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Tune in for a conversation about the men of X Troop, who were the real Inglorious Basterds: a secret commando unit of young Jewish refugees who were trained in counterintelligence and advanced combat to deliver decisive blows against the Nazis.
X Troop was a secret Jewish commando unit that fought for the British against the Nazis on the front lines of all the major battles of World War II. The commandos were Holocaust survivors from Austria and Germany who came to the UK on Kindertransport. When the war started, these German Jewish refugees were rounded up and interned in the UK, Australia, and Canada as 'enemy aliens.'
In 1942, desperate to turn the tide of war, Churchill created this top-secret commando unit, in which all of the men had to take on fake British names and personas. The men of X Troop were used both as commandos—killing the Nazis—and in counterintelligence—interrogating the enemy on the battlefield. One of the commandos, remarkably, even rescued his own parents from Theresienstadt concentration camp.
To uncover this incredible story, author and historian Leah Garrett declassified top-secret files, interviewed living commandos and their families, and went through archives all over the world. The story is particularly important during these difficult days, illustrating that a rag tag group of refugees could come together and effectively fight evil.
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Leah Garrett is the author of four books, including Young Lions: How Jewish Authors Reinvented the American War Novel, and winner of the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award for Modern Jewish History. She was shortlisted for the National Jewish Book Award and is the Director and Professor of Jewish Studies at Hunter College, CUNY.