German-born Jew who was captured working for Britain remembered on VE Day

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German-born Jew who was captured working for Britain remembered on VE Day

Stephen Dale - born Heinz Spanglet in Berlin, 1917 - is included on the Imperial War Museum's Voices Of War project to remember victory over the Nazis

Stephen Dale, born Heinz Spanglet
Stephen Dale, born Heinz Spanglet

The account of a Jewish man who spent six weeks in a concentration camp before being hired as a special operative for Britain, has been included in a project by the Imperial War Museum to mark VE Day.

Testimony from Stephen Dale, born Heinz Spanglet in Berlin, 1917,  forms part of the Voices Of War project, to mark victory against the Nazis.

His account is featured alongside that of an army nurse who served in Egypt and a Jamaican aircraftsman, among others.

The museum is marking the 75th anniversary from unexpected perspectives – by bringing voices of the past into people’s homes across the country.

Spanglet, who spent six weeks in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, was interviewed by Imperial War Museum before he passed away.

He had been a seaman in the German Merchant Navy but was arrested as 16-year old in 1933 for anti-Nazi activities. On Kristallnacht he was again arrested and sent to  Sachsenhausen for six weeks, where he was severely maltreated.

After release, he managed to emigrate to England in 1939 – where he volunteered for the army – but was interned and transported to Australia.

Returning to England in January 1942, and was accepted into the Alien Pioneer Corps (87th Coy) from which he volunteered to join Special Operations Executive. The unit engaged in espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe to aid local resistance movements.

He was captured while on operations, imprisoned in Austria, and eventually released on 12 April 1945. 

Diane Lees, director general of IWM, said: “Originally we had planned to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in public spaces around the UK.

“Due to the current situation, this is no longer possible.

“However, the need to commemorate this national anniversary and to remember the sacrifices made on our behalf by past generations is as pressing as ever.”

Ms Lees said Voices Of War would bring the stories and memories of those who lived through the conflict directly to homes across the UK.

She continued: “We want the public to reflect on this important historical milestone as many others did 75 years ago – in the privacy of their own kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms and gardens – and be part of this important national moment with IWM and with the rest of the country.”

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