Awesome NYT Reporter, Spy, and Nazi Fighter Paul Hofmann Dies

In the "They don't make em like this any more" category: foreign correspondent, dapper author, and WWII Allied spy Paul Hofmann is dead at the age of 96. He outlived Hitler by 63 years.

Hofmann was born in Austria in 1912, went into journalism in his early 20s, and fled Vienna for Rome in 1938 when the Nazis occupied the city. In Rome he hooked up with the "anti-Fascist underground" (cool), but was drafted into the German army and stationed in Rome, where he worked as an interpreter for high level Nazi commanders. So he awesomely became a spy!

From General Mälzer's offices in the Hotel Excelsior on the Via Veneto, Mr. Hofmann passed information to the anti-Nazi underground. He was able to inform the underground about the deportation of the Jews from occupied Rome in October 1943 and the killing of 335 Italian hostages in March 1944 at the Fosse Ardeatine outside Rome in reprisal for the killing of 33 German policemen by Italian partisans.

In 1944 he deserted and was sentenced in absentia to death for treason. Which is also awesome, since he got away. After the war he became a New York Times correspondent in Rome, and later reported for the paper from all over the world. How many current Times reporters can say they were sentenced to death by the Nazis for treason? Few, we would venture to guess. You can buy one of his many books here. What a fine man. [Story and pic: NYT]