I'm trying to find the word for Nazis who helped a Jew. I'm hoping for a word that means "should be."

  • How about a "friendly foe"?
    – user3169
    Jan 13, 2018 at 21:16
  • I want to say she got help from her friends and "should be" foes
    – Emma
    Jan 13, 2018 at 22:01
  • Then I guess you mean "her friends and would be foes"? would be here is something like "should have been", but were not in this situation.
    – user3169
    Jan 13, 2018 at 23:36
  • Do you think "supposed foe" would work?
    – Emma
    Jan 14, 2018 at 1:02
  • 1
    Erstwhile foe, perhaps. But given the sensitive subject, you have to be careful. It would not be appropriate to describe the Nazis and the Jewish people living in Europe during the Holocaust as foes. There are many ways to talk about this relationship, although it's probably better to describe it in terms of "murderers" and "victims".
    – Andrew
    Jan 14, 2018 at 2:38

1 Answer 1


I think the phrase you're looking for is would-be foes. But I think it's inaccurate to describe Jews and Nazis as "foes," because it implies that the two groups had a natural hatred for each other and engaged in some type of comparable match, such as fighting each other on the battlefield -- which wasn't the case at all.

I think the gist of what you want to say is "false Nazi" or "sympathetic Nazi," but it's a strange thing to try to convey in a single word. I think you'd be better off describing the relationship in a more precise phrase: Nazis who sympathized with Jews or Nazis who wanted to help Jews. Or even: would-be Nazis who sympathized with Jews.

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