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This audio clip from an oral history interview with Herman Rothman recorded by the Imperial War Museums in February 2008. In the clip, Herman describes his motivation for joining the British Army.

Herman Rothman – a short biography.

Herman Rothman was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1924, to Polish Jewish parents. He arrived in Britain as a refugee on the Kindertransport in August 1939 and went to the hachshara (agricultural training centre) at Gwrych Castle, Abergele. He joined the General Service Corps in 1944, before being transferred to the King’s Own Scottish Borderers. He later joined the Intelligence Corps and was among the first people to translate Hitler’s original will and testament when documents were discovered sewn into the shoulders of a jacket belonging to Heinz Lorenz, Joseph Goebbels’ press secretary. He subsequently wrote a book, Hitler’s Will, detailing his experiences.


To me, I equated ‘to conform’ with having an easy life, and, and also, you learn how to dodge things if you can. However, I, I did think ‘I am doing it for a purpose’; I think this is something which may be endemic in people like myself. You know you were fighting for a cause, and therefore everything you did was for the benefit – we were idealistic in a way, I had this idealistic thought in my mind – that everything I performed and everything I did was for the benefit of society, and intimately of course – inclusive [of] – yourself. If you want to defeat Hitler, you had to do that, and that is something which prompted me, which motivated me.


Imperial War Museums, Oral history interview with Herman Rothman, February 2008 [accessed 20 July 2022]

Depository: Imperial War Museums.

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