Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Second Lieutenant Herbert Forman

A war ends. 

But, it may never really “end”, especially for the families of servicemen who remain missing: those who lost their lives under unknown circumstances, or those whose ultimate fates were known, but whose bodies were neither identified nor recovered, and who thus have no definite place of burial. 

The centrality of this aspect of military commemoration, and in turn, human memory – both collective and individual – is exemplified in the Funeral Oration of Pericles, which is dated to approximately 431-430 B.C.E.  Recited in accordance with the annual custom of the Athenians, his speech was presented in memory of Athenian military dead of first years of the Peloponnesian War.  Pericles particularly called attention to the Athenian practice whereby, “…an empty bier is decorated and carried in the procession: this is for the missing, whose bodies could not be recovered.”

Though the Second World War ended seventy-two years ago, there are still innumerable military dead from that conflict who have never been recovered and have no place of burial, or, whose final fate remains unknown.  Among the 407,300 Americans military deaths from that conflict there are some 73,000 who remain unaccounted for.   Through the efforts of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency some will, in time, certainly be found.  Others, due to either the circumstances or locations in which they were lost, will probably remain missing.*

One missing serviceman was Second Lieutenant Herbert Forman (serial number 0-807304) of the Bronx.  Reported Missing in Action in a Casualty List published on June 30, 1944, his name appeared in a Casualty List of Killed in Action published on March 3, 1945. 

His obituary – below – appeared in the Times two days later: on March 5, 1945.

Eighth Air Force Pilot Lost in Action Over Europe

Second Lieut. Herbert Forman, a fighting pilot with the Eighth Air Force in England, was killed in action over western Europe on May 23, the War Department has informed his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel J. Forman of 3222 Cambridge Avenue, Riverdale, the Bronx.  Recently also his family heard officially that his brother, Sgt. Martin S. Forman of the Infantry, their only other child, had been seriously wounded in Luxembourg.

Twenty-two years old, Lieutenant Forman was born in New York.  He was graduated from De Witt Clinton High School in 1938.  He attended New York University, where he was active as a photographer, and then went to Georgia University, where he played the saxophone and clarinet in the university band.  Majoring in journalism and economics, Lieutenant Forman was a senior at Georgia when he joined the Army in 1942.

He was reported missing in a message received on D-day, June 6.  On Jan. 11 his parents heard that he was dead.

The son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel J. and Sadye L. Forman, Herbert served as a 9th Air Force P-38 Lightning fighter pilot in the 402nd Fighter Squadron of the 370th Fighter Group.  Shot down while piloting P-38J 42-68179, his name is commemorated upon the Tablets of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery, in Cambridge, England.  The recipient of the Purple Heart, he was also awarded the Air Medal and one Oak Leaf Cluster, suggesting that he’d completed approximately 10 to 15 combat missions by the time of his death.  His name appears on page 311 of American Jews in World War Two. 

Herbert’s brother Martin, who was severely wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, passed away on April 6, 2011. 

This image is a June, 2014 Google Street view of the possible location o the Forman family’s wartime home: 3222 Cambridge Avenue, in the Bronx.  (Is this the “original” building where the family resided, or a newer residence constructed subsequent to the Second World War?  The right “wing” of the apartment – or condo? – appears to be of substantially newer architecture than the left …)

Unlike the other servicemen whose obituaries in The New York Times have been presented in this blog, several photographs and a published account exist concerning Lieutenant Forman.

The image below was taken at Craig Field, Alabama, while Herbert Forman was an Aviation Cadet.  He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and received his “wings” as graduate of class 43-G on July 28, 1943. 

The portrait is from a collection of several thousand such images, in the United States National Archives collection of “Photographic Prints of Air Cadets and Officers, Air Crew, and Notables in the History of Aviation – NARA RG 18-PU”. (Specifically, within Box 30.)  You can find more about this collection in the post Five Pilots in December at my brother blog, The Past Presented.

The next two images can be found in Jay Jones’ 2003 book The 370th Fighter Group in World War II – In Action Over Europe with the P-38 and P-51.  The first photo is a simple portrait (an officer’s identification card photo?) of Herbert Forman as a Lieutenant, while the second shows him posing before a P-38J Lightning undergoing repairs, probably at the 370th Fighter Group’s base at Andover, England.  (The 370th Fighter Group credits both images to John and Ruth Fulton.)

This excellent photo, from the American Air Museum wesbite, is from the Roger Freeman collection (as image FRE 10071), and shows Lieutenant Forman (most definitely!) at Andover, England.  The camera is not surprising, as the Times’ obituary notes Lt. Forman’s interest in photography.  Note the “natural-metal” (sans camouflage paint) P-38J at the right. 

In The 370th Fighter Group in World War II, Jay Jones provides a very detailed account of the Group’s mission to Coblenz, Germany on May 23, 1944. 

The 370th lost three pilots that day:  Lt. Forman – covered in Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 6505; 1 Lt. Herbert R. Schultz (also of the 401st Fighter Squadron) in P-38J 42-67278 – covered MACR 6506; 1 Lt. Maurice B. Thibert (of the 402nd Fighter Squadron) in P-38J 42-104066, covered in MACR 6497.  Of the three, only Lt. Schultz returned.  Captured, he spent the remainder of the war as a POW at Stalag Luft III, Sagan, Germany.  Jay Jones’ account concludes with Herbert Schultz’s “shoot-down”, in the latter’s own words.  

The account proceeds…  

From the Clouds to the Deck

The pilots flew a boring escort on the morning of May 23, and then a field order arrived the pilots had been waiting for.  The 370th would finally let loose all of its destructive tactical power against targets on enemy soil.  Forty-eight Lightnings were sent in to bomb the marshaling yard at Coblenz.  After the bombing, the pilots hit the deck and flew back toward the English Channel strafing whatever they could find.  Each plane carried one belly tank and one 1,000 pound bomb.

Capt. Charles D.  “Wick” Wickliffe of the 402nd Squadron recalled,

It was in the late afternoon, late enough that it was going to be a little iffy when we were getting back.  We had forty-eight P-38s up.  Before we got to Coblenz, we had gotten rid of our belly tank.  We dropped our bomb and we dropped down, and that was called a rhubarb.  We went on the deck.  It got scattered.  Everybody was scattered all over the landscape.  It was incredible.  I don’t think there were any two airplanes that were even close together.  I had my bearings and knew where I was going, and it was in the direction of Holland.  I was down on the deck and it was kind of pleasant, cruising at about 200 or a little better.  I’d see a flak tower coming up and I’d cruise over and give it a squirt.  There would be a lot of action and everybody that was there ducked and I would go over the top and put a little rudder on it and the gunner would shoot ahead of me.

He referred to a flak evasion trick of using the rudders to put the plane in a skid to the left or right, throwing off the gunner’s aim.

Wick continued,

I’d burned up a lot of fuel, but I still had an adequate amount.  I saw a troop train and it was down sort of in a hollow.  There were some trees that I could see that were protruding up.  I started to make a big swing to get up to start strafing it.  At the same time I had an eye on where I was going to start my strafing run.  I remembered to keep a lookout for the trees along there.  I started my strafing run and began to fire and quickly pulled up and started another run.  As I dropped down I flew right through a tree.  It wasn’t a bush-it was a tree.  That P-38 cut right through that tree.  The airplane staggered, and my thought was this was what you would call a fireball in an instant.  That airplane staggered up and I wondered what was keeping it up.  It was moving and pulling up, although it was pretty slow.  The windshield was totally green.  You couldn’t even see out of it.  I couldn’t believe that airplane was still flying.  When I went through the tree it took off all of my antennas.  There was no conversation with anybody, anyplace.

I got oriented and I knew I was going in the direction of England.  As I climbed up I could see out one side and the other to see what was going on.  I got up to about 10,000 and I realized that I flew right over a German airdrome.  They had the Focke-Wulfs lined up all over the place.  I was up at 10,000 feet looking down, and that’s not too far down.  They didn’t come up.

I got over the Channel and I was surprised, pleasantly so.  It was getting darker.  I began to lose my bearings.  I wasn’t quite sure where I was, except that my general heading was okay.  I had dropped down to about 2,000 feet in order to get myself out of the airplane if I could.  The bail-out techniques for getting out of the P-38 were wishy-washy.  Nobody had a good idea of what the best way to do it was.  I was getting low on fuel.  I had to make a decision of whether to bail out or go in.  At that time I could see ahead a fighter airdrome.  I slowed the airplane down to about 170, and the airplane started to fall out.  I realized that all of the lift inboard was all smashed out.  The only thing I was working on was the outboard wings.  The rest of it was just like it was hit by a hammer.  I was looking at landing at about 175 miles per hour.  I went in and made a good landing.  The fuel gauges were on zero and it was quite dark when I finished my roll out.  I didn’t have any brakes, either.  I hit the brakes, what they were, and it spun the airplane around.  They just took the P-38 and trashed it.  I got a new one.

It was very stressful when all these things were happening to me.  You can do everything when you have a real load of stress on you.  but when I got out of that airplane I put a cigarette in backasswards.  I had a couple of big drinks real quick.  It was an exciting trip.

The mission not only was iffy because of the late start, but also because of the weather.  There was a solid overcast from around two to four thousand feet up to ten thousand feet.  There was also problems with the aircraft icing up.  Seth McKee, leading the mission, recalled,

All of our missions were scheduled by the Ninth TAC, commanded by Pete Quesada.  He decided he wanted to see what we could with targets of opportunity strafing at low level.  The weather was pretty bad.  We hit the deck, forty-eight aircraft line abreast, about a hundred yards apart, and headed back toward England strafing targets of opportunity.  We hit all kinds of targets.

The thing I remember most about it was the weather started getting worse and worse as we were going further toward home.  Finally, I ended up over some city, I still don’t know which it was, probably Brussels, Belgium.  1 remember seeing church steeples going by me at higher altitudes that I was.  The weather was so bad I called the mission off.  I said, “Hey guys, we’ll break it off now.  We’ll climb out, join up and go home.” I climbed up, broke out.  I looked around and I had forty-eight aircraft with me, but I only saw two other aircraft in the sky.  I thought, “I’ve lost the whole damn group!”  One was a squadron commander and the other was the Group Operations Officer, Major Lee Hoddy.  They formed up on me and we went back.

The weather was horrible in England.  In those days we had no radar-controlled approaches and that sort of thing.  You had a beacon and you let down off of a heading.  With a proper rate of descent if you broke out at all you saw the airfield.  If you didn’t you would try it again.  Anyway, we recovered with no problem.  I was really, really worried about the group.  I found we lost three aircraft out of forty-eight.  They recovered all over England because the weather was so bad.  They just got in wherever they could.  But, I’ll never forget I thought, “My God, I’d lost the whole damn group.”

Lt. Bud Gewinner was almost a casualty on this mission.  He wrote in his diary,

I hit the deck at about 300 M.P.H. and started looking.  What I wanted to find was a train.  I found this one train steaming around a bend and came down on the engine, throwing all the lead I could.  Before I pulled up I saw the boiler explode.  As I pulled off the target I saw tracers going by me.  The next thing I found was a flak tower.  I came in level and really peppered it.  They threw so much back at me, I don’t know how they missed.

A short while later I felt an explosion on my ship and the cockpit got smoky.  Believe me, I started sweating.  I must have passed near some guns I hadn’t seen.  I twisted and turned all I could right down to the deck to get out of their fire.  I found another train after that and got its engine too.  I was getting low on ammo and gas so I headed home.  I had plenty of doubts while crossing the Channel because I didn’t know how badly old “Spooks” was damaged.  When I got back I found that a 20mm cannon shell had exploded in the nose section.  Those strafing jobs are mighty rough.  I have never spent such an excitement-packed half hour in my life.  It’s a weird feeling to see dozens of tracers whizzing by your ship.

Lt. Gene Baker of the 401st wrote in his diary that night,

We weren’t on the deck for more than 15 minutes when Watson picked up some tel. wires so I went back up through overcast with him.  He was on his right engine so no radio conversation.  As we got to the coast the flak guns got us pinpointed and gave us a burst.  Watson got some in dead engine.  I got some in tail, left wing tip tank, right wing main tank, right prop hub & glances off nacelle.  We landed at aux field & then I came on home.

The mission really wasn’t as successful as one might think.  A group of P-38s spread out on the deck tearing across the countryside sounds dangerous, but it was an ineffective use of men and firepower.  Al Bouffard recalled,

Lt. Thibert was the first one we lost on a mission.  He was my wingman on that mission.  They said hit the deck and whatever you see, shoot it up.  When I came down on the deck and we split apart – Thibert was over there somewhere – I was going along and the only thing I saw was farms and farmers.  I didn’t see a damn thing except farms and farmers out in the fields working.  I’d go by and waggle my wings and keep going.

I saw this tower.  They used to raise these towers and put flak guns up there.  I said, “Boy, there’s a flak tower.  I’ll get that son of a gun.”  I aimed for it and started shooting at it.  Nothing was coming at me.  When I got closer – it was a water tower.

Finally got back and Thibert never made it back.  I have no idea what happened to him.

Lt. Maurice B. Thibert of the 402nd, from Detroit, Michigan, was confirmed as killed in action.

Second Lt. Herbert Forman of the 401st also failed to return from the mission.  Lt. Joseph Ogrin was the last pilot to see Forman.  He noticed Forman on the left flank of the low-level attack heading roughly southwest.  Herb was listed as missing in action but was most likely killed.

First Lt. Herbert R. “Dutch” Schultz of the 401st was almost to the French coast when a flak battery opened up or him.  Schultz had joined up with Lt. Walter “Little Red’ Stephens of the 402nd to come out over the Channel.  Little Red reported,

I saw Lt. Schultz’s plane explode and felt the blast of the explosion.  I went into a climb pulling 65 to 70 inches in an attempt to dodge flak.  I looked back and saw a parachute quite a way below me, since I was climbing very rapidly.

Herbert Schultz recalled,

We had never had any training at skip or low level bombing so my bomb skipped completely over an inverted banked up “Y” in the rail junction I had planned to obliterate, and exploded harmlessly in a nearby stand of small pines.  But shortly thereafter I got lucky when a locomotive was traveling 90 degrees to my course and directly in front of me.  My first long burst disabled him spewing steam in all directions and as I went by I saw two 38s from our group had turned around and were going back to finish him off, so I continued on.

I also had an encounter with a flak tower before I hit the coast.  As soon as I spotted it I pulled the nose up to give my guns more range and opened fire hoping to encourage them to keep their heads down.  I could see people moving around on the top platform but I got no return fire.  As I went by I could see it was something like a silo only an open platform under the roof at the top.  Perhaps they had guns in it at one time but fortunately not when I went by.

By this time my fuel was getting low because we were traveling about 260 mph, normal for strafing.  So, I pulled up and picked up my safe course home not having the slightest idea where I was.

It turned out I was just out of Calais, France, and took a direct hit from one of the many 88s in the area.  When captured after parachuting the krauts explained it emphatically, “For you, the war is over.”

Lt. Schultz was sent to the Luftwaffe interrogation center at Oberursel, near Frankfurt, Germany.  There, downed fliers were questioned by crafty interrogators attempting to trick them into giving away information.  Throughout the remainder of the war many downed 370th pilots went through Oberursel for interrogation on their way to the infamous Stalags.

______________________________

While there was an eyewitness to Lt. Schultz’s loss (2 Lt. Walter C. Stephens, whose account in Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 6506 is quoted above), there seem to have been no American witnesses to the loss of either Lt. Forman or Lt. Thibert.  Well…at least, the MACRs for both pilots contain no specific accounts describing their loss.  Instead, both MACRs simply include 1:4,000,000 scale maps of Continental Europe with the notation “MIA Return Trip Coblenz to Andover last seen slightly west of Cloblenz”.

The MACR for Lt. Forman is presented below:

This is the MACR for Lt. Schultz:

Though American documentation – in the form of MACRs – for the three pilots is scant to minimal, this was not so from the vantage point of German investigators.  The losses of Schultz and Thibert were covered in Luftgaukommando Reports J 1181 and J 1179, respectively.

(But, what are Luftgaukommando Reports?…  These are documents held within the United States National Archives “Collection of Foreign Records Seized” concerning Allied aircraft lost in the European and Mediterranean Theaters of War.  In a general sense, these documents include information about the nature and circumstances (flak or fighters) as to how an American aircraft was downed and recovered in German-occupied territory, the location and condition of its wreckage, technical aspects of the plane or its equipment particularly noted by German investigators, and, nominal biographical information about aircrew casualties.)

Here is the English-language translation of Luftgaukommando Report J 1181 (for Lt. Schultz), which is included within MACR 6506…  NARA’s master list of Luftgaukommando Reports correlates J 1181 to a point 2.5 kilometers southeast of Coulogne (a commune in Pas-de-Calais, immediately south of the city of Calais), France, at 18:45 hours.

…and, here is the English-language translation of Luftgaukommando Report J 1179 (for Lt. Thibert), which is included within MACR 6497.  NARA’s master list of Luftgaukommando Reports correlates J 1179 to “Steenocqerzeel” (Steenokkerzeel), Flemish Brabant, in central Belgium, at 18:15 hours. 

Notably, German investigators transcribed the next-of-kin information – the name and address of his mother – that had been embosed upon Lt. Thibert’s dog-tag…

What about Lt. Forman? 

No Luftgaukommando Report lists his name or is included within MACR 6505.  However, a review of Luftgaukommando Reports filed for May 23, 1944 reveals a Report that I believe can circumstantially be correlated to his loss.  This is Luftgaukommando Report J 1180. 

This document consists of a single sheet with typewritten notation “23.5.44 – 18.35 – Coxyde i. See – Lightning – Fl. Pl. Kdo. [FlugplatzKommando] Coxyde – 1 unbekannter Toter”. 

Translation?  “May 23, 1944, at 18:35 hours (6:35 P.M.) – Coxyde, in the sea – Lightning – Airfield Command Coxyde – 1 unknown dead.” 

Apparently, Herbert Forman was shot down – probably – by anti-aircraft fire (Jan Safarik’s compilation of Luftwaffe aerial victory credits against P-38s shows no Luftwaffe aerial victories over P-38s for May 23, 1944) on the return flight to Andover, and crashed into the English Channel just off shore from Coxyde (“Koksijde”), Belgium.  Maps of this area are presented below.

  ______________________________

Northwest Europe, the English Channel, and southeastern England.  Google Maps’ emblematic red location pointer is superimposed on Coxyde, Belgium.

  The Strait of Dover (with Dunkirk) and the Belgian coast.  Coxyde (name not shown) is the area shaded in pink, just to the east of the Franco-Belgian border.

The coastal town of Coxyde, the name of which appears as “Koksijde”.

But, with all this, there remains an enigma.  Herbert Forman’s obituary mentions that his parents learned on January 11, 1945 – four months before the war’s end – that he had been killed in action.  Given that Luftgaukommando Reports were only accessed, investigated, and correlated to MACRs after the war’s end, what was the source of this information? 

Was Herbert Forman recovered, and interred as an “unknown”? 

That answer is unknown.

______________________________

Some other Jewish military casualties on May 23, 1944, included…

Killed in Action

– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Glanzrock, Murray G., S/Sgt., 14083453, Gunner (Left Waist), Air Medal, 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart
United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 446th Bomb Group, 704th Bomb Squadron
Mrs. Bea Glanzrock (wife), 1237 54th St. / 5001 10th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 1922
Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal, France – Plot A, Row 35, Grave 55
American Jews in World War Two – Not listed; National Jewish Welfare Board index cards are stamped “No Publicity”; Casualty Lists 6/30/44, 3/1/45

Markus, Joseph R., Sgt., 36636142, Gunner (Nose), Purple Heart
United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 446th Bomb Group, 704th Bomb Squadron
Mrs. Dorothy S. Markus (mother), 10512 Edbrooke Ave., Chicago, Il.
Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal, France – Plot A, Row 25, Grave 62
American Jews in World War Two – 109

Murray Glanzrock and Joseph Markus were crewmen in B-24H 42-7583 “Wee Willie”; “FL * L”; Pilot: 1 Lt. James C. Blackwood; 10 crewmen – no survivors; covered in MACR 5251 and Luftgaukommando Report KU 1930

______________________________

Ruslander, Harold, S/Sgt., 20236617, Flight Engineer
United States Army Air Force, Air Transport Command, India-China Wing, Station #11
Born 12/16/16
Mr. and Mrs. Fred E. and Thressa F. Ruslander (parents), 5301 Fair Oaks St., Pittsburgh, Pa.
1 Lt. Solomon L. Ruslander (cousin?), Leesville, La.
Born Brooklyn, N.Y., 12/16/16
Entered active service in September, 1940, at Fort Dix, New Jersey
Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii – Plot Q-48; Buried 6/15/49
American Jews in World War Two – not listed; The Jewish Criterion (Pittsburgh) 2/1943; The Aluminum Trail, p. 142

Sternbaum, Jacob Aaron, 1 Lt., 0-672704, Co-Pilot
United States Army Air Force, Air Transport Command, India-China Wing, Station #11
Mr. and Mrs. Carl [11/17/88 – 3/3/54] and Mary E. (Yuwiler) [2/14/88 – 5/15/70] Sternbaum (parents), David, Max, and Minnie (brothers and sister), 169 Vale Ave., Mansfield, Oh.
Born 1923
New Albany National Cemetery, New Albany, In. – Section B, Grave 409A; Buried 10/27/49
American Jews in World War Two – not listed; The Aluminum Trail, p. 142; https://www.findagrave.com/

Jacob Sternbaum and Harold Ruslander were crewmen in C-46 41-107282; covered in MACR 5198.  The aircraft was lost on a flight between Chabua and Misamari (both in India), the wreckage eventually being located in India’s Dafflaghur Hills (27 – 06 N, 93-24 E).  Pilot: Capt. Terry V. Prosper; 4 crewmen – no survivors. 

______________________________

Bauman, Hans, Pvt., M/107479
Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, Loyal Edmonton Regiment
Cassino War Cemetery, Cassino, Frosinone, Italy – IX,F,10

Ben Avraham, Avraham Pall, Pioneer, 12648
Royal Army, Pioneer Corps
Dely Ibrahim War Cemetery, Algeria – 4,B,19
We Will Remember Them (Volume I) – 238
(We Will Remember Them gives name as “Ben-Avraham, Avraham”; Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives name as “Ben Abraham, Abraham Pall”)

Black, Bernard, Gunner, 558769V
South African Artillery, 6th Field Reserve Company
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel and Bella Black (parents), Johannesburg, South Africa
Born 1921
Bari War Cemetery, Bari, Italy – XIV,A,35
South African Jews in World War Two – page “x”

Einhorn
, Philip, T/Sgt., 35008563, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart

United States Army, 37th Infantry Division, 148th Infantry Regiment
Mr. Joseph Einhorn (brother), Isadore and Eugene (brothers), 3436 Superior Park Drive, Cleveland Heights, Oh.
Born 1912
Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines – Plot D, Row 6, Grave 93
American Jews in World War Two – 485; Cleveland Press & Plain Dealer, June 6 and 9, 1944
Greater Cleveland Veterans Memorial – Record for Philip Einhorn

Fisch, Arthur E., T/5, 39550181, Field Artillery, Purple Heart (Died of Wounds)
United States Army, 1st Armored Division, 91st Armored Field Artillery Battalion
Mrs. Goldie P. Fisch (mother), 2148 ½ City View, Los Angeles, Ca.
Born 1922
Place of burial unknown
War Department Release 8/24/44; American Jews in World War Two – 42

Fried, Carl Melvin, Pvt., D/82925
Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, Seaforth Highlanders of Canada
Mr. and Mrs. Max and Rose Fried (parents), 7 Park St., Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
(also) 15 Yates Ave., Newark, New Jersey, United States
Born Glace Bay Nova Scotia, Canada; 4/23/13
Cassino War Cemetery, Cassino, Frosinone, Italy – IX,D,23
Canadian Jews in World War II (Volume II) – 23; The Jewish Chronicle – 6/23/44

Friedman, Martin (Mordechai Bar Khaim), Sgt., 33062674
United States Army, 3rd Infantry Division, 30th Infantry Regiment
Mr. and Mrs. Hyman and Elsie Friedman (parents), 3800 Cottage Ave., Baltimore, Md.
Born 1914
Herring Run Hebrew Cemetery, Baltimore, Md. – Mikro Kodesh Beth Israel Section
American Jews in World War Two – Not listed; NJWB Card states “No Publicity”; War Department Release 10/6/44

Goldberg, Norman Myer, Sgt., 1086976, Air Bomber, Mission of 5/22-23/44 to Braunschweig, Germany
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 49 Squadron
Mr. and Mrs. Philip and Rachel Goldberg (parents), Liverpool, England        
Born 1922
Aircraft: Lancaster III, NE125; “EA * K”; Pilot: P/O Philip R. Graves-Hook; 7 crewmen – no survivors
Becklingen War Cemetery, Borkel, Kreis Becklingen, Germany – Collective Grave 24,B,5-7
We Will Remember Them (Volume I) – 198; RAF Bomber Command Losses (Volume V) – 234

Greystoke
, Peter, F/O, 143106

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Mrs. Doris Greystoke (wife), Wanstead, Essex, England
(also) 24 Du Cane Court, Balham, London, SW17, England
Born 1910
Streatham Park Jewish Cemetery, Surrey, England – Section F, Row 12, Grave 10
We Will Remember Them (Volume I) – 202; The Jewish Chronicle 6/2/44

Kaufman, Louis Nathan, Trooper, 6850444
Royal Armoured Corps, Royal Tank Regiment, 51st (The Leeds Rifles)
Mrs. Deborah (Davidson) Kaufman (mother), 175 Green Lanes, Palmers Green, Middlesex, London, N13, England
Born 1922
Cassino War Cemetery, Cassino, Frosinone, Italy – II,K,14
We Will Remember Them (Volume I) – 112; The Jewish Chronicle – 8/25/44

Krolman
, Norman Martin, Lt.

Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, 12th (The Three Rivers) Armored Regiment
507 Rosevale Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Cassino War Cemetery, Cassino, Frosinone, Italy – XIII,G,10
The Jewish Chronicle – 6/23/44

Schiff, Daniel J., 2 Lt., 0-694958, Bombardier, Purple Heart
United States Army Air Force, 15th Air Force, 456th Bomb Group, 744th Bomb Squadron
Mrs. Tillie S. Schiff (mother), 407 Quentin Road, Brooklyn, N.Y.
MACR 15117, B-24H 42-94872; Pilot: 2 Lt. John W. Van Dyke; 11 crewmen – no survivors
Place of burial unknown
American Jews in World War Two – 430; Casualty List 7/2/44

Szkolnik, Jean Antoine, at Monte Schierani, Italy
Armée de Terre, 4eme G.T.M.
Vauchowilliers, Aube, France
Born 8/10/18
Place of burial unknown

Waldman, Tobias, Trooper, 7911691
Royal Armoured Corps, Royal Tank Regiment, 51st (The Leeds Rifles)
Mr. and Mrs. Solomon and Hettie Waldman (parents), 6 Stobart Ave., Prestwich, Manchester, Lancashire, England
Cassino War Cemetery, Cassino, Frosinone, Italy – II,K,2
We Will Remember Them (Volume I) – 172; The Jewish Chronicle – 6/16/44
(We Will Remember Them gives name as “Walderman, Tobias”; Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives name as “Waldman, Tobias”)

Wiener
, Derek Abraham, F/O, 157874, Wireless Operator, Mission of 5/22-23/44 to Dortmund, Germany

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 103 Squadron
Mr. and Mrs. Solomon David and Bernice Wiener (parents), Cleveleys, Essex, England
Born 1923
Aircraft: Lancaster III, ND629; “PM * G”; Pilot: P/O William J.D. Charles; 7 crewmen – no survivors
Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Germany – Collective Grave 23,C,12-14
We Will Remember Them (Volume I) – 31; RAF Bomber Command Losses (Volume V) – 237

Winkiel, Leon Jan, Sgt., P/792294, Air Gunner, Mission of 5/22-23/44 to Dortmund, Germany
Royal Air Force, No. 300 Squadron
Born Gniew, Poland, 11/17/21
Aircraft: Lancaster III, LM487; “BH * J”; Pilot” F/O Wilhelm Adler; 7 crewmen – 1 survivor (F/O Adler)
Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Germany – Plot II, Row E, Grave 4
Jewish Military Casualties in the Polish Army in World War II (Volume II) – 121
Polish Air Force at War (Volume 2) – 383
RAF Bomber Command Losses (Volume V) – 237
Leon Jan Winkiel (at Polish War Graves)
Loss of Lancaster LM487 (at Air Crew Remembered)
Polish Air Force in World War Two – No. 300 Squadron Losses (at PolishAirForce.pl)

Zerbib, Benjamin, at Tomba di Rose, Italy
Armée de Terre, 1ere R.A.C.
Elba Ksour, Tunisia
Born 1/13/22
Place of burial unknown

Other Incident…

Sloan, Leon H., F/O, T-123451, Glider Pilot, Soldier’s Medal
United States Army Air Force, 1st Provisional Troop Carrier Group, 309th Troop Carrier Squadron
Aircraft crashed 3 miles north of Wagram, North Carolina
Mr. and Mrs. Henry and Lena Slobod (parents), 5501 Chancellor St., Philadelphia, Pa.
(wife), Des Moines, Ia.
Born March 8, 1920
“No MACR”; Aircraft L-3C 43-1551; Passenger was F/O Willard T. Ray (seriously injured)
Roosevelt Memorial Park, Trevose, Philadelphia, Pa. – Lot Z, Plot 186, Grave 2; Buried 5/26/44
American Jews in World War Two
– 533; Philadelphia Inquirer 5/25/44, 5/27/44; Philadelphia Record 5/25/44; Wilkes-Barre Record 5/25/44; http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/

Wounded

Ayoun, Maurice, Lieutenant, at Pastena, Italy
Armée de Terre

“On 23 May 1944, in the vicinity of Pastena (Italy), where, supporting a tank attack, under a violent artillery fire and anti-tank weapons, he succeeded in destroying on foot an advancing enemy “Panther” tank.  Two nights later, during a reconnaissance patrol, forward of the lines, subjected to a violent fire and close to infantry, he participated himself in the evacuation under fire of one of his seriously wounded men, giving a fine example of camaraderie and contempt of danger.”

(“Le 23 Mai 1944 aux environs de Pastena (Italie), oû, appuyant une attaque de chars, sous un violent tir d’artillerie et d’armes antichars, a reussi, à pied, à détruire un char “Panther” ennemi qui gênait la progression.  Deux nuits après, au cours d’une patrouille de reconnaissance, en avant les lignes, et pris à partie sous un tir violent et rapproché d’infanterie, a participé lui-même à l’évacuation sous le feu d’un de ses hommes grièvement blessé, donnant ainsi le bel exemple de camaraderie et de mépris du danger.”)

Wounded subsequently, on 11/21/44
Livre d’Or et de Sang – Les Juifs au Combat: Citations 1939-1945 de Bir-Hakeim au Rhin et Danube– pp. 119, 134

Garland, Ralph, Cpl., H/19488
Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
98 Inkster Blvd., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Canadian Jews in World War II (Volume II) – 95; The Jewish Chronicle – 9/15/44

Goldstein, Joseph, Pvt., Purple Heart, Anzio, Italy
United States Army
Mrs. Evelyn Goldstein (wife); Phyllis (daughter), 80-10 192nd St., Jamaica, N.Y.
Born 1917
American Jews in World War Two – 328; War Department Release 7/2/44; Long Island Daily Press 7/1/44

Schwartz, Edward, PFC, Purple Heart, Traceno, Italy (wounded by 88mm shell)
United States Army
Mrs. Lillian Schwartz (mother), 1398 Grand Concourse, Bronx, N.Y.
Born Hungary, 1920
American Jews in World War Two – 435; The American Hebrew 10/6/44; Casualty List 7/11/44

Rankin, Harry, Cpl., K/52258
Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
3570 Hull St., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
437 E. 7th Ave., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Canadian Jews in World War II (Volume I) – 78; Canadian Jews in World War II (Volume II) – 112; The Jewish Chronicle – 7/7/44

Prisoner of War (Europe)

Lesser, Stanley, Sgt., 31126915
United States Army, 88th Infantry Division, 350th Infantry Regiment
POW at Stalag 7A, Moosburg
Mrs. Etta Lesser (mother), 319 Park St., Holyoke, Ma.
Born 1916
American Jews in World War Two – Not listed; Casualty Lists 6/11/45, 6/19/45

Other Incident

Morris, Melvin, 1 Lt., Pilot (Cargo), Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
United States Army Air Force
Aircraft Crashed at Myitkyina, Burma
Mrs. Helene Morris (wife), 60 Plaza St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 1915
No MACR; C-47 41-7866
American Jews in World War Two – 396; War Department Release 10/12/44; http://www.aviationarchaeology.com

References

Jones, Jay, The 370th Fighter Group in World War II – In Action Over Europe with the P-38 and P-51, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, PA, 2003

Thucydides, History of The Peloponnesian War (Translated by Rex Warner; with an Introduction and Notes by M.I. Finley), Penguin Books, New York, N.Y., 1972 (Pericles Funeral Oration pp. 143-151)

Hoffman, Roy, Missing in Action – On Memorial Day, keeping alive the memory of my uncle, lost at sea in WWII  – .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. – (at Tablet Magazine – Commemorating Major Roy Robinton, USMC)

Discussion of 370th Fighter Group Losses on May 23, 1944 (at 12 O’Clock High .net – Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum)

Forman, Martin S. – Obituary (at Legacy.com)

World War II Accounting – Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (at dpaa.mil)

World War II Casualties (at Wikipedia)

Luftwaffe Wartime Aerial Victory Credits – by Jan Safarik (at AcesSafarikOvi.org)

J (Jäger) Reports J 1179, J 1180, and J 1181: United States National Archives – Collection of Foreign Record Seized – Record Group 242: “Records of Luftgaukommandos: German Reports of Downed Allied Fighters and Other Aircraft – J (Jäger) Reports”, at Entry 1013, Shelf Location 190 / 14 / 9-8 / 2-1

Note

* I do not know the total number of missing for the countries of the British Commonwealth or former Soviet Union, but those numbers are likely staggeringly high, and especially in the case of the latter, indeterminate, because of lack of records, and especially political factors.

The Brief War of An Only Son: PFC Jochanan Tartakower, May 3, 1925 – September 29, 1944


PFC Jochanan Tartakower
32999991
315th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division
United States Army

“….for the past few years I have been preparing myself mentally for that event,
and now I feel that the hour is coming when I,
in my small way,
will avenge the crimes committed.

And I think in my place, being an infantryman,
I will get my best chance.

I think a lot about the movement and about Aretz;
it is curious how war can influence your thinking,
and being in the army and fighting even more.”

May 3, 1925 (Lodz Poland) – September 29, 1944 (France)
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

______________________________

On January 10, 1945, the New York Times published a Casualty List covering the New York Metropolitan area, Northern New Jersey, and Connecticut, which – though by no means the largest Casualty List that appeared in the Times during the war – was staggering in terms of its nominal visual impact, let alone the number of names appearing within it.

The List was extracted from a nationwide Casualty List comprised of 6,178 names, specifically being limited to members of the Army killed and wounded in the European Theater of War.  Like other Casualty Lists that appeared in wartime newspapers, the presentation of information was simple, stark, and straightforward:

Entries were limited to the soldier’s surname, his given (first and middle) names, the name of his next-of-kin (mother; father; wife; friend; aunt; uncle), specific residential address (for soldiers who resided in the five boroughs of New York), while for soldiers from New Jersey or Connecticut, the “address” was limited to his city or town of residence.

Each name on the list represented a person – a world – that extended well beyond the nominal confines of a name, rank, serial number, and military unit.  Each name on the list embodied a past, a brief present, and future that would not be.  Each name on the embodied and symbolized told a unique story.

One of the names on the list was – like many names on the list – for a simple Private First Class.  His name?  Jochanan Tartakower.  His story was markedly – if not dramatically – different from most.

He was born in Poland in 1925, the only child of Dr. Arieh and Malwina Tartakower. 

Dr. Tartakower, a graduate of the University of Vienna with specializations in demography and sociology, had a lifelong involvement in a variety of leadership and academic research positions in Jewish affairs, particularly in the realms of Labor Zionism, aid and assistance for Jewish refugees, and ultimately as Chairman of the Department of Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  His life was one of idealism, action, and academic research, the last exemplified through the publication of numerous articles and books, the titles of some of the latter being listed in his Jewish Virtual Library and Wikipedia entries.  Born in Poland in 1897, he died in Jerusalem in November of 1982.

______________________________

Dr. Arieh Tartakower, from his Wikipedia entry.

Strikingly, however, neither of the above references, nor his obituary at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency mention his son, Jochanan, the course of whose life – dictated by other forces – took a very different course.

Born in Lodz in 1925, Jochanan reached the United States in 1941, where his father had been residing after the 1939 World Zionist Congress in Geneva.  (The accounts of their journeys differ between The American Hebrew and Aufbau.  Both are presented below – with the latter probably being more accurate.)  Malwina had a far more arduous journey, reaching America only after traveling through the Soviet Union, the Yishuv, and possibly Japan, probably reaching her husband and son in 1943. 

Once in America, Jochanan, who listed his home address as 129 West 85th Street in Manhattan, enrolled in City College, where he studied engineering.

______________________________

The first notice of Jochanan’s death was penned by Max Beer and published in Aufbau on October 27, 1944.  The article and my (approximate!) translation are presented below:

Aufbau

Friday, October 27, 1944

Dr. A. Tartakower – Mitglied der Exekutive des Jüdischen Weltkongresses – und seine Gattin Malwina wurden in diesen Tagen durch das War Department davon verstangt, dass ihr einziger Sohn, der neunzehnjährige Pfc. Jochanan am 29. September in Frankreich “in action” den Tod gefunden hat.  Mit den Eltern trauern alle ihre Freunde um den hochbegabten liebenswerten jungen Mann, der mit Begeisterung in den Krieg zog, als Amerikaner und als Jude.

Jochanan Tartakower, geboren am 3. Mai 1925 in Lodz, war nach einer abenteurlichen Flucht Polen im Jahre 1941 in Amerika eingetroffen, wo sein Vater weilte, nachdem ihn die Invasion Polens im September 1939 auf dem Genfer Zionistkongress uberrascht hatte.  Der Mutter, die der Krieg ebenfalls von ihrem Sohn getrennt hatte, gelang es erst nach vier Jahren, in mühseliger Wanderung uber Russland und Palastina, die Ihren in Amerika wiederzufinden.

Aber die Familie sollte nocht lange vereitn bleiben.  Jochanan, der am City College Ingenieurwissenschaft mit glanzendem Erfolg studierte.  Prasident der Habonim und, wie die Eltern, tif mit hebráischem und judischen Wissen vertraut war, tockte kurze Zeit nach der Ankunft der Mutter in das Heer ein und ging nach Frankreich.

Alle, die den prächtigen, vornehmen jungen Mann gekannt haben, liebten ihn ung sagten im eine glänzende Freunde von Arieh und Malwina Tartakower, die das unermüdliche Wirken des Ehepaares für die Sache des Judentums und der Menschheit kenne, wissen, dass die trotz der schweren Prüfung, die ihnen auferlegt wurde, mit ganzer Seele und mit allen Kräften weiter den Kampf für die grosse Sache führen werden, der ihr Sohn seine Jugend und sein Leben gab.

Max Beer.

Dr. A. Tartakower, a member of the Executive Committee of the World Jewish Congress, and his wife Malwina, were advised by the War Department that their only son, nineteen-year-old Pfc. Jochanan was killed on September 29 in France “in action”.  With the parents, all their friends mourn for the high-spirited, loving young man, who was enthusiastically drawn to war, as an American and a Jew.

Jochanan Tartakower, born May 3, 1925 in Lodz, arrived in America in 1941 – where his father had been staying with the 1939 Geneva Zionist Congress, after the invasion of Poland in September – after an adventurous flight from Poland.  The mother, whom the war had also separated from her son, succeeded only four years later, through toilsome wandering over Russia and Palestine, to find him again in America.

But the family should stay a long time.  Jochanan, who studied engineering sciences at City College with brilliant success.  He was President of Habonim, and acquainted with Hebrew and Jewish knowledge like the parents, a short time after the arrival of the mother, entered the army and went to France.

All those who have known the splendid, distinguished young man loved him, said a brilliant friend of Arieh and Malwina Tartakower, who knew the tireless work of the couple for the cause of Judaism and mankind, that despite the heavy trial which was imposed upon them, will continue the struggle for the great cause, for which her son gave his youth and his life.

Max Beer

______________________________

The next appearance of Jochanan’s name was in The Jewish Chronicle (and Jewish News, of Detroit) on November 3, 1944.  On that day, the Chronicle published a casualty list which included Jochanan’s name, an exception to the Chronicle’s practice of limiting military casualty (and award) lists to names of servicemen specifically in the armed forces of the British Commonwealth.  Jochanan’s name, which appears near the end of the list, was probably included due to his father’s prominence in Jewish affairs.

Information about some of the men in the above list appears below….

Died of Wounds
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Chenovitch, Barnet, Pte., 6150664, Somerset Light Infantry, Suffolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion
Died of Wounds June 7, 1944, Imphal-Kohima, Burma
Mr. and Mrs. Solomon and Yetta Chenovitch (parents), 1 Eastdown House, Amhurst Road, Hackney, London, E8, England
Born 1921
The Jewish Chronicle 11/3/44, We Will Remember Them I – p. 70
Imphal War Cemetery, India – 1, B, 10

Dubinsky, William Henry, Pvt., H/200121, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, Calgary Highlanders
Died of Wounds 8/13/44
Mr. and Mrs. Shiyah and Eva (Weinman) Dubinsky (parents), 282 Selkirk Ave. / 222 Pritchard Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Born in Russia 6/26/14
The Jewish Chronicle 11/3/44, Canadian Jews in World War Two II – p. 20
Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery, Calvados, France – XII, H, 9

Schwartz, William, Gunner, B/138564, Royal Canadian Artillery, 3rd Field Regiment
Died of Wounds 9/4/44
Mr. Sam Schwartz (father), Room 1104, Ford Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The Jewish Chronicle 11/3/44, Canadian Jews in World War Two II – p. 20
Montecchio War Cemetery, Italy – III, B, 16

Trocki, Adolf, 2 Lt., 05336, Polish Army West, Cavalry, 1 Polska Dywizja Pancerna, 10 Brygada Kawalerii Pancernej, 24 Pułk Ułanów im.
Killed in Action 8/16/44
France, Calvados, Jort
Born in Vilno, Poland, 3/24/15
The Jewish Chronicle 11/3/44; Jewish Military Casualties in the Polish Armies in World War Two – p. 121
Platoon commander, killed in tank.; Engineer; Information from SGA “Sepultures de Guerre” web site.  Not in SGA “Seconde guerre mondiale” database.; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Armoured_Division_%28Poland%29
http://home.concepts.nl/~avalphen/lari/lan.t.htm#2566
Cimetiere militaire “Langannerie”, Grainville-Langannerie, Calvados, France – Tombe individuelle, Carre Plot V, Rang A, No. 3 (Initially buried at M.R. 7F/4 246406)

Wounded

Abramovitz, Hymie, Pte., B/155273, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, The Black Watch
Wounded 7/24/44
Mr. Samuel Abramovitz (father), Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Jewish Chronicle 9/29/44, 11/3/44; Canadian Jews in World War Two – p. 85

Besserman, Irvin, Pte., B/142219, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)
Wounded 8/27/44
Mr. and Mrs. Nathan and Bessie Besserman (parents), 64 Montrose Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Jewish Chronicle 11/3/44; Canadian Jews in World War Two – pp. 10, 86

Blustein, Philip, Pte., D/86038, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment
Wounded three times: @ 8/15/43 (Sicily), @ 7/15/44 (Italy), and @ 9/15/44 (Italy)
Mrs. Yetta Blustein (mother), 2195 Wilson Ave., Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Born 1920
The Jewish Chronicle 11/19/43, 11/3/44; Canadian Jews in World War Two – p. 88

Bogo, Maurice, Gunner, B/21909, Royal Canadian Artillery
Wounded 9/8/44
(Wife), 41 Essex St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Jewish Chronicle 11/3/44; Canadian Jews in World War Two – p. 88

Prisoner of War

Greenblatt, Chanan David, CQMS, B/46386, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, Argyle and Southern Highlanders
Captured 8/27/44; Interned at Stalag 357
Miss S. Greenblatt (sister), 3327 Dundas St., West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Born in Toronto
The Jewish Chronicle 11/3/44; Canadian Jews in World War Two II – p. 124

______________________________

__________________________________________________

______________________________

Some other Jewish military casualties on September 29, 1944 – when Jochanan was killed in action – include…

Killed
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Adler, Sheldon L., 2 Lt., 0-820188, Co-Pilot, Air Medal, Purple Heart
Mr. and Mrs. Louis and Minerva Adler (parents), Doris Adler (sister), 38 Fort Washington St., New York, N.Y.
Born 1925
Casualty List 1/25/45; New York Times Obituary section 10/29/44
American Jews in World War Two – p. 264

Dragoon, Samuel, T/Sgt., 12041050, Flight Engineer, Air Medal, Purple Heart
Mrs. Frances R. Dragoon (wife), c/o S. Jaffe, 2000 Vyse Ave., New York, N.Y.
Mrs. Rose Dragoon (mother); T/Sgt. Max Dragoon (brother), 1326 Washington Ave., Bronx, N.Y.
Casualty List 12/15/44; Jewish Criterion (Pittsburgh) 9/20/46
American Jews in World War Two – p. 298

(Sergeant Dragoon’s brother, T/Sgt. Max Dragoon, a member of the 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, was killed in action 26 days earlier: On September 3, 1944.  His name appeared in Casualty Lists released on October 8 and November 11, 1944.  Awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart with one Oak Leaf Cluster, he is buried at the American Cemetery, in Epinal, France – (Plot A, Row 15, Grave 33).)

Sheldon Adler and Samuel Dragoon were crewmen aboard B-24H Liberator 41-29439, “GALLOPIN GHOST” (“6L * K”); of the 787th Bomb Squadron, 466th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, the loss of which is covered in MACR 15774.  The plane was piloted by 1 Lt. Marshall K. Lewis, and crashed near Lyancourt, France, while returning to its base from a trucking mission to Saint Dizier, France.  According to the MACR, the crash was caused by the simultaneous failure of all four engines: “reason unknown”.  There were no survivors among the aircraft’s six crewmen.  The entire crew – Lt. Adler, T/Sgt. Dragoon, Sgt. Wilbur R. Hain (Observer – from Goodspring, Pa.), 1 Lt. Marshall K. Lewis (Pilot – from Forth Worth, Tx.), T/Sgt. Paul E. Miller (Radio Operator – from San Bernardino, Ca.), and 2 Lt. Herbert F. Minard (Navigator – from Wichita, Ks.) – was buried in a collective plot (Section 82, Grave 125) at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, in Saint Louis, Missouri, on October 3, 1949.

______________________________

This excellent image (UPL 7610) of the Ghost’s nose art, from the American Air Museum website, shows the crew of pilot Lt. Dorsey L. Baker (standing at left), who completed 32 missions, 30 with the 784th Bomb Squadron.  (The Ghost was assigned to the 784th (as “T9 * K“) before being allocated to the 787th Bomb Squadron.)

______________________________

This image, also from the American Air Museum website (UPL22744; contributed by Eric Foster), shows four of the airmen who were lost when the Ghost crashed in France on September 29, 1944, as well as other crewmen not aboard the plane on that mission.

Standing, left to right: S/Sgt. Owen Killborn, 2 Lt. Sheldon Adler (co-pilot; KIA 9/29), Lt. Caulk, T/Sgt. Paul E. Miller (radio operator; KIA 9/29), T/Sgt. Samuel Dragoon (flight engineer; KIA 9/29;), 1 Lt. Marshall K. Lewis (pilot; KIA 9/29).  Front row: S/Sgt. Dwight O. Foster, 2 Lt. Herbert F. Minard (navigator; KIA 9/29), S/Sgt. Thomasett, S/Sgt. Albert Spencer.

______________________________

Bloom, Rubin, PFC, 12014488, United States Army, Purple Heart, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
9th Infantry Division, 39th Infantry Regiment
(Wounded previously – @ 8/27/44)
Mrs. Rose Bloom (mother), 1746 Bathgate Ave., Bronx, N.Y.
Born 1918
Casualty Lists 10/27/44, 1/10/45
Montefiore Cemetery, Springfield, Queens, N.Y.
American Jews in World War Two – 280

Bondas, Lazar Yakovlevich [Бондас, Лазар Яковлевич], Captain [Капитан], Assistant Commander (Headquarters) [Помощник Начальника Штаба]
U.S.S.R. [C.C.C.Р.], Red Army [РККА (Рабоче-крестьянская Красная армия)]
39th Tank Brigade [39 Танковой Бригады]
Wounded [ранен] 9/29/44; Died of wounds [умер от ран] 12/24/44 at 1141st Evacuation Hospital [1141 Звакуационный Госпиталь]

Born 1913, Ryazan, Ryazan Oblast [г. Рязань, Рязанская область]
Aron Yakovlevich Bondas (brother) [Арон Яковлевич Бондас (брат)]
Memorial Book of Jewish Soldiers Who Died in Battles Against Nazism – 1941-1945 – Not Listed [Книги Памяти евреев-воинов, павших в боях с нацизхмом в 1941-1945гг – нет в списке]

Cravetz, Paul P., T/4, 32132780, United States Army, Purple Heart
4th Armored Division, 25th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mechanized)
Mr. Benjamin Cravetz (father), 312 Seneca St., Fulton, N.Y.
Lorraine American Cemetery, St. Avold, France – Plot C, Row 8, Grave 45
Daily Sentinel (Rome, N.Y.) 1/25/45; Syracuse Herald-Journal 1/28/42; American Jews in World War Two – 294

Glickerman, Sam Jack, PFC, 36643868, United States Army, Purple Heart
36th Infantry Division, 142nd Infantry Regiment, C Company
Mr. and Mrs. Efrom and Rose Glickerman (parents), 1403 S. Tripp St., Chicago, Il.
Born 2/22/22
Cemetery location unknown
American Jews in World War Two – 100; http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/Czestochowa1/czea008.html

Goldsmith, Sidney W., Pvt., 32988824, United States Army, Purple Heart
91st Infantry Division, 363rd Infantry Regiment
Mrs. Anna Goldsmith (wife), 1171 Morrison Ave., Bronx, N.Y.
Born 1/13/18
Casualty List 12/15/44
Workmen’s Circle #281 Cemetery, Glen Wild, N.Y.
American Jews in World War Two – 327

Greenberger, Marvin H., Pvt., 42079049, United States Army, Purple Heart
4th Armored Division, 51st Armored Infantry Battalion
Mrs. Sadie G. Greenberger (mother), 2825 Grand Concourse, Bronx, N.Y.
Casualty List 1/10/45
Lorraine American Cemetery, St. Avold, France – Plot C, Row 6, Grave 45
American Jews in World War Two – 335

Hora, Raymond E., PFC, 16177224, United States Army, Purple Heart, 1 OLC
36th Infantry Division, 141st Infantry Regiment, B Company
Mrs. Lillian Hora (mother), 18667 Cherrylawn St., Detroit, Mi.
Born 1919
Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal, France – Plot A, Row 8, Grave 39
American Jews in World War Two – 191

Kantor
, Lev (Leonid) Moiseevich (Mikhaylovich) [Кантор, (Лев (Леонид) Моисеевич (Михайлович)]
Junior Lieutenant [Младший Лейтенант]
Order of the Red Star (Орден Красной Звезды)
Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class (Posthumous) [Орден Отечественной войны I степени (Посмертно)]
Aerial Gunner – Bombardier [Воздушный Стрелок-Бомбардир]
U.S.S.R. [C.C.C.Р.], Military Air Forces – VVS [Военно-воздушные cилы России – ВВС]
561st Autonomous Army Aviation Squadron [561 Отдельной Армейской Авиационной Эскадрильи]
53 missions; Aircraft unknown – p r o b a b l y U-2 , Po-2, Pe-2, or Il-4 [В е р о я т н о… У-2, По-2, Пе-2, или Ил-4]
Born 1912
Memorial Book of Jewish Soldiers Who Died in Battles Against Nazism – 1941-1945 – Not Listed [Книги Памяти евреев-воинов, павших в боях с нацизхмом в 1941-1945гг – нет в списке]

Szwarfurter, Pinchas, Pvt., Polish People’s Army, at Poland, Warsaw-Brodno
6th Infantry Regiment
Mr. Szymcha Szwarfuter (father)
Born Slovakia, Zilinda, Konska; 1919
Powazkowska Street, Warsaw-Zoliborz, Mazowieckie, Poland
Jewish Military Casualties in the Polish Armies in World War 2 – Volume I – 069

Wounded in Action

Kelner, Irving, Cpl., B/40965, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
Lincoln and Welland Regiment
Mr. and Mrs. Israel and Molly Kelner (parents); Norman, David, Morris, and Ruth (siblings), 410 Parliament St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Jewish Chronicle 1/12/45; Casualty List (USA) 11/29/44; Canadian Jews in World War Two, Volume II – 42, 102

Silverman, Leo, Cpl., K/57228, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
Canadian Scottish Regiment
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
(mother) 2033 Bennings Road, Washington, D.C.; (cousin), 1307 S. McBride St., Syracuse, N.Y.
The Jewish Chronicle 12/1/44; Canadian Jews in World War Two, Volume II – 115

Vosberg
, Mickey Herman, Gunner, D/138332, Royal Canadian Artillery

(parents), 5587 Esplanade Ave., Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The Jewish Chronicle 12/1/44; Canadian Jews in World War Two, Volume II – 117

Weinstein, Samuel H., 1 Lt., United States Army, Wounded by shrapnel in leg (Germany)
Mrs. Esther Weinstein (mother), George and Meyer (brothers), 68-33 76th St., Middle Village, N.Y.
Born 1910
Long Island Daily Press 12/2/44; Casualty List 12/3/44; American Jews in World War Two – Not listed

Woolner, Jack, PFC, United States Army (France)
Mr. Harry Woolner (father), 1907 E. Firth St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Born 1921
Philadelphia Record 11/12/44; American Jews in World War Two – Not listed

______________________________

Then, news about Jochanan appeared in the November 10 issue of The American Hebrew…

American Hebrew – November 10, 1944

Jews in Uniform

Unhappy Ending.

Jochanan Tartakower, born in 1925, in Lodz, Poland, escaped from Poland in 1939.  Alone he traveled to Russia and the Orient, arriving in New York from Japan several years later, to be re-united with his father, Dr. Arieh Tartakower, head of the Relief Department of the World Jewish Congress, who, being one of the leaders of the Polish Jewish Community, was well known to the Nazis and was on the Gestapo list for early capture.  Dr. Tartakower had been able to elude the Nazis at the outset of hostilities and had succeeded in reaching the United States, without his family.  Mrs. Tartakower, Jochanan’s mother, was detained and only succeeded in rejoining her family long after Jochanan’s arrival in America.  The happy re-united family were enjoying life here in New York.  Jochanan, the only child of the Tartakowers, attended C.C.N.Y. School of Engineering, where he was an honor student.  He was active as President of Habonim, a Zionist youth group in New York, and had a host of friends.  He joined Uncle Sam’s fighting forces at the age of 18 and was assigned to the infantry.  He was sent to the European theatre of operations to meet his old enemies, the Nazis, this time on more equal terms, as a well equipped fighting man.

Dr. Tartakower recently received a telegram from the War Department:  “We regret to advise you that your son, Private First Class Jochanan Tartakower, A.U.S., has been killed in action on September 29, 1944.”

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Fittingly; appropriately; movingly, Arieh memorialized his son in his next book:  The Jewish Refugee, which was published by the Institute of Jewish Affairs of the AJC (American Jewish Congress) and WJC (World Jewish Congress).  The title and dedicatory pages of The Jewish Refugee are shown below:

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In 1947, Jochanan’s name appeared in Volume II – the state-by-state directory of casualties and award recipients – of the two-volume American Jews in World War II.  (The reference work has been cited in many of my prior posts, and will be mentioned wherever pertinent for future blog entries.)  Here is the cover…

…while Jochanan’s name appears on page 459, appropriately under “New York”.  This page is representative of the presentation of names in American Jews in World War II:  Likely due to the sheer number of entries – 38,888 – based on information recorded by the National Jewish Welfare Board (NJWB) – information is limited to names, ranks, military awards, city or town of residence, and casualty status (killed in action, or killed – non-battle).  Though the NJWB index cards typically include names of next of kin, home addresses, and sometimes serial numbers, military theater of action, and date when a serviceman was a casualty, none of this latter (invaluable) information was ever published.

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The following essay appeared in a publication entitled Furrows, a publication of Ichud Habonim (the Labor-Zionist youth movement), in November of 1944.  Its very title – F u r r o w s – visually connoted farming; plowing; soil; land – while “kvutza” denoted “communal settlement” prior to Israel’s 1948 re-establishment.  Furrows was published in New York City between 1942 and 1964. 

ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING
JOHANAN TARTAKOWER

“Johanan Tartakower was killed in action in the European Theater of Operations on September 29th, 1944. He was one of our best haverim.’’

He was my friend, too – that is why these words are meaningless to me.  I cannot transform and reduce this intangible thing into pitifully inadequate sentences.  I can only wonder at the empty space that is left in my life and try to fill it with memories of Johanan and of the days we spent at Kvutza, of the work we did when he was my rosh mahaneh, of the dreams we had together of Eretz Yisrael and “our” kibbutz.

And I can say with a determination which I have never felt, before that we must not let the chain of halutzim be broken.  We must fill the gap.  We must believe in the things Johanan died for and fight for them.  Freedom and peace are meaningless if we are not conscious of their worth and do not accept their responsibilities – and freedom and peace must prevail lest future Johanans shall die, lest the Jewish people never find their future.

I shall endeavor to do what my friend Johanan wanted to do – I will try to realize his dreams.  That is the best tribute I can give him, and I call to all those others who believe as Johanan did to rouse themselves, to accept the task of the halutz, so that the vision of which Johanan was symbolic shall find new strength and fervor.

Harry Brumberger
Furrows, November, 1944

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In September of 1985, a Conference Room named in Yochanan’s honor was opened at Kibbutz Kfar Blum, in northern Israel.  The images show the ribbon cutting (by Jochanan’s mother, Malwina?), Arieh affixing a commemorative plaque upon the Conference Room’s entrance, the Conference Room itself (where Jochanan’s photographic portrait – the image atop this post – is displayed), music played at the ceremony – with Dr. Tartakower contemplatively resting his head upon his hand – and next, presenting a speech, while Malwina watches from the audience.

 

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It is ironic, considering the scope of Arieh’s academic and literary oeuvre, that history gave Jochanan so very little opportunity and time to record his own thoughts, and eventually, perhaps, arrive at his own understanding of “the world”. 

Still, two short fragments of his writing, apparently preserved and incorporated by a friend – “B.K.” – within correspondence or a newsletter of the Labor Zionist movement, are still extant, and are presented (in italics) below.  Given that these were penned while Jochanan was no more than nineteen years old, they reveal a man wise beyond his very few years; intellectually and morally conscious of the nature of the era in which he was living, as a Jew, an American soldier, and a hopeful pioneer in the re-establishment of a Jewish state. 

Perhaps his others correspondence – V-mail? – hand-written letters? – still exists, somewhere.   If and until they are discovered, let these small passages speak for him:

It was a great blow to us when we learned that Yochanan was killed in action in France.  Indeed, those of us who knew him well, who worked and lived with him in Habonim, found it very difficult to force ourselves to realise that Yochanan was no longer with us, would not be on the chava with us, and would never live and work together with us as chalutzim in our kibbutz in Aretz,

To say that Yochanan was one of the best chavorim in New York and also one of the finest and most sincere chalutzim in the movement would be superfluous.  To those of us who knew him, however, these words have real significance in our memories. We remember that summer in Killingworth shortly after he came to this country, memories of putting up ohalim together, moving the tent platforms up to the Bonim Kikar, siphoning gasoline from one vehicle to another, singing around the Medura.  We remember him working more actively than most of us in the New York Galil and especially in the Manhattan Machaneh of which he was a driving force, though not a very loquacious one.  Especially we remember him as part of our present K.A. group which meant so much to him.  We see him sitting at K.A. meetings in the office or in some cafeteria, where long-winded debates on chalutziut were often held.  During these debates, he was usually silent, but when he did speak it was apparent that he, more than the rest of us knew what chalutziut means.  To him it had for a long time been his whole life.

It just does not seem fair that Yochanan should have been killed.  He had gone through so much.  His family was separated during the occupation of Poland.  His father, Aryeh Tartakower, a prominent Zionist leader, came to America first.  It was only in 1942 that Yochanan managed to reach the United States after a long and dangerous journey.  His mother finally arrived here shortly before he went into the Army.  To Yochanan, therefore, this war was very real and very important, not only because he was more deeply aware of the issues and the character of the enemy, but also because he saw things through the eyes of a chalutz.  It was only after his death that we learned that he could have been withdrawn to a desk job because of his knowledge of languages but that he refused the offer because, as ho told his commanding officer, he came to Europe to fight.  In a letter from England he wrote:

“….for the past few years I have been preparing myself mentally for that event, and now I feel that the hour is coming when I, in my small way, will avenge the crimes committed.  And I think in my place, being an infantryman, I will get my best chance.  I think a lot about the movement and about Aretz; it is curious how war can influence your thinking, and being in the army and fighting even more.”

Yes, he thought a lot about the movement and about Aretz.  To be a chalutz in Aretz was his goal in life.  Sometimes he would be sad because of the thought that he might never achieve this goal.  But throughout the time that he was in the Service, he always thought about K.A., was writing constantly to chaverim, demanding news on how the K.A. was developing, and making the problems of the K.A. his problems no matter how far away and isolated he was.

In a letter written just a few days before his death, after having gone through the thick of all the fighting in France, he wrote:

“I have thought of it constantly and as far as I am concerned all the hardships and risks I have gone through made me only a better chalutz, and above all more conscious of my immediate future.  So, my theory is that ex-servicemen, after the war is over, will make a hell of a lot better chalutzim than anybody else, for the simple reason that they have changed their mode of living once already and are not afraid to do it again.”

It is with tears in our eyes that we bid farewell to Yochanan, our chaver.  We will try to live up to his standards of chalutzic character, to his devotion and self-sacrifice.  We promise to avenge Yocbanan in the way he would have liked it, with a larger aliyah from our movement to Aretz, with fields which we shall reclaim and cultivate in his memory, and with houses and farm buildings which we shall build on our soil.  Though he is gone, we know that Yochanan will be with us always as an inspiration during the difficult times that lie ahead in accomplishing the great task which was to him life itself. – B.K

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Jochanan’s matzeva at Long Island National Cemetery in Suffolk County, New York, photographed by FindAGrave contributor Glenn.

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An aerial view of Kfar Blum – photographed by Ofir Ben Tov – in Israel’s Upper Galilee.  The view looks south, with the tree-lined Jordan River winding between the Kibbutz and the two center-pivot irrigation circles to its east.  The Sea of Galilee lies in the distance.

The land is furrowed.  The land, is green.

Acknowledgements

I would like to extend my sincere and grateful appreciation to Annette Fine and Yonatan Porat, of Kibbutz Kfar Blum, for their generosity in sharing material – particularly photographs – pertaining to Jochanan and his parents.  Without their assistance, “this” post would not have been possible.  

References

Aryeh Tartakower (at Wikipedia)

Arieh Tartakower (at Jewish Virtual Library)

Aryeh Tartakower Dead at 85 (at Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Furrows (New York Public Library catalog record)

Kfar Blum Volunteers (at Goalweb.com)

Pastoral Hotel – Kfar Blum (at KfarBlum-Hotel.co.il.)