HISTORY

X Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II

Houghton Harcourt. May 2021. 368p. ISBN 9780358172031. $28. HIST
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During World War II, the British forces formed a highly trained commando unit made up primarily of Jewish refugees from Germany, Austria, and Hungary who had fled Nazi persecution. At the outbreak of the war, many of these refugees were imprisoned as enemy aliens in squalid camps in England, Canada, and Australia. Anxious to strike back at their Nazi persecutors, some of the refugees jumped at the chance to join the elite and highly specialized commando unit, which was called X Troop. Its men were selected for their motivation, intelligence, language skills, and physical fitness. Using recently declassified documents, interviews, and wartime reports, Garrett (Jewish studies, Hunter Coll.; Young Lions) vividly describes the commandos’ courage and bravery under fire by the Germans. X Troop served in the Balkans, Italy, and Germany, and in the D-Day invasion. After Germany’s surrender, some X Troop commandos worked for Allied occupation governments, tracked down war criminals, or translated and researched documents for war crimes trials. Garrett's tale of a little-known unit shows that there are still many stories about the war yet to be uncovered.
VERDICT Readers interested in World War II tales of bravery and heroism or Jewish studies will enjoy this.
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