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Hitler protected Jewish WWI veteran, letter shows

BERLIN -- Adolf Hitler personally intervened to protect a Jewish man who had been his commanding officer during World War I, according to a letter unearthed by the Jewish Voice from Germany newspaper.

The letter, composed in August 1940 by Heinrich Himmler, head of the Nazis' feared paramilitary SS, said Ernst Hess, a judge, should be spared persecution or deportation “as per the Fuehrer's wishes.”

Hess, a decorated World War I hero who briefly commanded Hitler's company in Flanders, worked as a judge until Nazi racial laws forced him to resign in 1936. The same year he was beaten up by Nazi thugs outside his house, the paper said. Hess remained in Germany after the war, becoming head of the Federal Railway Authority based in Frankfurt. He died in 1983.

Hess's daughter Ursula, now 86 and still living in Germany, told the paper in an interview her father had benefited from a chance encounter with another World War One comrade, Fritz Wiedemann. He became Hitler's adjutant and used his influence to win concessions for Hess, she was quoted as saying.

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