X Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II
In 1942, hundreds of young Jewish refugees, some still in high school, were co-opted covertly to help destroy the Axis power. They became members of X Troop, a top-secret Jewish commando unit seconded to British regiments.
The primary stipulation for the commandos was fluency in the German language. In a number of locations across Britain, the men received grueling physical training, learned how to recognize and utilize weapons they might use or confront. They became proficient in intelligence techniques, not only for combat duty but as a means of interrogating captured prisoners.
In preparation, they forfeited Jewish practice and personal identity, acquiring new names and ‘backgrounds.’ If recognized as Jews, death would be immediate. Orthodox religious practice presented a conflict until their duty was seen as a ‘mitzva,’ a good deed. And with this came pride: ‘Last year I was a despised, stateless Jewish refugee, now I am a British soldier.’
Leah Garrett has gathered, organized, and elucidated diaries, unpublished accounts, and family recollections to create a book focusing on the story of X Troop. Mortality was significant, and an enduring, lasting sadness was the inescapable failure to identify Jewish graves in war cemeteries, marked with a Protestant cross.
|Page Count||368 pages|
|Publisher||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
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