Nazi 'Mascot' Tells His Story

Jewish boy became SS plaything, kept secret until 1997
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 21, 2007 11:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – A new book details the secret history of a Jewish boy who became a mascot for the Nazi SS. After fleeing a Belarus village on the day his family was massacred, the 5-year-old was rescued by a Nazi soldier who gave him a new name—Alex Kurzem— and identity as a Russian orphan, the BBC reports. He then became an entertainer for soldiers, and was advertised as “the Reich’s youngest Nazi.”

Kurzem was given odd jobs—shining shoes, lighting fires—and was used to lure Jewish children onto cattle cars by handing out chocolates. Sent away when the Nazis were on the run, he started anew in Australia in 1947. After hiding his past for 50 years—even from his wife and children—Kurzem has spent the last 10 reconstructing his past and writing "The Mascot."