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U.S. Jewish Major Who Captured Streicher Anxious to Combat Nazi Slurs on Jewish Heroism

May 25, 1945
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The family of Major Henry Plitt, proud of the fact that he was the captor of the notorious anti-Semite, Julius Streicher, today told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the twice-decorated and several times wounded major was especially anxious to show that the Jews are good fighters in order to dispel the German propaganda directed at minimizing Jewish heroism on the battlefront.

A member of the Inwood Hebrew Congregation, Major Plitt joined the Army in 1941. He was wounded last Fall at Arnhem, Holland, and, after three months hospitalitation, was sent home on a furlough. He returned overseas in March of this year declaring that he “just had to go back.”

Major Plitt felt that Jews must excel in the war against the Germans, because as a group which is exposed to the unscrupulous propaganda of Nazi and pro-Nazi elements, they must show that they are making an equal, if not proportionally greater, contribution to the country’s welfare and war effort as compared with other groups, his family said.

The young officer is the holder of two Silver Stars for gallantry on D-Day and for his participation in the bloody struggle at Arnhem, where thousands of British and American troops were captured when their bridgehead was wiped out by the Germans. A product of the New York public schools, Staunton Military Academy and the University of Syracase, he was graduated from the St. Lawrence University Law School in 1940 and stared a law firm in New York which he left after a short time to enter the armed forces.

Major Plitt’s small knowledge of German, which led Julius Streicher to think that he had been discovered instead of merely being questioned as to his “resemblance to Streicher,” was developed conversing with two refugee cousins from Vienna who his family helped to come to the United States five years ago, Miss Tillie Klein, his aunt and his teacher in elementary school, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The Major and three companions were making a routine check-up in the Bavarian hills about forty miles from Berchtesgaden when they spotted Streicher on the balcony of a Tyronee type house daubing at a canvas. He said his name was “Sailer” and that, as an artist, he did not pay much attention to world affairs. Major Plitt went without an interpreter and his faulty command of the German language trapped Streicher. Plitt tried to say: “You look so much like Streicher I have a notion to take you.” Streicher misunderstood and believed the officer recognized him.

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