G.I. Richard Marowitz, 1945
The I & R Unit, 42nd Rainbow Division on the way to Dachau (click to enlarge).
Path of the Rainbow Division through Europe (click to enlarge).
Jeff Krulik and Richard Marowitz during filming.
Inside Hiters Hat with initials HH in gold.

The Story of
Hitler's Hat

On April 29, 1945, the 42nd Rainbow Division 222nd I&R platoon entered the gates of Dachau. One of many units sent to liberate the death camp, they saw first-hand the horrors of Hitler’s death machine.

The next day, 12 men of the I&R were ordered to search Adolph Hitler’s Munich apartment for military intelligence. Jewish-American G.I. Richard Marowitz, self-appointed wiseacre of the unit, stormed into Hitler’s bedroom looking for anything he could bring back to headquarters.

All he found was a black top hat.

Still angered by what he had seen at Dachau, Marowitz flew into a rage and jumped on the hat, crushing it, imagining Hitler’s head still inside. Then Marowitz, known for his comic antics even under stress, put Hitler’s crushed hat on his head and marched through the apartment with his best imitation of Charlie Chaplin doing Hitler from The Great Dictator. Tense from the day before, the I&R unit cracked up. Years later Marowitz found out that the same day he stomped Hitler’s hat, the Führer committed suicide in his bunker.

Marowitz returned home to Albany, N.Y., with the ultimate war souvenir stuffed into his duffel bag. He became a clothing manufacturer and professional magician and rarely talked about his war experiences. For the next 50 years, Hitler’s hat fittingly sat in a brown paper bag, buried at the bottom of his magic trick closet. Finally, in 1996, Marowitz went public with his story and loaned the hat to the American Museum of Jewish military history.

Following Marowitz to a Rainbow Division reunion, Hitler’s Hat interviews his I&R unit buddies to retell the story of Hitler’s hat. Daring and innovative, the documentary presents a rare mix of humor and history in an original take on World War II.

Hitler’s Hat director Jeff Krulik is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Washington, D.C., whose most recent film, Obsessed with Jews, was voted one of the Top Ten Jewish Films of 2000 by critic J. Hoberman (Village Voice, The Forward). Krulik is known for his profiles of unusual people and for bringing a trademark blend of curiosity, humor and compassion to films including Heavy Metal Parking Lot, I Created Lancelot Link, and Ernest Borgnine on the Bus. Hitler’s Hat is produced by Ann Petrone, coordinating producer for filmmaker Errol Morris, and Diane Bernard, co-director of I Created Lancelot Link.

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Path of the 42nd Rainbow Division

Marowitz goes public with his story

Inside the real Hitler's hat
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