Hoch, Ján Ludvik Hyman Binyamin

    Date of birth:
    June 10th, 1923 (Solotvyno/Carpathia, Czechoslovakia)
    Date of death:
    November 5th, 1991 (Drowned off the Canaries coast)
    Nationality:
    Czechoslovakian (1918 - 1948, Republic)

    Biography

    Robert Maxwell - born Ján Ludvik Hoch in Solotvino then part of Czechoslovakia now Ukrain - was raised into a poor Yiddish-speaking Jewish family of in total nine children. In 1939 the area was reclaimed by Hungary. Most of his family were killed after Hungary was occupied by Germany in 1944 but he escaped before that event and arrived in England via France in 1940 as a refugee. In 1941 he joined the Pioneer Corps, transferring to the North Staffordshire Regiment in 1943. He fought across Europe from the Normandy landings to the capture of Berlin. His intelligence and gift for languages earned him a commission in the last year of the war with the Queen’s Royal Regiment. During this period he adopted the name ‘Robert Maxwell’ which was offiicially changed in July 1948 (LG 38352/4046).
    After the war he worked as a newspaper censor for the British Military Command in Berlin during the Allied Occupation. Later he used various
    contacts to make a start in the publishing business, becoming by the 1960s immensely wealthy, whilst still publicly supporting the Socialist principles of his youth.
    In 1964 he was elected Labour MP for Buckingham, holding the seat until his defeat in 1970. In July 1984, he acquired Mirror Group Newspapers. The acquisition gave him control of a huge publishing and media empire.
    By 1991 his business interests were heavily in debt. On 5 November 1991 he disappeared and was presumed to have fallen overboard accidentally from his luxury yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, which was cruising off the Canary Islands; his body was subsequently recovered from the Atlantic Ocean.
    On 10 November his funeral took place on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem.

    During his life he also received the following medals and/or awards:
    - Bulgaria, Order of Stara Planina, First Class neck badge, in silver
    - Finland, Order of the White Rose, Second Class hallmarked 1987
    - Poland, Order of Merit of the People’s Republic, Second Class
    - Swedish Order of the Polar Star
    - State of Israel 25th Anniversary Gold Medal, 1973
    - State of Israel 40th Anniversary ‘Gold’ Medal, 1988
    - 700th Anniversary of the Sedmset Let Staronove Synagogue, - Czechoslovakia, 1990, bronze medal
    - International Men and Women for Peace Movement, in gold and enamels

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Unit:
    Queen’s Royal Regiment
    Awarded on:
    April 12th, 1945
    Action:
    Citation:
    “During the attack on Paarlo on 29 January 1945, Lieutenant Maxwell was leading his Platoon when a heavy artillery concentration fell on and near the Platoon killing and wounding several men.
    The attack was in danger of losing momentum but this Officer, showing powers of leadership of the highest order, controlled his men with great skill and kept up the advance. During the night another Platoon of the Company was counter attacked and partially overrun. An attempt to restore the position with another Platoon failed but Lieutenant Maxwell repeatedly asked to be allowed to lead another attempt; this request was eventually granted.
    This Officer then led two of his Sections across bullet swept ground with great dash and determination and succeeded in contacting the Platoon who had been holding out in some buildings. Showing no regard for his own safety he led his section in the difficult job of clearing the enemy out of the buildings, inflicting many casualties and causing the remainder to withdraw. By his marvellous example and offensive spirit this Officer was responsible for the relief of the platoon and the restoration of the situation.”
    Military Cross (MC)
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    1944
    Krzyz Walecznych

    Sources