Corporal Hans Israel Rosenfeld, who served under the nom de guerre John Peter Rodley and was known as 'Max', was a soldier of the British Army who died during the Second World War.

He was born in Germany, the son of Richard and Minna Rosenfeld (née Loewenstein).[1] Rosenfeld studied mathematics at university before escaping Nazi Germany in 1939 with his 11-year-old sister, Ruth. His parents remained in Germany, and did not survive the Holocaust, being murdered at Minsk on 28 July 1942.[2]

Rosenfeld enlisted in the British Army, and later qualified as a paratrooper. Although he broke his leg during jump training, Rosenfeld served with 21 Independent Parachute Company in North Africa and Italy.[3] His unit was trained as pathfinders, preceding the main drop to mark drop zones with directional beacons known as Eureka radios.[4] In September 1944, the company formed the vanguard of Operation 'Market Garden', parachuting into Holland on the 17th and forming a defensive perimeter at Oosterbeek.[5]

At Oosterbeek, the paratroopers found themselves isolated and in an increasingly untenable situation. They came under sustained attack, suffering heavy casualties and seeing their ammunition dwindle.[6] On the 20th, German troops shouted for the defenders to surrender, a call which had become a frequent occurrence. This time 21 Company's commanding officer, Major Bernard Wilson, instructed Rodley to reply that they were too scared to do so, and that they should send a party to collect them. About 50 duly emerged, and, when they did not respond to Rodley's calls to lay down their arms, were cut down by Bren fire.[7][8] Rosenfeld died on the 23rd, killed instantly by a burst of machine gun fire while in a slit trench at No. 8 Stationsweg.[9]

Buried initially in his trench, Rosenfeld is now interned at Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery. He had married in 1939, to Rachel Kantorovitz. Their son, Nigel, became a noted international lawyer.


  1. Minna Rosenfeld, Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  2. Rodley, ‎Nigel & Pollard, Matt (2009), The Treatment of Prisoners Under International Law, p. v.
  3. Leighton-Langer, Peter (2006), The King's Own Loyal Enemy Aliens: German and Austrian Refugees in Britain's Armed Forces, 1939-45, p. 74.
  4. 21 Independent Parachute Company, Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  5. Bowman, Martin (2013), Shrinking Perimeter, p. 128.
  6. Guard, Julie (2007), Airborne: World War II Paratroopers in Combat, p. 241.
  7. Bowman, Martin (2013), Shrinking Perimeter, pp. 87-8.
  8. Urquhart, R.E. (1958/2011), Arnhem, p. 99.
  9. John Peter Rodley, Retrieved 18 August 2015.


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