Sunday, December 28, 2014

Richard Marowitz | GI who found Hitler's hat, 88

In this Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2002 photo, World War II veteran Richard Marowitz, of Albany, N.Y., takes a picture of an exhibit on opening day of the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Marowitz, who found Adolf Hitler’s top hat, died Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. He was 88. (AP Photo/The Albany Times Union, Cindy Schultz) TROY, SCHENECTADY; SARATOGA SPRINGS; ALBANY OUT
In this Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2002 photo, World War II veteran Richard Marowitz, of Albany, N.Y., takes a picture of an exhibit on opening day of the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Marowitz, who found Adolf Hitler’s top hat, died Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. He was 88. (AP Photo/The Albany Times Union, Cindy Schultz) TROY, SCHENECTADY; SARATOGA SPRINGS; ALBANY OUT

Richard Marowitz, 88, the New York man whose story of finding Adolf Hitler's top hat at the end of World War II was told in a 2003 documentary, died Wednesday at the VA hospital in Albany, N.Y. His son, Larry, said he had battled cancer and dementia.

Mr. Marowitz was a 19-year-old Army scout searching Hitler's apartment in Munich on April 30, 1945, when he found a black silk top hat with the initials "A.H." on the lining. It was just a day after he had witnessed the horrors of Dachau.

He threw the hat on the floor, jumped off the chair he had used to reach it, and stomped it flat.

"I swear," he said in a 2001 AP interview, "to this day I could see his face in it."

Mr. Marowitz, who was Jewish, kept the hat and took it along when he gave talks about the war and the Holocaust.

In a 2003 interview he gave to an Upstate New York high school's WWII oral history project, Mr. Marowitz told how he and his comrades raced their jeeps through German convoys and enemy positions, firing their guns all the way.

"As we got closer to Dachau, we got this awful smell," Mr. Marowitz recalled. They were among the first American soldiers to enter the concentration camp, where GIs found bodies stacked in railcars and emaciated inmates who were barely alive.

The next day, he found the top hat.

His story is told in the documentary Hitler's Hat. At the veteran's request, the family will donate the hat to a museum, the son said.

In addition to son Larry, Mr. Marowitz is survived by his wife of 65 years, Ruth, and daughters Linda and Roberta. - AP

 

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