Richard Marowitz, a Jewish American soldier who served in WWII has died.  Richard was 88.

Mr. Marowitz, a longtime Colonie resident, was just 19 in 1945 when his troop was tasked with searching Adolf Hitler's apartment just days after they helped liberate Dachau, one the Nazis' notorious death camps.

I can't imagine such a job, and especially at only 19 years old.

Hitler's home had already been cleaned out of his personal items, but Mr. Marowitz said,

"I went into Hitler's bedroom and pulled open the drawers," he said. "All of his personal items had been removed. Then I went in the closet and saw something dark. I reached up and grabbed a beautiful black silk top hat with big gold letters inscribed -- A.H."

Marowitz said he stomped on the hat.

He did bring it back home with him, and brought it along when he gave talks about his experience, the war, and the Holocaust.

The official 42nd "Rainbow" Infantry Division (the division Marowitz was in) World War II history book has a cover photo of a young Marowitz wearing the hat, and holding a comb beneath his nose to look like Hitler's moustache.

His son, Larry, tells The Associated Press today that Marowitz died Wednesday at the Veterans Affairs hospital here in Albany.

Before he passed, Marowitz battled cancer and dementia.

It's amazing to me that true heroes like Mr. Marowitz live among us.  He lived right around the corner, in Colonie, for many years, quietly holding all of his firsthand accounts of one of the most poignant moments in history.

You can read a personal account from Marowitz about his experience by clicking here.

Marowitz was featured in the documentary "Hitler's Hat" - read all about it and see pictures by clicking here.