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The Power of Revenge: WWII Commandos Who Fought Nazis

Unveiling the True Story of Jewish Volunteers Who Sought Retribution Against the Nazis

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Group picture of 3-Troop taken on a meadow above Aberdyfi (as it is spelled now) in early ’43.  (Photo: Colin Anson, Sergeant 3 troop)

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For centuries, sages and psychologists have advised us that harboring hatred and seeking revenge are detrimental to our well-being. They advocate for the virtues of forgiveness and letting go of the past. While this counsel may hold true for some, there are instances where forgiveness and forgetfulness fall short, where the desire for revenge becomes a powerful motivator for change. This sentiment is particularly true when opportunities arise to right profound wrongs, to restore justice, and to make amends. 

In a world torn apart by World War II and marked by the horrors of the Holocaust, there emerged a group of individuals whose mission was fueled by an unquenchable thirst for revenge against the perpetrators of unspeakable atrocities. Their story remained veiled in obscurity for decades, only recently coming to light through declassified records and historical research.

Inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 film “Inglorious Basterds,” which depicted a fictional Jewish-American commando unit hunting down and killing Nazis, one might wonder if such a revenge-fueled unit ever existed. The surprising truth is that it did. These real-life avengers, known as “XTroop” or “No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando 3 Group,” were established during World War II by the British.

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Comprising 87 volunteers, primarily Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria who had witnessed the destruction of their families and endured the horrors of Nazi concentration camps, this secret unit was hell-bent on exacting revenge on the Nazis. Sworn to secrecy about their true identities, they adopted English names and underwent rigorous training for a year and a half. Once prepared, they were assigned a mission of utmost importance—to spearhead the Allied forces invading Europe.

Armed with their intimate knowledge of the German language, advanced combat skills, and intelligence expertise, these courageous individuals infiltrated behind enemy lines. Their primary objectives included capturing and interrogating enemy personnel, extracting crucial intelligence, and contributing significantly to the Allied war effort. The information they obtained likely saved countless lives and expedited the path to victory.

The cost of their revenge-driven mission was steep. Many members of the group did not survive the war, and today, there stands a memorial to their valor in Aberdovey, Wales, where the Troop underwent intensive training. While the specifics of their operations remain largely undisclosed, the impact of their actions is undeniable.

Reflecting on the motivations of these young commandos, one can’t help but imagine the profound satisfaction they must have derived from exacting revenge on the perpetrators of genocide and cruelty. Their transformation from victims to instruments of retribution must have been immensely gratifying, despite their initial deployment not being explicitly designed for revenge.

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Recounting this lesser-known chapter of history, I find solace in the knowledge that these brave souls channeled their anguish and anger into actions that contributed to the war effort and offered a semblance of justice. While I may never experience the gratification they derived from their courageous acts, their story offers a glimmer of satisfaction, tempering the burning rage that lingers within me to this day.

As the decades pass and the events of WWII become more distant, my curiosity persists when encountering individuals of my generation or older with European origins. A nagging instinct prompts me to ponder their wartime roles, an irrational impulse that I acknowledge but cannot suppress.

While I may never attain the solace enjoyed by these fearless commandos, their story reminds me that acts of revenge can indeed serve a purpose, particularly in seeking justice for those who endured unimaginable suffering. Their legacy stands as a testament to the enduring human spirit’s resilience and determination to right the gravest of wrongs.

Bicycle Troop made up of X Troop Members on D-Day at Sword Beach (Photo: Commando Veterans Archive)

In a world still grappling with rising antisemitism and hatred, the exploits of these WWII commandos and the enduring actions of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) offer reassurance that there are forces today willing to defend against the evil that persists. For those who seek to harm us, the knowledge that there are those who will exact revenge ensures they will never rest easy.

During Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, as we contemplate our past deeds and seek divine forgiveness, it is worth noting that not all sins can be absolved, nor should they. The echoes of the past resonate in our pursuit of justice and in our collective memory, a reminder that revenge, in some instances, can indeed be good for the soul.

Max Roytenberg is an author, poet and blogger, with many published articles in Jewish periodicals in Dublin, New York, Winnipeg and Vancouver. After a career as an Economist and Executive in the Food Industry, in Canada and abroad, he writes, and lives with his Bride, in Vancouver. He has children and grandchildren in the US, Canada, China and Israel. His last book, “Hero In My Own Eyes”, is available through major booksellers and on Amazon.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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