Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Albert H. Bendix

From the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Second Lieutenant Albert Hunt Bendix, 0-683894, B-17 Flying Fortress navigator, lost his life during a mission to Munster, Germany, on December 22, 1943.  Reported missing in a Casualty List published on February 8, 1944, his brief obituary, transcribed below, appeared in the Times on September 21, 1945. 

Albert’s parents were Mr. and Mrs. Harry Hunt and Olga (Coyne) Bendix; his sisters and brother Mrs. Annette Mack, Mrs. Maxine Bloom, and Harry, Jr.  According to biographical information at FindAGrave.com, his grandfather, “Theodore Bendix was musical director of “The Spring Maid” with Mizzi Hajos.”

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Lieut. Albert Hunt Bendix, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Bendix of 140 Riverside Drive, navigator of a B-17 in the Eighth Air Force and winner of the Air Medal, who was listed as missing in action Jan. 10, 1944, has been reported officially dead.  He was 26 years old.

Lieutenant Bendix was shot down over Muenster, Germany, on his eighth mission on Dec. 22, 1943.  He had been associated with an insurance brokerage concern in this city.  He entered the Army in 1940.

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The location of the Bendix family’s residence: 140 Riverside Drive, as seen at Blocksy.com.

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Albert was a crew member aboard B-17G 42-37773, of the 563rd Bomb Squadron, 388th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, piloted by 2 Lt. Webster M. Bull.  This Flying Fortress bomber, nicknamed Full House, last seen with its #1 engine feathered, crashed into the Ijsselmeer, near Edam, Holland, shortly after the 388th’s formation had dropped its bombs and was en route back to England.

Of the plane’s ten crewmen, two men survived the war as POWs: Left waist gunner S/Sgt. John F. Rogowski, and tail gunner S/Sgt. Thomas F. Wesson, Jr, both of whom parachuted just before the aircraft landed at sea.  The other eight crewmen parachuted at too low an altitude, or, succumbed to the very cold water. 

Full information about the loss of Full House and its crew can be found in this remarkably detailed account at the ZZAirwar (Zuyder Zee Air War) website. 

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Pages from the Missing Air Crew Report for Full House are shown below:

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This excellent in-flight photo of Full House, from the American Air Museum website, was taken on December 20, 1943, two days before the plane’s loss.

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Born on November 22, 1916, Albert was buried – at Block I, Section 28, Plot 197, Grave 2 – at Riverside Cemetery, in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, on May 13, 1949.  His name is listed on page 273 of Volume II of American Jews in World War II. His matzeva, photographed by FindAGrave contributor DalyaD, is shown below:

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Some other Jewish military casualties on Wednesday, December 22, 1943, include the following…

Killed in Action
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Jacobson, Sydney Charles, 2 Lt., 0-742719, Pilot (Bomber), Purple Heart, 2 Missions
United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 446th Bomb Group, 704th Bomb Squadron
Mrs. Eleanor A. Jacobson (wife), 1777 Somerset St., Providence, R.I.
MACR 2008; B-24H 42-7613 (“FL * H”); 10 crewmen – 7 survivors
Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Ky. – Section F 29
http://www.studiegroepluchtoorlog.nl/22-12-1943-sglo-t3258-consolidated-b-24h-42-7613-fl-h/
American Jews in World War II – 562

Mazur
, Irving, S/Sgt., 12036284, Gunner (Left Waist), Air Medal, Purple Heart

United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 448th Bomb Group, 714th Bomb Squadron
Mr. Sidney Mazur (brother), 206 Quenton Road, Brooklyn, 23, N.Y.
Mr. Samuel A. Mazur (father), 2000 84th St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
MACR 3313; B-24H; 42-52105; Pilot – 2 Lt. David E. Manning; 10 crewmen – no survivors
Tablets of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Holland
http://www.zzairwar.nl/dossiers/791.html Casualty List 1/23/44
American Jews in World War II – 390

Sall
, Henry, S/Sgt., 32177039, Gunner (Right Waist), Air Medal, 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart, 17 missions

United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 306th Bomb Group, 367th Bomb Squadron
Mr. Andrew Sall (brother), 535 Graham Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
MACR 1716; B-17F, 42-3363 (“GY * G”, “Punchy”); Pilot – 1 Lt. James E. Winter; 10 crewmen – 3 survivors; Luftgaukommando Report KU 547
Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands – Plot P, Row 20, Grave 1
Casualty Lists 1/23/44, 8/24/44
American Jews in World War II – 425

Silverman
, Conrad, 2 Lt., 0-685748, Navigator, Purple Heart

Brooklyn, N.Y. – 12/18/15
United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 445th Bomb Group, 701st Bomb Squadron
Mr. and Mrs. Tobias and Fannie Silverman (parents), Beatrice, Estelle, and Leo Silverman (sisters and brother), 1060 52nd St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
MACR 16098; B-24H 42-64438; Pilot – 2 Lt. Norman H. Nelson; 10 crewmen – no survivors; Luftgaukommando Report AV 447/44
Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Ky. – Section E 101
http://www.teunispats.net/jack-edward-gibbs.htm Casualty Lists 1/23/44, 2/27/44
American Jews in World War II – 444

Killed (Non-Battle)

– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Karp, Louis, S/Sgt., 32629703, Aerial Gunner
United States Army Air Force, Morrison Army Airfield, West Palm Beach, Fl.
Mrs. Jennie Karp (mother), 1343 Findley Ave., Bronx, N.Y.
Born 1918
B-24H 41-28632; Pilot – 2 Lt. Samuel G. Dean; 14 crewmen – no survivors; aircraft crashed 3 miles northwest of Morrison Army Airfield
Mount Lebanon Cemetery, Glendale, N.Y. – Society Workmen’s Circle, Block WC, Section 5, Line 27, Grave 7
News article 12/23/43
American Jews in World War II – 357

Prisoners of War

Fleischman, Abel, S/Sgt., 32509819, Radio Operator, Air Medal, Purple Heart
United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 44th Bomb Group, 66th Bomb Squadron
POW at Stalag Luft 4 (Gross-Tychow) and Stalag Luft 1 (Barth)
Mr. William Fleischman (father), 1634 Sterling Place, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 3/5/21 – Died 9/23/98
MACR 1713; B-24H 42-7533; Pilot – 1 Lt. Warren W. Oakley; 10 crewmen – 3 survivors; Luftgaukommando Report KU 539
Casualty Lists 1/23/44 (Missing in Action), 4/21/44 (Prisoner of War), 6/8/45 (Liberated)
American Jews in World War II – 311

Harris
, George D., S/Sgt., 12180643, Radio Operator, Air Medal

United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 91st Bomb Group, 322nd Bomb Squadron
POW at Stalag Luft 3 (Sagan) and Stalag 7A (Moosburg)
Mr. Joseph Harris (father), 562 West 164th St., New York, N.Y.
MACR 1715; B-17G 42-37738 (“LG * T”); Pilot – 2 Lt. Edward M. Steel; 10 crewmen – 9 survivors
Casualty Lists 2/26/44, 5/29/45
American Jews in World War II – 341

Raiken, Sidney H., Sgt., 16155375, Gunner (Left Waist), Purple Heart
United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 446th Bomb Group, 704th Bomb Squadron
POW at Stalag Luft 4 (Gross-Tychow)
Mr. Sidney H. Raiken (father), 2718 North 40th St., Milwaukee, Wi.
MACR 2008; B-24H 42-7613 (“FL * H”); Pilot – 2 Lt. Sydney C. Jacobson, 10 crewmen – 7 survivors
http://www.studiegroepluchtoorlog.nl/22-12-1943-sglo-t3258-consolidated-b-24h-42-7613-fl-h/
Casualty List 6/6/45
American Jews in World War II – 585

Ross, Samuel, S/Sgt., 12158089, Gunner (Right Waist)
United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 389th Bomb Group, 566th Bomb Squadron
POW at Stalag 17B (Gneixendorf)
Mr. Martin H. Ross (father), 181 Hawthorne St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 3/24/24
MACR 2047; B-24D 42-40706; Pilot – 1 Lt. Paul J. Lambert; 10 crewmen – 9 survivors; Luftgaukommando Report KU 545
Casualty List 6/19/45
American Jews in World War II – Not Listed

Wolfson, Seymour Nathan, Sgt., 35380868, Gunner (Left Waist)
United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 92nd Bomb Group, 407th Bomb Squadron
POW at Stalag 17B (Gneixendorf)
Mr. and Mrs. Morris and Sarah A. Wolfson (parents), 110 West Ross St., Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Mrs. Gerald DeBaer (sister), 893 Stadelman Ave., Akron, Oh.
Born 1918
MACR 1711; B-17F 42-3184 (“PY * Q”; “USS Aliquippa”); Pilot – 2 Lt. Henry J. Roeber; 10 crewmen – all survived; Luftgaukommando Report KU 536
http://92ndma.org/92nd/92ndB-17AircraftRoster.pdf
Casualty Lists 3/13/44, 6/21/45
American Jews in World War II – Not Listed

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References

Dublin, Louis I., and Kohs, Samuel C., American Jews in World War II – The Story of 550,000 Fighters for Freedom, The Dial Press, New York, N.Y., 1947

B-17G 42-37773 (Studiegroep Luchtoorlog), at http://www.studiegroepluchtoorlog.nl/22-12-1943-sglo-t3250-boeing-b-17g-42-37773/

B-17G 42-37773 (AmericanAirMuseum.com), at http://www.americanairmuseum.com/media/1747

Zuyder Zee Air War (ZZAirwar), at http://www.zzairwar.nl/dossiers/150.html

140 Riverside Drive, New York, N.Y. (Blocksy), at http://www.blocksy.com/nyc/sale/2238064-140-riverside-drive-9k#/0

140 Riverside Drive, New York, N.Y. (Trulia), at https://www.trulia.com/property/3231221408-140-Riverside-Dr-16J-New-York-NY-10024

 

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Edmond J. Arbib

Notice about the death of Army Air Force Ferry Pilot Captain Edmond J. Arbib was published in the Times on July 16 and 18, with his obituary appearing on the latter date.

Captain Arbib, a member of the 5th Ferry Group of the Air Transport Command, lost his life while piloting an A-26C Invader aircraft (serial 44-35799) on July 12, 1945.  With 1 Lt. John W. Thomas (of Craighead County, Arkansas) as a pilot-rated passenger, his aircraft took off on a demonstration training flight from Love Field, in Dallas, Texas, and crashed northwest of Grand Prairie, Texas.

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Veteran Air Force Pilot is Killed in Texas Crash

Capt. Edmond Joseph Arbib, Army Air Forces, 27-year-old veteran ferry pilot, was killed at Love Field, Tex., when his airplane crashed last Thursday, the War Department has informed his family here.  Descended from Jonas N. Phillips, an American Revolutionary soldier, and from Henry Marchant, a signer of the Articles of Confederation, Captain Arbib was born in New York, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Rene S. Arbib, his father being a native of Cairo, Egypt, and his mother the former Miss Sylvia Phillips.

He enlisted in September, 1941, as a private in the ground forces of the AAF.  In October, 1942, he received his wings.  Captain Arbib ferried planes to every war theatre and served in the China-Burma-India theatre for nine months, making eighty-eight round trips over the Himalayan “hump”.

He held the Distinguished Flying Cross with three bronze stars, the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters and a Presidential Wing Citation.

Surviving are his widow, Mrs. Harriet Brodie Arbib; his parents and a sister, Mrs. Harold Bartos.

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Born in 1918, Edmond was buried at the Beth Olam Cemetery, in Cypress Hills, Ridgewood, Queens.  Note that his obituary calls attention to his descent from Jonas Phillips (1736-1803) and Harry Marchant.

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Some other Jewish military casualties on Thursday, July 12, 1945 include the following…

Killed (Non-Battle)
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Finkelstein, Morton, Sgt., 32977132, Flight Engineer, Air Medal, Purple Heart
United States Army Air Force, 20th Air Force, 16th Bomb Group, 16th Bomb Squadron
Parachuted over sea with crew (not rescued)
Mr. and Mrs. Edward E. and Rose Finkelstein (parents), 32 Joralemon St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Casualty Lists 8/15/45, 4/21/46
MACR 15373; B-29 42-63603; Pilot – 1 Lt. Milford A. Berry; 10 crewmen – 3 survivors
Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii
American Jews in World War II – 309

Schwartz
, Fred B., 1 Lt., 0-2057031, Fighter Pilot, Air Medal, 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
United States Army Air Force, 12th Air Force, 27th Fighter Group, 522nd Fighter Squadron
Mr. and Mrs. John and Lillian (Gelb) [Hungary, 10/13/93 – 1/3/83] Schwartz (parents), 628 Petty St., McKeesport, Pa.
Mrs. Velma (Schwartz) Feldman (sister), 1629 Cal. Ave., White Oak, McKeesport, Pa.
Born 1925
MACR 14953; P-47D 42-26718
Luxembourg American Cemetery, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg – Plot H, Row 4, Grave 47
American Jews in World War II – 550

Killed in Action
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Stark, Eugene, 2 Lt., 0-2024001, Bombardier, Air Medal, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart
United States Army Air Force, 5th Air Force, 380th Bomb Group, 528th Bomb Squadron
Mr. Martin Stark (father), 950 Aldus St., New York, N.Y.
MACR 14921; B-24M 44-50390 (“Beacomin’ Back”); Pilot – Major Kenneth E. Dyson; 11 crewmen – 4 survivors
Casualty Lists 8/8/45, 10/3/45
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines
American Jews in World War II – 453

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References

Dublin, Louis I., and Kohs, Samuel C., American Jews in World War II – The Story of 550,000 Fighters for Freedom – Compiled by the Bureau of War Records of the National Jewish Welfare Board, The Dial Press, New York, N.Y., 1947.

Mireles, Anthony J., Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents in the United States, 1941-1945 – Volume 3: August 1944 – December 1945, McFarland & Company Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, N.C., 2006

Jonas Phillips (wikipedia), at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonas_Phillips

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Stuart E. Adler

Notice about Hospital Apprentice Stuart E. Adler appeared in a Casualty List published in The New York Times on May 17, 1945.  His obituary, transcribed below, was published on on August 9 of that year.

Stuart was attached to the 1st Marine Battalion, 21st Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division when he was killed on Iwo Jima.  Born on May 2, 1926, he is buried at the Washington Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y. (Chevra Anshe Ragole, Section 4, Post 440)

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Slain Hospital Apprentice Honored by His Comrades

Hospital Apprentice Stuart Adler, 18 years old, who was killed on March 15 on Iwo Island by a Japanese sniper’s bullet, has been honored by his comrades, who have named a company street on Iwo in his memory.

In a recent letter to his mother, Mrs. Betty Lee Adler of 245 East Gunhill Road, Maj. Gen. G.B. Erskine, Marine Corps, praised the youth’s “devotion to duty”.

Enlisting in the Navy on Feb. 8, 1944, shortly after his graduation from DeWitt Clinton High School, he was attached to the First Battalion, Twenty-First Marines, during the Iwo Campaign.  He was killed when he went to the aid of a wounded marine.

A younger brother, Robert; a sister, Faith, and his father, David Adler, also survive.

This is a contemporary view – from apartments.com – of the Adler family’s wartime residence: 245 East Gunhill Road, in the Bronx. 

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Some other Jewish casualties on Thursday, March 15, 1945 include…
Killed in Action

– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Saperstein, Charles, MoMM1C, 6425696, Motor Machinist’s Mate
United States Navy, Probably crew member of LCT(6) – #36
Mr. Herman Saperstein (father), 32 Lakeview Drive, Silvermine, Norwalk, Ct.
Memorialized on Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines
Casualty List 5/27/45
American Jews in World War II – 69

Finkelstein, Albert Jacob, HA1C, 7109973, Hospital Apprentice
United States Navy, 5th Marine Division, 31st Replacement Battalion (attached)
Mr. Samuel Finkelstein (father), 1445 Saint Marks Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Place of burial unknown
Casualty List 6/30/45
American Jews in World War II – not listed

Wounded in Action

Avram, Ben George, G/Sgt., 230296, Gunnery Sergeant
United States Marine Corps, 5th Marine Division, 28th Marine Regiment, Headquarters and Service Company
Mrs. Catherine Avram (wife); Alice (daughter), 2725 N. 29th St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Born 1911
Philadelphia Inquirer, and, Philadelphia Record 5/17/45
The Jewish Exponent 5/25/45
American Jews in World War II – not listed

Percoff, Manuel, PFC, 884682
United States Marine Corps, 5th Marine Division, 28th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Headquarters Company
Mr. Sam Percoff (father), Laurel, Mississippi
Casualty List 6/6/45
American Jews in World War II – 206

Swartzs, John Leonard, Cpl. 863329
United States Marine Corps, 2nd Armored Amphibious Division, C Company
Mrs. Rosalind M. Swarts (wife), 225 West End Ave., New York, N.Y.
Born January 14, 1912, New York, N.Y., Died August 17, 2003
American Jews in World War II – 459

Reference

Dublin, Louis I., and Kohs, Samuel C., American Jews in World War II – The Story of 550,000 Fighters for Freedom – Compiled by the Bureau of War Records of the National Jewish Welfare Board, The Dial Press, New York, N.Y., 1947

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two

Throughout the Second World War, The New York Times, like other American newspapers, published official Casualty Lists issued by the War (Army) and Navy Departments.  These documents followed the same format for both military branches, presenting a serviceman’s surname, first name and middle initial, military rank, and the name and address (whether residential, or place of employment) of the person – usually his next-of-kin – designated to be contacted if he were to become a casualty. 

The names which appeared in these lists were only supplied to the news media after notifications had already been sent to their next of kin.  Generally, roughly through the summer of 1944, the name of a casualty would appear in a Casualty List approximately one month after the actual date on which he was wounded, declared missing, or known to have been killed in action.  In many cases,a serviceman’s name might appear on multiple Casualty Lists.  For example, a soldier might be reported missing in action, then confirmed as a POW, and finally – at the war’s end – liberated from a POW camp.  In such a case, his name could appear on three Casualty Lists, each pertaining to verification of these successive changes in his status.  

A notable difference between Army and Navy Casualty Lists was the Army’s policy of listing casualties by the theater of military operations.  Such designations included Africa, Asia, the Central Pacific, Europe, the Mediterranean, North America (during the Aleutian campaign), and the Southwest Pacific, the theater varying with the progression of the war.  However, Navy Casualty Lists did not present mens’ names by combat theater.

As issued to the press, Casualty Lists encompassed military casualties from all (then 48) states, as well as the Territories of Alaska and Hawaii.  Accordingly, very early in the war, the War and Navy Departments instituted a policy such that newspapers should only publish lists of casualties pertaining to the geographic area of their established news coverage.  For example, a newspaper in Saint Louis would not publish names of casualties from Denver or New Orleans; a newspaper in Phoenix would not publish names of servicemen from Nashville or Beaumont; a paper in Denver would not publish names from Lexington or Duluth.

Like other newspapers, such too was the case for The New York Times.  In a general – and very reliable – sense, casualty lists in the Times encompassed the five Boroughs of New York (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx), Nassau and Suffolk Counties; the metropolitan areas of northern New Jersey; and, southwestern Connecticut. 

The lengthiest list, which occupied most of two successive pages, was published on March 29, 1945, based on a nationwide Casualty List that listed the names of 14,443 soldiers and 221 sailors.  This list is shown below. 

The last Second World War Casualty List carried by the Times, published on June 9, 1946 and illustrated below, was issued by the Navy, and comprised the names of five sailors from New York and two from Connecticut.

Though – at the moment of creating this blog post – the pertinent reference is not immediately at hand, Casualty Lists covering the above-mentioned areas of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut probably encompass an unusually large proportion of the 407,316 American military casualties incurred during the war, due to the density and distribution of the American population in the 1940s.

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There is much more that can be said about this topic, which may be discussed in a future blog post.  Or, posts.

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And so we arrive at an accidental intersection:  Between The New York Times, Jewish military history, and Jewish genealogy.

Related to its publication of Casualty Lists and its reporting of New York Metropolitan area news, the Times published – with a frequency that sadly; inevitably increased as the war progressed – full and often detailed obituaries of military personnel who lost their lives in combat, or, in non-combat related military service.  Though obituaries of servicemen would on occasion be published as “stand alone” items in the main section of the paper, they were much more often published within Casualty Lists. 

Such obituaries typically included a serviceman’s photographic portrait, whether as a professional studio image, or, a snapshot taken in a more casual setting.  Depending on the media and format in which you view back issues of the Times – 35mm microfilm, or PDFs – these images vary greatly in quality.  This is due to the quality of the original photograph supplied to the Times, and, the technical limitations then inherent to printing photographs in newspapers.  Digital images and 35mm microfilm have unique advantages and disadvantages, depending on the physical nature of these formats themselves, the equipment used to view them, and, equipment and material used to copy and reproduce digital or print (physical) images from them.

Such obituaries were published well into 1946, the “last” such item, for Second Lieutenant Burton H. Roth – a navigator in the 600th Bomb Squadron of 8th Air Force’s 398th Bomb Group, whose B-17 bomber was shot down over Germany on April 10, 1945 – appearing on April 25, 1946.

The criterion – or criteria – the Times used in selecting soldiers who were so covered is unknown.  Perhaps some soldiers were chosen at random.  Perhaps others had connections – professional; academic; familial – with the Times; perhaps some were members of established and prominent New York area families.  (Well, not all seem to have been…) 

In any event, what becomes readily apparent upon surveying the Times is at first startling, and then – after a moment’s contemplation – entirely unsurprising:  Given the population distribution of American Jewry in the 1940s, many, many of these obituaries pertain to Jewish servicemen in the Army ground forces, Army Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.  As such, these news items provide a moving and illuminating sociological “window” upon Jews of the New York metropolitan area in particular, and Jewish military service in general, in the 1940s.

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There are ironies in the lives of nations; there are many ironies in the lives of peoples; ironies abound in the lives of men.   

An irony about the appearance of so many obituaries for Jewish servicemen in the Times’ during the Second Wold War is that these news items were published – through a confluence of genealogy, geography, and history – in a periodical whose publisher adhered to a system of belief – classical Reform Judaism – that negated the concept of Jewish peoplehood, and which in terms of the historical legacy of the Times, animated the nature of his newspaper’s reporting of the Shoah.

A vast amount of research and insight – much ink and innumerable pixels – has been generated about this topic.  Probably the most outstanding such work is Laurel Leff’s Buried By The Times (prefigured by her American Jewish History article “A Tragic “Fight in the Family”: The New York Times, Reform Judaism and the Holocaust in 2000″)However, the attitude of the Times was obvious to some even as the Second World War was occurring, for it merited scathing coverage in the Labor League for Palestine / Jewish Frontier Association’s publication The Jewish Frontier, through William Cohen’s February, 1942 article “The Strange Case of the New York Times”.

In light of this mindset, the abundance of Jewish military casualties whose obituaries appeared in the pages of the Times may have been perceived by the newspaper’s staff as a simple coincidence, at best.  In all likelihood, however, it probably was not perceived – intellectually or emotionally – at all. 

Then again…  Then again… 

Why did the Times, between 1942 and 1951, accord at least 36 news items – including on occasion front-page coverage – to the life, death, and legacy of one specific Jewish serviceman – Army Air Force Sergeant Meyer Levin?   

Could this have been because the life and example of Sgt. Levin – at a time when much of American Jewry, even and especially among the most assimilated Jews, perhaps uncertain of the viability of their status as Americans – was viewed as validation of their own patriotism, and a harbinger of their eventual – postwar – acceptance? 

Could this have been because the Sergeant’s military service, though he lost his life in the Pacific Theater of War, was perceived as an indirect symbol of Jewish resistance against Germany?

Perhaps both reasons; perhaps more. 

Perhaps this, as suggested by Gulie Ne’eman Arad in America, Its Jews, and The Rise of Nazism“The Americanization experience played a more powerful role in determining American Jewry’s response to the atrocities in Europe than the events themselves, and it is to their American context that American Jews resonated and responded most readily.  Their need and desire to conform to their environment were more powerful than other factors, and, once established, the patterns of the behavior that resulted could not be breached until after the apocalypse.”

Much more could be written about this topic; perhaps I’ll do so in the future. 

But for now, I hope to bring you posts about Jewish military casualties who were reported upon in The New York Times.

– Michael G. Moskow

References

Books

Arad, Gulie Ne’eman, America, Its Jews, and The Rise of Nazism, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, In., 2000.

Leff, Laurel, Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper, Cambridge University Press, New York, N.Y., 2005

Journal Articles

Leff, Laurel, A Tragic “Fight in the Family”: The New York Times, Reform Judaism and the Holocaust, American Jewish History, V 88, N 1, March, 2000, pp. 3-51.

Other Articles

Cohen, William, The Strange Case of The New York Times, Jewish Frontier, V 9, N 2, February, 1942, pp. 8-11.

Grodzensky, Shlomo, United Front Against Zionism, Jewish Frontier, V X, N 1, January, 1943, pp. 8-10.

Tifft, Susan E. and Jones, Alex S., The Family – How Being Jewish Shaped the Dynasty That Runs the Times, The New Yorker, April 19, 1999, pp. 44-52

Other References

DeBruyne, Nese F. and Leland, Anne, American War and Military Operations Casualties (Congressional Research Service Publication 7-5700 / RL 32492), at https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL32492.pdf

World War II Casualties (Wikipedia), at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties#cite_note-ConResRep_AWuMOC_2010-298

Soldiers of The Great War: Jewish Military Service in WW I, as Reported in l’Univers Israélite (The Jewish World) – Sur la mort d’un héros (On the Death of a Hero – Sous-Lieutenant André Fraenckel), April 16, 1915

A week after l’Univers Israélite – in its issue of April 9, 1915 – presented a moving account of a Pesach Seder held among Sephardic soldiers, the periodical published an account covering the military career, death, and family background of a fallen officer: Sous-Lieutenant André Fraenckel.

Born in Elbeuf in June of 1893, Andre was the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Fraenckel, his father having been President of the Chamber of Commerce of Elbeuf, and, vice president of the religious association of Elbeuf. 

The article presents an account of his nonchalant attitude after having been wounded in January, and, an extract from a letter Andre wrote to either his parents, or, the editor of l’Univers.  The article continues with a transcript of a letter written to Andre’s parents by a Captain Vital (first name not given), Company Commander of a Battalion of Chasseurs, which details about Andre’s death, and, information about Andre’s family.

As with prior – and hopefully future – blog posts concerning Jewish World War One Casualties in the French army, I have included “Partie À Remplir Par Le Corps” cards from the Morts pour la France de la Première Guerre mondiale (Died for France in the First World War) database.

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Andre was not the only French Jewish soldier to lose his life on March 4, 1915.  The others included:

Sous-Lieutenant Leon Eugene Bauer; 41ème Bataillon de Chasseurs a Pied
At La Chapelotte, in Cher
Born at Le Havre, on June 19, 1893
Mentioned in l’Univers Israélite on September 10, 1915
(Les Israelites dans l’Armée Française, page 8)

Sergent Major Armand Levy; 170ème Regiment d’Infanterie (?)
At Hurlus, in Marne
(Les Israelites dans l’Armée Française, page 53)
(“Partie À Remplir Par Le Corps” card could not be found or identified at the Morts pour la France de la Première Guerre mondiale (Died for France in the First World War) database, at Mémoire des Hommes (Memories of the Men) website.)

Soldier (Soldat) Max Levy; 149ème Regiment d’Infanterie
Died of wounds at a Temporary Hospital, at Hay-les-Mines, in Pas-de-Calais
Born at Alsace-Lorraine, on August 10, 1876
(Les Israelites dans l’Armée Française, p. 56)

Sous-Lieutenant Henri Leon Rothschild; 370ème Regiment d’Infanterie
At Neuville-Saint-Vaast, in Pas-de-Calais; Disappeared
Born at 9ème Arrondissement of Paris, on September 15, 1887
(Les Israelites dans l’Armée Française, p. 72)

Sergent Robert See; 313ème Regiment d’Infanterie
At Vauquois, in Meuse
Born at Colmar, in Alsace-Lorraine, on January 19, 1878
(Les Israelites dans l’Armée Française, p. 77)

Lieutenant André Wahl; 18ème Bataillon de Chasseurs (André’s Battalion)
Died of wounds, at Fortin de Mesnil les Hurlus, in Marne
Born at Doaui, in Nord, on February 23, 1884
Mentioned in l’Univers Israélite on March 17, 1916
(Les Israelites dans l’Armée Française, p. 85)

– .ת. נ. צ. ב. ה –

____________________

Sur la mort d’un héros

On the Death of a Hero

l’Univers Israélite
April 16, 1915

The Jewish World
April 16, 1915

A la mémoire du sous-lieutenant André Fraenckel
tombé en Champagne, le 4 Mars 1915

In memory of Second Lieutenant Andre Fraenckel

fallen in Champagne, March 4, 1915

Il nous était revenu an début de janvier, la téte emmaillottée de linges blancs, blessé pour la deuxième fois.  “Ce n’est rien, disait-il, une balle morte”. Une citation à l’ordre de l’armée disait ce qu’il passait sous silence: là blessure reçue en organisant, debout sous le feu, un saillant enlevé par ses chasseurs. 

He had returned year early at the beginning of January, head swathed in white cloths, wounded for the second time.  “It is nothing, he said, a dead ball.”  A quote from an order of the Army and he was silent: The wound was received by organizing, a defensive position under fire; a salient removed by his chasseurs.

Il décrivait la vie là-bas, dans une forêt de l’Argonne: au flanc d’un ravin, la tranchée; sur le versant opposé, la tranchée allemande; entre les deux une vallée fauchée par les balles. Il parlait avec enthousiasme de ses chefs et de ses homes; ces belles amitiés d’officiers en campagne, auxquelles la présence de la mort et l’éloignement de tous les intérêts du monde imposent tant de confiance et de profondeur, devaient plaire à cette âme loyale et absolue.

He described life there, in a forest of the Argonne: the side of a ravine, the trench; on the opposite slope, the German trench; a valley between the two swathed by bullets.  He spoke with enthusiasm of his leaders and their homes; these beautiful friendships of officers on campaign, which the presence of death and the removal of all worldly interests require so much confidence and depth, should please this loyal and absolute soul.

Il avait presque la nostalgie du front, tant les préoccupations de ceux qui ne se battaient pas lui paraissaient mesquines. 

He was almost nostalgic at the front, so that the concerns of those who did not fight to him seemed petty.

“Il ne faut pas croire, disait-il, que notre vie soit triste ou effrayante. Je me rappelle un soir où l’on nous a prévenus que nous aurions à attaquer le lendemain matin. C’etait la pente du ràvin a descendre, en tête de nos hommes, sous le feu des mitrailleuses allemandes. Nous avons passé la nuit à fumer des cigarettes. L’air était très calme, le ciel tout plein d’étoiles. Nous n’avions aucune tristesse, aucune arrière-pensée. Nous savions que nous allions mourir de la plus belle des morts, et la certitude de mourir est un sentiment très doux qùi ne laisse de place pour aucune crainte. Avant le matin, l’attaque fut décommandée: nous l’avons tous regrette.

“Do not believe,” he said, “that our life is sad or frightening.  I remember one evening when we were warned that we would have to attack the next morning.  It was the slope of the lower ravine, our forward men, under the fire of German machine guns.  We spent the night smoking cigarettes.  The air was calm, the whole sky full of stars.  We had no sadness, no ulterior motive.  We knew we were going to die the most beautiful of deaths, and the certainty of death is a very sweet feeling that leaves no room for fear.  Before the morning, the attack was called off: we all regretted.”

Il devait retrouver, hélas! l’occasion attendue de ce sacrifice.  Quelques semaines après son départ ses lettres cessèrent d’arriver. Un jour son capitaine écrivit qu’il était blessé, puis grièvement blessé, et le lendemain vint celle belle lettre d’un admirable chef:

He should find, alas, the expected time of this sacrifice.  A few weeks after leaving his letters stopped coming.  One day his captain wrote that he was hurt, and hurt badly, and next came the beautiful letter of an admirable leader:

Le 19 mars 1915.
On March 19, 1915.

Monsieur,
Sir,


Je ne veux laisser à aucun autre la douloureuse mission de vous révéler la triste vérité. La peine que j’ai éprouvée moi-méme m’a fait différer de vous écrire, pensant bien que l’absence de lettres quotidiennes vous préparerait un peu a l’idée d’un malheur.  Vous excuse-rez aussi les mensonges de mes dernières lettres destinées uniquement à amortir le choc un peu brutal de la cruelle vérité.  Voire fils Andre est tombé en héros, à la tête de sa troupe, le 4 mars dernier, frappé d’une balle au cœur, sans une plainte, sans avoir souffert aussi, comme le témoignait le calme de ses traits. C’est la belle mort du soldat qui l’a fauché dans un élan superbe, dont une citation à l’ordre de l’armée consacrera le souvenir.


I will leave no other painful passion to reveal the sad truth.  The trouble I have proven my same made me defer to write to you, thinking that the absence of daily letters to you prepares little to you the idea of a misfortune.  You also excuse the lies of my last letters, intended only to soften the somewhat brutal shock of the cruel truth.  Your son Andre became a hero at the head of his troops, last March 4, struck by a bullet in the heart, without a complaint, without suffering too, as evidenced by the calm of his features.  This is the beautiful death of the soldier who broke into a superb momentum, including a citation in army dispatches consecrating his memory.


Permetez-moi, Monsieur, de m’associer à votre douleur paternelle, en tant que chef et en tant qu’ami. La vie de campagne créé des liens indissolubles, et je m’étais très sincèrement attaché a ce jeune homme si vivant et si vibrant qu’était votre enfant. L’ardeur qu’il mettait en tout, il l’a manifestée dans cette attaque de tranchée pour la prise de laquelle il a donné sa vie. Avec vous je pleure la nature généreuse et la belle âme d’officier qui en était en lui.


Allow me, Sir, to associate myself with your father’s pain, as leader and as a friend.  Country living created indissoluble bonds, and I was sincerely attached to this young man, so alive and vibrant was your child.  The passion he put into everything he manifested in this trench attack the decision for which he gave his life.  With you I cry generously for the beautiful soul of the officer that was within him.


Que la beauté de cette mort soit pour vous une atténuation à votre peine. C’est du sang jeune, abondamment répandu, que sortira notre régénération. J’aurais voulu pouvoir donner le mien pour épargner sa vie: la balle est folle et ne choisit pas.


May the beauty of this death be for you an attenuation to your sentence.  It is the young blood, fully given, that will release our regeneration.  I wish I could give mine to save his life: the bullet is crazy and does not choose.


Je me hâte de répondre à une question que je devine.” Le corps de votre fils, mis en bière, repose dans le petit cimetière de….., côte à côte avec ceux de ses compagnons d’armes. Lorsque le bataillon a défilé devant lui, pour la dernière fois, beaucoup ont fait serment de le venger.


I hasten to answer a question I guess.  “The body of your son, placed in a coffin, is buried in the small cemetery of …, side by side with those of his fellow soldiers.  When the battalion parades before him, for the last time, many have sworn to avenge him.


Pardonnez-moi encore, Monsieur, de vous porter un coup si cruel. J’ai préféré vous annoncer moi-même la pénible nouvelle, sans recourir à la voie administrative. Je m’incline respectueusement devant votre douleur paternelle et je vous prie d’accepter l’expression de mes plus sincères et mes plus profondes condoléances.


Forgive me again, sir, for dealing you a blow so cruel.  I preferred to tell you the painful news myself, without resort to administrative means.  I respectfully bow to your father’s pain and I beg you to accept the expression of my profound and deepest condolences.

Signé:
Capitaine Vital,
commandant la… compagnie du… bataillon
de chasseurs à pied

Signed:
Captain Vital,
Commandant of the … Company of the … battalion
of
chasseurs à pied

On a su depuis, par une lettre d’un de ses camarades, que tout, autre que lui eût pu être sauvé. Dès le début de l’attaque, il avait été blessé à la tête par un éclat d’obus. Il aurait dû aller se faire panser. Mais c’était une conscience qui ne marchandait pas avec elle-même. En toute chose il ne comprenait que le don total de soi. Souvent, silencieux, il nous écoutait discuter autour de lui; puis brusquement, de sa voix jeune et un peu bourrue, il donnait son avis : c’était ton-jours le plus généreux. Pour tôus ceux qu’il aimait, pour toutes les causes qui lui paraissaient justes, etait toujours prêt à s’offrir tout entier.

We have since learned, by a letter from one of his comrades, of everything else that could have been done to save him.  From the beginning of the attack, he had been wounded in the head by shrapnel.  He should have gotten [the wound] dressed.  But he had a consciousness that had not bargained with itself.  In everything, he did not understand the total gift of self.   Often silent, he listened to us talk about him; then suddenly, in his little young and gruff voice, he gave his opinion: it was the most in the most generous tone.  For all those he loved, for all cases which he considered fair, was always ready to offer a whole.

C’est un privilège de ceux qui meurent à vingt ans d’avoir conservé jusqu’au bout cette belle foi joyeuse dans la vie : c’est un de leurs privilèges aussi de demeurer éternellement jeunes dans la mémoire de ceux qui les ont aimés.  Ce beau jeune home, ardent et vibrant, bien pris dans son uniforme bleu foncé, restera, pour tous ceux qui l’ont connu, un souvenir lumineux et sans tache, et, à la tristesse de l’avoir perdu se mêlera toujours pour les siens la douceur de conserver de lui une image si fraîche et si pure.

It is a privilege of those who die at twenty to have been preserved through this beautiful joyful faith in life: it’s one of their privileges as to remain young forever in the memory of those who loved them.  This beautiful young man, ardent and vibrant, well caught in his dark blue uniform, will remain, for all those who knew him, a bright and spotless memory, and the sadness of losing him will always mingle with his gentleness to keep him pictured so fresh and pure.

Pour moi, je le verrai toujours vivant et fort, courant à la tête de ses chasseurs, dans un élan superbe, sur ce coin de la terre de Champagne pour lequel il a donné son sang, avec sur le visage l’expression que donnent une volonté héroique et cette certitude de mourir que ne laisse de place pour aucune crainte.

For me, I see him still alive and strong, running at the head of his fighters with a superb momentum, on this corner of the land of Champagne for which he gave his blood, with his face in an expression that gives heroic determination in the certainty of death that leaves no room for fear.

E.H.
(La Dépéche de Rouen)

E.H.
(The Disptach from Rouen)

André Fraenckel était le fils unique de M. Paul Fraenckel, président de la Chambre de Commerce d’Elbeuf et vice-président de l’Association cultuelle d’Elbeuf, et de Mme Paul Fraenckel.  Il avait fait sa premierè année de service à Rouen au 74e d’infanterie.  Il achevait la seconde année comme élève officier dans un bataillon de chasseurs à pied lorsque la guerre éclata.

André Fraenckel was the only son of Paul Fraenckel and Mrs. Paul Fraenckel, President of the Chamber of Commerce of Elbeuf and vice president of the religious association of Elbeuf.  He had his first year of service at Rouen in the 74th Infantry.  He finished the second year as a student officer in a battalion of Chasseurs when war broke out. 

Il ne tarda pas à se distinguer par sa conduite au feu, qui lui valut une citation à l’ordre du jour de l’armée; il revint deux fois blessé.  Il était parti il y a quelques semaines pour reprendre son poste sur un point du front où la lutte était particulièrement active.

He will soon be distinguished by his conduct against fire, which earned him a citation in the orders of the army.  He returned twice wounded.  He had been there a few weeks to resume his position on the point of the front where the fight was particularly active.

Toute la ville d’Elbeuf, où le jeune André Fraenckel comptait autant de sympathies que parmi ses camarades de bataillon, s’est associée à la douleur d’une famille justement considérée et qui, venue d’Alsace après 1870, paie de la vie d’un fils unique la reprise du pays natal toujours regretté.

The whole town of Elbeuf, where the young André Fraenckel had many sympathies among his battalion comrades, is associated with the pain of a family and it is rightly considered that, from Alsace after 1870, it is regretted that the homeland is always paid with the life of a son.

M. Marc Bernheim, président de l’Association cultuelle du canton d’Elbeuf nous a écrit pour nous dire, en son nom et au nom de tous ses coreligionnaires d’Elbeuf et de la région, la part sincère qu’ils prennent au cruel deuil qui vient de frapper la famille Fraenckel.  Nous nous associons de tout coeur à ces condoléances. 

Mr. Marc Bernheim, president of the religious association of the canton of Elbeuf wrote to us saying, in his name and on behalf of all his coreligionists of Elbeuf and the region, they take cruel mourning that has struck the family Fraenckel with a sincere hand.  We join wholeheartedly in these condolences.

Reference

Les Israelites dans l’Armée Française (Israelites [Jews] in the French Army), Angers, 1921 – Avant-Propos de la Deuxième Épreuve [Forward to the Second Edition], Albert Manuel, Paris, Juillet, 1921 – (Réédité par le Cercle de Généalogie juive [Reissued by the Circle for Jewish Genealogy], Paris, 2000)

– Transcribed and Translated by Michael G. Moskow – 2016

 

 

 

Wing Commander William Weiser’s Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross, as seen in the Forward (Forverts), in December of 1944

The recent posts about Royal Canadian Air Force Wing Commander William Weiser elicited moving and interesting comments from Dr. Patricia Easteal, Caroline Mitchell, and Libby Weiser.  From them, I learned that – alas – sadly; ironically – W/C Weiser passed away on March 26. 

Only four days earlier, the article about him from The American Hebrew of May, 1944, was posted on this blog, under the title “Words of the Wing Commander”.

Given his accomplishments, it’s unsurprising that news items about W/C Weiser appeared in other publications during WW II, specifically the well-known Yiddish-language newspaper, the Forward (or, “Forverts“).  Dr. Easteal kindly contributed an article – published in that newspaper on December 21, 1944 – which shows her late father receiving the British DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) award from King George VI.

The article appears below…

(As an aside, note that the Forward presents the Wing Commander’s surname as “Weyser“.  (!))

According to Wikipedia, “The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC),” established on June 3, 1918, “is the third-level military decoration awarded to personnel of the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force and other services, and formerly to officers of other Commonwealth countries, instituted for “an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy”. 

Here’s an image of the DFC…

The date of publication of this article prompted further curiosity.  Namely:  What other pictures did the Forward publish in its issue of December 21, 1944? 

The answer was (and is!) readily at hand, at the National Library of Israel’s website of the Historical Jewish Press. The NLI allows visitors access to the content – as images – of over 120 historical Jewish periodicals – among them the Forward – published in a variety of languages.  A search of their well-designed website yields an image of the entirety of the page where the photograph of W/C Weiser was published, and this is presented below.  (The picture of W/C Weiser and King George VI appears in the upper-left corner of the page.)

As for the other pictures? 

Clockwise, from left to right, the illustrations depict: Edward von Steiger, the newly elected President of Switzerland for 1945; Privates First Class (and brothers) Abe and Sid Schneider of the Bronx; Major General Harry L. Twaddle of the American 95th Infantry Division, with soldiers Pvt. Alfred Page of Chattanooga and PFC Max Frankel of Denver; the late Mexican-born film star Lupe Velez (sad story about her…); Lupe’s pet dogs “Chips” and “Chops” at the entrance to her Beverly Hills home; and at bottom, delegates to the 8th National Convention of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation in Montreal. 

Reference

Distinguished Flying Cross (British), at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distinguished_Flying_Cross_(United_Kingdom)

 

 

 

Soldiers of The Great War: Jewish Military Service in WW I, as Reported in The Jewish Chronicle – “A Soldier’s Thoughts of Passover”, May 7, 1915

The festival of Pesach, commencing this year on the evening of April 10th (the 14th of Nisan, 5777), is the inspiration for the following post: A remarkable account, from The Jewish Chronicle, of a makeshift, “one-man Seder” held by a British Jewish soldier in the trenches of Flanders, on the evening of March 29, 1915 (the 14th of Nisan, 5675).

Published amidst a variety of war news items – lists of casualties, and, military awards – the anonymous author of this piece composed it in the form of a letter which was sent to a Jewish Chronicle correspondent, who in turn sent that document (perhaps a transcript of it?) to the Chronicle, which published it on May 7, 1915. 

Particularly noticeable is author’s sensitivity, and the clarity and descriptiveness of his writing.  He sets forth thoughts of home against the reality of life in the front lines; the awareness of his solitary and improvised Seder amidst genuine comradeship with his fellow soldiers; and quite remarkably, an openly expressed and idealistic sense of at least some form of Jewish solidarity, even at war. 

Frustratingly; tantalizingly, it has been – and probably will forever be – impossible to identify the author of this letter.  The man’s name and military unit are neither listed nor hinted upon.  He is entirely anonymous.  But, in that anonymity there is the ironic possibility that the account could have been written by most any of the Jewish soldiers serving in the British front lines in 1915. 

Whoever he was, one would hope; it would be nice to think, that he survived the war.

And if he did not, at least we have his words and thoughts. 

A PDF version of the letter is available here.

____________________

A SOLDIER’S THOUGHTS OF PASSOVER
The Jewish Chronicle
May 7, 1915

A correspondent sends us a letter he received from the Front from a Jewish soldier, in the course of which he writes: –

So to-day is “Erev Pesach”.  Somehow to me it seems impossible as I am here on an empty ammunition box, the boys all around me busy in preparation for our journey back to the trenches to-night….  Way back in old England I can just picture many another scene of preparation.  Strange, indeed, for just as the folks at home will be leaving for school and the celebration of Passover’s first two days, I shall be leaving for the trenches also for two days.  Now I am waiting for the mail expected this afternoon, for it should contain my Passover parcel, and somehow I must manage some sort of celebration.  Last mail brought me the first Jewish Chronicle I’ve seen since we landed, and very welcome it was.  Specially interesting is the account of the Rev. Michael Adler’s tour in France, but he has not been anywhere in our neighbourhood.  I’m taking it up to the trenches, not having had time to read it through.  Midnight, Monday.  No mail arrived, more to my disappointment.  Now I shall get no mail until Thursday morning.  At 5:30 p.m. we left our quarters for the trenches, a few miles away, and trudged along the scarred roads, with a glorious full moon and starlit sky overhead.  Our thoughts were far away from Flanders.  I could clearly see the smartly dressed crowd making for school, the lights and chanting of the service seemed quite close, and then – boom!  As a big gun spoke, the star shells shoot up and the rattle of rifle fire grows clearer as we get nearer the firing line, so I came back to earth again.  Never until to-night have I felt really homesick, but then as I thought of the scene at home, the lights and the musical clink of glasses and tableware, then I felt as though I would do anything to be sitting in the seat that I know will be left for me, and to drive away the sorrow of the dear folks that I know my absence will cause them.  But that ‘fit of the blues’ must be shaken off.  About 10 o’clock we reached our destination, fortunately without a single casualty, though we had been under fire part of the way up, and my platoon has been in the dug-outs as reserve to the firing line, and about 100 yards to the rear of it.  This pleased me greatly; it seems more fitting on the night of nights to be here at rest than to be up there firing perhaps at someone who is thinking much as I am – who knows?  As soon as we got settled in this dug-out I managed to get a fire going, and made some cocoa, this, with a biscuit, making my “Seder Night,” and I said the Blessing for Wine over it, and drank a toast to those at home in response to the toast they will certainly drink to me to-night.  So I finished my little Seder and then read some of the Psalms from my soldier’s prayer-book.  We are eleven in this dug-out, and afterwards I talked to the boys of the Passover, seeing in it all wonders I’ve never seen before, and the deeper significance of it came home to me.  They are fine boys, these, gentlemen all, who would share their last crumb with me if I wanted it, and they just sat in silence listening carefully to all I said, and when I had finished dear old Dick said: “It’s alright old man, we understand.”  Just that and no more.  Now they are all asleep, and I write this by candle light to the accompaniment of the “crack, crack” as the bullets hit the bank overhead…  Good night and good Yomtov all, my dear ones, my thoughts are with you all.

– Transcribed by Michael G. Moskow

References

http://www.chabad.org/calendar/

http://www.hebcal.com/

http://www.themeter.net/pasqua_e.htm

 

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in the Long Island Star Journal – I: Jacques W. Bloch

Though my blog posts have thus far covered Jewish soldiers who served in “The Great War” (World War One), this post covers a soldier in another war:  Sergeant (T/4) Jacques W. Bloch, who served in the United States Army during the Second World War.

His picture is presented below:

This image of Sgt. Bloch (serial number 32805985) was published in the Long Island Star Journal on April 11, 1945.

The article accompanying the image appears below:

Born in Germany in 1921, he was the son of Maurice Bloch, and resided at 37-53 62nd St., Woodside, Queens, New York.  Sgt. Bloch served in the 422nd Infantry Regiment of the 106th (“Golden Lion”) Infantry Division, and was captured in the Ardennes during what is popularly known as “The Battle of the Bulge”, on December 16, 1944. 

He was interned at Stalag 11B (Fallingbostel). 

____________________

The names of other Jewish POWs interned at Fallingbostel – derived from a variety of sources – are presented below, with information in the entries appearing in the following format:

Name, rank, and serial number;
Military organization to which the soldier was assigned when he was captured;
Date captured;
Name and residential address of next of kin, and, date and place of birth;
Date when the soldier’s name appeared in casualty lists published in local or regional newspapers;
Did the soldier’s name appear in the 1947 publication American Jews in World War Two (“AJWW2”)?  If so? – The abbreviation “AJWW2” appears, followed by a number representing the page where the soldier’s name is listed.  If not? – The abbreviation “NL” (meaning “not listed”) appears instead.

Artin, Philip                        Pvt.                       42138150
45th Infantry Division, 157th Infantry Regiment
1/21/45
Mrs. Rose Artin (?), 2114 Mapes Ave., Bronx, N.Y.; N.Y.; 2/16/19
AJWW2 – NL

Barlas, Benjamin                              Pvt.                       42138568
45th Infantry Division, 157th Infantry Regiment
1/21/45
1817 Tenth Ave., Bronx, N.Y.
4/20/45
AJWW2 – NL

Bayarsky, Joseph                            S/Sgt.                   32248209; PH
28th Infantry Division, 110th Infantry Regiment
12/20/44
Mr. and Mrs. Morris and Rebecca (Krepp) Bayarsky (parents), 654 Hinsdale St., Brooklyn, N.Y.; N.Y.; 10/30/10
3/29/45, 5/31/45
AJWW2 – 271

Benjamin, Stanley                           PFC                       15308294
3/26/45
Mr. and Mrs. Aron and _____ (Peters) Benjamin (parents), 418 13th St. SE, Canton, Oh.; Oh., Canton; 8/5/24
AJWW2 – NL

Bernstein, Paul                 Pvt.                       42063032; PH
106th Infantry Division, 423rd Infantry Regiment
12/21/44
Mrs. Rebecca B. Bernstein, 236 Milford St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
4/14/45, 5/19/45
AJWW2 – 276

Cohn, Albert D.                                Pvt.                       13126322
94th Infantry Division, 301st Infantry Regiment
1/21/45
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel and _____ (Shander) Cohn (parents), 5443 Wyndale Ave., Philadelphia, Pa.; Pa.; 12/14/22
AJWW2 – NL

Deitch, Daniel J.                               Pvt.                       12110534
79th Infantry Division, 314th Infantry Regiment
1/20/45
Mr. and Mrs. Herman Deitch and Sophie (Hoffman) Cohen (parents), 1487 College Ave., New York, N.Y.; N.Y., New York; 3/26/22
5/2/45, 6/20/45
AJWW2 – 296

Fineblum, Solomon S.                    PFC                       33731236
94th Infantry Division, 301st Infantry Regiment (Scout)
1/21/45
Mr. and Mrs. Morris and _____ (Rochlin) Fineblum (parents), 2501 Manhattan Ave., Baltimore, Md.; Pvt. Jerome Fineblum (brother); Md.
4/21/25
BJT 5/4/45
AJWW2 – NL

Gang, Sol                           Pvt.                       32544465
79th Infantry Division, 314th Infantry Regiment
1/20/45
Mr. and Mrs. Alexander and Ann Gang (parents); Sister at 44 Bowery, New York, N.Y.; N.Y.; 6/12/18
4/20/45
AJWW2 – NL

Goldman, Harold                            PFC                       32809834
99th Infantry Division, 394th Infantry Regiment
12/18/44
Mr. Maurice Goldman (father), c/o Mrs. Marian Schare, 975 Walton Ave., Bronx, N.Y.
4/12/45, 4/26/45, 5/17/45
AJWW2 – NL

Goldsmith, Wilburt D.                    Sgt.                       12087440; PH, 2 OLC
9th Infantry Division, 39th Infantry Regiment
12/22/44 (wounded previously on ~ 2/17/43 and ~ 6/26/44)
Mr. and Mrs. Aaron and Sadie (Sanders) Goldsmith (parents), c/o Donnelly, 95 Brandt Place, Bronx, N.Y.; 12/7/21
6/5/43, 8/26/44, 4/21/45, 4/24/45, 6/1/45
AJWW2 – 327

Goodkin, Jerome                            PFC                       19119583
84th Infantry Division, 333rd Infantry Regiment
11/22/44
Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence and _____ (Dan) Goodkin (parents), 211 S. (Hammond?) Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca.; Il.; 2/6/22
AJWW2 – NL

Hinden, Philip                    PFC                       32022244; PH
2nd Infantry Division, 9th Infantry Regiment
12/17/44 (wounded previously; see ~ 9/8/44)
(wife), 622 Stone Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. (or) 498 Stone Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
11/8/44, 5/14/45
AJWW2 – 345

Hirsch, David H.                Pvt.                       39049852
84th Infantry Division, 333rd Infantry Regiment
11/25/44
Mrs. Kathryn Hirsch (wife), 876 North Orange Grove, Pasadena, Ca.
6/18/45
AJWW2 – NL

Kaplan, Milton                  PFC                       32598178
94th Infantry Division, 301st Infantry Regiment
1/21/45
Mrs. Sarah Kaplan (mother), 126 Ridgewood, Newark, N.J.; 507 Belmont Ave., Newark, N.J.; N.J.; 9/8/20
6/25/45
AJWW2 – NL

Kraus, Jerome S.                              Pvt.                       36536695
84th Infantry Division, 334th Infantry Regiment
11/19/44
Mr. and Mrs. Morris and Hanna Kraus (parents), 9307 Broad St., Detroit, Mi.; Mi., Detroit; 5/22/21
6/13/45
AJWW2 – NL

Lempert, Moe                   PFC                       32969933; PH
35th Infantry Division, 320th Infantry Regiment
9/28/44
Mr. Joseph W. Lempert (father), 1700 Crotona Park East, New York, N.Y. (or) Apt. 5-1, 1055 Jerome Ave., Bronx, N.Y.; N.Y.; 12/13/24
12/28/44, 3/20/45, 5/14/45
AJWW2 – 375

Mandel, Sidney D.                           Cpl.                       12147427
1/6/45
Mr. Benjamin Mandel (father), 342 2nd Ave., Jersey City, N.J.; N.J., Jersey City; 9/18/23
6/19/45
AJWW2 – NL

Narodick, Norman                          PFC                       36958612; PH
106th Infantry Division, 423rd Infantry Regiment
12/21/44
Mr. and Mrs. Harry and Rebecca (Levine) Narodick (parents), 1504 South Kildare St., Chicago, Il.; Pvt. Gilbert Narodick (brother); Il., Chicago; 1/13/23
5/24/45
AJWW2 – 111

Novick, Alvin                     PFC                       42037918; PH
94th Infantry Division, 301st Infantry Regiment
1/21/45
Mr. and Mrs. Irving (“Isadore”?) and Lena (Janowitz) Novick (parents); Miss Rosalind Novick (sister), 145-11 33rd Ave., Flushing, N.Y.; 6/27/25
5/23/45, Long Island Star Journal 5/22/45
AJWW2 – 400
(Studying physics at Columbia University)

Resnick, Alleck A.                            PFC                       13156499; BSM, 1 OLC, PH
84th Infantry Division, 333rd Infantry Regiment
11/25/44
Mr. and Mrs. Max and Ida (Bass) Resnick (parents), 3714 Belle Ave., Baltimore, Md.; R.I., Providence; 10/28/22
AJWW2 – 143

Roossin, Arnold                               Pvt.                       32802179; PH
101st Airborne Division, 907th Glider Field Artillery Battalion
9/19/44
Mrs. Sylvia Roossin (mother), 2201 Caton Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
4/3/45, 6/25/45
AJWW2 – 415

Rothenberg, Irving                         T/5                        20301306; PH
8th Infantry Division, 28th Infantry Regiment
12/22/44
Mr. Max Rothenberg (father), 858 Fox St., New York, N.Y.
4/26/45, 6/12/45
AJWW2 – 421

Rubin, Jack                        PFC                       34543743
84th Infantry Division, 334th Infantry Regiment
11/21/44
Mr. Isadore Rubin (father), 215 23rd St., Miami Beach, Fl.
6/10/45
AJWW2 – NL

Rubin, Morris R.                              Pvt.                       42060778; PH
106th Infantry Division, 423rd Infantry Regiment
12/21/44
Mr. and Mrs. Henry and Mollie (Fahn) Rubin (parents), 2918 West 24th St., Brooklyn, N.Y.; N.Y., Brooklyn; 10/2/25
4/5/45, 5/25/45
AJWW2 – 423

Satz, Leo                            S/Sgt.                   32787957; PH
1st Infantry Division, 18th Infantry Regiment
12/17/44
Mrs. Edythe Satz (wife), 1325 Nelson Ave., Bronx, N.Y.
4/12/45, 6/20/45
AJWW2 – 427

Schreier, Nathan                             PFC                       32867570
84th Infantry Division, 334th Infantry Regiment
11/9/44
Mr. Charles Schreier (father), 23 East 3rd St., Mount Vernon, N.Y.
4/17/45, 6/11/45
AJWW2 – NL

Shapiro, Seymour                           Pvt.                       32649328; PH
45th Infantry Division, 157th Infantry Regiment
1/21/45
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel and Millie (Deskin) Shapiro (parents), 665 Riverdale Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.; N.Y.; 4/4/22
1/1/45
AJWW2 – 062

Siegel, Hyman                   PFC                       32517708
2nd Armored Division, 66th Armored Regiment
1/16/45; POW at S 11B Fallingbostel, and, S 5A Malsbach / Ludwigsburg
Mr. and Mrs. Ike and _____ (_____) Siegel (parents), 482 Grand St., New York, N.Y.; N.Y., New York; 12/7/07
AJWW2 – NL

Solomon, Isaac                               PFC                       42055485; PH
45th Infantry Division, 157th Infantry Regiment (Medical Corps)
1/21/45
Mr. and Mrs. Max and S. (Sidransky) Solomon (parents), 190 E. 52nd St., Brooklyn, 3, N.Y.; N.Y.; 4/26/45
AJWW2 – 419

Weiner, Morris                                PFC                       36752698
1st Infantry Division, 16th Infantry Regiment
1/5/45
Mrs. Ada Weiner (wife), 4652 North St. Louis Ave., Chicago, Il.
6/15/45
AJWW2 – NL

Weingarten, Sol                              PFC                       42034540
94th Infantry Division, 301st Infantry Regiment
1/21/45
1496 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
4/20/45
AJWW2 – NL

Ziring, Sidney M.                              PFC                       12129473; PH
106th Infantry Division, 422nd Infantry Regiment
12/16/44
Mr. Sigmund Ziring (father), 2987 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
5/29/45
AJWW2 – 478

____________________

Sgt. Bloch’s name appeared in the War Department Casualty List published on April 7, 1945, while notice of his liberation appeared in the Casualty List of May 15, 1945. 

The “title” of the latter – as published in The New York Times – is shown below. 

Sgt. Bloch’s name appears first in the list of Liberated POWs:

For the purpose of this post, I’ve only shown the “title” of the Casualty List, and, the list of liberated POWs.  Though the summary paragraph denotes the report of 3,172 and 356 Army and Navy casualties, it’s important to realize that the Times only published the names of soldiers hailing from the New York Metropolitan area, northeastern New Jersey, and southwestern Connecticut, not the Casualty List as covering the United States in its entirety. 

This was based on and consistent with a policy established earlier in the war by the War Department (or, Office of War Information?) instructing news outlets – newspapers and radio stations (remember, this was before the ‘Net!) – never to release a “full”, nationwide Casualty List, thus limiting news releases about casualties only to names of soldiers who resided in the geographic area of a newspaper’s established coverage.

Like many (many) American Jewish soldiers who were casualties during the Second World War (wounded, injured, or killed) or who received military decorations, Sgt. Bloch’s name does not appear in the aptly titled 1947 book American Jews in World War Two, the central and primary work (precisely because it is the only such work!) listing the names of American Jewish servicemen who served in that conflict.

Reference

Long Island Star Journal, at http://www.astorialic.org/starjournal/starjournal_p.php

Biography of Wing Commander William Weiser – From “Canadian Jews in World War II”

The prior post about RCAF Wing Commander William Weiser presented him in an informal – yet highly informative, very expressive! – literary context, in the format of excerpts from letters he’d sent to his wife, Sophie Weiser, between May of 1942 and February of 1944.  These letters were published in The American Hebrew in 1944.

However, another view of Wing Commander Weiser’s WW II military career appeared only three years later – in 1947 – in an entirely different setting.  That year, the Canadian Jewish Congress published a two-volume set of books covering the military service of Canada’s Jews in the recent war, aptly and simply titled Canadian Jews in World War Two.  The “first” of the two books, “Decorations” (Part I), comprises biographies of all Canadian Jewish servicemen who received awards for their military service.  The “second” volume, “Casualties” (Part II), covers Canadian Jewish servicemen who were killed, wounded, or captured.

Viewed within a larger context, both during, and especially since the Second World War, numerous works have been published describing – in widely varied formats and styles – Jewish military service in WW II.  Among these works, Canadian Jews in World War II easily stands out as – far and away – the very best.  Though varying in length and content, the biographical profiles are typically extremely detailed, almost always including nominal genealogical information, photographic portraits of excellent quality, and – for those men who were casualties – the circumstances under and dates when such events occurred, sometimes even with mention of the military unit to which they were assigned.  Some profiles include lengthy extracts and quotes from official correspondence, or, letters from friends and comrades. 

In sum, these two books are both very nicely produced “as” books, and, they are superb stand-alone historical reference works. 

A biography of Wing Commander Weiser can be found on page 6 of Part I.  Like the majority of profiles in both books, his entry includes a formal photographic portrait, which happens to be identical to (and better than!) the image presented in the prior post, the latter of which is actually a digital image from 35mm microfilm.

His picture is presented below, along with a verbatim transcript of his biographical entry.

____________________

WING COMMANDER WILLIAM WEISER, J-10822, R.C.A.F., of New York City, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on Oct. 4th, 1943, the Bar to his D.F.C. in May, 1944, and named a member of the Order of the British Empire on Jan. 25th, 1946.

The citation with his D.F.C. states:

“Flying Officer Weiser has flown on operations against some of the enemy’s most important targets and has always displayed great determination to complete his mission successfully.  By his courage and devotion to duty he has set an excellent example to his crew.”

The citation accompanying the Bar read:

“This officer has completed two tours of operational duties.  Most of the sorties completed by him have been accomplished in the face of heavy enemy action over such targets as Berlin, Hamburg, and Essen.  As a Flight Commander, S/Ldr. Weiser has displayed skill, courage, and devotion to duty of a high order.  His enthusiasm and organizational ability have been valuable assets to his squadron.”

Wing-Cmdr. Weiser learned to fly at Floyd Bennett Field, New York, and came to Canada to enlist in the R.C.A.F. eight months before the United States entered the war.  He won his wings and commission and was posted overseas in May, 1942.  There he was attached to a Pathfinder Squadron with which he completed two tours of operations.  While he continued to command a bomber on raids over Germany, he was also in charge of the training of new pilots assigned to his squadron.  Later he was posted to the staff of a Canadian bomber group.

Returning after a heavy raid on Germany in May, 1943, Wing-Cmdr. Weiser’s bomber crashed.  Wing Cmdr. Weiser was severely injured and was confined to the hospital for more than a month.  The other members of the crew escaped with slight wounds.

Born in Newark, N.J., in 1919, William Weiser is the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Weiser of 971 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, N.Y.  Shortly before going overseas in 1942 Wing-Cmdr. Weiser married the former Miss Sophie Goldberg who lives at 1475 Grand Concourse, Bronx, N.Y.

Reference

Canadian Jews in World War II – Part I: Decorations, Canadian Jewish Congress, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1947, p. 6.