STOLEN HERO­ISM

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT -

Your splen­did but sad ar­ti­cle about the medals of Cap­tain Solo­man Davis ( JC, Nov 13) rings all too true. In the 1990s, when my ar­ti­cle about Jewish Paras at the Bat­tle of Arn­hem in 1944 was pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Mil­i­tary History, a col­lec­tor con­tacted me to say he owned the Mil­i­tary Medal of Glider Pi­lot Sgt. Louis Ha­gen, a Ger­man Jewish refugee dec­o­rated for val­our. I had spo­ken to Louis dur­ing my re­search and knew his medals had been stolen in the 1970s and his fam­ily had to pur­chase repli­cas.

I kept quiet on hear­ing the col­lec­tor’s boast but called Ha­gen’s daugh­ter, as Louis had since passed away aged 84 in 2000. I urged her to pursue the col­lec­tor via her so­lic­i­tor to at least of­fer to buy the orig­i­nals back. The col­lec­tor re­fused point blank to co-op­er­ate. Louis mar­ried a Nor­we­gian woman post war but, when he died, I gen­tly re­minded the fam­ily that he should have a Star of David and the pres­ti­gious MM award en­graved on his head­stone for all to see; they read­ily agreed and so his grave is marked, on a hill­side in the Nor­we­gian moun­tains he loved, at Asker near Oslo. Martin Su­gar­man (Ar­chiv­ist of the AJEX Jewish Mil­i­tary Mu­seum) Lon­don

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