At thirteen years, German-born and raised Hardy Kruger became a member of the "Hitler Jugend" (Hitler Youth), as did all 13-year-old boys in Germany then. The purpose of the organization was to prepare the boys for military service. At age 15, Hardy made his film debut in a German picture (Junge Adler (1944)), but his acting career was interrupted when he was drafted into the German army in 1944 at age 16 and posted to an infantry regiment.
Years later, Hardy related how he "hated that [Nazi] uniform." During the filming of A Bridge Too Far (1977) in which he portrayed a Nazi general, he wore a top-coat over his S.S. uniform between takes so as "not to remind myself of my childhood in Germany during W.W.II." It is said, that during his war years, Hardy was captured and taken prisoner by U.S. forces but attempted to escape thrice, the third time successfully.
After the war, Hardy returned to acting, and eight years later was "discovered" by foreign film distributor J. Arthur Rank who