Nazi informer, reporter Paul Hofmann dies

ROME (JTA) — Paul Hofmann, an author and longtime New York Times reporter who informed against the Nazis during World War II, has died.

Hofmann died Dec. 30 in Rome at the age of 96, his son said.

Born into a socialist Catholic family in Vienna, Hofmann was drafted into the German army after Germany absorbed Austria into the Third Reich in 1938. Posted to Rome, he became an informer for the anti-Nazi underground.

According to The New York Times, Hofmann passed on news of the deportation of Jews from Rome in October 1943 and on the mass murder of 335 Romans at the Ardeatine Caves on March 24, 1944.

The massacre, the worst Nazi atrocity carried out in Italy, was ordered in reprisal for a partisan attack that killed 33 German policemen the previous day. The massacre victims included 75 Jews.

Hofmann deserted the German army and after the war was a prosecution witness in the war crimes trial of a German general who took part in the Ardeatine Caves killing.

He joined The New York Times after the war and reported for the paper until his retirement in 1990. Long based in Rome, Hofmann also wrote more than a dozen books.

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