About The Authors
Biography Martin Bamber
Martin Bamber has had an interest in military history since his earliest years. He has a special interest in the foreign units of the German Wehrmacht in the Second World War. This book was inspired by the fact that, unlike their comrades in the Japanese-sponsored “Indian National Army” in Asia, there was no comprehensive study of the less well known Indian Nationalist volunteers who served in German and Italian military units in Europe. He is a medical Doctor specialising in Anaesthesia and lives in England.
Biography Aad Neeven
When Aad Neeven was a young boy his family told him two intriguing tales concerning the German occupation of his Dutch hometown during the Second World War. The first story told of some dark-skinned soldiers wearing turbans who had attempted to break into a barn near his grandparents’ house in order to steal milk. The second also spoke of a soldier wearing a turban, but who was brought home by his father’s uncle, whereupon his wife became so scared at the sight of their strange guest that she locked herself and the children in the kitchen as soon as he entered the house.
When Aad Neeven returned to the Netherlands after a prolonged stay in the Middle East these stories became the starting point for his research into writing a history of the city of his birth, Haarlem. There followed much painstaking exploration within many archives both in the Netherlands and abroad, including India, and gradually he was able to throw new “light” on these soldiers. For over 35 years he worked overseas selling aircraft in many countries, but India always remained his favourite. There, in his spare time, he was able to make contact with former soldiers of the Legion Freies Indien and obtain from them first-hand accounts of their life in the German Army. During that time he was fortunate to meet Martin Bamber, who shared his fascination with the story of the Indian soldiers of the Wehrmacht. They decided to team-up and publish a book about the Indian soldiers in Europe. Aad Neeven is now retired and as well as running his bookshop, is a full-time researcher into the history of the Second World War in the Netherlands.
What others say about the book:
"a most valuable and timely contribution to the literature of the war ... does much to redress the tabloid version of the Second World War the world has accepted"
Mihir Bose, Author, Journalist, Broadcaster, former BBC Edito and Biographer of Subhas Chandra Bose.
"A priori we never really know what will lead to success: When all is said and done, the attempt to set up an Indian Legion certainly seemed a worthwhile effort for the Indian side and, for probably other reasons, for the various German actors, as well. I sincerely hope that this book will be of interest to many people concerned with the topic of Indo-German relations in a historic perspective and with this little-known part of British colonial history. "
Prof. Dr. Anita B. Pfaff, daughter of
Subhas Chandra Bose.