:39:14.490 --> 00:39:22.680
Leah Garrett: and your dad her dad has had such a visual memory, because I, I put in the book his diaries which are extraordinary and his paintings.

00:39:22.980 --> 00:39:26.910
Leah Garrett: And he remembered at the we had such a deep knowledge of German military stuff.

00:39:27.270 --> 00:39:34.290
Leah Garrett: And the guys he's interviewing in German mentioned some little unit he knows who they are so he starts saying to them in German.

00:39:34.500 --> 00:39:42.600
Leah Garrett: What you're part of that unit and they're like, how do you know i'm part of that unit and it gets them to give up this crucial information, where all the Germans have amassed.

00:39:42.900 --> 00:39:55.440
Leah Garrett: And while he he gives that that information over and within minutes you can hear the allied airplanes flying over and hear the bombs dropping and they wipe out the Germans, and then the Rhine crossing continues after that.

00:39:56.430 --> 00:39:56.910
Leah Garrett: After that.

00:39:57.180 --> 00:40:05.130
Leah Garrett: All the way, though he didn't want to go away, but he's pulled away and sort of forced to do officer training stuff and none of them wanted to do officer training stuff they all wanted to stay there.

00:40:05.310 --> 00:40:10.200
Kim Masters: stay on yes when i'm reading meet a month for dance i've been saving money for it a little bit.

00:40:10.890 --> 00:40:17.640
Kim Masters: Of this amazing athletic passionate very orthodox much more so my dad was not in the universe of that.

00:40:17.910 --> 00:40:34.590
Kim Masters: And for him, the cost of this identity shift means no you can't pray on Yom Kippur war you can't be seen to have any connection, but he has an amazing story of heroism throughout and I, and one of the most incredible World War Two stories i've ever heard.

00:40:35.220 --> 00:40:43.710
Leah Garrett: yeah I mean I just today, I spent the whole day writing a full article in the story for one of the British newspapers should come out tomorrow because it's such as it's so important.

00:40:44.100 --> 00:40:55.950
Leah Garrett: So mom for guns is orthodox loving Jewish family from born in Germany, his family figures out to get him out and his brothers out he goes by himself as a teenager to England.

00:40:56.340 --> 00:41:07.380
Leah Garrett: he's entered as they're all entered goes into pioneer course they're all going to pioneer part goes to command a training, but he spotted is really brilliant, as well as physically a depth, so he sent to Cambridge for advanced.

00:41:07.950 --> 00:41:14.160
Leah Garrett: Intelligence training so he's top of the crop and so data, he lands and he.

00:41:14.970 --> 00:41:23.790
Leah Garrett: pee in the sky Maurice latimer who's a survivor from def they capture this really crucial radar position capture French villages like he's just.

00:41:24.330 --> 00:41:27.660
Leah Garrett: An all of this stuff is verified through the war died yeah that's when their.

00:41:28.140 --> 00:41:43.080
Leah Garrett: ball Karen later together that that's Marie slaughter America they capture this this island that's going to be really important to get a ported and tour, so that they can move the supplies forward with the Allies so he's just at the front of everything.

00:41:43.650 --> 00:41:46.080
Leah Garrett: he's injured he'll go back, whatever it takes.

00:41:47.250 --> 00:41:55.260
Leah Garrett: A while this is happening, he first gets a letter that his parents who have been in hiding in the Netherlands have been captured they've been turned into the.

00:41:55.770 --> 00:42:08.640
Leah Garrett: Nazis, so he gets a first letter saying that his parents are in Bergen belsen I mean know the worst of the worst right, so he starts writing these letters to his girlfriend who will later become his wife that.

00:42:09.180 --> 00:42:12.750
Leah Garrett: Whatever it takes he's going to have to he has to get his parents.

00:42:13.680 --> 00:42:22.860
Leah Garrett: The war proceeds and he knows all along he's fighting a personal war two because he needs to get to his parents before the Nazis kill them and now they're in a concentration camp.

00:42:23.460 --> 00:42:34.470
Leah Garrett: When the last bit of the war he gets another letter from the Red Red Cross that goes through different family members that they've been moved to tears and stop concentration camp in terrorism chuckles Slovakia.

00:42:34.950 --> 00:42:52.350
Leah Garrett: Another horrific place and the day before the war ends and he's writing to Anita his girlfriend I just I have to, I have to get them out, and he goes to his commanding officer, who I think recognizes this guy's a Superman he's already had an incredibly rare.

00:42:54.660 --> 00:42:56.910
Leah Garrett: commendation battlefield commendation so.

00:42:56.940 --> 00:42:58.050
Kim Masters: promotion on the failure but.

00:42:58.050 --> 00:42:59.220
Kim Masters: You know.

00:42:59.250 --> 00:43:05.310
Leah Garrett: almost never happens because he said he wouldn't go to officer training school he's like i'm saying okay didn't they give him because of wall Karen.

00:43:05.790 --> 00:43:14.310
Leah Garrett: And he says, can you give me a jeep and a driver i'm going to go rescue my parents and the guys like well it's meant for again okay let's see what happens here so.

00:43:14.850 --> 00:43:21.660
Leah Garrett: it's the most extraordinary thing I ever read about World War Two and he wrote a dire of it that's at the Holocaust Museum.

00:43:22.170 --> 00:43:37.470
Leah Garrett: And he takes this jeep and his driver they they and the war is not over yet, and they drive through Germany in the last day of the war and it's her it's apocalyptic chaotic refugee he's really angry Germans Russians.

00:43:37.920 --> 00:43:48.720
Leah Garrett: Advancing gets through all of these checkpoints makes his way to the Russian side because the Russian side are now in charge of Czechoslovakia, nobody could believe that there's an allied soldier on the Russian side.

00:43:49.860 --> 00:43:57.840
Leah Garrett: As they're driving there the war ends, he gets there, the day after the war ends, he gets to the concentration camp and there's Russian soldiers at the front of the.

00:43:58.440 --> 00:44:06.510
Leah Garrett: Any and they said, like what the hell, are you doing here like a British commando nobody's here on this side and he said i've come to rescue my parents.

00:44:06.990 --> 00:44:17.970
Leah Garrett: And so they open the doors and he walks in and it's a complete utter health scape typhoid, has now hit the camp dead and dying Jews are everywhere.

00:44:18.330 --> 00:44:28.890
Leah Garrett: And he goes, of course, there's a central office, because the Nazis are sick and they keep track of everything, and he there's a woman there, who I think was probably Jewish and.

00:44:29.550 --> 00:44:37.680
Leah Garrett: She speaks English so he's still keeps the British thing going and then he says, can you find my parents elson more it's gone.

00:44:38.160 --> 00:44:43.530
Leah Garrett: And she looks into a role book and she burst into tears, and she says.

00:44:44.340 --> 00:44:53.880
Leah Garrett: they're here, and he said, well, can you take me to them, and so they get in the car they go to this thing called the Dutch colony because that's where they were captured in the Netherlands.

00:44:54.630 --> 00:45:06.660
Leah Garrett: And she goes on ahead and Mormons warns them that he's outside so that they don't just faint away and he goes in and he described the reunion, which I did I cut and paste into my book, his words because they're so moving.

00:45:07.230 --> 00:45:13.650
Leah Garrett: And he's and he finds his mom and his dad and the news gets out in the camp that a Jew has survived and come back.

00:45:14.100 --> 00:45:24.660
Leah Garrett: And the streets are filled with Mazel tov and everyone's gathering up letters for the Red Cross, he said he got hundreds and hundreds of letters he spends a nice night with them the rushing.

00:45:24.660 --> 00:45:32.220
Kim Masters: To get assessed say that the letters are to lead so that they're looking for relatives and trying to let people know that they're they're alive and see if there.

00:45:32.490 --> 00:45:33.810
Leah Garrett: yeah exactly really.

00:45:33.900 --> 00:45:46.140
Leah Garrett: Crucial that people know that the and so he they say in the morning has to go because typhoid there he leaves them a bunch of supplies and again he he ride trust back through apocalyptic.

00:45:46.230 --> 00:45:47.640
Kim Masters: One side you're.

00:45:49.350 --> 00:45:55.770
Leah Garrett: Picking up people who are like really hungry like it's just and he gets back and he knows he has to go get.

00:45:56.100 --> 00:46:05.550
Leah Garrett: These guys rescued, so you immediately goes to Princess Juliana Netherlands and because it's mound for guns he gets a meeting with her immediately, God knows how.

00:46:05.940 --> 00:46:14.610
Leah Garrett: And she goes tourney says, you have to rescue that the whole Dutch colony, right now, and she does, and we have this photo if you can share it of his family.

00:46:15.570 --> 00:46:21.750
Leah Garrett: who live a long and beautiful life in Israel, after the war, so there you go and it's all true and it.

00:46:22.080 --> 00:46:30.120
Leah Garrett: And he did it and, as he was doing the notification work he noted that, when he went to different years communities they had heard of him, like the news.

00:46:30.480 --> 00:46:43.620
Leah Garrett: Oh, you were the British command who rescued your parents, so it was also a huge psychological boost that he was able to do this, but because he was such as Superman he knew that and, at the end, after all this that whole thing he said I wanted my own private war at that moment, so.

00:46:44.910 --> 00:46:53.130
Kim Masters: yeah so just to make it clear how things were you know you write that when he saw his father, he would not have recognized him, he was so emaciated and his father.

00:46:53.520 --> 00:46:59.490
Leah Garrett: yeah his parents were living on a shared slice of bread a day, the only way that they were able to survive.

00:47:00.030 --> 00:47:11.880
Leah Garrett: I mean more than 30,000 Jews died at this concentration camp where she was able to steal up potatoes occasionally from the kitchen, there was no chance, I mean it's and to be a little bit older it's absolutely.

00:47:11.880 --> 00:47:12.750
Kim Masters: extraordinary.

00:47:13.350 --> 00:47:17.310
Leah Garrett: And I think he probably got there in the nick of time, I really do because that's when typhoid was sitting.

00:47:18.600 --> 00:47:24.240
Kim Masters: When Fred was one of the very few to go back to being month for Dan constantly Freddie Gray behind.

00:47:26.160 --> 00:47:36.540
Kim Masters: What, what is your take on that that I, you know my I always felt that my dad was such a formative period of life, he became, as he said, themselves, you know transformed more than once, from.

00:47:37.320 --> 00:47:52.290
Kim Masters: Jewish boy to you know indiana to farmhand to a pioneer core to commando I just don't know that he could go back to Peter already but mumford I think probably because of the strength of his Orthodox Jewish identity did go back.

00:47:52.680 --> 00:47:57.990
Leah Garrett: yeah I think it was to the strength of his identity after the way he was conservative rather than orthodox but.

00:47:58.320 --> 00:48:03.720
Leah Garrett: I think the strength of his identity and he was a guy always focused on the prize and the prize was to.

00:48:04.020 --> 00:48:10.050
Leah Garrett: Get rid of the Nazis and once that job was done and a fully embraced the commando ethos, as he did it he knew that.

00:48:10.410 --> 00:48:20.520
Leah Garrett: This is all worth it, because it's a big mission, but he also knew I his his kids told me, it was never a doubt from for a second that he was going to go back to the month for gowns this was a temporary role.

00:48:20.820 --> 00:48:30.000
Leah Garrett: My feeling of it, though, is that, for the majority of them, as I said before, look, this is happening as they're becoming adults they're like you said their formative time.

00:48:30.240 --> 00:48:38.580
Leah Garrett: And this is who they actually did become, but I also think, though, that for, particularly the British Jews amongst the group those who didn't emigrate to America.

00:48:38.970 --> 00:48:43.710
Leah Garrett: I think there was probably some insecurity about if you could be British and Jewish.

00:48:44.430 --> 00:48:51.480
Leah Garrett: And I did find that those who switch their names back more likely when the United States than in the UK and also you know.

00:48:52.230 --> 00:48:58.260
Leah Garrett: The name of like the guy the person I interviewed the commander, who was still living when I interviewed who was on the airship.

00:48:58.890 --> 00:49:06.720
Leah Garrett: He kept a pseudonym his whole life, he never told anyone who's Jewish nor German and he didn't want anyone to know about and a half to use a pseudonym in the book.

00:49:07.260 --> 00:49:15.180
Leah Garrett: And when I was talking to him I got very clearly the sense was because the old name was associated with his parents being killed in the Holocaust and he did.

00:49:15.420 --> 00:49:24.180
Leah Garrett: He just did not want to go there with anybody ever again, so I think trauma was actually really central to a number of them as well.

00:49:25.050 --> 00:49:36.660
Kim Masters: Yes, I mean my dad talked about the war, a lot, he told it more PG version, for his children, I think you know if they were if he told him sort of.

00:49:37.410 --> 00:49:48.300
Kim Masters: You know heroic a little bit funny maybe in the in Harris, I think it was he was it 21st at the end here, I think, was Tony actually you know just a little bit of humor I mean that's a humor kept a lot of these guys going, as you know.

00:49:50.550 --> 00:50:02.850
Kim Masters: He you know he but I don't think Manfred I didn't hear mantra maybe his kids did I don't know, but some of them were in the vault more but they all seem to most of them seem to have some sort of memoir many of them.

00:50:03.210 --> 00:50:11.460
Leah Garrett: yeah mostly private your dad and mom were the only ones, I found to actually publish them everyone else kind of kept records privately, but did not want.

00:50:11.970 --> 00:50:25.650
Leah Garrett: them to necessarily go public and actually since we mentioned in Harris, can we show the picture of the inherits just because his son and grandkids are here today aria and I think there's a picture of in Harris after he captures and entire platoon of German.

00:50:25.680 --> 00:50:27.240
Kim Masters: All right, I was wondering if we have that.

00:50:27.270 --> 00:50:29.040
Leah Garrett: that's a grab that photo so that's the great.

00:50:29.040 --> 00:50:30.780
Kim Masters: An entire platoon mature.

00:50:32.100 --> 00:50:43.320
Leah Garrett: sitting there looking like Clark Gable on the left and he has just charged and talk and talk to German to the head of the platoon shared some cigarettes with him have a, of course, a.

00:50:44.160 --> 00:50:57.810
Leah Garrett: gun contest where they shot guns and, of course, was better at it and the guy gave up the entire platoon and then there were there were movie cameras there, so this was shown on on movies, as well that's a steal from a movie of him capturing them all, thank you.

00:50:58.770 --> 00:51:05.130
Kim Masters: Well, this met my father would have enjoyed this so much, he would have looked for any kind of opportunity to say no, it was this.

00:51:06.630 --> 00:51:08.370
Kim Masters: Very obsessed with every detail.

00:51:08.730 --> 00:51:15.780
Kim Masters: I mean even some of that fellow extra result after the word was you know years after the word would say Peter really, really has the detail.

00:51:17.580 --> 00:51:26.340
Leah Garrett: that's why I could write the book, though, honestly, because because he kept such detailed letters and he shared them with the engineer who's this military historian hood interviewed a bunch of the men.

00:51:26.760 --> 00:51:38.640
Leah Garrett: But because of those details and all those letters he wrote to India, which were often 2030 pages age, I was able to really dig through and make sure I was factual here, so thank God for that.

00:51:39.540 --> 00:51:48.570
Kim Masters: yeah i'm going to go to questions that we have from audience members that i'm him being handed some of the questions I apologize if we can't get to more.

00:51:49.350 --> 00:51:59.340
Kim Masters: From sandy what were the reasons that church will change this policy of foisting Jewish refugees off to the pioneer core to form extra the extra for commandos and counter-intelligence.

00:52:00.270 --> 00:52:10.620
Leah Garrett: um I think it's because they realized, particularly when they did the df invasion that they needed some German speakers and there's a good chance that the extra preserver sentence yep, which was a terrible.

00:52:11.070 --> 00:52:19.440
Leah Garrett: Terrible moment in the war huge loss for British and Canadian lives but were sent there specifically these German speakers to grab an enigma machine.

00:52:19.980 --> 00:52:25.200
Leah Garrett: decoding machine with the Germans and then after that the allied.

00:52:26.040 --> 00:52:34.350
Leah Garrett: heads realized that they needed a bunch of units of people who the Nazis had beaten like they had a Polish unit they had a French unit.

00:52:34.770 --> 00:52:44.760
Leah Garrett: And then it sort of dawned on them, while we need a German speaking unit as well, they didn't specifically want them to be Jewish it was sort of a side effect that the fact was.

00:52:45.240 --> 00:52:53.700
Leah Garrett: that the German speakers that one could trust tend to to all be Jewish so it was a real sort of practical outcome of dealing with 1942.

00:52:54.030 --> 00:53:03.390
Leah Garrett: And realizing they needed to do something more creative in order to start beating the Nazis, and that is incredible group of men there, so why not use them.

00:53:04.590 --> 00:53:08.580
Kim Masters: and asks how many of the 87 X trip commandos survives the war.

00:53:09.570 --> 00:53:23.160
Leah Garrett: More than half of them were either killed or captured or deeply wounded or disappeared without a trace, so it had a very, very high casualty rate extremely high casualty rate.

00:53:24.210 --> 00:53:30.060
Leah Garrett: which makes sense, though, because they were, I mean there's a quote in the book that Peter master said it's like my favorite quote of the book.

00:53:30.390 --> 00:53:42.990
Leah Garrett: where he said or other soldiers were drawing straws to see what you got to stay back back from them that most dangerous missions, the extra purse or drawing straws to see you got to do the most dangerous missions.

00:53:43.020 --> 00:53:54.060
Kim Masters: That to go yeah, this is a question for me from Susan she says Kim you're American where did your father go after the war, how many of the troop left Britain, I can only address my dad.

00:53:55.200 --> 00:54:06.660
Kim Masters: He he be he was ultimately he went to art school and became a Fulbright scholar and early Fulbright scholar first possibly coming from here and he's to settle here.

00:54:08.100 --> 00:54:16.800
Kim Masters: And and raise the family here and just you know we all are obviously, as you can tell American I think he.

00:54:18.330 --> 00:54:26.700
Kim Masters: You know, he he my mom was here, and she was also a horse she was on the kindertransport and lost her family so.

00:54:27.300 --> 00:54:40.290
Kim Masters: I grew up very much with the war hero, and the war orphan and we could not talk about my mother's family, because it was too bad of a story, I mean it wasn't stated, but it was implied don't don't ask and my father, on the other hand, talked.

00:54:41.490 --> 00:54:47.070
Kim Masters: told the hero story I don't know how many left Britain and no man friend was here in the States.

00:54:47.580 --> 00:54:55.020
Leah Garrett: The grand majority state and burn actually in raise their kids and grandkids they're a handful leave for the United States and a handful go to Canada.

00:54:55.350 --> 00:54:59.370
Leah Garrett: And a couple good Australia, as far as I could tell them is none of them go to Israel.

00:55:00.210 --> 00:55:09.360
Leah Garrett: And I think for the majority of them after the war, except for a couple of standouts they wanted a quiet good life to sort of achieve their potential so.

00:55:09.720 --> 00:55:19.110
Leah Garrett: You know, Peter masters becomes this great artists mom for guns becomes this groundbreaking chemist and but the thing is about all of them, and I just wrote an.

00:55:19.770 --> 00:55:37.800
Leah Garrett: Article for CNN about these men, particularly focused on Peter men for men for guns and Paul Stream is they always kept it fierce dedication towards writing the world and doing good social justice, and that was the true true for all of the ones who made their way to the United States.

00:55:39.360 --> 00:55:48.330
Kim Masters: Question from I think Nils I was saying that wrong forgive me did any of the extra members become involved in the hugging and the 48 or of Israeli independence.

00:55:48.540 --> 00:56:02.430
Leah Garrett: No, as far as I know, there was no translation, there was no as far as and I couldn't locate anybody who had anything to do with Israel, the rest, I mean some like mom for guns his brother his brother some parents emigrated to Israel to immigrate to the United States.

00:56:03.300 --> 00:56:08.700
Leah Garrett: I think that the majority of them just stayed in the UK or came to America or Canada.

00:56:09.780 --> 00:56:15.120
Leah Garrett: So I don't see any I don't have found no connection whatsoever with the formation of Israel on these guys.

00:56:16.410 --> 00:56:16.920
Kim Masters: uh.

00:56:18.450 --> 00:56:25.620
Kim Masters: Jim asked and I cover the business of Hollywood and I don't know the answer to this one is this story going to become a movie.

00:56:26.730 --> 00:56:39.510
Leah Garrett: Well let's hope that it's going to become a movie I mean i'm going to do a little pitch here, I do really hope all of you out there will buy the book and tell your friends to buy the book because right now I gotta say during these tough few weeks we've all been having.

00:56:40.530 --> 00:56:49.770
Leah Garrett: it's such an unusual and positive story of German Jewish soldiers, and this is like and it's such a deeply optimistic story, I think, as well.

00:56:50.670 --> 00:57:01.500
Leah Garrett: I do have a Hollywood agent, and we have bad interest from different people for documentaries and stuff but you know Kim masters wrote this incredible piece, a few years back, called.

00:57:01.980 --> 00:57:07.560
Leah Garrett: My dad was the real inglorious basterds and part of me also hopes that this story gets out.

00:57:07.890 --> 00:57:19.770
Leah Garrett: As a counterpoint against the idea of that movie and juices revenge warriors because these guys all followed the rules of war and were if there were any type of warriors they were ethical warriors as well.

00:57:20.520 --> 00:57:24.870
Kim Masters: yeah I will know, I wrote, I wrote my father, the inglorious basterds and the daily beast because.

00:57:26.130 --> 00:57:41.550
Kim Masters: The movie was offensive to a lot of the commandos, because you know quentin tarantino's fantasy of this Jewish soldier who beats people with a baseball BAT so not the ethic, and you stress this in the book, we are you know these guys.

00:57:42.210 --> 00:57:51.060
Kim Masters: there's one point where I think I think it was the inherent punched a German in the mouth and my with my dad and my dad was like what are you doing.

00:57:51.480 --> 00:58:03.540
Kim Masters: was like we don't do that and all the commandos, I talked to the for that article and i'll note that Harvey weinstein threatened to sue me for reading that article, he producer of the film and look where he is now.

00:58:06.630 --> 00:58:17.640
Kim Masters: Certain multiple ways and sometimes they were all just really, really offended by the implication that they were that kind of outlawed that quentin tarantino dreamed up.

00:58:18.600 --> 00:58:29.880
Kim Masters: Then we have a question from Alan can you talk about the equivalent US military unit, I know you did so much research for this book Leah and I don't know but maybe you can the richie boys what were the similarities and differences.

00:58:29.880 --> 00:58:39.750
Leah Garrett: yeah that's come up because 60 minutes did a piece on them six originally points were similar only the fact that they were German speaking speaking majority Jews.

00:58:40.050 --> 00:58:47.700
Leah Garrett: But they were completely different because the ritchie boys were counter intelligence officers right, so they were one half of the X troopers.

00:58:47.970 --> 00:58:52.350
Leah Garrett: The extra burst were this unique thing which was counter intelligence officers.

00:58:52.740 --> 00:59:01.740
Leah Garrett: And commando so not only are you doing interrogations you're capturing the guys you're fighting there at the forefront you're going behind enemy lines you're gathering Intel.

00:59:02.190 --> 00:59:17.310
Leah Garrett: So they were similar in terms of the government's using these refugees who had German, but they were completely different in terms of the type of work they fought in the way that they were used because X troopers are also there to fight and kill, not only to interrogate.

00:59:18.480 --> 00:59:20.730
Leah Garrett: And we're very effective at it as well.

00:59:21.930 --> 00:59:29.340
Kim Masters: Now I I as far as I know, we're we're we run out, but are you to let tell me if i'm wrong.

00:59:31.590 --> 00:59:35.520
Ari Goldstein: We are just about at the hour, so any closing thoughts from you, but.

00:59:37.230 --> 00:59:50.100
Kim Masters: i'm going to step in so Leah can have the final word here and just reiterate that you know how meaningful, this would be i'm sorry my dad isn't here to see it my mom is very old down but it's very I took her the.

00:59:50.970 --> 01:00:01.710
Kim Masters: cup a copy of the book and I I was reading it to prepare for this and I almost had to sadly pry it out of her hands, it was an early coffee early galley can copy.

01:00:02.310 --> 01:00:13.110
Kim Masters: And it's I know that my family isn't the only one in the world, obviously I think anybody listening to this feels that the world should it should know the story of the truth but Leah what i'll leave it with you.

01:00:13.740 --> 01:00:21.780
Leah Garrett: Thank you um I think sort of the final point i've gotten through the journey of writing this book is on the how fabulous all the families are but.

01:00:22.530 --> 01:00:29.670
Leah Garrett: This is what i'm going to read i'm reading this CNN or editorial how important refugees are how important it is that when these people come.

01:00:30.090 --> 01:00:37.920
Leah Garrett: They can come in and change our world for better these boys have the extra when they were boys, they were like 1617 years old.

01:00:38.370 --> 01:00:47.370
Leah Garrett: They were outcasts they were abused, nobody wanted them and because they were given like we're going to trust you and we're going to give you some power.

01:00:47.730 --> 01:00:56.640
Leah Garrett: They were crucial to the Allies winning the war, so when I I wrote this book during the last really for rough years that this country has been going through.

01:00:56.940 --> 01:01:12.900
Leah Garrett: And I was completely inspired by them as a counter active tell to all the hatred and all of that stuff that's going on, because these guys are the opposite they're making the world better and they're fighting for justice and they're doing it as refugees so.

01:01:13.170 --> 01:01:21.480
Kim Masters: I think that's fine a warning in the fanaticism of the haters that we're fighting to the bitter end because of the depth of their sanity and hatred.

01:01:21.600 --> 01:01:32.190
Leah Garrett: yeah so that's that's what sort of what I get out out out of office, but but i'm so gracious to these families honestly like cam your family and Mon for his family and family.

01:01:33.390 --> 01:01:43.260
Leah Garrett: Nobody has been more generous to me than these families have been reading this book so so thank you to the families for trusting me with these extraordinary story so Thank you everyone.

01:01:44.190 --> 01:01:47.910
Ari Goldstein: And thank you Leah for writing this books it's so to tell the story, so the world.

01:01:49.110 --> 01:01:59.760
Ari Goldstein: All of you watching we hope you will order the book link is at the zoom chat and I know I hope it's made into a movie or netflix series, well, we should definitely if it if it does let's host a screening at the museum.

01:02:02.310 --> 01:02:03.060
Kim Masters: in person.

01:02:03.210 --> 01:02:03.570

01:02:04.770 --> 01:02:05.310
Leah Garrett: even better.

01:02:06.060 --> 01:02:16.020
Ari Goldstein: One of the great things about your book Lee is that I mean so much of the popular film and books about work or to focus on the Nazis are sort of obsessed with understanding, who they were and how they did this and.

01:02:16.350 --> 01:02:25.230
Ari Goldstein: And our mission at the Museum has always been I mean we talked about the Nazis, but we use the voices of Jews other victims of Nazis and we told the story through their perspective and your book is such an amazing.

01:02:25.650 --> 01:02:36.540
Ari Goldstein: story of heroism and the Jewish part of the war, so thank you again Kim, thank you for helping us know your dad's story and for hosting today's program has been such a pleasure.

01:02:38.070 --> 01:02:46.110
Ari Goldstein: To all of you watching all of our programming museum is made possible through donor support, so thank you to those of you on the zoom who are members or donors at the museum.

01:02:46.440 --> 01:02:59.820
Ari Goldstein: If you're not we hope you'll consider it that link is also in the zoom chat and we hope you'll join us for our other upcoming programs and events we wish everyone a healthy and safe afternoon and take care.

01:03:01.380 --> 01:03:01.770
Leah Garrett: Thank you.