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Addenda Vol 41 2

Martin Sugarman

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Addendum III Since the publication of Martin Sugarmans' article entitled 'Lieutenant Marcus Bloom: A Jewish hero of the SOE' in jewish Historical Studies 39 (2004) 183-96, the author has discovered the following supplementary information. 7 Ibid 195. 76 Ibid 279. See also, for all three men, Erich Kulka, Zide v ceskoslovenskem vojsku na zapade (Nase Vojsko, Praha, 1992). 254</page><page sequence="2">Captain Isidore Newman Contrary to the approval expressed about Marcus Bloom's suitability on page i86, and footnote i i, one finds that 'Roger de Wesselow (Major, Coldstream Guards)," head of an F Section Training School at Wanborough, in an official training report, remarks that "physical effort seems to come hard to this pink yid"', and that Bloom 'keeps under his shell the usual racial nimbleness'.8 In the same report, a Lt R. F. Turner describes Marcus as 'slightly Jewish in his outlook and appearance'. Both reflect the prejudices of the writers' class and time. Marcus Bloom's Paramilitary report from Majors Watt and Bush at Arisaig (Scotland) on 15 May 1942 stated that his physical training had improved greatly despite his size, but that rope, fieldcraft and close combat work were not too good ('Cannot imagine him really getting tough with anyone'). However, with weapons, explosives and signalling he was very good, as was report writing, mapwork, tactics, boatwork and navigation. On a two-day course at Loughborough (21-2 August 1942), training Sergeants Stebbing-Allen and Fox reported to Captain Angelo and Hilton and Major Lee that Marcus had done remarkable work with complete mastery and that he was painstaking and intelligent. He had passed all the tests in Making Initial Contacts ('natural manner, remembering the password in a crowded caf'), Following Suspects ('did not lose his man, good use of cover'), Boites aux Lettres ('finding and retrieving messages, hiding messages'), Message Passing ('did not arouse suspicion in a crowded caf'), Verbal Messages ('passed perfectly despite distracting deliberate interruptions'), Cover Conversations ('perfectly arranged before questioning with another student'), Interrogation ('had a false life history and documents all convinc ingly carried out') and Security ('discreet, always hiding his wireless and papers and keeping door locked'). The author was fortunate to meet Dr Premysl (Prem) Dobias, aged ninety-four and living in London, who had been a clerk at Mauthausen Camp.79 Prem, a Doctor of Law from Charles University in Prague, had been a non-Jewish Czech political prisoner at Mauthausen and remembered Bloom well. He had been brought to Prem's desk on his arrival in September 1944 to be registered as an inmate, on a small transport, suggesting they were prisoners deemed 'dangerous to the Reich'. Marcus was 'dressed in civilian clothes, looking haggard but still confident'. Prem related how his whole demeanour was that of an 'honourable British Officer who clearly had open and courageous contempt for the SS' who were standing around and SMarcus Binney, Secret War Heroes of the SOE (London 2005) 242. 78 PRO HS9/166/7; Sarah Helm, A Life in Secrets - The Story of Vera Atkins (London 2005) 286. 79 He spoke briefly to the audience after the film at a viewing of Rex Bloomstein's documentary 'KZ' at the Jewish Film Festival, London, on 6 November 2006.</page><page sequence="3">Martin Sugarman bullying everyone into speeding up the clerical procedures. As a prisoner himself, Prem was not permitted to talk to him, but managed 'a few whis pered words under his breath as he typed out Marcus's details'. He described Marcus as a true 'mensch', using the Yiddish word, and developed an immediate respect for him in those few minutes that they met. He never saw him again.</page></plain_text>