They even paraded the six-year-old before Adolf Hitler, who hailed him as an upstanding example to German youth.
But the boy soldier had a secret that he kept for more than 60 years - he was Jewish.
Today Mr Kurzem lives in Melbourne, Australia, and has told his amazing story in a book The Mascot, which will stun any former Nazis still alive.
"They gave me little jobs to do, polishing shoes or lighting a fire," he said yesterday. "They thought I was a Russian orphan."
His parents had been killed when Germans invaded their village in Belarussia and Alex survived for months by begging for food.
Eventually he was found by Latvian police who became part of the SS. He remembers executions and expecting to be one of the victims.
But a soldier took him around to the back of the local school and told him: "Look, I don't want to kill you but I can't leave you here. I will take you with me and tell the other soldiers that you are a Russian orphan."
Alex kept his secret and was later "adopted" by the SS. In 1944, with defeat inevitable, the Nazis sent him to live with a Latvian family.
Last Mod: 24 Ağustos 2007, 11:32
As a teenager he made his way to Australia where he married and had two children. But only now, at 71, has he told anyone his story.