Shortly after the commencement of hostilities between the Allies and Central Powers, The Jewish Chronicle implemented a policy of compiling and publishing lists of the names of Commonwealth Jewish servicemen engaged in military duty.
The Chronicle indeed implemented this policy – at least in the early part of the war – but due to the unanticipated severity and duration of the conflict, the publication of such “nominal” lists of servicemen was eventually overtaken and superseded by straightforward Casualty Lists, and, lists of servicemen receiving military awards. For example, Casualty Lists appearing in mid-July through August of 1916 are enormous, reflective of the appalling casualties incurred by the British armed forces during the Somme Campaign, which commenced on July 1 of that year.
I do not know if the “master” list of servicemen alluded to below was ever, actually, presented to the King and Queen by either The Jewish Chronicle, or, other officials or representatives of British Jewry. However, the impetus to collect and the record names of servicemen eventuated – by 1922 – in the creation and publication of the British Jewry Book of Honour, particularly due to the great efforts of Chaplain to the Forces Reverend Michael Adler.
Akin to British Jewry, post-war memorial and historical compilations of biographical information concerning World War One Jewish war casualties, and Jewish war service, in general, were created in Germany (several such works), Italy, France, Australia and New Zealand. No such work was ever generated for Austro-Hungarian Jewry, though the publication Dr. Bloch’s Oesterreishische Wochenschrift was extremely diligent in regularly collecting and publishing the names of Austro-Hungarian Jewish soldiers.
Astonishingly, no such monograph was created concerning AmericanJewish WW I military casualties, and general military service, despite the acquisition of information necessary for such a work, let alone the talent and infrastructure needed for its creation and publication. Perhaps what was lacking in American Jewry – through the 1920s, 30s, and 40s (by which time the need had probably become “moot”, having overtaken by another, larger war…) was the impetus – the will – to do so.
As to the reason? Well, that is the subject of conjecture…
Akin to earlier posts, a PDF version of this article is available here.
– Michael G. Moskow
AN HONOUR RECORD
TO ALL JEWS WHO ARE SERVING
A TESTIMONY FOR THE KING
The Jewish Chronicle
September 4, 1914
The JEWISH CHRONICLE is desirous of compiling a full list of all Jews in the Empire who are serving during the War.
As soon as a sufficient number of names and addresses reach us, we shall begin the publication of the record and continue it week by week. All names will be placed in alphabetical order, irrespective of rank.
At the end of the War, when the list is completed, the whole of the names will be printed in a separate form on finest art paper, and a bound copy will be submitted to THE KING for His Majesty’s gracious acceptance.
We shall be glad, therefore, if all who are serving the King or any arm of His Majesty’s Forces will forward it to us at once their names and home addresses, with their status, and regiment or ship and mark the envelope (or post card): –
Is one picture is worth a thousand words? – Well…? Maybe.
Is one picture is worth a memory? – Hmmm…? Definitely.
Given Major Cedarbaum’s efforts on behalf of the Jewish servicemen on Guam, it is more than fitting to present an image of the Major, himself. The picture below, from his Jewish Welfare Board Chaplaincy Record (available at Ancestry.com) is a fitting denouement to the prior posts covering Pesach on Guam in 1945.*
Intriguingly, due to the quality of the photo, which clearly shows two newspapers in the Rabbi’s library, the image can be approximately dated.
At the left is The Jewish Floridian, of July 13, 1945. (This newspaper is available in digital format at the Florida Digital Newspaper Library of the University of Florida George A. Smathers Library, via the Florida Jewish Newspaper Project.)
At the right is The Jewish Post, of August 3, 1945. (The Post is available in digital format at the website for the – appropriately enough, Jewish Post – of the Indiana Historic Newspaper Program.)
Digital images of the first page of each newspaper are presented below.
Given that Major Cedarbaum was stationed on Guam between March and October of 1945, this suggests that the photo was taken in mid to late August of that year.
Major David Isadore Cedarbaum, Rabbi, ASN 0-529289
The Jewish Floridian, July 13, 1945
The Jewish Post, August 3, 1945
And, a possible segue for a future blog post…
…of particular note in The Post is the item “Fighting For America”, by artist Leon Blehart. Fighting for America was issued by the Jewish Welfare Board and depicted – through cartoon vignettes – actions (sometimes involving wounds, or worse) by Jewish servicemen which resulted in military awards. The series appeared from (at least?) – May through October of 1945. The sketches in each release presented actions by four to five soldiers, from all branches of the American military.
This “Fighting for America” item in The Jewish Post of August 3, 1945, appeared in The Jewish Exponent (Philadelphia) on the same day, and is shown below:
The actions depicted in the first two, and fourth vignettes, pertain to the following servicemen:
PFC Jerome Rubin, 75th Infantry Division; Incident occurred January 18, 1945; Mother (?), Marion Rubin, of 5502 14th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.; In Casualty List published in New York Times on 3/17/45; Story reported in Chicago Jewish Chronicle 8/10/45.
1 Lt. Robert Burton Paris, 342nd Bomb Squadron, 97th Bomb Group, 12th Air Force; From Memphis.
“Cpl. Isidore Goldberg” is probably Pvt. Isidore Goldberg; Father Ben Goldberg, of 1311 Grant Ave., New York, N.Y.; In Casualty List published in New York Times on 9/10/44.
The prior blog post presented an interview with Reverend Michael Adler, concerning military service by British Jewry on the outbreak of the First World War, which appeared in The Jewish Chronicle of 14 August, 1914.
This post presents the lead editorial that appeared in the same issue of the Chronicle, which in spirit, idealism, and patriotism, is very much a companion piece to the above-mentioned article. This is evident by the quote appearing at the editorial’s end – “England has been all she could be to Jews – Jews will be all they can be to England,” which appeared in the Chronicle on August 7, a few days after Britain’s entry into the war.
As seen in the image below (from the August 19 issue of the Chronicle’s sister publication, The Jewish World), this quote was prominently affixed to the exterior of the Chronicle’s offices by mid-August.
Akin to the interview of Reverend Adler, the editorial is available in PDF format via the link at the end of this post. – Michael G. Moskow
The Jewish Chronicle
August 14, 1914
The free spirit of determination to resist and overcome the enemies of this country, which has been manifested by all classes throughout the land is no small consolation for the affliction of war that has been cast upon it. The calm, and implacable sentiment which from the highest to the most humble throughout the country has impelled all classes is one of the finest assets of victory that England possesses. That sentiment, that spirit, Jews of all ranks are sharing to the full. All thought except a desire to serve this country has been banished from the minds of our people. The fact that the war is likely to bear, both from the economical and the sentimental standpoint, more heavily upon them than upon any other of the races or peoples that are involved, as must necessarily be the case with a people positioned as are Jews in the world, has not been given a moment’s consideration. The supreme law of loyalty to the country of which Jews are citizens has over-ridden every other impulse. When we find that even the Jews in Russia have declared themselves determined to fight with Russia, for Russia’s cause, side by side with those who have for generations been their bitter persecutors, it is no wonder that the Jews of England have thrown themselves into the duties involved by war upon the English citizen with an ardour and an enthusiasm matched perhaps by other classes in the country, but exceeded by none.
At the call of duty a considerable army of Jews from England have responded. Countless instances of the remarkable sacrifice and self-abnegation involved in this prompt answer are pouring in upon us as we write. Jewish mothers, who of all creatures on God’s earth have a tender heart for their offspring, have urged their sons – the apple of their eye – to go forth and serve for the King and the country. Jewish fathers who had fondly pictured for their sons careers of advancement in commerce or profession have set their lips stiff and bid their sons wrench themselves away from the vocations designed for them, and go help to overcome the enemies of England. In the day of trial, in the stress of battle, these sons of Israel will not be found wanting. The pluck and the spirit of old these Jews have not lost. The rely upon God for His protection, and upon their own strong arm for shielding the country which so nobly had sheltered their people. This spirit is no mere frothy and ebullient martial ardour. England is face to face with a test and a trial such as she has never been put to, and our sons have leapt gladly to the supreme opportunity of doing their share as English citizens.
Not again has the spirit and sentiment of duty at this anxious time animated only those who have hurried to the colors for active service in the field. It has seized the whole community. Everyone, man and woman, is anxious to find some means whereby, if not in the field then at home actively, or at least passively, they may help this country to victory. The energetic loyal co-operation in a hundred ways which Jews are now undertaking can be judged from such records as we are able to provide in another column. These do not by any means constitute all. They are, at most, typical. Yet they are remarkable. For Jews are naturally a peace loving people, to whom war is hateful, to who, the shedding of human blood is detestable, who traditionally and historically have magnified peace as an ideal, who turn day by day in their prayers to the city named of Peace. We Jews are conscious that to day, more than ever, Peace is Jewry’s most faithful ally. But we see this great country gone forth to a war which was forced upon it by a haughty and intolerable systems of militarism. We see this country with a clear conscience and clean hands going forth to do battle for freedom, for freedom from an overbearing Empire of “blood and iron”. We see this country defending with all its vast resources the rights of the smaller nationalities and the existence on earth of the smaller States free from the engulfing greed of the brute force of armaments. In such a cause we feel we have a cause for which to fight. In such a cause we feel we have a cause for which to suffer, and to sacrifice, in such a cause it can be no matter for surprise that to a unit we are responding with a spirit worthy of the highest conceptions of our race. In such an hour it is but natural that we in this country should recollect and be inspired by the thought that, “England has been all she could be to Jews,” and should determine that, “Jews will be all they can be to England.”
As part of an effort to learn about Jewish military service in the First World War – “The Great War” as the conflict was known at the time due to its unprecedented, staggering scope and scale – I’ve done extensive research within periodicals published during that era by the Jewish and general press. This effort has been focused upon locating articles and news items covering Jewish military service, military awards received by Jewish servicemen, the experiences of Jewish civilians in various battlefronts (particularly Eastern Europe), casualty lists, and, more.
The periodicals I’ve researched in this endeavor are many and varied. Some can be accessed on the Internet, while others – to the best of my knowledge – have not been digitized, existing only as 35mm microfilm (remember film?!…) thus necessitating visits to the libraries or institutions having such resources in their holdings.
Prominent among the periodicals I’ve researched have been The Jewish Chronicle (London, England), its companion publication The Jewish World, and, The Jewish Exponent (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).
Both the Chronicle and Exponent are still “going strong” in this year of 2017, over a century after the end of the Great War.
The Chronicle presents an invaluable picture of military service by Jews of the British Empire, presented in the wider context of British Jewry as a whole, set within the even larger scope of news about world Jewry.
The following article – based on an interview with Chaplain Michael Adler – appeared in the August 14 issue of The Jewish Chronicle, ten days after Britain’s entry in the war on August 4. In tone and spirit, the closing and opening paragraphs are reflective of and consistent with the patriotic ardor and enthusiasm permeating much of Europe – among both the Allies and Central powers – at the war’s very beginning. Reverend Adler, who passed away in 1944, was also responsible for the creation of the memorial / commemorative volume British Jewry Book of Honour, in 1922. More information about him can be found at Sarah Hurst’s blog post, A Chaplain in the Trenches.
The article is also available in PDF format via the link at the end of this post.
I hope to present further material relating to the Jewish military experience in WW I from later issues of the Chronicle, and other periodicals, in future posts.
– Michael G. Moskow
Jews and the War
INTERVIEW FOR THE JEWISH CHRONICLE
WITH THE CHAPLAIN TO THE JEWISH TROOPS (the Rev. M. ADLER)
The Jewish Chronicle
August 14, 1914
THE Jewish manhood is responding with alacrity and enthusiasm to the call of England. Even the glowing fervor at the time of the Boer War is thrown into eclipse by the ardour that is being shown in these momentous days. There is not a Jew in this country who cannot tell of friends enlisted, of relatives enrolled in one or other of the British legions, of youthful zeal that will not be denied, of love of the Motherland exquisite in its tenderness, boundless in strength, unsurpassed in all the wonderful annals even of British loyalty and British enthusiasm.
These are early times to estimate the true muster of English Jews in this campaign. British born and foreign born, rich and poor, have answered with equal swiftness the summons to the colours. But, if ever the total is ascertained, it will form another unforgettable testimony to the spirit which wise and just government evokes in all the children of the realm.
The Chaplain to the Jewish troops, the Rev. Michael Adler, B.A., who has always thrown himself with enthusiasm into his work, is to-day a sort of human focus for the waves of patriotic eagerness that are sweeping the community, and to him many of the Jews under arms, from Hindustan to Aldershot, look for religious sustenance and moral inspiration. Mr. Adler is himself a captain in the Territorial Force (London and Eastern Command). He was at Deal with the Jewish Lads’ Brigade, and was about to go to the Territorial Camp at Wareham when the present storm broke over Europe. He now holds himself at the disposal of the General Officer commanding, to be attached to any military station where London Territorials are assembled, and will be heading as soon as the latter are at their respective stations – which will be very soon. It is possible that he will have to arrange for deputy chaplains in various parts of the country – probably in Lancashire and Yorkshire to begin with.
Jewish Lads’ Brigade Enlistments
In conversation with a representative of the JEWISH CHRONICLE, Mr. Adler commented on what he described as the very strong feeling of loyalty among English Jews. One pointed illustration of this which he gave is the fact that a number of officers and senior boys of the Jewish Lads brigade volunteered for service immediately on the Brigade returning to town last Tuesday week. Practically all were accepted.
But it is, of course, to the normally constituted forces of the Crown that we have to look for some more adequate representation of the numbers of Jews who are bearing arms in the present crisis, and of the Jewish elements in these. Mr. Adler gave an interesting account.
Jews in the Navy
“There are,” he said, “a dozen Jewish officers in the Navy. In regard to the men, the last official return gave the numbers of the Jews at about fifty. But if you multiply that figure by four or five you will get the more correct number, for I constantly hear of Jews entering themselves as of another creed. One interesting fact about the Navy is that it contains quite a considerable number of Jewish petty officers, including a warrant officer in the Marines. There is a Jewish warrant officer – M.M. Bright – who was originally a pupil of the Jews’ Free School, and was, at one time, in the Jewish Lads’ Brigade. He has been raised to commissioned rank, and it is worth noting that he is one of the ten in the entire Navy recently selected for promotion. He is now probably on active service. One Jewish warrant officer, named Pash, is warrant officer of signals on one of the super-Dreadnoughts. There are a Jewish major and captain of Marines and several Commandants, and others who may be mentioned here are Midshipman Charles Marsden (“St. Vincent”), and Claude Telfer (son of Mr. W.T. Leviansky), and F. Lowy (grandson of the late Dr. A. Lowy), of the Royal Naval Reserve.
“By the way, the medical officer of the Jewish Lads’ Brigade, Dr. L. Mandel, joined the Royal Navy as a doctor the day after the camp broke up.”
What about the Jews in the regular army?
“I know of fifty-two Jewish ‘regular’ officers. They include among their number members of the Sassoon, Mocatta, Beddington, Halford, Solomon, Henriques, Sebag Montefiore, Seligman, De Pass, and other well-known Jewish families. Many of them will be in the Expeditionary Force.
“In regard to Jewish non-commissioned officer and men, the last official return dated October, 1913, put the number as 236. This figure, however, should be multiplied by three at least to arrive at the true total.
Jews in the Cavalry
“Since March last a system has been instituted at the military recruiting stations of notifying to the chaplain every professing Jew who enlists, and over fifty names have been sent in to me. In one week alone four Jews joined the 4th Hussars. There has, indeed, been a great tendency on the part of the Jews to enlist in cavalry regiments – a new feature in Jewish enlistment.
“Of course, in addition, a very large number of Jews in the Reserves have now returned to the Colours, but how many it is impossible to say.
Do Jews figure to any extent in the Guards regiments?
“Well, there are Sergt. Instructor J.H. Levey of the Scots Guards; Sergt. M.J. Marks, of the 3rd Coldstreams; Sergt. Lewis, in Coldstreams, and Sergt. Rosenberg, of the 2nd Scots Guards, besides a large number of Jewish privates.
“It may truly be said that there is hardly a regiment in the Regular Army in which Jews are not represented, a number of the recruits of recent date having come from Leeds and Manchester.
“Jews are also represented in the Artillery. There are, for instance, Sergt.-Major Shapeere and Quartermaster-Sergt. F.J. Wooley, of the Royal Horse Artillery, to say nothing of a number of privates in that branch, as well as in the Royal Field Artillery and Royal Garrison Artillery. One Jews, a Canadian by birth, is one of the principal gun-layers of his battery.
Rothschilds in the Trenches
“There are seventeen Jewish reserve officers. And in addition I have ten names of Jewish Special Reserve officers. One of these, Lieutenant W. Stanford Samuel, 4th King’s Liverpool Regiment, has already written me to say that he has been ordered to the front. The last official return gave sixty-nine Jewish privates in the Special Reserve. For that too, must be considerably increased to give the true figure.”
There are, of course, many Jews in the Territorial ranks.
“I have the names of ninety-four officers, with ranks ranging from colonel to second lieutenant. Among these are the three sons of Mr. Leopold de Rothschild, viz, Mr. Lionel de Rothschild, M.P., Major in the Royal Bucks Yeomanry, and Mr. Evelyn and Mr. Anthony de Rothschild, who are lieutenants in the same regiment. Among other Jewish Territorial officers are Major F. Goldsmith, M.P. (Suffolk Yeomanry), Col. Claude Beddington (Westmoreland Yeomanry), Lieut. Sir Philip Sassoon, M.P. (Royal East Kent Yeomanry), and Mr. Robert M. Sebag-Montefiore, a captain in the last-cited regiment; other Jewish Yeomanry officers are Major H. Weinberg (City of London Yeomanry), and Lieuts. Reginald and Desmond Tuck (3rd City of London Yeomanry). The latter are the sons of Sir Adolph Tuck.
“In the Artillery, there are Col. H.D. Behrend; Major E.G. Heilbron, and a number of other officers; and, in the Engineers, Col. De Lara Cohen, on reserve. Major R.Q. Henriques, and Capts. R.H. Joseph and G.C. Kennard, Col. H.M. Jessel, M.P., is Hon. Commander of the 1st Royal Fusiliers, Major J. Waley Cohen belongs to the 16th Queen’s Westminsters, Major F.D. Samuel to the 3rd Royal Fusiliers, and Major S.S.G. Cohen to the 5th Liverpool Regiment.
Well Known Names
“Among others that may be mentioned are Lieut. Lionel L. Cohen, son of Mr. Leonard Cohen, and Lieut. Leonard G. Montefiore, son of Mr. Claude G. Montefiore. In the 6th Regiment City of London are five Jewish officers – Capts. G.A. Myer, M.H. Schwersee, and E.L. Phillips, Lieut. H.D. Myer, and Second Lieut. J.E. Lowy (grandson of the late Dr. Lowy). In the 4th Royal West Kent Regiment are two sons of the late Sir B.L. Cohen – Capt. Sir Herbert Cohen, Bart., and Capt. A.M. Cohen. In the 7th London Regiment are Capt. C.D. Enoch and Lieut. F.M. Davis (son of Mr. Felix Davis). In the 16th Queen’s Westminsters, besides Major Alfred Waley Cohen, are Capt. J. Henriques, and Lieut. E.G. Waley (son of Mr. Alfred Waley). In the 19th County of London there are four Jewish officers – Capt. Edgar J. Davis, and Lieuts. L.J. Davis, J. de Meza, and J. Lumley Frank.
In the Provinces
“The Provinces are further represented by Lieut. Col. S.L. Mandelberg (Manchester), Capt. J.M. Heilbron (Glasgow), Lieut. J.M. Goldberg (6th Welsh Regiment), Lieut. L.G. Harris (7th West Riding), Lieut. J.B. Brunel Cohen, son-in-law of Sir Stuart Samuel, M.P. (5th Liverpool Regiment), and Capt. N.J. Laski (6th Lancashire Fusiliers).
What of the Jewish privates in the Territorial ranks?
“As regards the men, it is impossible to estimate the exact total of Jews. But of London men alone I receive official returns for the last military service of some 400 names, representing practically every unit in the London command. In the 4th Fusiliers there were 36 Jews, and many of the other regiments had long lists. In the country, too, there are a very large number of Jewish Terriers. At the last Territorial camp of the London regiments held on Salisbury plain in August of last year, 90 Jewish officers and men attended parade for service.
“Then there is one specifically Jewish voluntary aid detachment, under the charge of Dr. Myer Dutch, the duty of which is to act as nurses to the Territorial Force.” An appeal, in this connection, appears in another column.
A great many Jews are volunteering for service in the present emergency.
“I have reason to believe that a very large number of Jews have been accepted. I have received a number of communications from coreligionists who are anxious to join, whether as officers or privates. There is also soon to be a great number of Jews in the Colonial contingents.
“In short,” added the Chaplain, in conclusion, “there has been a great outburst of enthusiasm among Jewish young men everywhere.”
It is a tribute to the wisdom of Britain – and the fortitude of a people which, whatever its faults, does not number among them ingratitude to its friends.
One wonders what happened to the 2,700-odd Jewish servicemen after the evening of March 28, 1945 (15 Nisan 5705).
Certainly, the overwhelming majority survived the war and returned to the United States after Japan’s surrender.
Some – with a probability verging on certainty – did not.
Case in point, the image below: An Honor Roll, created by Chaplain Cedarbaum, bearing the names of sixty-five Jewish airmen who were casualties while serving in the 20th Air Force. Based on this and other information, he planned to eventually create a book about Jewish aviators who served in the 20th Air Force as crewmen in B-29 Superfortress bombers. His plans never came to fruition, at least as he expected…
…The above photograph was received by Noah and Sadie G. Finkelstein, whose son, 2 Lt. Joseph Harold Finkelstein, a Co-Pilot in the 6th Bomb Squadron of the 29th Bomb Group, was killed during a mission to Tachiarai Airfield, Kyushu, Japan, on May 5, 1945. (1) (His name appears under the heading “314th Wing.”) The image inspired them to create their Memorial Album covering Jewish airmen who were casualties – killed or missing – in the 20th Air Force. As recorded by Noah in the book’s forward, “I decided to attempt to obtain biographies of all those whose names appeared on the plaque, and to publish an album to their memories.”
So far as I know, Noah and Sadie’s book is almost unique, for it is one of the very few monographs giving detailed biographies of American Jewish military casualties – in the context of a specific time frame, activity, and theater of war – that appeared during the twentieth century.
Some Jewish periodicals, such as the South African Jewish Times, and, the Jewish Criterion (Pittsburgh, Pa.) allocated special sections at the war’s end for comprehensive photographic and biographical coverage of Jewish military casualties, but this material was never translated into books. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Volume Two of the 1947 publication American Jews in World War II, by I. Kaufman, presents state-by-state lists of the names of American Jewish servicemen who received awards for military service, or, who were casualties (wounded, injured, or killed; the book does not specifically identify men who were POWs). The entries in this volume are limited to a man’s name, rank, city of residence, and military awards, being derived from information recorded on National Jewish Welfare Board – Bureau of War Records Master Index Cards.
Cover page of the Finkelstein’s Memorial Album, “Dedicated to the Boys of the 20th Air Force”.
A stylized aircraft flies towards a burning sun: A brief introductory poem by Sadie Finkelstein on page 4. Sadie composed other poetry for her book. This comprised three other four-line poems with allegoric illustrations (the one shown above is from page 16), and, two full-length poems in Yiddish. The latter include English translations by Paul Monroe, and, Ruth Kaswan.
Notice that this powerful image – probably in pen and ink – is signed by “M.D.”, who also created the preceding illustration. Unfortunately, “M.D.’s” full name is not given in the text.
Unknown at the time to Chaplain Cedarbaum, among the sixty-five men whose names appear on the plaque, seven would survive as Prisoners of War (POWs). Their names, dates of capture, and crew positions follow:
Einstein, Alvin J., S/Sgt. – June 22, 1945 – Gunner (Central) Ginsberg, Abraham Saul, Sgt. – May 29, 1945 – Gunner (Right) Greenwald, Mortimer L., Sgt. – August 2, 1945 – Gunner Leavitt, Harold F., S/Sgt. – May 26, 1945 – Radar Operator Moritz, Wallace, 2 Lt. – May 29, 1945 – Navigator Siegel, LeRoy, Sgt. – April 7, 1945 – Gunner Unterman, Melvin, Capt. – May 26, 1945 – Bombardier
Among those who did not survive, the majority were never found, due to the combination of physical circumstances and / or locations in which their aircraft were lost. Their names of most are commemorated at the Tablets of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial, in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Of the sixty five, the Finkelsteins’ book presents biographies and photographs for twenty-four. They are:
Bauch, Selig H., Sgt. – Radar Operator Berkowitz, Martin, S/Sgt. – Radio Operator Binger, Marvin Louis, Sgt. – Gunner (Right) Broome, Richard Jerome, Sgt. – Flight Engineer Cohen, Abe, PFC (Not actually an air crewman; died while trying to rescue a comrade from a burning building.) Cohen, Monroe Melvin, F/O – Navigator Feinberg, Robert Alvin, 2 Lt. – Radar Operator Finkelstein, Joseph Harold, 2 Lt. (Their son) Co-Pilot Greenspan, Marvin Jerome, Cpl. – Gunner (Right) (Shot down over Japan on 4/15/45 (his first mission); captured immediately; murdered shortly after under direction and instigation of Second Lieutenant Ippei Tamura.) Harris, Benjamin L., 2 Lt. – Flight Engineer Hoenig, Sidney, F/O – Bombardier Klein, Donald Philip, S/Sgt. – Radar Operator Kronick, Archer S. (Asher Simcha bar Yoel), Sgt. – Gunner (Central) Levinson, Gerald M., 2 Lt. – Flight Engineer Levy, Jules, 2 Lt. – Navigator Orkin, Milton, 2 Lt. – Navigator Porjesz, Kurt, S/Sgt. – Radio Operator Powsner, Maurice J., F/O – Bombardier Schneider, Leon, 2 Lt. – Bombardier Sheshansky, Harold, S/Sgt. – Gunner (Central) Siegel, Norman Sydney, 2 Lt. – Navigator Stein, Monroe, 1 Lt. – Bombardier / Navigator Tomberg, Leon,1 Lt. – Bombardier Weiner, Herbert Coften, 2 Lt. (Actually, a casualty in Australia with the 5th Air Force)
The sixty-five names alluded to above represent a portion of Jewish servicemen who were casualties in the 20th Air Force. The total number stands substantially higher and includes six other POWs. The names and dates of capture of the latter are:
Levine, Joseph, 1 Lt. – December 14, 1944 – Bombardier Levine, Stanley H., 2 Lt. – August 8, 1945 – Flight Engineer Newman, Irving Sidney, 2 Lt. – August 20, 1944 – Navigator Paul, Chester E., 1 Lt. – December 14, 1944 – Co-Pilot Presender, Robert Eugene, 1 Lt. – March 2, 1945 – Navigator Sellz, Norman, S/Sgt. – April 7, 1945 – Radar Operator (Sole survivor of his crew)
Many more names could be presented, but this list will suffice, for now.
Perhaps better to let one man symbolically speak for all – for those few who returned; for the many who did not: Irving S. Newman, at a reunion of the 468th Bomb Group in September of 1995.
From Dorchester, Massachusetts, Irving was a navigator, and one of three survivors (along with the flight engineer and radar operator) of Calamity Sue, a 468th Bomb Group B-29 piloted by Captain Ornell J. Stauffer. Calamity Sue was lost on a mission to Yawata, Japan, on August 20, 1944 (the crew’s second combat mission) when a nearby B-29, the Gertrude C, was deliberately rammed by a Japanese fighter, debris from the disintegrating B-29 striking and mortally damaging Stauffer’s aircraft.
Like many veterans of the Second World War, Irving wrote an account of his experiences. Intended for his family, and in a symbolic sense simply for the historical record – to make a historical record of the past for its own sake – Irving actually began this process very soon after being liberated from captivity in Omori, Japan, in 1945. As he recounted, “This book was started in September of 1945, aboard the USS Yarmouth. She was a little out of her accustomed territory. Boston to Nova Scotia was her regular run, but here she was come to take me home from my Pacific war. I wrote laboriously, telling who, what, when and where, but never why; that always escaped me.”
The book is arranged chronologically and encompasses such topics as Irving’s pre-war life in the Boston area, his training as a bombardier, and navigator; his relationships with other airmen, particularly his crew members and fellow POWs; being Jewish in the military in the 1940s (though not a central thrust of the book); the loss of Calamity Sue, his capture, and the realities of interrogation by the Japanese; life as a prisoner of war.
Given the immediacy of its composition, the book is a work of great clarity, detail, directness, and near-complete frankness. As Irving himself implied, there is genuinely and intentionally very little “why” in the book in the way of discussion of deeper religious or philosophical issues.
Which, perhaps, when pondering the names above – why some men returned,; why some did not – is just as well.
We all have to answer such questions in our own way.
Here is a brief answer from Irving, speaking for his father, Harry Newman:
(1) Their B-29, serial 42-93953 and commanded by 1 Lt. Ralph E. Miller, was shot down by Petty Officer Toru Kurita of the 343rd Kokutai, who was flying a N1K2-J Shiden Kai fighter plane. The crew consisted of:
Pilot: 1 Lt. Ralph E. Miller (Eaton Rapids, Mi.)
Co-Pilot: 2 Lt. Joseph H. Finkelstein (Los Angeles, Ca.)
Navigator: 2 Lt. Charles C. Winder (Salt Lake City, Ut.)
Bombardier: 1 Lt. Clyde M. Roush (Neosho Rapids, Ks.) Flight Engineer: T/Sgt. William H. Chapman (Calhoun, Ga.) Radar Operator: 2 Lt. Jack M. Berry (Atlanta, Ga.)
Radio Operator: Sgt. Jack V. Dengler (Danville, Il. / Salt Lake City, Ut.)
Gunner (Central): Sgt. Albert R. Howard (Cullman, Ak.) Gunner (Left): Pvt. Merlin R. Calvin (Saint Louis, Mo.)
Gunner (Right): Cpl. Clark B. Bassett, Jr. (Son of Clark B. and Bonnie W. Bassett, of 202 Niagara St., North Tonawanda, N.Y.) Gunner (Tail): Cpl. Irving A. Corliss (Somersworth, N.H.)
“No eventual”, because five men did survive the aircraft’s shoot-down, by parachuting. They were 2 Lt. Berry, Sgt. Dengler, Cpl. Corliss, and Pvt. Calvin. All captured uninjured, they were murdered – while prisoners of war – on June 20, 1945. The fifth crewman, Cpl. Clark B. Bassett, Jr., severely wounded and unconscious, was parachuted from the plane by those men, and died of his wounds not long after landing. He is the only member of this crew who has a place of burial. (Acacia Cemetery, North Tonawanda, N.Y.)
Corporal Clark B. Bassett, Jr., from the North Tonawanda Evening News of December 27, 1948.
The plane’s other crewmen – Miller, Finkelstein, Winder, Roush, Chapman, and Howard – were presumably still aboard the aircraft when it crashed at sea, at a place still – and probably forever – unknown.
Rear row: Roush, Winder, 1 Lt. Paul E. Remmetter (Killed in Action April 16, 1945; replaced by Lt. Miller), Finkelstein, Berry Front row: Howard?, Dengler, Chapman or Corliss, Bassett
Rear row, left to right: Roush, Winder, Remmetter, Finkelstein, Berry Front row, left to right: Howard, Dengler, Chapman, Bassett, Corliss, Calvin
Title Page: SEDER IN THE MARIANAS – PASSOVER – 5705 – 1945
Acknowledgements and Officiating Chaplains
Page 1: Kiddush Blessing
Page 2: Kiddush Blessing (continued); Blessing over Greens (Parsley); Dividing the Matzah (Among 2,700 servicemen, who was the lucky Private First Class who found the afikomen?!)
Page 3: A noteworthy section of the Guam Haggadah – an uneasy if not irresolvable balance between particularism and universalism – is found under the heading “Let My People Go”.
The text obviously, pointedly, and directly address Jewish peoplehood, Zionism (albeit without that word), and a sense of collective pride, through the text, “Men can be enslaved by intolerance. When Jews are forced to give up their Jewish way of life, to abandon their Torah, to neglect their sacred festivals, to leave off rebuilding their ancient homeland – they are slaves. When they must deny that they are Jews in order to get work – they are slaves. When they must live in constant fear of unwarranted hate and prejudice – they are slaves.”
The thrust of that text is curiously counterweighted by setting Pesach in the form of a generalized yearning for “freedom”, but “freedom” defined as an individual, if not philosophical, if not universalistic value of the Enlightenment – rather than a particularistic and covenantal concept – set in the frame of the war effort of the United States, and the Allies, in general.
This is evident in such statements as, “Peoples have suffered, nations have struggled to make this dream come true. Now we dedicate ourselves to the struggle for freedom.” “It means liberation from ail those enslavements that warp the spirit and blight the mind, that destroy the soul even though they leave the flesh alive. For men can be enslaved in more ways than one.” “Pesach calls us to be free, free from the tyranny of our own selves, free from the enslavement of poverty and inequality, free from the corroding hate that eats away the ties which unite mankind.” “Pesach calls upon us to put an end to all slavery! Pesach cries out in the name of God, “Let my people go.” Pesach summons us to freedom.”
Though I do not have access to the 1942 edition of Rabbi Kaplan’s New Haggadah, I wonder if this text – perhaps reflective of the hopes, aspirations, and ambivalence pervasive among early and mid twentieth century American Jewry (and still today?…) – is derived from that work.
Page 4: “Let My People Go” (continued); Art depicting Moshe Rabbenu in the wilderness
Page 5: “Go Down Moses”; Art depicting Moses and Aaron confronting Pharaoh
Page 6: Presentation of Matzah; The Four Questions
Page 7: The Four Questions (continued); Pesach narrative
Page 8: Pesach Narrative (continued)
Page 9: Dayenu!
Page 10: Dayenu (continued); “In every generation do men rise up against us, and God delivers us from their hands.”
Page 11: Display of Symbols of Pesach (Shankbone and Matzah)
Page 12: Display of Symbols of Pesach (maror (bitter herbs))
Page 13: Call to Hallel; Hymn “Praise the Lord”
Page 14: Benediction over Matzah; Blessing over Bitter Herbs
Page 15: The Pesach Meal is Served; Opening the Door for Elijah
Page 16: Opening the Door for Elijah (continued); Eliyahu Hanavi
Page 17: Closing Benediction; Singing of America
Back Cover: Printed by 949th Engineer Aviation Topographic Company
Pesach – Passover – is the most universally observed festival of the Jewish people – regardless of the nature of one’s religious beliefs, level of observance, or political affiliation.
Though Pesach certainly carries a festive air, the holiday is far more than merely “a holiday”; at least, as such days are understood in the conventional sense of the term.
Pesach commemorates – even as it celebrates – the origin of the Jews as a distinct people sharing a national ethos and identity, through the form of a vivid historical narrative suffused with overtones, messages, and commentary – some subtle; some direct – about their identity, ideals, and relationship to God.
While it is obviously true that a central message of Pesach is the moral and practical imperative of freedom from slavery – whether that slavery be physical, intellectual, psychological, or spiritual – the core of the celebration extends beyond “freedom” per se, as a philosophical concept and legal actuality. For, pure and unalloyed “freedom”, if not carefully guarded and consciously guided, can in time revert back into a form of slavery.
In a fuller sense, the message of Pesach is not simply “Let my people go!”, but, “Let My people go that they may worship me in the wilderness.” (Exodus, 7:16) *
The Haggadah – an example of which is the subject of this post – is the central text that serves as both a narrative and guide for the Pesach Seder. Though Haggadot are centered around the central and ordered sequence of elements that comprise the Pesach Seder, the actual text and physical appearance of “a” Haggadah is not solidly fixed. Even the most cursory Internet search for the term “Haggadah” reveals a myriad of images of the text – some simple; some elaborate. Thus, with each new iteration of the Haggadah, its wide variety of forms, formats, and styles are reflective of the cultural conditions and historical forces influencing the long and continuing history of the Jewish people, shedding light on the mindset, values, and beliefs of the community or organization which published the text. In that sense, each new publication can be a sociological, cultural, artistic, and linguistic “window” upon the past. Such is so with the Guam Haggadah.
The document presented in this post – “Haggadah – Seder in the Marianas : Passover 5705-1945” – is one such example. This Haggadah was published for and used by Jewish soldiers, airmen, and sailors stationed on the Island of Guam – the southernmost island of the Marianas archipelago, in the western part of the North Pacific Ocean – for Pesach services in March of 1945.
The three men whose names appear on page two of the text – David I. Cedarbaum (Army), and, Philip Lipis and Elihu Rickle (both Navy) – were chaplains serving Jewish military personnel on Guam.
As indicated by the notation on the last page, the text was printed by the 20th Air Force’s 949th Aviation Engineer Topographical Company.
The text of the Guam Haggadah is derived from the revised edition of The New Haggadah, edited by Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan and published by Behrman’s Jewish Book House in 1942. The literary descendant of Kaplan’s 1942 Haggadah exists today as The New American Haggadah, and is available at Berhman’s House.
Mention of the Guam Haggadah is made in “Volume I” of the two-volume 1947 publication American Jews in World War II. In an extensive account of Chaplain Cedarbaum’s service with the 20th Air Force (in a chapter entitled “They Delivered the Atom”) it is stated that, “He had hardly reached his new post when he found himself involved, along with Navy chaplain Philip Lipis, in the organization of an ambitious Passover service on Guam, the first ever held in that part of the Pacific. The ancient Seder services were celebrated on March 28, simultaneously in two large mess halls.
“Twenty-seven hundred soldiers and sailors attended. The Hebrew Haggadah they used had been printed on the Island by 20th AF presses. No doubt to all of them it was the most impressive service of their lives.”
At least one photograph from the Seder is available on the Internet.