Let me say first of all how excited I am to be writing my first blog for the Washington Post. Watergate. Woodward. Bernstein. What a tradition. What an honour.
For those of you who do not know me I am Alan Stoob, Britain's Premier Nazi Hunter™. "Nazis?" you say, "In Britain". "Yes," I will reply. "Thousands of them. Let me explain."
In 1994 I was clearing my desk after 30 years with the Bedfordshire Constabulary when the phone rang. It was world famous Nazi Hunter, the late Simon Wiesenthal, inviting me to Vienna. When I met him he asked me to hunt Nazis on his behalf in Britain, particularly Bedfordshire. "Britain is the new South America!" he declared, "Dunstable its Paraguay!"
My wife and I thought he'd been at the Yiddish Campari until we read about the underground ratline that connects Bremen to Biggleswade. The result? Hundreds of elderly Nazis flooding the local area. If you don't believe me I suggest you visit Flitwick on market day. The goose-stepping gives you goose-bumps.
Over the past twenty years I have done my utmost to keep Bedfordshire Nazi-free. It's not been easy - I've been shot in the Arndale Centre by Harold Schlep, the Butcher of Bavaria, struck in the kitchen by Alois Purloin, the Plasterer of Paris, and battered in Woburn by Rudolf Hess. But I remain defiant, despite my age (77).
Away from the hunting matters have been equally tricky. Coming to terms with my wife's affair with the late Henry Cooper has been a bumpy ride. How can any of us measure up to a man who once knocked down Muhammed Ali? My own dalliance with 1987 Businesswoman of the Year Deborah Meaden merely served to add fuel to the fire. As for our son Tom, he's not been the same since his girlfriend left him in 1989. They could have been so good together. It's such a shame she had to move to New Zealand, get married and have four children.
It has, however, been an extraordinary journey. So extraordinary in fact that publishing giant Hodder & Stoughton approached me last year and asked if I'd like to write a book. "Go away," I told them, "I'm too busy hunting Nazis. Plus I could die any minute and the book would be left unfinished."
"OK," they said and went away.
Then they came back.
"Alan?" they said.
"Yes," I replied.
"Do you keep a diary?"
"Could we publish one of your diaries instead?"
Here's the first page.
Wake with a mouth like Hitler's bunker. Edame and I drank an entire bottle of
Sainsbury's Basics port to usher in the New Year. Not sure I like port. It was
afterall the Führer's tipple of choice. While Edame sleeps it off I give the study a
clear-out. There are post-its everywhere, newspaper cuttings and endless
printouts of Nazi sightings. I make two piles: one of possible leads and one for
Monday's recycling. As I do I come across my last-ever letter from Simon
Wiesenthal, congratulating me on ensnaring Boris Boot, the Prannock of
Potsdam, back in 2005.
You have undoubtedly blossomed into Britain's finest Nazi hunstman.
Until last year I would have put Arthur Pob ahead of you but since your audacious swoop on evil Boris Boot in Flitwick Town Hall you are now firmly entrenched in the number one spot. Who could have known that Nazi Hunting would so quickly establish itself as the career of choice for ex-policemen in the UK.
How glad I am that you and Edame are back on track. It is vital you have stability in your personal life. This is of course true of any job but in particular the emotionally demanding role of Nazi Hunter. You are a credit to the industry, Alan. Stay vigilant and stay in touch. Send me a letter or even better a fax. Have I ever told you how much I enjoy receiving faxes? They're incredible.
Inspired anew by Si's words I sit at my desk and create a fresh document in Word for Windows entitled Alan Stoob's Key Targets for 2012 by Alan Stoob. Using the bullet point tool I list my top three most wanted: Heinrich Snuff (The Truncheon of München), Silas Pilsner (The Schweinhund of Schleswig) and The Nibble Sisters, Myra and Valerie. I print off the list and circle Snuff, who according to the latest Interpol intel was spotted only last Thursday strangling a cat outside Bedford Station.
Alan Stoob: Nazi Hunter by Saul Wordsworth is published by Hodder & Stoughton (£12.99). Follow Alan Stoob on Twitter at @nazihunteralan.