Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Double Jeopardy Remembered – The Reminiscences of a Jewish Prisoner of War

My recent blog post, covering Sergeant Ralph Gans of the Bronx, included a list of Jewish soldiers who were military casualties on January 31, 1945.  However, that list was not complete.    

The names of two American airmen appear in this “separate” post, because one of those aviators – Leonard Winograd – recounted the events of his capture, interrogation, and imprisonment some three decades later, in an essay: “Double Jeopardy What an American Army Officer, a Jew, Remembers of Prison Life in Germany”. 

He and his eleven fellow crew members were captured after their B-24 Liberator bomber failed to return from a mission to Moosbierbaum, Austria, on a day which marked the loss of at least thirteen 15th Air Force B-24s.  They were members of the 512th Bomb Squadron of the 376th (“Liberandos”) Bomb Group (15th Air Force).  The loss of their aircraft, B-24H 41-28911, piloted by 1 Lt. Robert E. Andrus, is covered in MACR 12066, and Luftgaukommando Reports ME 2776 and 2777.  The entire crew of 12 survived, with two men evading capture.

Rabbi Winograd’s essay was published in the American Jewish Archives in April of 1976, and reprinted in The Jewish Veteran three months later. 

It is presented here, in its entirety. 

Rabbi Winograd’s story is one that is marked by elements of irony and humor (well, of a sort…) and more importantly, insights about the challenges and dangers (imagined, and also very genuine) of being a Jewish prisoner of war of the Germans.  Let alone, the challenges of simply being a POW – “per se”. 

Rabbi Winograd accorded notable attention to the predicament of fellow crewman T/Sgt. Gerald Einhorn, a substitute crew member who was filling in for the Andrus crew’s own (ill) ball turret gunner that January Tuesday.  This was particularly so in light of Einhorn’s defiance of the crew’s German captors (which reaction elicited an intriguing comment from another POW) in the context of Einhorn’s status as a refugee from Hitler.    

Though Einhorn was never seen again after being wounded during a strafing attack by P-47 Thunderbolt fighters, he did survive the war.  The owner of a hardware store in Brooklyn, he died in 1983, at the young age of 61.  His wife, Gertrude (“Gittel”) (Yaskransky) Einhorn, passed away in 2005.    

One wonders if Gerald Einhorn ever read Rabbi Winograd’s story.  I suppose the answer to that question can never be answered.  What can be answered and verified is that Einhorn was, as recorded by Rabbi Winograd, from Eastern Europe; born in Romania in July of 1922, his parents were Samuel and Mathilda.  Their fate is another question, the answer to which is also unknown.  

In a larger sense, Rabbi Winograd’s account is one of the innumerable stories comprising the great body of writing – some fiction; some non-fiction; some, “some”-where between – concerning the experience of prisoners of war during the Second World War.  In itself, this literature is but one facet of the vast body of writing covering the experience of prisoners of war, of all military conflicts, “in general”. 

What is notable about Rabbi Winograd’s account is that was published relatively “early”, compared to the bulk of such accounts (whether books or articles), which began to appear before the public – at least in the United States – roughly commencing in the mid- to late 1980s. 

What is equally notable is that it addresses – albeit through the eyes of one man, over the limited time-frame of four months (well, very much can happen in four months!) – the implications of being a Jewish prisoner of war in the European Theater, in light of the ideological priorities, social and geopolitical aims, and actions of Germany (and to a lesser extent its allies) concerning the Jews.    

In that regard, it one among many such stories.  But, how many?   

From reviewing a very wide variety of sources – books and articles; archival and published; print and digital – I’ve arrived at the following approximate numbers of Jewish soldiers who, having been captured by Axis forces, survived the Second World War as POWs. 

United States Army (European, Mediterranean, and Pacific Theaters): 1,530
United States Army Air Force (European, Mediterranean, and Pacific Theaters):  1,310
United States Marine Corps and Navy: 80
Australia (all theaters of war; all branches of service): 80
Canada (all theaters of war; all branches of service): 70
England (all theaters of war; all branches of service): 415
Greece:  70
South Africa (all theaters of war; all branches of service): 360
The Yishuv (pre-1948 Israel): 1,280

(A caveat:  The above totals do not include Jewish prisoners of war from Belgium, France, and the Netherlands.  They also do not include the extraordinarily few Jewish soldiers of the Polish, and particularly the Soviet armed forces, who survived German captivity.  This must be viewed in the context and nature of Germany’s war against the Soviet Union, one aspect of which was the calculated inhumanity of German treatment of Soviet POWs.) 

In any event, many if not most of these stories were probably never told; even fewer were probably recorded.  Of those that were recorded, how many have been preserved?    

Well…a few. 

And this is one.    

A link to a PDF transcript of Rabbi Winograd’s story follows this post’s list of references. 

But first, begin with a series of photographs of the Andrus crew…

______________________________

The following image, from the 376th Bomb Group wesbite, also appears in Rabbi Winograd’s book Rabies is Jewish Priests, and depicts his crew after their arrival in North Africa in August, 1944, while en route to Italy.  

The men are the following:

Standing, left to right:

Bob Andrus (pilot)
Chappy Campbell (Radio operator)
Len Winograd
Bob Ruetsch (gunner)
Tom Sabatino (gunner)

Kneeling, left to right:

Bob Cartier (bombardier)
Lane Carlton
Carl Rudisill (gunner)
Bob Corbett (flight engineer)

The aircraft – Mary Ellen – was named after the wife of aircraft commander Paul George (not in the photo), who does not appear in the photo.

The same image as above, as it appears in Rabbi Winograd’s book.

Mary Ellen, B-24J 42-50960, squadron number 85, did not survive the war.  The aircraft was lost on November 11, 1944, while taking part in a high-altitude bombing mission to Mezzocorona, Italy. 

As described by 1 Lt. Eugene B. De Fillipo, who was flying on the plane’s right wing, Mary Ellen – piloted by 1 Lt. Walter W. Mader with a crew of ten – was last seen over the Adriatic Sea, about half way between Ancona and the Croatian coastal island of Dugi Otok.  The two planes entered clouds at 0925 hours.  Fifteen minutes later, when Lieutenant De Fillipo emerged into clear sky, Mary Ellen was missing.  The incident is covered in MACR 9858.

______________________________

Another image of the Andrus crew, also from the 376th BG website.

Standing, left to right:

Robert F. Corbett – Flight Engineer
Robert J. Cartier – Bombardier
Robert E. Andrus – Pilot
Leonard Winograd – Navigator

Kneeling, left to right:

Carl P. Rudisill – Nose Gunner
Robert D. Ruetsch – Ball Turret Gunner
Thomas G. Sabatino – Tail Gunner
Emory L. Carlton – Waist Gunner
Robert G. Campbell – Radio Operator

______________________________

This image of the Andrus crew – taken just after their return from a mission on December 14, 1944 – is from the collection of Robert Ruetsch, seventeen of whose photographs are present at his photo page on the 376th BG website

Standing, left to right:

Unknown
Leonard Winograd – navigator
Donald H. Boulineu – Pilot
Robert E. Andrus – Co-Pilot
Unknown

Kneeling, left to right:

Unknown
Unknown
Robert D. Ruetsch – Ball Turret Gunner
Unknown
Unknown

According to Robert Ruetsch’s comments, “these other men were probably part of the crew that day”:

Robert F. Corbett – Flight Engineer
Robert J. Cartier – Bombardier
Carl P. Rudisill – Nose Turret Gunner
Thomas G. Sabatino – Tail Turret Gunner
Emory L. Carlton – Waist Gunner
Robert G. Campbell – Radio Operator

The Liberator which serves as the backdrop B-24H 42-95285, squadron number 22, otherwise known as Red Ryder.  The plane was lost during a mission to Linz, Austria, on November 7, 1944.  Piloted by 2 Lt. Phillip R. Scott, the plane (based on my interpretation of the MACR) either crash-landed on Vis Island, or ditched in the Adriatic Sea.  In any event, four of the plane’s eleven crewmen were killed.  Three of the plane’s four engines suffered a simultaneous loss of power coupled with mechanical problems: #1 engine was “out”, #2 engine “ran away”, and a third engine had become uncontrollable.  The incident is covered in post-war high-numbered “fill in” Missing Air Crew Report: # 16500. 

______________________________

Here is another view of the Andrus crew, also from the Ruetsch photo collection.

Standing, left to right:

Robert J. Cartier
Robert D. Ruetsch
Leonard Winograd
Unknown
Robert F. Corbett
Unknown

Kneeling, left to right:

Donald H. Boulineau
Thomas G. Sabatino
Carl P. Rudisill
Robert G. Campbell
Emory Lane Carlton

Like Red Ryder and Mary Ellen, the B-24 in this image also did not survive the war.  The plane B-24H 42-51183, was nicknamed Bad Penny, squadron number 27.  The aircraft was lost during a mission to the Moosbierbuam Oil Refineries in Austria on January 31, 1945.  Piloted by 1 Lt. Wante J. Bartol, nine of the bomber’s ten crew members survived the mission.  The sole casualty was bombardier 2 Lt. Leonard N. Tocco, who was murdered (shot) by German soldiers almost immediately after safely landing by parachute, despite offering no resistance to capture.

The incident is covered in MACR 12067.  It is also covered in Luftgaukommando Report ME 204A.  Regarding the latter, Luftgaukommando Reports suffixed “A” probably pertained to American air crews from which at least some crew members were known by the Germans to have evaded capture.  This would be consistent with the fate of the Bartol crew, for of the plane’s nine survivors, eight seem to have escaped, with T/Sgt. Mark D. Striman (radio operator) being taken prisoner.

______________________________

Another image from Rabbi Winograd’s book:  “A group of the neighborhood children in Italy come out to play in the snow, January 30, 1945.  It was the first snow in southern Italy in some 25 years.  The two without hats are a future rabbi and a future university president.  This was the day before our bomber went down.  Who would have guessed that in less than 24 hours, our crew would be missing in action.”

______________________________

Another image from the Ruetsch collection, showing Lieutenants Boulineau, Winograd, and Cartier, in front of their tent. 

______________________________

An excellent portrait of Rabbi (then, Lieutenant) Winograd, in front of a 512th Bomb Squadron B-24.  The squadron insignia – a skull superimposed on a propeller and cross-bones – is as visually striking as it is symbolic.   This picture accompanies Rabbi Winograd’s article in the April, 1976 issue of the American Jewish Archives, but does not appear in either Rabies is Jewish Priests, or, the reprint of the AJA article in the July, 1976 issue of The Jewish Veteran.

______________________________

A uniform patch of the 512th Bomb Squadron insignia.

______________________________

The following account, from the 376th BG website, is Lt. Andrus’ story of the loss of B-24H 41-28911.

“With three engines feathered, the B-24’s flight characteristics approximate that of a large, round ball of lead dropped from a great height.”

Much to our surprise on the afternoon of Jan 30, 1944 [should be 1945] I found that my crew was scheduled to fly the next day’s mission. Under the normal rotation we should not have been scheduled for at least two more days. Further, we were to fly the number 7 (slot) position which was usually reserved for newer, less experienced crews. Adding to the confusion was the fact that we not going to fly our usual aircraft but were to take the brand new B-24H that the squadron had received a few days earlier.

All my efforts to find out what was going on were non productive. Sqd Ops finally told me that they had been directed by Group Operations to schedule me by name to fly that aircraft in the slot on tomorrows mission and I would probably find out why at the morning briefing. Very strange!

At the morning briefing I learned that the 376th would be the last group in the bomber stream, the target was Moosbierbaum and the flak would be intense. It quickly became apparent that since the 512th box was tail-end Charlie in the group formation, I would be the last ship over the target. It wasn’t until we arrived at the hardstand where our aircraft was parked that I finally found out what was going on.

Both the Gp Ops officer and the Gp Intel. officer were waiting for me and introduced me to my newest crew member: an aerial photographer. I was then briefed that my mission was to bomb the target with the 512th and when they rallied off after they dropped their ordinance I was to make a 180 degree turn and return to the IP and make another run over the target. It seems they suspected the oil refinery had long since been destroyed and was being camouflaged to appear operational. Our second run over the target would hopefully provide bomb damage photography taken before they had an opportunity to reemploy their camouflage. I was then advised that we had been selected to fly this mission because we were experienced and had one of the most competent navigators in the Group, Len Winograd.

The aircraft we were to fly was basically an “H” model that had been modified at the factory during its manufacture. The nose turret was eliminated and a huge, 7-lens mosaic camera which incorporated the bomb sight was installed in its place. The photographer had received over 150 hours of experimental training on a similar camera that had been installed in a modified B-24D back in the states. Although I was introduced to him at the hardstand, I am unable to remember his name.

He and Flight Officer Durham, the bombardier who was receiving his mandatory checkout flight brought the number of crew members on this flight to twelve.

The flight to the target was normal; the aircraft performed beautifully and fuel consumption was less than normal. There was absolutely no indication of the problem we were later to encounter. During this portion of the flight I briefed the crew on intercom about our additional mission. When I finished, there was a moment of silence and then a voice on the intercom said, “hey, I ain’t gonna go unless I get extra mission credit.” This brought on lots of laughter.

As I recall, the bomb run was flown at 23,000 feet and although the flak was very heavy, we received only minimum damage. After the bomb drop, the flight made a descending right turn to clear the area as rapidly as possible. I maintained 23,000 feet and flew a racetrack pattern back to the IP. Once we were established on the track back to the target I turned control of the aircraft over to the photographer who was using the bombsight as a view finder for the camera. While the flak continued to be heavy on this run, we received minimal battle damage.

After completing the photo run I made a right descending turn and picked up the heading for return to base. Almost immediately the right outboard engine started to fail. Fuel pressure fluctuated wildly and although the manifold pressure gauge indicated we were not getting any power, I was unable to control the engine RPMs. This left me no choice but to shut down the engine and feather the prop.

A check of the fuel sight gauges indicated plenty of fuel for the return to base. Despite this, all engine instruments clearly showed the loss of the engine was due to fuel starvation. Just as I made the decision to unfeather the engine, the same problem began with the right inboard engine. Using the feathering button to keep the RPMs from exceeding the max allowable we tried everything we could think of to overcome the power loss. Cross feeding the fuel tanks, swapping the electronic control boxes for the turbo superchargers all failed to correct the problem.

With two engines on the same side feathered, the flying characteristics of a combat configured B-24 left much to be desired. Forced to begin a descent in order to maintain minimum flying speed, I directed the crew to jettison everything in the aircraft not required to maintain flight. While I still held out hope that we would have sufficient altitude to make it over the Alps, the left inboard engine failed inexactly the same manner.

With three engines feathered, the B-24’s flight characteristics approximate that of a large, round ball of lead dropped from a great height. It was very depressing to know that we had all that fuel on board and not be able to access it.

By this time we were down in a box canyon of the generic Alps in northern Yugoslavia and descending through 9,000 feet. Since there was no alternative, I directed the crew to bailout. This was in the vicinity of Bijac, Yugoslavia. I was immediately captured and remained a POW for the duration of the war.

Liberation and return to allied military control came on April 29, 1945. In the latter part of May, 1945 while undergoing processing and rehabilitation at Camp Lucky Strike, LeHavre, France, I was interviewed and debriefed by US Army Intelligence agents. It seems that an identical camera-equipped B-24H had been delivered to the 98th Bomb Group at Lecce and it went down on its first mission under the same circumstances that we had experienced. This raised suspicions of sabotage and an investigation was conducted. It revealed that during manufacture someone had installed pressure-sensitive check valves in the main fuel lines to each engine. The valves remained inoperable until someone removed a small easily accessible pin to activate them. They were designed to remain open while climbing and maintaining constant altitude and close, shutting off the fuel supply, when encountering increasing barometric pressure i.e. a descending aircraft. The saboteur was apprehended and the valves were removed from the remaining four camera-equipped B-24s.

______________________________

And, here is Rabbi Winograd’s story…

DOUBLE JEOPARDY
American Jewish Archives
April, 1976

What an American Army Officer, a Jew,
Remembers of Prison Life in Germany

Dr. Winograd is a member of the Jacob Greenfield Post in McKeesport, Pa.  He’s also the rabbi of Temple B’Nai Israel.

They were always things you overheard, things not meant for your ears, not intended for you, not directed at or about you.  But the words were in the air.  You could hear them at night in that tension before sleep released you from longing.  I remember hearing two British or South African pilots talking about a British prisoner whose name may have been Gordon.

“Didn’t you know?  He’s a Jew – a Russland Jew?”

“After the war, we’ll fight them.”

I will never know whether he meant that, after the war, England (or South Africa) would have to fight the Jews or the Russians.  I heard one of us referred to as a “Kike” because he had argued with the German guards.  His name was Einhorn.  He was a refugee from Hitler.  Hungarian Jews were dying at the rate of 12,000 a day at Auschwitz.  Our own belly gunner was in the hospital with pneumonia so Einhorn, Hungarian Jew, had flown with our crew on the day we bailed out.  Einhorn was unknown to me before this mission because at our base in Italy, officer flying personnel rarely got to know the enlisted flying personnel socially except, of course, for members of one’s own crew.  Einhorn was apparently a fellow with enough guts to tell off the men who captured him or who were taking him on a train to yet another place.  This frightened the other men who had been captured with Einhorn, as they were not personally involved in World War II, even if they, too, were prisoners of war in Germany.  To the Jew this was deeply personal – no matter how hard you tried to deny it.

More of the One Than of the Other

We had bailed out over Yugoslavia after bombing a synthetic oil refinery somewhere in Austria.  We came down in a part of Bosnia in which there was a great deal of guerilla warfare.  Two of the crew were picked up immediately by the Yugoslav Tito Red Partisans.  They were back at our base in Italy in five days.  [Aerial Gunner S/Sgt. Carl B. Rudisill, and, Observer F/O Edward J. Derham]  One of these two men was riding along on a first mission just to see what happens in combat.  [Derham]  He evaded capture, which indicates how much training, experience, intelligence briefings, and knowledge of escape procedure can accomplish.  About five of the crew came down in about the same place and were picked up almost immediately.  I think that Einhorn was in that group, along with the crew member who had griped to me that Einhorn was like “those Kikes from Brownsville.”  [Name in MACR…]  I was reassured that Einhorn was not like me.  Another four men or so must have come down in another place because they were captured and brought in after the first group had left for Germany.  I was the last one captured and I joined this group at a barracks in the mountains.  My capture came after three days and two nights of hiding by day and traveling by night, avoiding all people and also wolves and bears who were after me and had me badly frightened.

The idea was that you hid in the daytime and traveled at night, heading always south until one came to a city or a penguin, in which case you had apparently overdone things again.  But, while I was holed up in the snow, with tracks from my boots leading to the hole and no tracks leading from the hole, several German soldiers came by, looking for me, I assume.  They had great big dogs with them.  They walked within six feet of my hole and never bothered to investigate because, after all, no one wants to fill out all those forms, I guess.

Well, I saw a crucifix on a building and since I had heard about the priests and nuns in Belgium who believed in God and would help Jews trying to evade capture, I decided to chance it.  I stood up.  (I had been crawling on my belly because according to the movies, that way you became a smaller target.)  I started walking toward what I assumed would be a church.  Very soon I realized that it was no church at all.  In those moments when I still thought it was a church, I had decided that all I would ask for was some hot water.  I was freezing.  Just some hot water.  Very soon I realized that this was no church at all.  It was a cemetery chapel.  Some little children had seen me and had run to get the German sentries.  Two German sentries.  Well, Germans are nothing if not thorough.  Imagine, two guards in a cemetery!

The guards asked me, Americano?”  I answered, “No.”  They asked me, “Italiano?”  I answered, “Americano.”  I felt that since Germany and Italy were allies, I had better hot tell them that I was Italian since I wanted them to like me.

They took me to meet an officer.  It might have been a headquarters or an officers’ club or something.  I was in a daze.  But I remember that they immediately brought in an interpreter who right off the bat asked me if I had ever been to Kaufman’s in Pittsburgh.  From the few words I had said, he had spotted my Pittsburgh brogue.  The official questions came in correct order – name, rank, serial number, religion.  I answered them all to the best of my ability, and when I told them that I was a Jew, I sensed excitement in the room.  I am very perceptive that way.  All the mouths were wide open now.

Then I remember that even though they kept referring to us as fellow officers, in my case it was not quite the same thing.  The major (who was a German major in Bihacs in the winter of ‘45?) claimed to be from Vienna and told me that he had many Jewish friends (my knee jerk reaction being that one was supposed to beware of Gentiles who said that some of their best friends were Jews – as if it would be safer to be with a Nazi who said that some of his worst enemies were Jews!)

Studying Journalism

Meanwhile, they had insisted that I take off some of my wet clothes.  This, I assumed, was for the purpose of torturing me.  Then they brought me some hot soup – poison no doubt!  Anyhow, the soup was about the best I ever ate in my life.  It probably did not have the antibiotic potential of chicken soup, but no soup I ever ate tasted as good.  As for the clothes, they merely wanted to dry them off.  I had recalled the Geneva Convention when I created that sensation by telling them what my religion was, and so I realized that I had better not talk anymore.  So I would not talk.  The translator had gotten angry with me at one point when I answered a question before he had translated it, despite the fact that I knew no German at all, but, as I explained, German was a lot like Yiddish.  Sometimes I could understand the questions without waiting for the translation.  I imagine that a lot of German anti-Semitism came from translators who feared that if they were not needed in Yugoslavia, they might have to go to the Russian front where it was just as cold and hot besides.  In wartime, that could be hazardous.

One example of how being a Jew affected response to interrogation: When I was asked what I was studying in college, I was ashamed to tell the Germans that I was in the School of Business Administration because in those days anti-Semites thought that all Jews were rich and were in business.  So I told them that I was studying journalism.  (This only shows how naive I was.  Now they could accuse Jews of trying to control the media!)

But from that time on, I was intent on hiding within my group.  None of my crew ever discussed this with me nor did I tell them what was on my mind.  I always sought the back of formations, covered my face with my hands like a criminal whenever I was visible to Germans, and tried very hard not to be conspicuous.

Our select group soon included a South African pilot with the fantastic name of Paul Kreuger [actually, Lieutenant Peter Krueger (207053)] and there was also a South African observer whom we had seen get shot down one day as Ukrainian SS stood over me with whips in their hands while I cowered on the floor in hopes that they wouldn’t use them.  (No congregation really frightens me.)  We were escorted by three old men who were given rations for our trip to “someplace.”  They kept our cigarette rations for themselves, but did give us enough food and a lot of organic fertilizer.  We knew that they were stealing our cigarettes, but we were like Lolita with Humbert.  They were all we had.  They were kind of old, and we were extremely young, so we carried the guns and they carried the rations.  After all, if we escaped, could they eat guns!  They wanted to be sure that they would have enough to eat.

The boys from the 512th Squadron of the 376th Bomb Group were carrying German rifles while their guards carried the heavy packages of food.  We called them Superman No. 1, Superman No. 2, and Sleeping Jesus.  The names had come about so innocently!  Bobbie Johnstown was a nineteen-year-old co-pilot who had the face of a Gerber model.  We had to carry him everywhere because of his frozen feet.  He couldn’t walk.  He could run like hell when we were being bombed by our own planes, but he couldn’t walk, so we carried him.  Well, it was one of those moments when our guards were totally exhausted.  Bobbie had referred to them as “Supermen.”  When we gasped, he asked, “Well, aren’t they?”  It was all very funny, especially that part about Sleeping Jesus.  I, of course, as the Jew in residence, never referred to the Alsatian guard as sleeping Jesus.  I left that for the other crew buddies, it wasn’t for me to say.  Anyone could tell that I must have been a Jew.  I didn’t joke about Jesus.  See why it is dumb to object to the Gentile who says that some of his best friends are Jews.  If you are any kind of a Jew at all, everyone knows it.  For one thing, you don’t joke about Jesus.

On the trains, our guards were supposed to protect us from the German populace.  One of these guards, Superman No. 1, had an uncle in Milwaukee.  This guard told a German passenger combat soldier that I was a Jew.  The soldier gave me a cigarette without comment and without any show of anger or hatred.  And cigarettes were very scarce in that time and place.

Big Generals and Jews

Finally, we arrived at Frankfurt on the Main.  We went directly to the cellar of the railroad station to sweat out a night bombing.  There we met a Russian prisoner, a Pole, and several Frenchmen.  We joked that the Russian had surrounded Vienna, but the German army had apparently broken his siege and captured him.  Seriously, though, it was quite touching.  The Russian, on learning that I was an American, took out a silver cigarette case and held it close to his body so that I could not see what was in it.  What was in the silver cigarette case?  About a half dozen cigarette butts.  For some reason, he did not want me to know that he was giving me the largest cigarette butt he owned.  It could have meant many things, but it was wonderful to taste the appreciation of an ally.

A few minutes later, euphoric because of the swig of wine which I had gotten from the newly captured French prisoner, I opened my heart a fraction of an inch to him.  I really thought that all Frenchmen were libertarian, egalitarian, and fraternal, like in Warner Brothers war films.  So I told this brand new comrade in incarceration that I was a Jew and that I was afraid that they would kill me.  Then he let me know that he could not believe that I was a Jew because I was a soldier.  Just about then the German who was guarding the Russian, the Pole, and the Frenchmen became chummy and philosophical.  Being in a cellar during an air raid does that for you.  War, he said, was no good.  We all agreed.  Then he went on to refine his statement.  War, he now said, was good only for the big generals and the Jews.  It had been different at the prison camp for French prisoners in Vienna.  A French POW there had been in Poland and had seen the Nazi death camps where Jews were exterminated, and he had told me what was going on.  He probably would not have agreed that war was good for the Jews.

Finally, we left the cellar of the railroad station and went to an air force interrogation center near Frankfurt.  I was put in solitary confinement.  We all were, I think.  They made the room so hot that I could not stand it and so removed most of my clothing.  As soon as I did that, they made it so cold that I had to put all the clothing back on again.  This happened several times over several hours.  Then I was taken to interrogation where, for the first time, the fact that I was a Jew became a weapon in the hands of the Germans.  By now I had been a prisoner for about a month.

The interrogator was a one man Mutt-and-Jeff act.  You know, in prison work, one detective is the good guy and one is the bad guy.  Well, this was the good guy.  The bad guy would bet me if I did not play along with the good guy.  It worked like this: I refused to give any information other than my name, rank, and serial number.  I refused because the Geneva Convention promised that no one was allowed to require more than such information of me.  All he wanted was for me to tell him one thing to establish the fact that I was not an underground terrorist or, as he put it, a “bandit.”

Sorry.  No luck.

So, he went on to tell me how he had had good childhood friends who were Jews, but who had gone to America because of the Nazis.  He, of course, was no Nazi.  Perhaps I knew his friends?  He told me their names.  No, I did not know them.  Well, the officer explained, that was too bad because he certainly had nothing against Jews, but the Gestapo was in charge of all suspected underground terrorists and, unless I talked, he would have to turn me over to the Gestapo.  He advised me that they would not be as considerate of my feelings or my safety as the German Air Force would be.  If I could get myself registered as an air force prisoner of war, the Luftwaffe, the German air force, would be responsible for me.  Otherwise, the Gestapo would get me.  This was the second big fact about being a Jew in this situation.  It gave the Germans an additional weapon for interrogation of prisoners.  I told him that I could not do what he wanted me to do.  He then had a photographer brought in who did a frontal mug and profile with numbers.  This, I was told, was for the Gestapo.  The interrogator’s last words to me were that he felt very sorry for me.  He really did not think that I was an underground bandit, but I had been very foolish and had not helped him at all.

I went back to my room thinking or really feeling kind of, “So, this is how it is all going to end,” and being afraid only that I would not act like a big boy when they tortured me.  I had been well indoctrinated with the idea that if you revealed anything at all other than your name, rank, and serial number, they would never let you out of the interrogation center.  Apparently, those interrogation centers existed only for the sake of the occasional blabbermouth who would give them one small piece of a puzzle which they could fit into a larger puzzle where it would mesh with the gleanings from other blabbermouths.  Anyhow, they would have no further use for me because I would not tell them anything.  I could always say that I had met the enemy and “my head was bloody but unbowed” – except that it wasn’t even bloody.  It was cold and it was sweaty, but it was not at all bloody.

After an eternity, which may have been only fifteen minutes, there was a knock at the door.  A German NCO with a smile on his face said, “Lt. Winograd we are sending a movement of prisoners today to a Red Cross camp and would like you to be in command of the group.”  He told me how many hundreds of officers and NCOs would be involved.  I agreed to do it.  He explained also that, looking as I did, I could not properly command men.  I needed a shave.  Would I like to use his razor and soap?  I agreed to do that, too.  So he brought me a razor, soap, and a brush, and while I was shaving, he explained that I would have to do something else to guarantee the comfort of our men.  According to the articles of war, you are not allowed to force a prisoner to give his consent or parole, meaning you cannot force a prisoner to give his word that he will not attempt escape.  I would have to violate the entire civilized world’s conception of POW life and give parole for several hundred prisoners.  If did not?  If I refused?  Then winter, shminter-they would remove the shoes and belts of all the men on the train!  But supposing I gave parole for these men and one of them escaped?  Oh, in that case the Germans would shoot me.  Seemed like an air-tight plan!  I love to see all the ends dovetail neatly.

But look.  When you have been expecting the Gestapo to take you off somewhere to a torture chamber, a minor violation of an international covenant is insignificant.  I agreed.  He also explained that the German people were extremely sensitive people.  Well, who didn’t know that?  He meant that they were sensitive about their homes being bombed, so there was to be no laughter, no frivolity, no singing in the presence of German civilians.  If there were, there might be an attack on the prisoners by the civilians, and I would be responsible for that, too.  Looked like a good setup for me to lose weight.  I agreed, of course.  Then I was taken to a large room, and all of the prisoners were brought in, including a few members of my own crew who looked at me with awe and wonders as though it were my bar mitzvah.  You know the look: Lenny is going to make a speech!

Beschnitten

I explained the conditions of the trip.  We were going to a Red Cross center for war prisoners where we would receive new clothing and the other toilet articles and supplies we would require for our new life.  Then I had them arrange themselves into a military formation, and I marched the group to the train from the building.  I have no idea how far we went but Jeez that was fun!  So another peculiarity of being a Jew in a German POW camp was that the only time in my three years of active duty in the Armed Forces of the USA that I ever commanded a marching formation of any size or of any kind whatsoever was at that prison interrogation rogation center in Nazi Germany where it was either a reward for being a brave or an impressive soldier or, an attempt at harassment so that I should not enjoy the train ride like everyone else.

At the Red Cross place – Wetzlar, I think it was – the commanding officer explained that we would get the things we needed.  He suggested that we all watch the maps for an American crossing of the Rhine River any day now at a certain point.  He informed us that there would be “mass for the mackerel munchers at 6:30 and services for the other league at 8 o’clock.”  We would have some papers to fill out for the Red Cross.  I realized that the Red Cross had nothing to do with these papers when the uniformed German filling out my information sheet insisted that I had a “birth mark or scar” which was beschnitten – cut off.  This, he explained, was because I was circumcised.  That was my identifying birthmark or scar.

From Wetzlar we went to Nuremberg.  It was at Nuremberg that we were finally home.  They had been telling us that, “For you the war is over.”  They told us that again.  As prisoners, now that the war was over for us, we slept in cellars and in barns, and once I awoke at night to find a large rat sitting on my face, staring at me.  Now we were safely registered as prisoners, and the food was just enough to keep one barely alive.  Men fell into the latrines and lacked the strength to pull themselves out of the fecal slime.  For them the war really was over.  A most appropriate way to go.  We were home.  We were safe from the civilians who tried to grab us in Vienna when my own bomber group attacked the city just as we reached a Red Cross soup kitchen.  There was not enough to eat, but Nuremberg was something to be proud of.  After all, it was the only major bombing target that could be reached by both the entire 15th Air Force based in Italy and the entire 8th Air Force based in England.  We were bombed all day by the Americans and all night by the British.  But they were not bombing our prison.  They were bombing other things such as rail junctions.

A Moment Embedded in Stars

In the midst of this confusion, one night the British sent the whole damned Royal Air Force to bomb, and they dropped flares right on the camp, which meant to us experienced air men that we were the target for tonight.  Actually they had dropped the flares so their bombardiers (bomb-aimers, they called them) would not hit us, but would hit the rail junction about a mile away.  We did not know that though, and so we thought that we were it.  I prayed for my mother, my father, my sister, and my brother as was my custom.  I sensed that I must not be selfish or God would ignore me altogether.  And I lay in that filth on my belly on the floor of the barracks and told God that if He could get me out of that mess I would dedicate my life to Him.  That was when I decided to become a rabbi.  Seriously, that was it.  I joke a lot, especially in anxiety-laden situations, but I am serious about this moment and the rabbinate.

Finally, the day came that we marched out of Nuremberg because the American infantry was getting too close.  On the first or second day of our long march, we were attacked by American P-47 dive bombers.  Einhorn had his leg ripped open, and I never saw him again.  Our next camp was Moosburg, which we reached after marching mostly in the rain for something like 125 kilometers (eighty-five miles), sleeping at night in the open or on farms or in bitterly cold churches.  When no one else would have us the churches always would let us in out of the rain.  The Germans, during this march, were neither mean nor cruel.  They were kind and helpful.  Can you handle that last sentence?  We must have looked horrible.  Old ladies carried buckets of water for us and brought us food.  We were everywhere throughout the countryside.  A hundred thousand of us.  Finally, I arrived at the desk of the British prisoner whose job was to fill out a new informational form on me.  All of the old records had been lost.  We found them a couple of weeks later.  This British prisoner asked me again the same weary questions I had answered so many times before.  I answered them again.

I did not want to give my parents’ address, as I always feared that they might be blackmailed by German agents in the United States.  Still, I did give the address of my parents because, after all, there was no way to write home without addressing the postcards.  But when I told this man that I was a Jew, he said that he would not write that down because he had been a prisoner for five years and had seen too many Jews disappear.

We were now only twelve miles from Dachau, where the Germans had been known to separate Jews from the other military prisoners.  I answered that I would not lie about my Jewishness.  He suggested that he write down Protestant for my religion.  I refused.  He told me that I was signing my own death warrant.  I told him that I had not come halfway around the world to lie about my religion; that was what the war was all about, and if I did what he asked and we won the war, I would still be the loser.  He wrote it down and told me that he was sorry for me.  I know that he meant that.  I felt his pain.  I didn’t smile either.  I was out of the habit.

A nun in Philadelphia has written, “Hope is a moment embedded in stars that shine when your courage is gone.”  A few weeks later we were liberated.

______________________________

Here are some images of MACR 12066, which covers the loss of B-24H 41-28911.

Information about the mission, technical information about the aircraft, and information about the plane’s crew appear below.

As mentioned by Rabbi Winograd, two crew members escaped capture.  One was S/Sgt. Carl B. Rudisill, an aerial gunner.  Having returned to Allied lines by February 8, here is his report – based on then-available information – about the status of his fellow crew members. 

Here is an English-language translation of the “Report on Capture of Members of Enemy Air Forces” form, which is typical of Luftgaukommando Reports.  This report covers the capture of Lieutenant Winograd… 

…while this report covers the capture of S/Sgt. Gerald Einhorn, who was serving as ball turret gunner.  Note that Sgt. Einhorn was captured the day be bailed out – January 31 – while Lt. Winograd was captured on February 2.

This document, dated 13 February, pertains to the transportation of several Allied POWs to Oberursel, including six members of the Andrus crew.  Notable in the list is an entry for South African serviceman Lieutenant Peter Krueger (207053), named in Rabbi Winograd’s account as “Paul Kreuger”. 

And, the final crew roster of 41-28911, generated by German investigators after identification and correlation of the captured airmen.  Notably and understandably absent are the names of S/Sgt. Carl B. Robert Rudisill and F/O Edward J. Derham.  They “got away”…

______________________________

Biographical and genealogical information about Gerald Einhorn and Leonard Winograd follows below:

Einhorn, Gerald, T/Sgt., 32784824, Ball-Turret Gunner, Air Medal, Purple Heart
Originally member of 493rd BG (8th Air Force)
POW Camp unknown
Born in Romania, 7/18/22; Died 2/5/83
Mrs. Gertrude (“Gittel”) (Yaskransky) Einhorn (wife) [6/24/24-6/5/05], 577 E. 98th St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel and Mathilda Einhorn (parents) (presumably remained in Rumania during war; eventual fate unknown)
Married 1/25/43
Postwar, owned a hardware store in Brooklyn
Died 2/5/83
Buried at New Montefiore Cemetery, Farmingdale, N.Y.
American Jews in World War II – 301

Winograd, Leonard, 1 Lt., 0-712977, Navigator, Air Medal, 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart
POW at Stalag 7A (Moosburg, Germany)
Mr. Emil Winograd (father), 299 Jackson St., Rochester, Pa.
Casualty List (Liberated POW) 6/7/45
American Jews in World War II – 560

______________________________

Coincidence upon coincidence:  There was another Leonard Winograd who served in the Army Air Force in World War Two. 

He was an aerial navigator. 

He served on B-24s in the 15th Air Force.

His aircraft was lost on a combat mission. 

He, and his entire crew, survived the war.

This “other” Leonard Winograd, who hailed from Laburnum Crescent, in Rochester, New York, was the son of Morris Winograd, and the brother of Pvt. Solomon Winograd. 

His aircraft, B-24J 42-51382 of the 758th Bomb Squadron, 459th Bomb Group, piloted by 2 Lt. Lionel L. Lowry, Jr., failed to return from a mission to Linz, Austria on February 25, 1945, the plane’s loss being covered in MACR 12360.  Though I do not know the details, I would assume that the men returned to their squadron with the aid of Yugoslav partisans.  

A brief article about Lt. Winograd from the Rochester Times Union of  April 18, 1945, appears below, followed by the crew list.

______________________________

Postwar: Once Lieutenant Winograd, now Rabbi Winograd.  (Portrait from Rabies is Jewish Priests)

______________________________

References

Books

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

Winograd, Leonard, “Double Jeopardy: What an American Army Officer, a Jew, Remembers of Prison Life in Germany,” American Jewish Archives, V 28, N 1, p. 3-17

Winograd, Leonard, Rabies is Jewish Priests – And Other Zeydeh Myses, Leonard Winograd, Pittsburgh, Pa., 1990

Gerald Einhorn

Mention of Gerald Einhorn serving in 493rd Bomb Group (at American Air Museum website)

Robert Andrus

Robert Andrus’ Account of loss of B-24H 41-28911 (at 376th BG Website)

Robert Andrus Crew Members

Crew Photo – North Africa, in front of B-24J 42-50960 (Mary Ellen) (at 376th BG website)

Crew Photos from collection of aerial gunner Robert D. Reutsch (at 376th BG website)

Crew Photo – Wearing uniforms in front of building (at 376th BG website)

Crew Photo – In front of B-24H 42-95285 (#22Red Ryder) (at 376th BG website)

Crew Photo – In front of B-24H 42-51183 (#27Bad Penny) (at 376th BG website)

Crewmen – Donald H. Boulineau, Donald H., Leonard Winograd, and Robert J. Cartier (at 376th BG Website)

A PDF transcript of Rabbi Winograd’s story is available here.

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: 2 Lt. Peter Geiger – July 28, 1945

While military conflict by definition and nature brings with it the probability and near-inevitability of loss of life, nominal military service as such, even at locales often far removed from areas of actual combat, has always carried with its own degree of danger.  One aspect of the risk inherent to military service lies in support of and preparation for combat.  During the Second World War, a central aspect of this was reflected in the loss of aircraft and personnel by the United States Army Air Forces, Navy, and Marine Corps during flying training and routine air operations in the continental United States, and, overseas.

On August 9, 1945, an example of this appeared as an obituary published in the Times covering Army Air Force Lieutenant Peter Geiger of the, who was lost with his crew during a flight over Hawaii. 

Killed in Plane Crash Last Month

Lieut. Peter E. Geiger of the Army Air Forces died in an airplane crash in the territory of Hawaii on July 28, according to word received by his wife, Su D. Geiger.

Born in New York City twenty-two years ago, he was graduated from the Woodmere Academy and was attending Dartmouth College when he enlisted in the Air Forces in September, 1942.

Lieutenant Geiger was commissioned and received his wings as a pilot at the Columbus (Miss.) Army Air Field in June, 1944.  He was attached to the Seventeenth Tow Target Squadron in Hawaii.

In addition to his widow, he is survived by his mother, Mrs. Erwin Geiger, and his sister, Miss Joan Geiger of 419 East Fifty-Seventh Street.

A pilot in the 17th Target Towing Squadron of the 7th Fighter Wing, 7th Air Force, Lt. Geiger and his four crewmen were killed in the crash of B-24J Liberator 44-40706, the loss of which is described in Army Air Force Accident Report 46-7-28-515.  Like his father Erwin, who died on July 7, 1943, Peter is buried at Mount Hebron Cemetery, in Flushing, New York.  (Block 72, Section B, Lot 18, Grave 7)

______________________________

This is a view of the wartime residence of Lt. Geiger’s mother and sister, at 419 East 57th Street in Manhattan, as seen at Apartments.com.

And, a Google street view of the building’s entrance.

______________________________

This is the first page of the Accident Report (46-7-28-515) covering the loss of Lt. Geiger’s Liberator.  (Unlike MACRs – which have been digitized, and, which have long been available for research at the United States National Archives in College Park in microfiche format, Accident Reports must be requested in writing from the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.)  Note that the document accords substantial space for information about the training and flying experience – particularly hours flown – by the aircraft pilot.

This image presents an eyewitness account of the loss of B-24J 44-40766, by Sgt. Robert L. Burns.

The image is a summarized Description of the Accident.  The conclusion: “The Aircraft Accident Investigating Board was unable to determine whether power plant failure was a contributing factor in the crash.  The opinion of the Aircraft Accident Investigating Board is that the Pilot and Co-Pilot were fully qualified to fly this type aircraft.”

______________________________

Unlike Missing Air Crew Reports, though information about air crew members in Army Air Force Accident Reports includes a serviceman’s name, rank, and serial number, names of next-of-kin and residential addresses are entirely absent.  Certainly the accident report covering the loss of Peter Geiger’s Liberator follows this pattern, with the crew being listed at the bottom of page 1 of the document.  (See above.)

This “anonymity” of the crew members provided an opportunity to see what could be discovered about the crew, using Ancestry.com and other web-based resources.  The results were rewarding, for ample genealogical information about these four men was readily; easily found.  Very brief biographical profiles for them are presented below:

Co-Pilot: 1 Lt. Cecil E. “Pete” Tickner, 0-693712
Mrs. Dora Mae Brown Tickner (wife), Jon Tickner (son; YOB 1943), 1001 Brown St., Madison / 204 East Seventh St., Madison, ll.
Mr. and Mrs. Glenn and Lucretia (Gray) Tickner (parents), Harold E. Tickner (brother), 2711 Powhatton St., Alton, Il.
Born 12/18/17, Fairfield, Il.
Oakwood Cemetery, Upper Alton, Il.

Flight Engineer: T/Sgt. Robert J. Patterson, 17030270
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Alexander and Clara Grace Patterson (parents), Betty, Clara G., Helen, and Leslie Patterson (sisters), Jackson County, Mo.
Born 4/12/20, Colorado
Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery, Fort Leavenworth, Ks. – Section I, Grave 175C

Flight Engineer: Sgt. Phillip Watrous “Phil” Hatfield, 39455940
Mrs. Theoda Violet (Campbell) Hatfield [Jenson] (wife)
Mr. and Mrs. Philip Augustus and Mabelle (Watrous) Hatfield (parents), Ray C. Hatfield (brother), Hallie E. Hatfield (nephew), Columbia County, Wa.
Born 5/12/10, Dayton, Wa.
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii – Plot E52

Radio Operator: PFC John H. McNally, 15104642
Mr. and Mrs. Francis J. and Mary McNally (parents), Mary E., Michael, and William (sister and brothers)
643 Fernwood Ave., Toledo, Oh.
Born 10/2/20, Ohio
Buried at Calvary Cemetery, Toledo, Oh.

Some other Jewish military casualties on Saturday, July 28, 1945, include…

– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Killed in Action

Adler, Bernard, 1 Lt., 0-1173139, Field Artillery, Silver Star, Purple Heart
United States Army, 32nd Infantry Division, 126th Field Artillery Battalion
Mrs. Sylvia Adler (wife) [8/10/19-3/11/95]
Mr. Samuel A. [3/23/88-5/11/83] and Leah [12/7/85-5/17/83] Adler (parents), 249 County St., New Haven, Ct.
Born 4/1/14
Mount Sinai Memorial Park, New Haven Ct. – Plot 160
https://www.findagrave.com/
Casualty List 8/28/45
American Jews in World War II – 61

Banker, Lea (“Lili Stefania”), LAW (Leading Aircraft Woman), 2992592
England, Women’s Auxiliary Air Force
Died in aircraft accident, en route from Egypt to the Yishuv
Mr. and Mrs. Adolf and Sophie Banker (parents), Brighton, Ma.
Born 9/21/21, Lodz, Poland
http://www.lodz-israel.co.il/soldiers/22banker-pol.html
Ramleh War Cemetery, Ramleh, Israel – Special Memorial E (Buried in Jerusalem?)
The Jewish Chronicle 8/17/45
We Will Remember Them (Volume I) – 182

______________________________

2 Lt. Harvey M. Brandriss and F/O Lawrence H. Goldman were the radar operator and bombardier of a 63rd Bomb Squadron (43rd Bomb Group – “Ken’s Men”) B-24M Liberator, 44-42127 (nicknamed “Boots“) that vanished during an armed reconnaissance mission to the Inland Sea of Japan.  Biographical records of them follow… 

Brandriss, Harvey M., 2 Lt., 0-931344, Radar Operator, Air Medal, Purple Heart
Mrs. Lorraine D. Brandriss (wife), 2782 Modill St., Chicago, Il.
Class 44-G, Selman Field
Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii
American Jews in World War II – 94

Goldman
, Lawrence H., F/O, T-132703, Bombardier, Air Medal, Purple Heart

Mrs. Mary Goldman (mother), 5801 8th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii
Casualty List 8/22/45
American Jews in World War II – Not listed

The loss of Boots is covered in MACR 14845, the crew list, location map, and next-of-kin list of which are presented below:

Piloted by 2 Lt. Charles H. Kerns, the plane, and the 11 men aboard it, have never been found. 

However enigmatic information at the POW Research Network Japan, a project of Dr. Aiko Utsumi and teacher Toru Fukubayashi, sheds light on the loss of Boots.  One of the six documents they have compiled covering Allied aircraft and airmen lost over the Japanese Mainland during the war – specifically, over the Chugoku (Chugoku) and Shikoku Army Districts – states the following:

“B-24 Jul. 28, 1945  B-24 (#44-42127, nicknamed Boots, 43BG) crashed offshore between Hiroshima-ken and Ie-jima, Okinawa-ken.
The plane was hit by AA fire while attacking Kure Harbor.
All 11 crew members including 2 /Lt. Charles H. KERNS (A/C) were killed.”

Another source, Accident-Report.com, gives the location as “SAGANOSEKI AT SEA, JAPAN”.

Could the source of this information be Japanese military records? 

Could the source of this information be Individual Deceased Personnel Files?

I do not know.

In any event, the names of Boots’ crew are memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial, in Hawaii.

______________________________

Stein, Harry, PFC, 32704732, Radar Operator
United States Army Air Force, 1347th Army Air Force Base Unit
Mrs. Ida Weinstein (aunt), 1002 Foster Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
MACR 14799; Aircraft: C-109 44-48890; “Little Chief”; Pilot: Capt. Claude W. Tucker; 4 crewmen – no survivors
Place of burial unknown
The Aluminum Trail – 460
American Jews in World War II – 453

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.

Quinn, Chick Marrs, The Aluminum Trail – How & Where They Died – China-Burma-India World War II 1942-1945, Chick Marrs Quinn, [Florida?], 1989

Morris, Henry, Edited by Gerald Smith, We Will Remember Them – A Record of the Jews Who Died in the Armed Forces of the Crown 1939 – 1945, Brassey’s, United Kingdom, London, 1989

United States Army Air Force Accident Report # 46 – 7 – 28 – 515

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: The Gans Brothers – 2 Lt. Solomon Gans – January 3, 1945

The Second World War was characterized by near-universal military service among the warring nations, either voluntarily, or through conscription.  As such, multiple members of a single family – fathers and sons; sets of brothers – would find themselves wearing the uniforms of their countries, serving in combat or military support duties on land, in the air, or at sea.  Sometimes, this would occur in the same geographic theater of operations; sometimes, even in the same branch of service. 

Sometimes, fate – or God – would cast a favorable face upon a family: All its members would return, and resume their civilian lives in the fullness of time.  Or, like soldiers throughout history, they would be transformed, traumatized, or inspired (often in reinforcing or contradictory combination) by their military experiences, and embark – by decision or chance – upon new and unanticipated paths through life.

Sometimes, God – or fate – would cast an entirely difference “face” upon a family, perhaps manifesting what is known in Hebrew (most notably in the book of Isaiah) as an aspect of “hester punim”.  (Perhaps; perhaps.)  For such a family, the course of life would unalterably, irrevocably altered… 

In that sense, while my prior posts about Jewish soldiers reported upon in The New York Times have by definition covered specific individuals, in 1945, for the Gans family of the Bronx, life indeed took that different course.  The Gans brothers – Ralph (Rafael bar Yaakov) and Solomon (Zalman bar Yaakov) – lost their lives in military service with four weeks of one another, and their loss was covered in the Times on April 17 of that year.

Ralph, born in 1920 and the older of the two, lost his life in England on January 31 under non-combat circumstances while serving with the Ordnance Corps.  Solomon, a Second Lieutenant who had been enrolled at City College, was killed in combat while serving in I Company, 253rd Infantry Regiment, 63rd Infantry Division on January 3. 

The sons of Jacobs and Mary Gans of 494 Claremont Parkway (East 171st St.) in the Bronx, their obituary appeared in the Times on April 17.  They are buried adjacent to one another at Mount Lebanon Cemetery, in Glendale, N.Y. (Workmen’s Circle Society, Block WC, Section 5, Line 28): Solomon in Grave 12, and Ralph in Grave 13.

(While this post covers both brothers, information about other Jewish servicemen is limited to those soldiers who became casualties on the same day as Lt. Gans: January 3, 1945.  As such, the earlier post (about Sgt. Ralph Gans) presented the same biographical information about the Gans brothers as “this” post.  That post included information about Jewish military casualties on January 31, 1945.)

Bronx Family Loses Its Only Two Sons

War Department notification of the deaths of Lieut. Solomon Gans and T/Sgt. Ralph Gans, only sons of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Gans of 495 East 171st Street, the Bronx, has been received.

Previously reported missing, Lieutenant Gans, 22 years old, was killed in action in France Jan. 3, while attached to the 253rd Infantry.  He was a graduate of Theodore Roosevelt High School and had completed three years at City College before entering the Army, on June 16, 1943.

Sergeant Gans, 25, died in England on Jan. 31, according to the War Department.  Also a graduate of Theodore Roosevelt High School, he worked for the Noma Electric Company prior to induction.  He entered the Army on Jan. 20, 1942, and was serving with an ordnance battalion at the time of his death.

This image, by S. Daino, shows the matzevot of Ralph and Solomon, at Mount Lebanon Cemetery.

Some other Jewish military casualties on Wednesday, January 3, 1945, include…

Killed in Action

– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Bank, Louis, PFC, 32117222, Purple Heart
United States Army, 44th Infantry Division, 71st Infantry Regiment
Mr. Sam Bank (father), 2459 East 23rd St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Casualty List 2/22/45
Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, N.Y. – Section H, Grave 10353
American Jews in World War II – 269

Danchik, Samuel, Cpl., 32622948, Purple Heart
United States Army, 100th Infantry Division, 398th Infantry Regiment
Mr. Max Danchik (father), 826 Park Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mrs. Lillian Danchik (sister in law), 217 Hart St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mr. Maurice Gherman (friend)
Born 1921
Place of Burial – unknown
Casualty List 2/22/45
American Jews in World War II – 295

Druskin, Zalman, Pvt., at Liepaja (region), Latvia
U.S.S.R., Red Army, 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division, 294th Infantry Brigade
Mr. Shepsel Druskin (father)
Born 1919
Road to Victory, p. 293

Gildenberg, Isaac, Pvt., 42124609, Purple Heart
United States Army, 99th Infantry Division, 394th Infantry Regiment
Mrs. Lena Y. Gildenberg (mother), 386 South 2nd St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 1925
Mount Lebanon Cemetery, Glendale, N.Y. – Block WC, Section 5, Line 24, Grave 5, Society Workmen’s Circle
American Jews in World War II – 320

Gross, Harold J., Cpl., 35280304, Purple Heart
United States Army, 2nd Armored Division, 66th Armored Infantry Regiment
Mrs. Julia Gross (mother), 10511 Greenlawn Ave., Cleveland, Oh.
PFC Lawrence Gross (brother)
Address also 1400 South Kenmore, Los Angeles, 6, Ca.
Born 12/16/17
Place of burial: Los Angeles, Ca.
Cleveland Press & Plain Dealer, February 24 & 25, 1945, October 26, 1948 (at Cleveland Veterans Memorial)
American Jews in World War II – 489

Hafter, Ralph Lewis, EM 1C (Electrician’s Mate 1st Class), 3825644, Purple Heart
United States Navy, Submarine USS Swordfish (SS193)
Mrs. Mae Mary Agnes Hafter (wife), 6922 Southeast Morrison St., Portland, Or.
Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii
Date of 1/3/45 is conjectural; See the following references:
Account of the loss of the USS Swordfish (at “On Eternal Patrol”)
Account of the loss of the USS Swordfish (by Ed Howard, at Subsowespac.org)
Crew list of the USS Swordfish (at “On Eternal Patrol)
American Jews in World War II – 506

Heymann, Gerhard E., PFC, 32799312, Belgium (Wounded 1/3/45; died same day)
United States Army
Mr. and Mrs. Julius and Hanna (Braun) Heymann (parents), 42-42 Ithaca St., Elmhurst, N.Y.
S2C Werner L. Heymann (brother)
Born Landau in der Pfalz, Germany, 5/8/24
WW II Memorial database gives name as “Gerard”, while Long Island Star Journal gives name as “Gerald”
Tablets of the Missing at Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal, France
Aufbau 2/9/45
New York Times 2/23/45
Long Island Star Journal 2/21/45
American Jews in World War II – Not Listed

Hurwitz, Julius Nathaniel (“Jay”), 2 Lt., 0-698120, Navigator
United States Army Air Force, 20th Air Force, 498th Bomb Group, 875th Bomb Squadron
Mrs. Ruth (Marks) Hurwitz (wife), 560 West Hudson Ave., Dayton, Oh.
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel [1886-1950] and Freeda [1888-1990] Hurwitz (parents), 701 Lexington Ave., Dayton, Oh.Dayton Daily News 11/18/43, 12/3/43
Riverview Cemetery, Dayton, Oh. (at FindAGrave.com)
American Jews in World War II – 490

Julius Hurwitz, originally in training as a pilot at the 63rd Army Air Forces Flying Training Detachment, in Coffee County, Georgia, was presumably reassigned to navigation training. 

Julius and his entire crew were lost on their first combat flight, a bombing mission to port facilities and urban areas of Nagoya, Japan.  Their aircraft, B-29 42-24748 (“T square 42“, piloted by 1 Lt. Richard C. Stickney), the loss of which is covered in MACR 10853, crashed on Anatahan Island, an island in the Marianas about 75 miles north of Saipan. 

As reported in the Stickney crew’s Missing Air Crew Report, “When last contacted [the] aircraft did not report difficulty of any kind,” while the plane did not respond to attempts at radio contact.  Similarly, it is notable that the MACR makes no reference of damage to the aircraft by anti-aircraft fire or enemy fighters, attributing no specific cause for the plane’s disappearance.

According to MACR, the B-29, “…had entered the crater at the Northeast side of the island through the lowest point in the rim of the crater, encircled to the left and crashed head-on into the higher peaks on the Southeast side.  The aircraft exploded and burned and partially buried itself in the mountain side.”

Though the cause of the plane’s loss will be forever unknown, it is notable that the description of Anatahan Island included in the MACR mentions, “…the crater rim rises to an elevation of 2,585 feet.  Inside the rim there is a relatively level grassy area two miles long and one mile wide.  Elsewhere on the island slopes are steep and furrowed by deep ravines.”  Given what seems to have been a controlled descent by T Square 42 into the crater – through the lowest point on the rim – perhaps (perhaps) Lieutenants Stickney and Langdon were attempting to make a controlled landing within the crater.

Well, perhaps…  It is a moot point, now.

______________________________

Information presented in Marianas Air-Sea Rescue Bulletin Number 4, issued in June of 1945, may be based on the knowledge acquired during the search and recovery effort for Lt. Stickney’s crew from March 1 through March 5, 1945.  This 23-page-long document presents information about specific islands within the Marianas archipelago – between Iwo Jima and Saipan – in terms of suitability as locations for ditching, survival, and eventual rescue.  The islands covered comprise Pajaros, Maug, Asuncion, Agrihan, Pagan, Alamagan, Guguan, Sarigan, Anatahan, and Medinlla.  The Bulletin describes each island in detail, presenting topographic maps and panoramic aerial photos for each, concluding with a 3-page-long summary of detailed rules for survival at sea and on land, which lists islands based on whether they are uninhabited, or, sparsely inhabited islands, along with latitude and longitude coordinates. 

______________________________

The Bulletin’s map of the relative positions of these islands is shown below:

______________________________

The description of Anatahan Island follows below:

Confidential

ANATAHAN.

Jap survivors of small Merchant ships and escapees from SAIPAN make up the total population of 7 to 29, according to native evacuees.  At one time they had 2 heavy machine guns and several rifles which the natives were forced to keep in condition by pressing oil from coconuts.  No natives remain.

With this information in mind, it would be well to choose a spot well away from the NORTHWEST BEACH for any proposed ditching. The SOUTHWEST BEACH, due SOUTH of the high peak on the WEST end of the island, offers the best haven.  Watch out that you don’t come a cropper on the offshore rocks – and there are many.  The boulder beach is not the softest place to land but your rubber raft should cushion the shock.  Once ashore you will find some shelter in the shacks on the beach or in rocky caves.  Coconuts, bananas, papaya and seafood will give you a subsistence mean with such items as the edible flying fox or fruit bat and the giant monster lizards to supplement the diet.   Water in the cisterns MUST be boiled.

Don’t attempt a crash landing or bailout in the crater!  The floor is deceivingly Irregular and highly inaccessible to the outside world!

All in all, ANATAHAN is not a ditching haven and should be bypassed for greener pastures.

______________________________

The topographic map of Anatahan Island – show below – illustrates the seamount’s rugged topography.  (Unfortunately, the contour interval – 50 feet? – 100 feet? – does not appear to be given.)  Strikingly noticeable is the absence of any contours within the volcanic crater.  Perhaps this feature remained unmapped due to the recognition that the terrain within was unsuitable for emergency landing by aircraft. 

This page also includes a panoramic view of the island. 

____________________________

This high resolution air photo of Anatahan, at the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Insitute’s website, gives an appreciation of the extremely rugged nature of the currently uninhabited island.

This image of the crater rim, from the Photostream of Southern Methodist University, also reveals the forbidding nature of Anatahan’s terrain. 

Additional information about this incident can be found in the history of B-29 42-24748, at Pacific Wrecks

The image below, from the blog of William C. Atkinson, former radar-navigator in the 874th Bomb Squadron, 498th Bomb Group, shows most of the crew members lost on the mission of January 3. The men (left to right) are the following:

Front Row

AMG – Boyd, Jack L., Sgt.
Gunner – Quinn, John P., Sgt.
Thomas (not on fatal flight)
Gunner (Central Fire Control) – Merriweather, James O., Sgt.
ROM – Haynes, Paul M., Sgt.
Elec. Sp. Gunner – Zeone, Edward M., Sgt.

Rear Row

H.A. Brandt (not on fatal flight)
Pilot – Stickney, Richard C., Jr., 1 Lt.
Co-Pilot – Winslow, Langdon G., 2 Lt.
Bombardier – Thompson, Richard F., 2 Lt.
Navigator – Hurwitz, Julius N., 2 Lt.

Flight Engineer 2 Lt. Howard G. King, Howard G. and Radar Countermeasures operator Sgt. John E. Burns do not appear in the photo.

This photo of Julius’ matzeva, from his FindAGrave biographical profile, is by Mary Downing-Mahan (“gravehunterMary“). 

Melinsky, Abraham, PFC, 31242242, Purple Heart, Medical Corps
United States Army, 26th Infantry Division, 328th Infantry Regiment
Mr. and Mrs. Louis and Jennie Melinsky (parents), 3 Lamont St., Roxbury, Ma.
Born 1915
Luxembourg American Cemetery, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg – Plot G, Row 10, Grave 27
American Jews in World War II – 171

Minsker, Faivel, Pvt., at Mezotne, Latvia
U.S.S.R., Red Army, 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division, 294th Infantry Brigade
Mr. Shmuel Minsker (father)
Born 1919
Road to Victory, p. 293

Pruzan, Murray, T/5, 32992938, Medical Corps (near Phillipsbourg, France)
United States Army, 70th Infantry Division, 275th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Battalion, Medical Detachment
Mrs. Pauline Pruzan (mother), 1446 Carroll St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mount Judah Cemetery, Ridgewood, Queens, N.Y. – 1-BB2-R09, Wolkovisker Society
Casualty List 9/11/45
American Jews in World War II – Not Listed

Robbins, Lawrence, Cpl., 12049477, Purple Heart
United States Army
Mr. and Mrs. Morris and Helen Rabinowitz (parents), Raymond and Robert (brothers), 325 West 86th St., New York, N.Y.
Born 1924
Acacia Cemetery, Ozone Park, N.Y. – Lots 216-217, Marks Goldstein
Casualty List 3/14/45
The New York Times (Obituary Section) 1/6/46
American Jews in World War II – 414

Roberts, Sidney J., PFC, 12111003, Purple Heart
United States Army, 70th Infantry Division, 275th Infantry Regiment
Mr. and Mrs. Louis and Tillie F. Rabinowitz (parents), 33-21 69th St., Jackson Heights, N.Y.
Born 1924
City College of New York Class of 1945
Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal, France – Plot B, Row 24, Grave 30
Casualty List 2/22/45
Long Island Star Journal 2/21/45
American Jews in World War II – 414

Schaeffer, Samuel, Sgt., 32916161, Aerial Gunner, Purple Heart
United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 801st Bomb Group, 406th Bomb Squadron
Mrs. Rose Schaeffer (mother), 89 Heddon Terrace, Newark, N.J.
Born 2/6/20
MACR 15974, Aircraft: B-24H 42-52650, “Cancer”; Pilot: 1 Lt. Roy L. Hendrix; 10 crewmen – no survivors
Isserman Cemetery, Newark, N.J.
Casualty List 2/22/45
American Jews in World War II – 252

Wasserman, Gerald, Sgt., 32887164, Purple Heart
United States Army, 84th Infantry Division, 335th Infantry Regiment
Mrs. Anna Wasserman (mother), 1506 Boston Road, New York, N.Y.
Born 1925
Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, N.Y. – Section H, Grave 10449
Casualty List 3/8/45
American Jews in World War II – 465

Wolfe
, Marvin L., PFC, 36639407, Purple Heart

United States Army, 63rd Infantry Division, 255th Infantry Regiment, L Company
Mrs. Sylvia Wolfe (mother), 5480 South Cornell St., Chicago, Il.
Born 11/1/23
Westlawn Cemetery, Norridge, Chicago, Il.
American Jews in World War II – 121

Prisoners of War

Cole, Sidney L., 2 Lt., 0-1185213, Purple Heart
United States Army, 776th Field Artillery Battalion
POW at Stalag 4F (Hartmannsdorf-Chemnitz, Germany)
Mrs. Lena Cohn (mother), 79 Shoreham Road, Buffalo, N.Y.
Casualty List (Liberated POW) 6/20/45
American Jews in World War II – 293

Becker
, Meyer D., S/Sgt., 36035573

United States Army, 87th Infantry Division, 346th Infantry Regiment
POW at Stalag 13C (Hammelburg, Germany) (German POW # 98440)
Mrs. Beatrice L. Becker (wife), 6810 East End Ave., Chicago, Il.
Born Illinois, 8/3/17
Casualty List (Liberated POW) 6/12/45
American Jews in World War II – Not Listed

Fine
, Howard L., Cpl., 35077112

United States Army, 70th Infantry Division, 275th Infantry Regiment
POW at Stalag 4B (Muhlberg, Germany)
Mrs. Bessie E. Fine (mother), Route 1, Laura, Oh.
Casualty List (Liberated POW) 6/11/45
American Jews in World War II – Not Listed

Klein
, Leonard, 2 Lt., 0-556880

United States Army, 70th Infantry Division, 275th Infantry Regiment
POW – location of camp unknown
2 Lt. Arthur Klein (brother)
Mr. Charles Klein (father), 109 States Ave., Atlantic City, N.J.
Born 1923
Philadelphia Bulletin 1/30/45
Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Record (Liberated POW) 5/9/45
American Jews in World War II – Not Listed

Rosen
, Murray, Pvt., 12096956, Purple Heart, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster

United States Army, 70th Infantry Division, 275th Infantry Regiment
POW at Stalag 12F (Forbach Bei Saarbrucken, Germany)
Mr. Jacob Rosen (father), 159 Delancey St., New York, N.Y.
Casualty Lists 4/20/45, 4/24/45, Liberated POW List 5/25/45
American Jews in World War II – 416

Wounded in Action

Applebaum, Herbert, PFC, 33775404, Wounded in Belgium
United States Army
Born 1926
Mr. and Mrs. Harry and Betty Applebaum (parents), 1025 Wagner Ave., Philadelphia, Pa.
Born Philadelphia, Pa., 12/4/25
Jewish Exponent 2/23/45
Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Record 2/18/45
American Jews in World War II – Not Listed

Novick, Joseph, Pvt., 33467896, Purple Heart, Wounded in Belgium
United States Army
Mr. and Mrs. Isadore and Anna Novick (parents), 924 N. 6th St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Born Philadelphia, Pa., 10/27/21
Philadelphia Record 3/17/45
American Jews in World War II – 541

Lenger, Robert J., Cpl., Purple Heart, Paratrooper
United States Army
Mr. Fred Lenger (uncle), 175-47 Underhill Ave., Flushing, Queens, N.Y.
Pvt. Carl Lenger and Sgt. Joseph Lenger (brothers)
Born Germany, 1919
Casualty Lists 9/21/44, 3/12/45
Long Island Star Journal 3/12/45
American Jews in World War II – 375

Other Incident (An aviator rescued after “ditching” in the Pacific Ocean…)

Lynch, Bertram Gerald, Capt., 0-669240, Bombardier / Navigator
United States Army Air Force, 20th Air Force, 497th Bomb Group, 871st Bomb Squadron
Aircraft ditched on January 3; Five survivors rescued by January 5
Mrs. Shirley (Golden) Lynch (wife), Ross D. Lynch (son), 1934 Spring Drive, Louisville, Ky.
MACR 10901, Aircraft: B-29 42-63418, “A square 50”, “JUMBO – KING OF THE SHOW”; Pilot: Capt. Howard M. Clifford; 11 crewmen – 5 survivors
Chaplain Cederbaum Files at Center for Jewish History, New York, N.Y.
American Jews in World War II – 129

______________________________

Captain Lynch was one of the survivors of the crew of “JUMBO – KING OF THE SHOW”, a B-29 which was ditched northwest of Saipan during the evening of January 3.  Though all crewmen were aboard the aircraft, uninjured, and at their assigned ditching positions at the time of the plane’s water landing, only five men eventually reached life rafts (four crewmen in one, and one in another).  These men were rescued by the USS Grayson on January 5 and 6, respectively. 

As stated in MACR 10901, “Capt. Clifford and crew ditched at 2127Z 3 January 1945 due to engine trouble and lack of gasoline.  Capts. Clifford and Lynch, Lt. Whitely and Sgt. Lodato were picked up 6 miles west of plane at 16 28 N, 144 38 E on 5 January 1945 by the Destroyer Grayson.  Sgt. Smith, who was alone in the raft, was picked up at 16 27 N, 144 19 E at 09 40 K 6 January 1945, by the Destroyer Grayson.  No one was seriously injured.  Capt. Lynch who was slightly injured is being hospitalized.”

“Upon interrogation, the following facts were obtained in regards to the other crew members who are still missing:
Lt. Heiden the co-pilot, was out of the water and last seen hanging on the wing.
Lt. Barnes wasn’t observed.
All the remaining crew members with the exception of Martin, Tail Gunner, are certain to have gotten out.
The search is still being continued.”

As is sometimes encountered in Missing Air Crew Reports covering aircraft lost at sea – where at least some men were rescued – the MACR only lists the next-of-kin and addresses of airmen still missing at the time the Report was actually created. 

Along with Captain Lynch, the survivors were:

Airplane Commander: Capt. Howard M. Clifford
Navigator-Bombardier: 2 Lt. Montford S. Whiteley
Radio Operator: Sgt. Piere V. Lodato
Gunner (Left Blister): Sgt. H.J. Smith, Jr.

Those presumed to have been killed in the ditching (or in the case of Lt. Heiden known to have survived, but not rescued) were: 

Co-Pilot: 2 Lt. Robert L. Heiden
Flight Engineer: 2 Lt. Harold C. Barnes
Radar Operator: Sgt. William R. Fast
Gunner (Central Fire Control): Sgt. Jack F. Estes
Gunner (Right Blister); Sgt. Oscar L. Niece, Jr.
Gunner (Tail): Sgt. Delmas D. Martin, Sr.

The following two images, from MACR 10901, show the crew roster, and next, the list of still-missing crewmen.

These three images (the format of which is doubtless immediately familiar to anyone who has researched MACRs) are post-war Casualty Questionnaires completed by Captain Lynch, and Sergeant Smith, in response to efforts to resolve the status of the missing crewmen. 

Remarkably, images of JUMBO exist in both photographic print (now, JPG) and film (now, MP4) format. 

The print?…  Presented below, is an official Army Air Force picture of the JUMBO’s nose art, which quite appropriately is a baby elephant carrying a bomb in his trunk.  The picture (number A-55324AC / A45730, for those interesting in a visit to the National Archives!) is show below, both in its original appearance as a photographic print attached to an 8 ½ by 11 filing card, and, as a cropped and enhanced digital image. 

The film?…  Show below, is a newsreel (clip # “638274042”) from the Sherman Grinberg Library Collection, credited to Pathe Newreels. at the Getty Image Archive.  With a creation date of December 1, 1944, the location is given as the Northern Marianas Islands.

Fortunately, the Getty Image website presents a complete breakdown of the subject matter in the one-minute-long film, which is listed as follows:

Movie World War II: B-29s and their names

1) Generals Emmett O’Donnell and Haywood Hansell, and, Vice Admiral John Hoover talking together
2) O’Donnell and Hansell walking
3) B-29 “DAUNTLESS DOTTY
4) 3 B-29s on tarmac
5) Crewman paints boxing dog on nose of B-29
6) Other painted B-29s:
6A) “JUMBO – KING OF THE SHOW
6B) Close-up of JUMBO
6C) Close-up of “Miss Behavin
6D) Close-up of “Special Delivery

JUMBO can be seen at the 41 – 53 second interval.

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

Leivers, Dorothy (Editing and Revisions), Road to Victory – Jewish Soldiers of the 16th Lithuanian Division, 1941-1945, Avotaynu, Bergenfield, N.J., 2009

USS Swordfish

Crew list of the USS Swordfish (at “On Eternal Patrol”) http://www.oneternalpatrol.com/uss-swordfish-193.htm

Account of the loss of the USS Swordfish (at “On Eternal Patrol“)

Account of the loss of the USS Swordfish (by Ed Howard, at “Subsowespac.org”)

Julius N. Hurwitz

498th Bombardment Group Information (at “William C. Atkinson” / aka “AKINSOPHT”)

World War II Flight Training Museum and 63rd Army Air Forces Flying Training Detachment (at wwiiflighttraining.org)

The Reconstruction of Memory: Soldiers of Aufbau

Aufbau: The Reconstruction of Memory

As irony abounds in the histories of nations, so it does in the lives of men.

During World War Two, a striking irony could sometimes be found among Jewish military personnel in the Allied armed forces.  Some Jewish soldiers, at one time citizens of Germany and Austria, and subsequently refugees and emigrants from those countries, might – through a combination of intention and chance – find themselves arrayed in battle against the Axis.   This circumstance, a melding of civil obligation, moral responsibility, idealism, motivated by a personal sense of justice, was deeply symbolic aspect of Jewish military service during the Second World War. 

For the United States, a perusal of both the Jewish press and the general news media from 1942 through 1945 reveals occasional articles – and inevitably, casualty notices – covering such servicemen.  Such news items called specific attention to the circumstances behind a soldier’s arrival in the United States, and often extended to accounts of his family’s pre-war life in Germany or Austria.  This was not limited to the American news media.  The Jewish Chronicle of England was replete with articles covering the military service of Jewish refugee soldiers in the armed forces of England and British Commonwealth countries, including – before Israel’s re-establishment in 1948 – British military units comprised of personnel (often refugees) from the pre-State Yishuv. 

In the American news media, a striking example of one such news items appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on June 13, 1943.

GERMAN REFUGEE MISSING IN ACTION

A 22-year-old German refugee who fled his native Leipzig in 1935 to escape Nazi persecution is one of four Philadelphians reported last night by the War Department as missing in action.

He is Corporal Maurice Derfler, of 1601 Ruscomb St., worker in a Philadelphia clothing factory before he entered the Army Air Forces on March 28, 1942.

WROTE TO FIANCEE

Derfler has been missing since May 19, just five days after his fiancée, Mildred Roush, 19, of 4813 N. Franklin St., received a letter from him, stating that he was “going on a dangerous mission” but felt sure that he would return.  For, he explained, he was looking forward to his furlough next September, when he and Miss Roush would be married.

The next message was the War Department communication, which Abraham Roush, prospective father-in-law of the soldier, received on May 29.  The message stated that Derfler, a radio operator in a Consolidated Liberator bomber, had failed to return from a mission.

FIANCEE CONFIDENT

Miss Roush, who is confident that Derfler will return, “and I still will be waiting,” could tell little of her fiancee’s flight from his native Germany.  “He didn’t like to talk about it.  It must have been an ordeal for him.  He keeps it as his secret.”

Derfler, Miss Roush recalled, arrived in Philadelphia with a group of other refugees.  His one desire was to get into the American forces for a “crack at the Germans.”  He was naturalized in September of 1941 and the following March entered the service.  Ironically, the Air Forces sent him into the Pacific area.

Corporal Derfler served as a radio operator in the 400th Bomb Squadron of the 90th (“Jolly Rogers”) Bomb Group of the 5th Air Force.  His aircraft, a B-24D Liberator (serial number 41-29269) piloted by 1 Lt. Donald L. Almond, was conducting a solo daylight reconnaissance mission along the eastern coast of New Guinea.  It was intercepted by five Japanese pilots of the 24th Sentai, who were flying Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa (Japanese for “Peregrine Falcon”; Allied code-name “Oscar”) fighter planes.  One of these aviators, Sergeant Hikoto Sato, was killed during the engagement when his fighter rammed the B-24.     

As the aerial engagement began, the B-24 radioed a message – likely transmitted by Corporal Derfler himself – that it was under attack by Japanese fighters. 

Five minutes later, another radio message reported that the plane was going down. 

No trace of the plane or crew – presumed to have crashed near Karkar Island, off the northeastern coast of New Guinea – has ever been found. 

The names of the B-24’s ten crewmen are commemorated at the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery, in the Philippines.  

Corporal Derfler (serial number 33157713) received the Air Medal and Purple Heart.  In 1943, he was mentioned in The American Hebrew (August 20), the Chicago Jewish Chronicle (August 27), and The Jewish Times (Delaware County, Pennsylvania) (September 3). 

Initially assigned to the famed 44th (“Flying Eightballs”) Bomb Group – which, ironically, flew bombing missions against Germany – Cpl. Derfler was the only member of his family to have escaped from Germany. 

______________________________

In terms of detailed information about the military service of German-Jewish refugees in the armed forces of the Allies – in general – and United States in particular, one publication stands out:  Aufbau, or in translation, “Construction”, or “Building Up”.  Published between 1934 and 2004, the newspaper was founded by the German-Jewish Club, later re-named the “New World Club”.  Originally intended as a monthly newsletter for the club, the periodical changed markedly when Manfred George was nominated as editor in 1939.  George transformed the publication to one of the leading anti-Nazi periodicals of the German Exile Press (Exilpresse) Group, increasing its circulation from 8,000 to 40,000.  According to the description of Aufbau at Archiv.org (and as can be solidly verified from perusal of its contents), writings of many well-known personalities appeared in its pages.  (Three names among many: Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann, and Stefan Zweig.)  According to Wikipedia, after having been published in New York City through 2004, the periodical subsequently began publishing in Zurich.  However, the given link (http://www.aufbauonline.com/) seems to be inoperative. 

A catalog record for Aufbau – and 29 other periodicals comprising German Exile Press publications can, appropriately, be found at the website of the German National Library – Deutsch National Bibliothek. A screen-shot of the catalag record for Aufbau is shown below:

When the Aufbau was reviewed in 2010, it could be accessed directly through the DNB’s website.  However, by now – 2017 – it seems to be only available through archive.org.  This is the first page of Archive.org catalog record for the publication:

And, here is the second:

Unlike the DNB website, which (as I recall?…) allowed access and viewing of the publication on an extraordinarily useful issue-by-issue and even page-by-page basis, users accessing Aufbau at Archive.org cannot view the periodical at such a fine level of informational ”clarity”.  (Despite being able to scroll through and view volumation and numbering of all issues in Archive.org’s “View EAD” window.)  Rather, once a hyperlink for any issue is selected, the entire content for that year is then displayed in a new window as a single file – and that year’s full content is also downloaded as a single PDF, or in other formats.

The image below shows issue records for Aufbau as they appear at the Archive.org catalog record.  (The format of this information is representative of, and identical to, issue records for all other years of publication.) 

And…  This image shows the interface for 1942 issues of Aufbau, by which the publication – encompassing that entire year – can be viewed online, or downloaded.  Other years of publication are displayed in a similar manner. 

PDF file sizes for wartime editions of Aufbau are:

1941 (Volume 7): 453 MB
1942 (Volume 8): 566 MB
1943 (Volume 9): 513 MB
1944 (Volume 10): 530 MB
1945 (Volume 11): 353 MB

Published on a weekly basis, Aufbau provides overlapping windows upon American Jewry, German Jewry (particularly of course, those Jews fortunate enough to have escaped from Germany), and world Jewry, through its coverage of political, social, and intellectual developments of the late 1930s and early 1940s.  News covered by the publication pertained to all facets of life, “in general”: current events; literary, cultural, cinematic, theatrical, and social news; and, innumerable essays and opinion pieces. 

Intriguingly, the paper’s news coverage and editorial content – at least encompassing 1939 through 1946 – suggests intertwining, competing, and parallel aspects of thought that have persisted since the halting beginnings of Jewish “emancipation” only a few centuries ago:  One one hand, a staunch and unapologetic emphasis on Jewish identity and Zionism.  On the other, the subsuming of Jewish identity within a wider world of (ostensibly) democratic universalism. 

(Ah, but I digress.  That is another long, and continuing story…) 

Back, to the topic at hand…

Though Aufbau’s central focus was not Jewish military service as such, the newspaper nonetheless serves as a tremendously rich repository of information – genealogical; biographical; historical – about the experiences of Jewish soldiers during the Second World War.  In that sense, news items in Aufbau relevant to Jewish military service falls into these general themes: 

1) Lists of awards and honors;
2) News about and accounts of military service by American Jewish soldiers; similarly-themed news items about military service of Jews in other Allied nations (the Soviet Union, British Commonwealth countries, France, and Poland);
3) Detailed biographies of soldiers wounded, killed, and missing in action;
4) The campaign for the establishment of some form of autonomous Jewish fighting force;
5) The activities of the Jewish Brigade Group;
6) The military service of Jews from the Yishuv in the armed forces of Britain and other Commonwealth nations;
7) Zionism – the drive to re-establish a Jewish nation-state. 

These items are often accompanied by photographs of the specific servicemen in question, or, thematically relevant illustrations.  Of course, given the origin and ethos of Aufbau, from editor to publisher; from correspondents to stringers to contributors; in its coverage of Jewish military service, the newspaper placed great – if not central – emphasis, on Jewish soldiers whose families originated in Germany, and who were fortunate enough to have found citizenship in the United States.

The following five categories of articles in Aufbau are immediately relevant to the seven “themes” listed above:

1) The Struggle for a Jewish Army – 139 articles
2) Jews of the Yishuv at War – 33 articles
3) Jewish Prisoners of War – 10 articles
4) Jewish Military Casualties – 132 articles
5) The Jewish Brigade – 37 articles
6) Photographs (primarily of soldiers, yet including other subjects) – 252

…while the following three categories of items, though not directly related to Jewish WW II military service, are very relevant to the “tenor of the times”…

1) antisemitism / Judeophobia – 20 articles
2) Random News Items About the Second World War – 31 articles
3) Acculturation and Assimilation – 48 articles

______________________________

As examples of such news items in Aufbau – yet more than mere examples; to bestow symbolic tribute upon the many German-Jewish soldiers who served in the Allied armed forces – news items about two WW II German-Jewish soldiers (Army Air Force S/Sgt. Heinz H. Thannhauser and Army PFC George E. Rosing) follow. 

Aufbau’s biography of S/Sgt. Thannhauser is quite detailed, probably due to his family’s prominence in the German-Jewish immigrant community, and, the world of art   Even before he entered the Army Air Force, Heinz’s background and accomplishments portended a remarkable future, if only his bomber had taken a slightly different course before before a Sardinian sunrise on August 15, 1944…

Heinz was the son of Justin K. (5/7/82-12/26/76) and Kate (Levi) (5/24/94-1959) Thannhauser, grandson of Heinrich Thannhauser, and the lineal descendant of Baruch Loeb Thannhauser, his father and grandfather originally having been residents of Munich, where – as art dealers – they owned the Thannhauser Galleries, specializing in Modernist art.  Justin moved to Paris in 1937 with his family to escape the Third Reich, and after the outbreak of the Second World War, to Switzerland.  They fled to the United States in 1941, establishing themselves in New York City, where Justin opened a private gallery, the initial core of which comprised a number of works that he had managed to bring with him to America. 

Due to Heinz’s death, and the doubly tragic passing of his only other child Michel in 1952, Justin cancelled plans to open a public gallery.  He remained a resident of New York until 1971, operating his gallery, collecting art, and assisting museums and galleries with exhibitions and acquisitions.  In recognition and honor of his sons and their late mother Kate – as well as his support of artistic progress – Justin’s collection was bequeathed to the Guggenheim Museum in 1963.  Due to the scope, size, and centrality of the collection, the Guggenheim established the Thannhauser Wing in 1965, where the original components of the collection, as well as additional works, are now on display. 

Justin passed away in 1976, his only survivor having been his second wife, Hilde

______________________________

A radio operator in the 441st Bomb Squadron of the 320th Bomb Group (12th Air Force), Heinz and his seven fellow crewmen were killed when their B-26C Marauder (serial 41-107711, squadron number “02”, nicknamed “Becky”) crashed during take-off from Decimomannu, Sardinia, on August 15, 1944.  The plane flew directly into the side of Monte Azza, 2 kilometers from the town of Serrenti, in the pre-dawn darkness.  The aircraft had been one of 34 B-26s dispatched to bomb a beach at Baie de Cavalaire (north of Saint Tropaz), France.  As revealed in the 320th Bomb Group’s report of that mission, one other B-26s was lost on take-off, fortunately with all crewmen surviving.    

Heinz’s name would appear in an official casualty list published in October 21, 1944,

______________________________

The illustration below, from Victor Tannehill’s Boomerang! – Story of the 320th Bombardment Group, shows what I believe is “the” actual Becky: 41-107711.  The circular emblem just behind the bombardier’s position is the insignia of the 441st Bomb Squadron, while rows of bomb symbols painted to the right of the plane’s nickname denote sorties against the enemy. 

______________________________

This image, from Vintage Leather Jackets, shows a beautiful original example of a 441st Bomb Squadron uniform patch, which would have adorned the flying jackets of 441st BS airmen.  The Latin expression “Finis Origine Pendet”, superimposed on a B-26 Marauder, means “The Beginning of the End”. 

______________________________

Here is the 320th Bomb Group’s Mission Report covering the mission of August 15, 1944.  Becky’s crew is listed at the bottom. 

______________________________

Most of the Mission Report is comprised of crew lists for the B-26s assigned to the mission, the page below covering six aircraft of the 441st Bomb Squadron.  Lieutenant Trunk’s plane and crew are listed second, with the notation “Crashed after T/O written alongside. 

______________________________

As stated in the concluding paragraph of the Missing Air Crew Report covering Becky (MACR 7300), “He [1 Lt. Paul E Trunk, the plane’s pilot] made no attempt to contact us by radio so further attempts to ascertain the exact cause would only be conjecture.  In our opinion the actual cause of the accident cannot be ascertained.” 

Here is the first page of the Missing Air Crew Report for the loss of Becky, with five of the plane’s crew listed at bottom… 

______________________________

…while this is the second page, listing Sergeants Bratton and Winters, with Captain Brouchard, as a passenger, at the end.

______________________________

This page lists the home addresses and next of kin of Becky’s crew.

______________________________

Lt. Trunk, from Shippenville, Pennsylvania, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 12, Grave 4836).  Lt. Rolland L. Mitchell, the plane’s co-pilot, from Thomson, Illinois, is buried at Lower York Cemetery, in that city.  T/Sgt. William C. Barron, the flight engineer, from Los Angeles, is buried at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial, at Nettuno, Italy.

The remaining five crewmen – Heinz (army serial number 31296512), S/Sgt. Harmon R. Summer (bombardier), S/Sgts. Charles T. Bratton (aerial gunner) and William M. Winters (photographer), with Capt. Wallace M. Brouchard (the Executive Officer of the 441st, who “went along for the ride”) – were buried on March 18, 1949 at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, in collective grave 90-92.

This picture, of the collective grave marker of the above-listed crewmen, is by Erik Kreft

______________________________

Exactly one month after Heinz was killed, a tribute to him appeared in Aufbau. 

Für die Freiheit gefallen

HEINZ THANNHAUSER

Aufbau
September 15, 1944

Ein wunderbar erfülltes junges Leben hat ein jähes Ende genommen. “Heinz Thannhauser, Staff Sgt. of the U. S. Army Air Force, killed in action over Sardinia, August 15, 1944.”

Fünfundzwanzig Jahre alt. Ein Liebling der Götter und der Menschen. Glücklichste Jugend im schönsten, wärmsten Elternhaus. Begeistert Amerika liebend und überall hier Gegenliebe findend. Ungewöhnlich begabt, ungewöhnlich reif. Mit sechzehn Jahren — statt der erforderten achtzehn — war er in Cambridge zum Studium zugelassen worden — eine beispiellose Ausnahme in der traditionsgebundenen englischen Universität. In Harvard macht er seinen Doctor of Art. Mit 22 Jahren wird er Instructing Professor an der Universität Tulane, New Orleans.

Lehren ist seine Leidenschaft. Er versteht es, wie wenig andere, die Begeisterung seiner Schuler zu wecken. Nicht nur für die Kunst, zu der er von Kindheit auf die Liebe im Elternhause eingesogen hatte. Er wirbt und wirkt für das, was nur als das Höchste ansicht: für das Ideal demokratischer Freiheit. Er gründet Jugendklubs, hält Reden, schreibt Aufsehen erregende Aufsatze — er reisst die anderen durch seine starke Empfindung mit. Und durch den wunderbaren Sense of humor, den er mit seiner scharfen Beobachtungsgabe verbindet.

Aber in diesem lebensschäumenden, von Schönheit und Frohsinn erfüllten Menschen steckt ein glühender Hass gegen die brutalen Gewalten, die den Untergang Europas herbeigeführt haben. Und eine ganze Welt schwer bedrohen.  Als der Krieg hier ausbricht, meldet er sich sofort freiwillig.

Im Februar 1943 verlässt Heinz Thannhauser Amerika auf seinem Bombenflugzeug. Von nun an kommen Briefe, Briefe, Briefe. Es sind nicht nur Schätze für seine Eltern. Es sind Dokumente der Zeit und Dokumente schönster Menschlichkeit. Er kennt keine Trägheit des Herzens. Er ist ein Kämpfer aus Leidenschaft — vom ersten bis zum letzten Tag. Heinz Thannhauser glaubt glühend an die gerechte Sache, die er vertritt. Wie eine Beschwörung kehrt der Satz wieder:

“Ihr musst alles tun, was in Eurer [not legible] steht um zu verhindern, dass es jemals wieder einen solchen Krieg gibt.. nicht mit Phrasen – – mit Taten…”

Er selbst leistet einen Schwur, sein Leben lang dafür zu kämpfen.

Ein Bericht aus Rom, wo er drei selige Urlaubstage verbringt, klingt wie eine Fanfare. Er ist in einem Glückstaumel. Seitenlang schildert er Details einiger Gestalten am Plafond der sixtinischen Kapelle — zum erstenmal sieht er im Original die Meisterwerke, über die er gelehrt und geschrieben hat. Er ist wie betrunken von so viel Schönheit. Aber gleich danach:

“Trotz allem, es ist wichtiger, das Leben eines einzigen unschuudigen Geisel zu retten, als das schonste alte Kunstwerk…”

In einem seiner letzten Briefe schildert er die Erregung, die mit jedem Flug verbunden ist. (Er hatte 37 Missions hinter sich…):

“…The sober anticipation before a mission. The terrible feeling of going time after time through heavy flak without being able to do anything except sit and hope for the best.  The real exultation of seeing your bombs hit the target – huge flames coming up and smoke as high as you are flying.  The relief and joy at seeing your field again, like home indeed!  Also – losing your friends – empty beds, guys who, the night before, were talking of what names to give their children and so on…  And I share his horror of war and determination that it must never happen again…”

Heinz Thannhauser hat ein Testament hinterlassen. Er vermacht alles, was er besitzt, dem “American Youth Movement for a Free World”.

– A. D.

______________________________

Fallen For Freedom

HEINZ THANNHAUSER

Aufbau
September 15, 1944

A wonderfully fulfilling young life took an abrupt end.  “Heinz Thannhauser, Staff Sgt. of the U.S. Army Air Force, killed in action over Sardinia, August 15, 1944.”

Twenty-five years old.  A favorite of God and mankind.  The happiest youth in the most beautiful, warmest home.  Enthusiastic, America loving and everywhere here finding requited love.  Unusually gifted; unusually mature.  At sixteen years – instead of the required eighteen – he had been admitted to Cambridge to study – an unprecedented exception to the tradition-bound English university.  At Harvard he makes his Doctor of Art.  At 22 he is an instructing professor at Tulane University, New Orleans.

Teaching is his passion.  He understands how little others awaken the passion of his students.  Not only for art, which from childhood he had imbibed to love in his parents’ home.  He promotes and acts only for what is the highest opinion: For the ideal of democratic freedom.  He founds youth clubs, gives speeches, writes sensational essays – he pulls others with his strong feelings.  And through a wonderful sense of humor, which he combines with his keen powers of observation.

But in this tumultuous beauty and joy, there is an ardent hatred against the brutal forces which have led to the downfall of Europe.  And heavily threaten the whole world.  When the war broke out, he immediately volunteered.

In February 1943, Heinz Thannhauser left America on his bomber aircraft.  From now on arrive letters, letters, letters.  They’re not just treasures for his parents.  They are documents of time and documents of the most beautiful humanity.  He knows no indolence of the heart.  He is a fighter of passion – from the first to the last day.  Heinz Thannhauser glowingly believes in the just cause he represents.  Like an incantation, the sentence repeats:

“You have to do everything that is in your [power] to prevent that there is ever such a war again … not with phrases – – with deeds …”

He himself makes an oath, to fight for this all his life.

A report from Rome, where he spends three blissful holidays, sounds like a fanfare.  He is in a stroke of luck.  For pages on end he describes details of some figures on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel – the first time he sees the original masterpieces, about which he has taught and written.  He is intoxicated with so much beauty.  But immediately afterwards:

“In spite of all this, it is more important to save the life of a single innocent hostage than the most beautiful old work of art …”

In one of his last letters, he described the excitement that is associated with each flight.  (He had 37 missions behind himself…):

“… The sober anticipation before a mission.  The terrible feeling of going through heavy flak time after time without being able to do anything except sit and hope for the best.  The real exultation of seeing your bombs hit the target – huge flames coming up and smoke as high as you are flying.  The relief and joy at seeing your field again, like home indeed!  So – losing your friends – empty beds, guys who, the night before, were talking of what names to give their children and so on…  And I share his horror of war and determination did it must never happen again… “

Heinz Thannhauser made a will.  He bequeathed everything he owned, to the “American Youth Movement for a Free World”.

– A.D.

While the Aufbau article touched upon the depth of Heinz’s education and ambitions, his life was chronicled in much greater detail in College Art Journal in 1945 (Volume 4, Issue 2) in the form of a biography by “H.R.H.”:

On August 15, 1944, Sgt. Heinz H. Thannhauser was killed in action while in service of his country as radio operator and gunner on a Marauder Bomber in the Mediterranean theatre.  His parents have recently been notified that Heinz was awarded posthumously the Purple Heart.

He was born in Bavaria on September 28, 1918.  The son of the well known Berlin and Paris art dealer, Justin K. Thannhauser, Heinz had a unique opportunity of becoming acquainted with the works of modern artists at an early age.  He received his primary and secondary education at the College Francais in Berlin and later in Paris at the Sorbonne.  He then attended Cambridge University. England, and took his B.A, degree in 1938.  In that year he came to this country at the age of twenty, and was holder of the Sachs fellowship at Harvard University.  During his two years at Harvard, he specialized in the history of modern art and obtained the A.M. degree in 1941.  At the Fogg his brilliant and active mind and his warm enthusiasms won Heinz the respect and the friendship of his fellow students and teachers.  In the fall of 1941, he accepted an instructorship under Professor Robin Feild at Newcomb College of Tulane University.  He was a collaborator of the ART JOURNAL where he published in March 1943 an article describing a project for collaboration between art and drama departments.  He had planned during the summer of 1943 to begin work on his doctoral dissertation, but in February he entered the Army.

Heinz had shown much promise as a young teacher and scholar in the field of art history and his loss will be keenly felt.

H.R.H.

In January 1945, the College Art Journal published another tribute to Heinz, in the form of a transcript of a letter sent to his parents in 1944.  Under the title “Furlough in Rome”, the article is an extraordinarily vivid, detailed, yet light-hearted account of a tour of artistic works among churches in that city, this letter having been alluded to in the above Aufbau article. 

FURLOUGH IN ROME
BY HEINZ H. THANNHAUSER

Excerpts from a letter written to his parents during the summer of 1944 after a visit to Rome

THAT morning we went to S. Luigi dei Francesi, to look at the Caravaggio pictures; but there was a big mass and celebration there by French troops of the 5th Army, so we didn’t see them.  The French came out later in a parade reminiscent of some I’ve seen in Paris, with turbaned troops and all (only their uniforms, except for headgear, are always American) – we took a picture or two of them.  Next, we went to the Sapienza and got into the courtyard and looked at St. Ivo; unfortunately, the inside was closed, you can see it only on days when mass is held for the laureates.  But we looked at the facade for quite a while, and after this visit to Rome I have even more respect for Borromini than I had by studying him formerly.  From there we went to S. Agnese in Piazza Navona, and had a good look at the Four Rivers Fountain too, which really is a pretty daring tour de force on old Bernini’s part.  The veil of the Nile is quite something.  All in all this visit to Rome has increased my respect for the technical courage and perfection of the Baroque masters if for nothing else in their work.  Next, S. Andrea della Valle, which quite apart from its design was amazing as being the first example of Baroque cupola and ceiling decoration I’d seen – the Lanfranco dome not being, perhaps, as terrific as some of them, but quite an introduction!  Then the Palazzo Farnese, which is now a French headquarters building.  After asking some Sudanese guards for directions, we groped our way up and finally a maid showed us into the Galleria, which was just being cleaned up – what a thrill!   A lot of super-moderns despise the Carracci as coldly academic and what-not, but when you see an ensemble like this, which so perfectly fulfills its purpose, your hat goes off to them.  The freshness of the color is amazing, and both the figures and the entire composition are pure delight.  Especially as a little breather after too many visits to the dark and serious churches – although I understand the fracas caused by cardinals having sexy things like that painted in their home!  The other rooms were astounding too, with the woodwork ceilings, etc.  I need hardly say how impressed I was with the facade in Rome, however, you get so, that the only thing you notice is a façade that is not perfect, the perfect ones being so common!  Next, S. Mariain Vallicella, with another terrific ceiling, and the Rubens altar piece with the angels holding up the picture of the Virgin that the gambler is said to have stoned when it was at S. Mariadella Pace, whereupon real blood came from it.

The next day we went to Santa Susanna and then to S. Maria della Vittoria, but unfortunately the Bernini Ecstacy of St. Theresa has been walled in for protection, like so many other things.  The figures of the onlooking Cornaro family in the two side boxes are still visible, though.  Then we went up to see S. Carloalle Quattro Fontane, which is just about the most amazing of Borromini’s tours de force.  We couldn’t get into the cloister but we looked for quite a long time at the amazing amount of movement and undulation he got into so small a facade at such a narrow corner.  We tried to take pictures of it but will have to splice two together, there wasn’t enough backing room. 

From there it was just a little way to Sta. Maria Maggiore, which I had especially wanted to see, after that unending paper I wrote for Koehler on the mosaics there.  I was afraid they’d probably have them walled up like most of the apsidial mosaics in Rome, but lo and behold, they were all there in their full freshness!  It was one of the most terrific artistic impressions I got on our stay in Rome.  I had not expected anything like the strength of color that remains just gleaming out at you, – especially so, of course, in the case of the Torriti work but amazingly bright too with the old mosaics.  We walked round the whole church looking at the mall: the walls of Jericho falling down, God’s hand throwing stones down on the enemy, Lot’s wife turning to salt, the passage over the Red Sea, etc.  I really was happy we had been able to get into Sta. Maria Maggiore. 

We had planned to go back via the Thermae of Trajan, but it got too late for that, and at S. Pietro in Vincoli, we heard that Michelangelo’s Moses was all covered up, so we didn’t bother.  Instead, we dropped into San Clemente, where so many great painters have worshipped in Masaccio’s chapel.  Father McSweeney (it’s a church given to the Irish in Rome), who took us around, remarked, “He was quite a big noise in those days, as you would say!”  First I asked him in Italian how to get to the subterranean church, and he answered in Italian and then said “Ye don’t speak much English, do ye?” which was very funny.  He proved to be an unusually interesting person, with the most intimate knowledge of art history and styles and so forth as well as all matters pertaining to his church and a lively interest in the war, discussing bombing formations and everything else.  He is completely in love with Rome and said there was no place like it to live in, and that he hoped after the war we would all three come to stay and live there!  The mosaics, as usual, were covered over, but we had plenty of time to study all the details of the Masaccio and Masolino works, and then went down to the old church below, with the Mithraic statue and the other amazing things.  He showed us where the house of Clemens was, and pointed out the usual anecdotic details of the Cicerone with an ever so slight but delightful note of amusement in his voice, placing them where they belong: for instance, with the Aqua Mysteriosa, “because nobody knows where it comes from” he said, as if he meant to say, “and why should anybody give a damn, either?”  All in all, on account of the Masolino chapel, the church itself, the subterranean part with its amazing fragments of early painting, and last but not least Father McSweeney’s delightful and enlightened manner, this was one of our most memorable visits in Rome. 

We hailed a horse carriage and went straight to St. Peter’s.  As Paul and I had already studied it pretty thoroughly the time before, we just glanced into give our friend a look at it, and then went straight to the Sistine Chapel.  Well, there just aren’t any words to tell how overwhelming it was.  Here I’d written a paper, God knows how long, about the Prophets and Sibyls and the interrelation of figures on the ceiling, but I hadn’t known a damned thing about the ceiling.  It is so unbelievably powerful that you can’t say anything.  I kept looking, irresistibly, at the Jonah, which epitomizes tome the whole of Michelangelo’s life and torture, and really is, in the last analysis, the culmination and cornerstone to the whole ceiling.  What a piece of painting – what a piece of poetry, or philosophy, or emotional outburst, a whole age expressed in one movement of a body!  The way in which everything including the Prophets and Sibyls and Atlantes builds up from the relatively quiet figures in the chronologically later pieces (Biblically speaking) to the storm that sweeps through the early Genesis scenes and the figures around them, is inexpressible in words, Romain Rolland’s or anyone’s.  As for sheer perfection of painting, the Creation of Adam just can’t be beat.  And say what you will, no photographs, detail enlargements of the most skillful kind, can ever do what the things themselves do to you, especially in the context from which you can’t separate them.  The Last Judgment is almost an anticlimax against it; and as for the Ghirlandaios, etc., you just can’t get yourself to look at them because something immediately pulls your eye up high again.  And when has there ever been a man to do so much to your sense of form with such modest and restrained use of color?  You begin to wonder why Rubens ever needed all that richness when a guy like this can sweep you off your feet with just a few tints of rose and light blue and yellow – but where the tints are put, oh boy!  Well, it’s all written up in all the books, but I just have to put down what it did to me.  – Mediterranean Theatre

Finally, an excellent representative image of B-26 Marauders of the 441st Bomb Squadron in formation, somewhere in the Meditarreanean Theater of War.  Notice that the aircraft in this photo comprise both camouflaged (olive drab / neutral gray) and “silver” (that is, uncamouflaged) aircraft.  The image is from the National Museum of the Air Force.     

______________________________

______________________________

Stephen Ambrose’s 1998 book The Victors included recollections of the experiences of Cpl. James Pemberton, a squad leader in the United States Army’s 103rd Infantry Division, covering combat with German forces in late 1944.  Pemberton mentioned the death in battle of a German-speaking Jewish infantryman, who was killed while attempting – in his native language – to persuade a group of German soldiers to surrender. 

The fact that the soldier remained anonymous lent the story a haunting note, for that man’s name deserved to be remembered. 

Aufbau revealed his identity.  He was Private First Class George E. Rosing. 

Born in Krefeld, Germany, he arrived in the United States on a Kindertransport in 1937.  As revealed in the newspaper in September of 1945 (and verified through official documents) he received the Silver Star by audaciously using his fluency in German to enable the advance of his battalion in late November of 1944. 

The Victors – Eisenhower and His Boys: The Men of World War II

Stephen E. Ambrose
1998

That same day Cpl. James Pemberton, a 1942 high school graduate who went into ASTP and then to the 103rd Division as a replacement, was also following a tank.  “My guys started wandering and drifting a bit, and I yelled at them to get in the tank tracks to avoid the mines.  They did and we followed.  The tank was rolling over Schu [anti-personnel] mines like crazy.  I could see them popping left and right like popcorn.”  Pemberton had an eighteen-year-old replacement in the squad; he told him to hop up and ride on the tank, thinking he would be out of the way up there.  An 88 fired.  The replacement fell off.  The tank went into reverse and backed over him, crushing him from the waist down.  “There was one scream, and some mortars hit the Kraut 88 and our tank went forward again.  To me, it was one of the worst things I went through.  This poor bastard had graduated from high school in June, was drafted, took basic training, shipped overseas, had thirty seconds of combat, and was killed.”

Pemberton’s unit kept advancing.  “The Krauts always shot up all their ammo and then surrendered,” he remembered.  Hoping to avoid such nonsense, in one village the CO sent a Jewish private who spoke German forward with a white flag, calling out to the German boys to surrender.  “They shot him up so bad that after it was over the medics had to slide a blanket under his body to take him away.”  Then the Germans started waving their own white flag.  Single file, eight of them emerged from a building, hands up.  “They were very cocky.  They were about 20 feet from me when I saw the leader suddenly realize he still had a pistol in his shoulder holster.  He reached into his jacket with two fingers to pull it out and throw it away.

“One of our guys yelled, ‘Watch it!  He’s got a gun!’ and came running up shooting and there were eight Krauts on the ground shot up but not dead.  They wanted water but no one gave them any.  I never felt bad about it although I’m sure civilians would be horrified.  But these guys asked for it.  If we had not been so tired and frustrated and keyed up and mad about our boys they shot up, it never would have happened.  But a lot of things happen in war and both sides know the penalties.”

Aufbau’s tribute to PFC Rosing appeared nineteen days after the end of the Second World War. 

Pfc. George E. Rosing

Aufbau
September 21, 1945

Der fruhere Gert Rozenzweig aus Krefeld, zuletzt Cincinnati, O., ist am 1. Dezember 1944 beim Vormarsch auf Schlettstadt im Elsaas im Alter von 21 Jahren gefallen.  Er wurde jetzt posthum mit dem Silver Star, der dritthöchsten Auszeichnung der amerikanishen Armee, geehrt.  – Es war am 24. November 1944, als die Spitze seines Bataillons in der Nähe von Lubine in Frankreich auf eine unerwartete feindliche Block-Stellung stiess, die die Strasse versperrte.  Unter Lebensgefahr trat Pfc. Rosing vor und begann, den feindlichen Wachposten auf deutch ins Gespräch zu ziehen.  Auf dessen Befehl legte er die Waffen nieder ung ging bis zu zehn Meter an den Wachposten heran.  Damit gab er seinen Kameraden Gelegenheit, Deckung zu suchen und den Angriff vorzubereiten.  Der Wachposten war uberrascht.  Bevor er sich aber der Situation bewusst wurde und Alarm geben konnte, gelang es der amerikanischen Truppe, durch die Stellung durchzustossen. – Pfc. Rosing kam 1937 mit einen Kindertransport nach Amerika; 1942 nachdem er gerade ein Jahr am College of Engineering an der Universität Cincinnati studiert hatte, trat er in die Armee ein.

The former Gert Rozenzweig from Krefeld, most recently of Cincinnati, Ohio, fell on 1 December 1944 on the way to Schlettstadt in Elsaas at the age of 21 years.  He has now been posthumously honored with the Silver Star, the third highest honor of the American Army.  It was on November 24, 1944, when the head of his battalion encountered an unexpected enemy position blocking the road near Lubine in France.  Under mortal danger, Pfc. Rosing began to draw the enemy sentinel into conversation.  At his [the German sentinel’s] orders he laid down his weapons and went up to ten meters to the sentry.  He gave his comrades the opportunity to seek cover and prepare for the attack.  The sentry was surprised.  But before he [the German sentinel] became aware of the situation and could give the alarm, the American force managed to break through the position. – Pfc. Rosing came to America in 1937 with a children’s transport; in 1942, after just one year studying at the College of Engineering at Cincinnati University, he joined the army.

Aufbau, September 21, 1945, page 7: The story of George Rosing.

The account of PFC Rosing’s award of the Silver Star appears to have been derived from his “original” Silver Star citation, which can be found at the website of the 103rd Infantry Division Association.  The full citation reads as follows:

HEADQUARTERS 103d INFANTRY DIVISION
Office of the Commanding General

APO 470, U.S. Army
19 December 1944

GENERAL ORDERS)
                                  :
NUMBER –   75)

AWARD, POSTHUMOUS, OF SILVER STAR

Private First Class George E. Rosing, 35801894, Infantry, Company “C”, 409th Infantry Regiment.  For gallantry in action.  During the night of 24 November 1944, in the vicinity of *** France, Private Rosing was with the battalion point, acting as interpreter, when an enemy road block was encountered.  The point was cutting the surrounding barb wire entanglement around the road block when suddenly challenged.  Private Rosing, a brilliant conversationalist in the enemies [sic] language, immediately stepped forward, with utter disregard for his life, to engage the sentry in conversation.  He was ordered to drop his arms and advance to within 15 feet of the sentry, which he did.  This gallant move gave the point an opportunity to seek cover in the immediate area.  The guard stupefied by Private Rosing’s boldness was unaware of the situation confronting him.  Before the guard could regain his composure, Private Rosing, assured that his group had reached safety, dived for the bushes as the sentry opened fire, and returned to his comrades unscathed.  As a result of his quick thinking and calmness during a tense situation the battalion was able to pass through the enemy road block successfully in the push towards its objective.  Throughout this entire activity his display of magnificent courage reflects the highest traditions of the military service.  Residence:  Cincinnati, Ohio.  Next of kin:  Eugene Rosenzweig, (Father), 564 Glenwood Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio.

By command of Major General HAFFNER:

G.S. MELOY, JR.
Colonel, G.S.C.
Chief of Staff

Born on December 3, 1923, PFC Rosing (serial number 35801894) was the son of Eugene and Herta (Herz) Rosing.  The brother of Pvt. John Rosing, his name appeared in Aufbau on January 12 and September 21, 1945.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, at Section 12, Grave 1574.  His matzeva appears below, in an image at BillionGraves.com taken by Liallee.

______________________________

Two men, among many.

______________________________

As part of my research about Jewish military service during the Second World War, I reviewed all issues of Aufbau published between 1939 and 1946 for articles relating to Jewish military service and identified pertinent news-items in the categories listed above.  (Whew.  It took a while…)  These will be presented in a future set of blog posts, with – where necessary – English-language translations accompanying the German-language article titles. 

I have not translated all, many, most, or even “a lot” of these articles; I leave that to the interested reader.  (!) 

Well, okay.

I’ve translated a certain select and compelling few, primarily concerning Jewish prisoners of war, and, the Jewish Brigade Group, which you may find of interest.

These will appear in the future.

______________________________

References

Maurice Derfler

B-24D 41-24269 (at Pacific Wrecks)

Aufbau

Aufbau (Digital), via Leo Baeck Institute (at Archive.org)

German Exile Journals, at German National Library (at Deutsche National Bibliothek)

German National Library Catalog Entry for “Aufbau”, at German National Library (at Deutsche National Bibliothek)

Aufbau (Wikipedia)

Aufbau (at Internet Archive)

German Exile Press (1933 – 1945) (Exilpresse digital – Deutschsprachige Exilzeitschriften 1933-1945) (Digital Exile Press – German Exile Magazines – 1933-1945)

Aufbau (at German Exile Press)

Aufbau (New York) at the Leo Baeck Institute

Leo Baeck Institute (at Wikipedia)

Leo Baeck Institute (New York)

Justin K. Thannhauser

Thannhauser Family (at Kitty Munson.com)

Thannhauser Family General Biography (at Wikipedia)

Justin K. Thannhauser and Guggenheim Museum (at Guggenheim Museum)

Thannhauser Collection (At Guggenheim Museum)

Thannhauser Collection (Book – At Guggenheim Museum)

Justin Thannhauser Obituary (The New York Times – 12/31/76) “Justin Thannhauser Dead at 84; Dealer in Art’s Modern Masters”

Uncle Heinrich and His Forgotten History (PDF Book) (by Sam Sherman)

Heinz H. Thannhauser

Für die Freiheit gefallen – Heinz Thannhauser (Article in Aufbau, at Archive.org)

Thannhauser, Heinz H – Biographical Profile at FindAGrave (at FindAGrave.com)

College Art Journal Volume 4, Issue 2, 1945 (Tribute to Heinz H. Thannhauser)

Furlough in Rome (Letter by Heinz H. Thannhauser in College Art Journal)

320th Bomb Group

320th Bomb Group Mission Reports (at 320th Bomb Group website (“When Gallantry was Commonplace”))

441st Bomb Squadron Insignia (at Vintage Leather Jackets)

Freeman, Roger A., Camouflage & Markings – United States Army Air Force 1937-1945, Ducimus Books Limited, London, England, 1974 (B-26 Marauder on pp. 25-48)

Tannehill, Victor C., Boomerang! – Story of the 320th Bombardment Group in World War II, Victor C. Tannehill, Racine, Wi., 1980. (Photo of “Becky” on page 115)

George E. Rosing

Ambrose, Stephen E., The Victors: Eisenhower and His Boys: The Men of WW II, Simon & Schuster, New York, N.Y., 2004.

George E. Rosing Cemetery Record (at Billion Graves)

George E. Rosing Cemetery Record (at FindAGrave)

103rd Infantry Division (103rd Infantry Division WW II Association)

103rd Infantry Division Award List for December 19, 1944 (103rd Infantry Division WW II Association)

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Sgt. Simon Fogelman – Forward to Memory – December 14, 1944

When the obituary and photograph of Sergeant Simon Fogelman – son of Lazar Fogelman, editor of the Jewish Daily Forward, appeared in The New York Times on June 5, 1945 – few readers if any would have been aware that his image appeared in the press nearly six years earlier, during a moment of promise and hope. 

That event was his 1939 graduation with honors from Stuyvesant High School, as reported in the Forward.

Simon’s portrait was one of fifteen images of high school and college graduates which were published under the heading “Scholastic Honor Roll – Pictures of Honor Graduates Submitted by Readers of the Forward” in the newspaper’s July 16, 1939 issue. 

This page is presented below, with Simon’s portrait at the bottom center.

Top Row

Rabbi Morris M. Mathews

The three children of Dr. and Mrs. Hyde: Leroy and Bernard Hyde (graduates of Cornell University, and Anita S. Hyde, graduate of Erasmus High School)

Dr. Irving H. Itkin, son of Irving H. Itkin of Woodhaven

Middle Row

Miss Tillie Alderman, Miss Gertrude Thurm, Leon N. Satenstein, Jack Irwin Kaufman, George Perkel,

Bottom Row

Isidore Kraitsik, Wallen Paley, Simon, Aaron Baer, Hyman Simon

Simon’s portrait, and caption

“Simon Fogelman, 17-year-old son of Dr. and Mrs. Lazar Fogelman of Brooklyn, who was graduated with honors from Stuyvesant High School.  Dr. Fogelman is a member of the Forward editorial staff.”

I do not know if any further articles about Simon Fogelman appeared in the press during the intervening years, but here is his obituary as reported in the Times

Brooklyn Honor Student Killed With Third Army

Sgt. Simon Fogelman of 625 Caton Avenue, Brooklyn, was killed in action with the Ninety-Fifth Infantry Division in Germany on Dec. 14, according to word received here.  He was 22 years old.

He was an honor student at Stuveysant High School and later attended Brooklyn College.  He was assigned after his induction to the University of Pennsylvania, where he attended engineering classes.  He served with Lieut. Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army and the Purple Heart was awarded posthumously to him.

He is survived by his father, Lazar Fogelman, editorial and feature writer for the Jewish Daily Forward; his mother, Sarah, and a brother, Edwin.

A member of the 379th Infantry Regiment, 95th Infantry Division (serial number 32689852), Simon’s parents were Lazar and Sarah, and his brother “Eddie” (Edwin).  Born in 1923, he is buried at Mount Lebanon Cemetery, in Glendale, New York (Block WC, Section 5, Line 28, Grave 11, Workmen’s Circle Society). 

Simon’s name appeared in a Casualty List published in the Times on February 15, 1945, and in the Memorial section of the Times’ Obituary page on December 14th of 1945 and 1946.  He is listed on page 311 of American Jews in World War Two

A 2016 Google Street view of the Fogelman family’s home at 625 Caton Avenue, in Brooklyn.

Some other Jewish military casualties on Thursday, December 14, 1944, include…

Killed in Action

– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Bensaid, Norbert, Soldat de 2eme Classe
Armée de Terre, 17eme Régiment Colonial du Génie
Nécropole nationale “Rougemont”, Rougemont, Doubs, France – Tombe individuelle, No. 588
Information from SGA “Sepultures de Guerre” database.  Not in SGA “Seconde guerre mondiale” database.

Burness, Irving, 1 Lt., 0-863230, Bombardier / Navigator, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart
United States Army Air Force, 20th Air Force, 40th Bomb Group, 25th Bomb Squadron
Mr. and Mrs. Leon B. [12/17/85-9/21/89] and Sylvia (Rashove) [10/15/97-3/23/84] Burness (parents), 139 Ardmore Ave., West Hartford, Ct.
Possibly from Philadelphia, Pa.
Born 1917
MACR 10401, B-29 42-24726; Pilot: Capt. Howard L. Gerber; 12 crewmen – no survivors
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines
Emanuel Cemetery, Wethersfield, Ct. – Plot R, 30 (Commemorative Monument)
FindAGrave profile of Lt. Irving Burness
American Jews in World War II
– 62, 514

Blitzer, Morris, S/Sgt., 32409763, Purple Heart (Germany, Nordrhein-Westfalen)
United States Army, 78th Infantry Division, 310th Infantry Regiment, F Company
Mrs. Pauline Blitzer (mother), 1100 Gerard Ave., Bronx, N.Y.
Mr. and Mrs. Phillip and Fannie Blitzer (parents); Louis, Minnie, and Rebecca (brother and sisters)
Born 9/28/16, Bronx, N.Y.
Place of burial unknown
American Jews in World War II – 279 (National Jewish Welfare Board biographical cards state “No Publicity”)

Cohen, Leon, PFC, 42036404, Purple Heart
United States Army, 45th Infantry Division, 180th Infantry Regiment
Mr. David Cohen (father), 41 E. 89th St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Cypress Hills National Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y. – Section 3, Grave 123
American Jews in World War II – 291

Elsner, Harry, Sapper, 2132044
Royal Engineers, 220th Field Company
Mr. and Mrs. Wolf and Eva Elsner (parents), Manchester, England
Born 1908
Forli War Cemetery, Vecchiazzano, Forli, Italy – III, A, 1
We Will Remember Them (Volume II) – 10

Epstein, Louis Canner, PFC, 11131816 (Germany)
United States Army, 90th Infantry Division, 358th Infantry Regiment
Mr. and Mrs. Arnold H. and Yetta (“Ethel”) Epstein (parents), 48 Commonwealth Ave., Lynn, Boston, Ma.
Born Massachusetts, 1926
Place of burial unknown
American Jews in World War II – 156

Friedman, Albert L., Pvt., 42107361
United States Army, 99th Infantry Division, 395th Infantry Regiment
Mrs. Roselia S. Friedman (mother), 308 Renner Ave., Newark, N.J.
Born 11/13/25
B’Nai Jeshurun Cemetery, Hillside, N.J.
Casualty List 3/3/45
War Department Release 2/12/45
American Jews in World War II – Not listed

______________________________

There sources of information pertaining to Jewish genealogy and military history are many and varied.  But sometimes, one learns about the past simply by chance.

Nearly two decades ago, while doing genealogical research at Mount Sharon Cemetery, in Springfield, Pennsylvania, I chanced across a pair of matzevot (Hebrew – plural – for tombstones) for a Lieutenant Alfred G. Frost, and his parents, David and Anna.  Previously, this man was unknown to me.  His name is not present (well, many names are not present…) in American Jews in World War Two, and no mention of him ever appeared in wartime issues of The Jewish Exponent, of Philadelphia, though his name did appear The Philadelphia Bulletin in January of 1945.

His story was an enigma.  He was an enigma.

It was only years later, through a fortunate meeting with Albert’s relative Susan, and then correspondence with his relatives Steven and Linda Korsin, that Lt. Frost’s story emerged:  He served as an infantry Lieutenant in the Army’s 36th (Texas) Infantry Division, and was awarded the Silver Star (and an Oak Leaf Cluster to the Silver Star) for military service in Italy. 

The citations for these awards, an account of his death written by Chaplain Charles W. Arbuthnot, Jr., and genealogical information about the Lieutenant and his family, are presented below.

Frost, Albert G. (Avraham Gitye bar David Henekh), 1 Lt., 0-1307533, Company Commander, Silver Star, Purple Heart, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
United States Army, 36th Infantry Division, 143rd Infantry Regiment, A Company
(Previously wounded on 6/1/44)
Mr. and Mrs. David [6/28/59-1969] and Anna [11/2/82-1993] Frost (parents), 333 Lincoln St., Woodbury, N.J.
Born 6/13/13
Mount Sharon Cemetery, Springfield, Pa. – Section I (Buried 9/19/48)
Philadelphia Record 1/9/45
Jewish Exponent 9/24/48
American Jews in World War II Not listed (National Jewish Welfare Board biographical Card states “No Publicity”)

______________________________

The citation for Lt. Frost’s Silver Star award. 

C O N F I D E N T I A L
HEADQUARTERS 36TH INFANTRY DIVISION
APO #36, U. S. Army

AG 200.6                                                                                       25 April 1944

Subject  :  Award of Silver Star.

To        :  Second lieutenant ALBERT G. FROST, 01307533,
143d Infantry Regiment, APO #36, U, S. Army.

Pursuant to authority contained in Amy Regulations 600-45, you are awarded a Silver Star for gallantry in action:

C I T A T I O N

     ALBERT G. FROST, 01307533, Second Lieutenant, 143d Infantry Regiment, for gallantry in action on 20-21 January 1944 in the vicinity of ANTRIDONATI, ITALY.  Company C, the assault company for the First Battalion, crossed the swift flowing and treacherous Rapido River despite a heavy concentration of enemy artillery, mortar and snail arms fire.  Lieutenant Frost, assigned the task of evacuating the wounded, swam back across the icy stream to secure a boat.  Realizing one boat would be insufficient to evacuate the men fast enough, he personally supervised the construction of a foot bridge from salvage material.  The bridge and boat then became the immediate target of enemy fire.  Dauntlessly, with great physical endurance and aggressiveness he continued to expose himself to the withering fire as he paddled the boat back and forth across the river until all the wounded were evacuated.  His calm courage and outstanding leadership saved the lives of many of his men and greatly inspired all who witnessed his deeds.  His gallant actions reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.  Entered the Service from Woodbury, New Jersey.

Fred L. Walker
FRED L. WALKER
Major General
U.S. Army Commanding

______________________________

His award of the Oak Leaf Cluster to the Silver Star.

HEADQUARTERS 36TH INFANTRY DIVISION
APO #36, U. S. ARMY

AG 200.6                                                                                         25 July 1944

SUBJECT  :  Award of Oak leaf Cluster

TO           :  First lieutenant ALBERT J. FROST, 01307533,
143d Infantry Regiment,
APO #36, U. S. Army

Pursuant to authority contained in Army Regulations 600-45, you are awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a second Silver Star for gallantry in action.

C I T A T I O N

      ALBERT J. FROST, 01307533, First Lieutenant, 143d Infantry Regiment, for gallantry in action on 1 June 1944 in Italy.  Lieutenant Frost, leader of the weapons platoon of company C, was instructed to support the 3d Platoon, in an attack against strongly fortified enemy positions.  The heavily wooded terrain afforded poor observation, and Lieutenant Frost determined to move forward and lay a wire line for a sound power phone in order to direct mortar fire on the hostile emplacements.  He advanced under intense artillery, mortar and small arms fire until he reached the 3d Platoon positions.  When he was told that the platoon leader had been wounded and evacuated, he immediately assumed command and led the men forward through barbed wire entanglements, pressing on against stubborn enemy resistance.  When the platoon was ordered to retire under the intense hostile fire, Lieutenant Frost, although wounded by a hurtling shell fragment, directed an orderly withdrawal, then reorganized the platoon and held the new positions until the unit was relieved.  His gallant actions reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.  Entered the Service from Woodbury, New Jersey.

JOHN E. DAHLQUIST
Major General, U. S. Army
Commanding

______________________________

A letter to Mrs. Frost from Chaplain Arbuthnot, concerning Lt. Frost’s death.

Office of the Chaplain
143rd Infantry A.P.O. 36
c/o Postmaster, New York, N.Y.

17 January 1945

Re:  1st Lt. Albert G. Frost, 0-1307533

Mrs. Anna Frost
555 Lincoln Street,
Woodbury, New Jersey.

Dear Mrs. Frost:

As Chaplain of the unit in which your son served so well I want to tell you briefly the circumstances of his death.  I realize I cannot even attempt to allay your sorrow but as spiritual advisor to the men, Albert was one of “my boys” and his friends and I share your loss.

In the stress of war one is not permitted to tell very much.  His burial place cannot even be divulged at this time though you may write to The Quartermaster General, ASF, Washington, D.C. and receive its location later.  Here is an extract from the official narrative, the only approved information:  1st Lt. Frost was the Commanding Officer of Company “A”.  On 14 December 1944, the company was holding an Alsatian town against increasing enemy opposition. Lt. Frost started to leave the Company Command Post when a burst of enemy machine gun fire hit him.  Lt. Frost was killed instantly.

After Albert’s death he was interred with the rites of his religion by a Hebrew Chaplain.  We all stand humbly with heads bowed before this soldierly example of the supreme sacrifice for a cause that must and will survive.  To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.

Our Father who giveth life and returneth it unto Himself, has been faithful and present to Albert; and I hope that your courage, though tested, may be deepened and strengthened with the assurance of the resurrection of all faithful souls.

Sincerely yours,
Charles W. Arbuthnot, Jr.
CHARLES W. ARBUTHNOT, JR.
Chaplain, 143rd Infantry.

______________________________

Lt. Frost’s Purple Heart Citation.

______________________________

The reason for the absence of Lt. Frost’s name from records of Jewish WW II military casualties became clear after searching Ancestry.com.  Lt. Frost’s “National Jewish Welfare Board – Bureau of War Records” index card, on which was recorded information which would – in theory – have been the basis for his record in 1947’s American Jews in World War Two, had been stamped “NO PUBLICITY”. 

He was to remain anonymous.  Thus, his name would not appear in that book.

Lt. Frost’s very brief – almost enigmatic – obituary appeared in The Jewish Exponent, on September 24, 1948.

The Jewish Exponent
September 24, 1948

Lt. Albert G. Frost

Services for First Lieutenant Albert G. Frost were held Sunday at Asher-Berschler’s, 1927 N. Broad St.  Internment was at Mr. Sharon Cemetery.  He was killed in France on December 14, 1944.  His Parents, Mr. and Mrs. David Frost, of 333 Lincoln St., Woodbury, N.J., survive.

______________________________

Gendler, William, PFC, 32544532, Purple Heart (Germany, Nordrhein-Westfalen)
United States Army, 78th Infantry Division, 309th Infantry Regiment, E Company
Mr. and Mrs. Louis and Dora F. Gendler (parents), 17870 Montgomery Ave., New York, N.Y.
Born Bronx, N.Y., 1913
Place of burial unknown Casualty List 2/20/45
American Jews in World War II – 319

Goldstein
, Charles J., PFC, 36840619, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart

United States Army, 2nd Infantry Division, 9th Infantry Regiment
Mr. Max Goldstein (father), 4905 North Kimball Ave., Chicago, Il.
(Also Bronx, N.Y.?)
Kinishiner Cemetery, Forest Park, Il.
American Jews in World War II – 101

Greenblatt
, Harry, Pvt., 42126718, Purple Heart (Germany)

United States Army, 95th Infantry Division, 377th Infantry Regiment
Mrs. Julianna Greenblatt (wife), 402 Williams Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 1916
Place of burial unknown
War Department Release 2/12/45
Casualty Lists 1/26/45, 2/13/45
American Jews in World War II – 335;

Handel
, Asher Arnold, PFC, 12221153, Purple Heart (Germany, Nordrhein-Westfalen)

United States Army, 78th Infantry Division, 310th Infantry Regiment, C Company
Mr. and Mrs. Sol Z. and Etta Handel (parents), 136 Wallace Ave., Mount Vernon, N.Y.
Born Mount Vernon, N.Y., 1926
Place of burial unknown
Casualty List 2/27/45
American Jews in World War II – 340


Katsev
, Bentsel, Pvt. (Saldus, Latvia)

16th Lithuanian Rifle Division, 167th Infantry Brigade
Born 1915
Mr. Israel Katsev (father), Pvt. Moshe Katsev (brother)
Place of burial unknown
Road to Victory – 285

Kaufman
, Henry L., S/Sgt., 32296100, Purple Heart

United States Army, 77th Infantry Division, 305th Infantry Regiment
Mrs. Bessie Kaufman (relationship unknown), 942 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, N.Y.
David M. Gottlieb (brother in law)
Born 1914
Mount Judah Cemetery, Cypress Hills, N.Y. – Section 2, Block 2, Grave 068, Path R07, Chaim Berlin Society – Buried 5/1/49
Casualty List 3/31/45
American Jews in World War II – 359


Krevsky
, Herman J., Pvt., 12206509, Purple Heart

United States Army, 87th Infantry Division, 346th Infantry Regiment
Mrs. Rose Z. Krevsky (mother), 223 3rd St., Elizabeth, N.J.
Born 1925
Lorraine American Cemetery, St. Avold, France – Plot K, Row 12, Grave 5
Casualty List 2/15/45
American Jews in World War II – 243


Kushner
, Ruben, Pvt., 32631835, Purple Heart

United States Army, 778th Tank Battalion, Headquarters Company
Mrs. Fannie Kushner (mother), 14-12 Charlotte St., New York, N.Y.
Born 1922
Beth David Cemetery, Elmont, N.Y. – Section A, Block 6, Chev. Bain Abraham A. Treistiner Society – Buried 9/12/48
Casualty List 2/13/45
American Jews in World War II – 370

Libkovitz
, Benyamin, Pvt. (Jaunberze, Latvia)

16th Lithuanian Rifle Division, 249th Infantry Brigade
Born 1912
Mr. Tuvia Libkovitz (father)
Place of burial unknown
Road to Victory – 296

Rappaport
, Manley Samuel, PFC, 12227002, Purple Heart (France, Petit Rederching)

United States Army, 87th Infantry Division, 347th Infantry Regiment
Mrs. Sadie Rappaport (mother), 90-34 214th St., Queens Village, N.Y.
Born 1/6/26 or 4/8/25
Mount Lebanon Cemetery, Glendale, N.Y. – Block PK, Section 27, Plot 25, Line Rear, Grave 3, West End Society
Casualty List 2/20/45
New York Times Memorial Section 12/14/45, 12/14/46
New York Times Obituary section 1/6/49
American Jews in World War II
– 410


Reingold
, Frank, PFC, 12206588, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart

United States Army, 87th Infantry Division, 347th Infantry Regiment, K Company
Mr. and Mrs. Irving and Anna Reingold (parents), 289 Weequahic Ave., Newark, N.J.
Born 1/5/26
King Solomon Memorial Park, Clifton, N.J.
Casualty List 2/17/45
American Jews in World War II – 249


Saltzman
, Max (Mordekhai bar Moredekhai), S/Sgt., 33338623, Purple Heart (Germany)

United States Army, 83rd Infantry Division, 329th Infantry Regiment
Mrs. Rosa (Stutman) Saltzman (wife), Philadelphia, Pa.
Mrs. Dora Saltzman (mother) [5/25/86-2/2/76], 5929 York Road, Philadelphia, Pa.
Born Odessa, Russia, 3/10/18
Montefiore Cemetery, Jenkintown, Pa. – Section I, Lot 464-A, Grave 1; Buried 4/15/48
Philadelphia Inquirer 4/14/48
American Jews in World War II
– 548

Shamitz, Joseph, Cpl., 35711928, Purple Heart
United States Army, 87th Infantry Division, 347th Infantry Regiment
Mr. Herman Shamitz (father), 200 Riverside Drive, New York, N.Y.
Lt. Milton Shamitz (brother), Mrs. Lothar Davids (sister), Great Neck, N.Y.
Born 1/2/22
Westchester Hills Cemetery, Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Philadelphia Inquirer 3/3/45, 3/12/45
Philadelphia Record 3/21/45
New York Times Memorial Section 12/14/46
American Jews in World War II – 439

______________________________

Civilians (Killed during German V-2 ballistic missile strike on Brownlow Road, London)

Members of the Belasco family – mother and two daughters – at 139 Brownlow Road, Southgate, England.  All listed in Metropolitan Borough of Southgate, Section of the Civilian War Dead Register

Belasco, Estelle Esther
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel and Sarah (Harris) Belasco (parents), Marion Belasco (sister)
Born 1924

Belasco, Marion
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel and Sarah (Harris) Belasco (parents), Estelle Esther Belasco (sister)
Born 1932

Belasco, Sarah (Harris)
Mr. Samuel Belasco (husband); Estelle Esther and Marion (daughters); Mr. and Mrs. Henry and Matilda Harris (parents)
Born 1899

This image shows a 2016 Google (…what else but Google…?) Street View of Brownlow Road, with a view of houses along the Road’s “130” section.

The location of Brownlow Road relative to central London, with Google Maps’ ubiquitous red pointer designating 139 Brownlow Road.

______________________________

Killed (non-battle)

Cohn (Cohen?), Herbert Shelton, Ensign, Fighter Pilot (Died of injuries in training in United States)
United States Navy, VF-98 (Fighter Squadron 98)
Mr. Morris Cohen (father), 7444 Georgia Ave., Northwest, Washington, D.C.
Born 1923
Aircraft: F4U-1D Corsair, Bureau Number 82239
From War Diary of “Comwest Seafron 251” at Fold3.com: “Crashed on final approach 500 yards west of Ventura County Airport.  The pilot, Ens. Herbert S. Cohn, was severely injured.  The plane was a complete loss.”
Place of Burial unknown
Aviation Archeology Database of United States Navy F4U Corsair Accident Reports
American Jews in World War II – 76

Prisoners of War (Europe)

Gelb, Emanuel S., Sgt., 32172295
United States Army, 36th Infantry Division, 143rd Infantry Regiment, A Company
POW at Stalag 13C (Hammelburg Main)
Mr. Isaac Gelb (father), 909 Beck St., Bronx, N.Y.
Born 1914
Casualty Lists 4/24/45, 6/7/45
American Jews in World War II – Not listed

Gordon
, Gerald Stanford, PFC, 16146591, Medical Corps, Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart

United States Army, 36th Infantry Division, 143rd Infantry Regiment, Medical Detachment
POW at Stalag 7A (Moosburg)
Mrs. Lillian Ruth (Rosen) Gordon (wife), 515 Noyes St., Saint Joseph, Mo.
Mr. Harold Gordon (father), 306 Victorian Court, Saint Joseph, Mo.
Cpl. Mark Gordon (brother), Elkhart, In.
Jewish Post (Indianapolis) 10/19/45, 11/16/45
American Jews in World War II – 211

Raiken
, Nathan I., Pvt., 13129798 (Captured in France)

United States Army
POW at Stalag 7A (Moosburg)
Mrs. Frances Raiken (wife), Sherrie Ellen Raiken (daughter), 1929 S. 7th St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Mrs. Ethel Raiken (mother), 1713 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia, Pa.
Born Philadelphia, Pa., 8/11/22
Philadelphia Inquirer 6/12/45
Philadelphia Record 4/26/45
American Jews in World War II – Not listed

Prisoners of War (Asia)

Levine, Joseph, 1 Lt., 0-811683, Bombardier, Bronze Star Medal
United States Army Air Force, 20th Air Force, 40th Bomb Group, 25th Bomb Squadron
Mrs. Lillian Levine (wife), 2065 Dean St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Prisoner of War, “Burma #5” (Moulmein & Rangoon Jail)
MACR 10378, B-29 42-24457; “Battlin’ Beauty”; Pilot: Capt. Cornelius C. Meyer; 12 crewmen – all survived
40th Bomb Group Memories: Mission of December 14, 1944, by Norman Larsen
25th Bomb Squadron, 40th Bomb Group Crew List
40th Bomb Group Prisoners of War: 1944-1945
American Jews in World War II
– 377

Battlin’ Beauty“, from the 40th Bomb Group website.

The nose art of “Battlin’ Beauty”, from the 40th Bomb Group website.

This is Joseph Levine’s postwar Casualty Questionnaire concerning the December 14, 1944, loss of Battlin’ Beauty, and three other 40th Bomb Group B-29s (42-24574, 42-93831, and 42-24726) during the Group’s mission to Rangoon. 

Paul, Chester E., 1 Lt., 0-807505, Co-Pilot, Air Medal, Purple Heart
United States Army Air Force, 20th Air Force, 40th Bomb Group, 45th Bomb Squadron
Prisoner of War, “Burma #5” (Moulmein & Rangoon Jail)
Mrs. Shirley (Bagley) Paul (wife), 130-33 226th St., Laurelton, N.Y.
Mr. Henry Paul (father), 130-65 225th St., Laurelton, N.Y.
MACR 10377, B-29A 42-93831; “Queenie”; Pilot: 1 Lt. Wayne W. Treimer; 11 crewmen – 6 survivors
40th Bomb Group Memories: Mission of December 14, 1944, by Norman Larsen
25th Bomb Squadron, 40th Bomb Group Crew List
40th Bomb Group Prisoners of War: 1944-1945
Brooklyn Eagle 8/15/45
Long Island Daily Press 7/28/43, 8/17/43, 7/25/44
The Aluminum Trail – 316
American Jews in World War II – 403

Queenie“, from the 40th Bomb Group website.

The nose art of “Queenie“, from the 40th Bomb Group website.

In 1945, Co-Pilot Norman Larsen wrote this remarkable account covering the loss of Queenie, and the fate of his fellow crewmen.  In April of 1990, Issue # 32 of the 40th Bomb Group Memories published the “other half” of Mr. Larsen’s story:  His account of his experiences as a POW of the Japanese, particularly including his sentence of “execution” by the Japanese.  A link to his story is given above.

Wounded

Gottlieb, Gerald Jerome, Pvt., Purple Heart (Germany)
United States Army
Born 1925
Mr. Harry Gottlieb (father), 72-72 112th St., Forest Hills, N.Y.
Long Island Star Journal 3/9/45
American Jews in World War II – 332

______________________________

Kozower, Sanford U., PFC, Medical Corps, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart (Europe)
United States Army
Wounded while administering first aid amidst enemy small arms and mortar fire
Mr. Abraham Kozower (father), 25-40 31st Ave., Long Island City, N.Y.
Born 1925
Pre-Medical Student at Temple University
Casualty List 4/19/45
Long Island Star Journal 2/4/39, 4/12/45, 4/18/45
American Jews in World War II – 367

From the Long Island Star Journal, April 12, 1945…

Private Kozower, 20-year-old medical corpsman of the 7th Army, was cited for the calm and efficient manner in which he administered first aid to members of his armored infantry unit during an advance in the face of enemy mortar and small arms fire on Dec. 14.

“His courage and devotion to duty were of substantial aid in the expeditious evacuation of wounded personnel,” according to the citation accompanying the award.”

Overseas since last October, Private Kozower was a pre-medical student at Temple University, Philadelphia, prior to his induction in August, 1943.

The son of Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Kozower, he is a graduate of Public School 5, Astoria, and Stuyvesant High School, Manhattan.

______________________________

Steinberg, Hyman, Pvt., Purple Heart (Europe)
United States Army
Mrs. Yetta Steinberg (wife), 300 North Fulton Ave., Baltimore, Md.
Mr. Samuel Steinberg (father), 2012 Linden Ave., Baltimore, Md.
Baltimore Jewish Times 3/23/45
American Jews in World War II – 145

Acknowledgements

     I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Susan Frost, and, Steven and Linda Korsin, for sharing documents concerning Lieutenant Albert Frost.  Without their help, Lt. Frost’s story and courage would have remained untold.

References

The Forward (at National Library of Israel)

Historical Jewish Press at the National Library of Israel (at National Library of Israel)

V-Weapon Attacks on Enfield (at Terror From the Sky)

40th Bomb Group History and Memorabilia (at 40th BombGroup.org)

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

Leivers, Dorothy (Editing and Revisions), Road to Victory – Jewish Soldiers of the 16th Lithuanian Division, 1941-1945, Avotaynu, Bergenfield, N.J., 2009

Morris, Henry, Edited by Hilary Halter, We Will Remember Them – A Record of the Jews Who Died in the Armed Forces of the Crown 1939 – 1945 – An Addendum, AJEX, United Kingdom, London, 1994

Quinn, Chick Marrs, The Aluminum Trail – China-Burma-India World War II 1942-1945 – How and Where They Died, Chick Marrs Quinn, 1989 (Privately Printed)

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Lieutenant (JG) Eugene V. Erskine – May 19, 1945

Navy Lieutenant (JG) Eugene V. Erskine was the co-pilot of PB4Y-1 Liberator of Patrol Squadron VP-104, commanded by Lieutenant Richard S. Jameson, which was lost in the Pacific Theater – specifically, during a patrol mission to the South China Sea – on May 19, 1945.  Though his obituary – below – appeared in the Times on July 20, his name never appeared in Casualty Lists published in either June or July. 

Navy Bomber Pilot Killed In the Pacific on May 19

The image below shows Eugene Erskine as a student at Johns Hopkins University.

Lieut. (j.g.) Eugene V. Erskine of the Navy, a pilot with Bombing Squadron 104, was killed in action in the Pacific theatre on May 19, the Navy Department has informed his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Max Erskine, of 2173 East Twenty-Third Street, Brooklyn.  He was 24 years old and a native of New York.

He held a B.A. degree from Johns Hopkins University.  He enlisted on July 4, 1942, and received his wings in 1943.  His father is a dress manufacturer.  Besides his parents, he leaves a brother, Sgt. Robert Erskine, now with the Ninth Army in Germany.

____________________

The document below (from Fold3.com), from VP-104’s War Diary for May of 1945, covers – in a brief paragraph – the loss of Lt. Jameson’s PB4Y.  There is no specific information about the cause of the plane’s loss, albeit it was not attributable to combat. 

The crew (their towns and cities of residence taken from the 1946 book Combat Connected Naval Casualties, World War II, by States. 1946. U. S. Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard) consisted of the following:

Lieut. Richard Scott Jameson – Boston, Massachusetts
Lieut. (JG) Eugene V. Erskine – New York
Ens. David Winton Lanquist – Duluth, Minnesota
AMM3C James Walter Garrison – Ravenna, Texas
AOM3C Charles Jay Arnett – Sioux City, Iowa
ARM3C Roger Henry Skews – Waukgean, Illinois
ARM2C William Hamilton Ridge – Bloomington, Indiana (also Florida?)
ARM3C Donald Grover Fanelli – Atco, New Jersey
AMM3C Willard Sydenham Dodsworth – Franklin, Il.
AMM2C George Thomas Schoenwalder, Jr. – Johnstown, Pa.
AMM3C Louis Franklin Morris – Tuscaloosa, Alabama

The names of the crew are commemorated at the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery, in the Philippines.

____________________

The two maps below, generated from (ahh, where else?!…) Google maps, show the position where PB4Y-1 38890 was lost: The South China Sea, approximately 100 miles east-southeast of Pratas Island.

____________________

The image below is a larger-scale map of the above area, showing the position of the Liberator’s loss relative to uninhabited Pratas Island.  There is little to show except for water – and – more water.

Some other Jewish military casualties on Saturday, May 19, 1945, include…

Killed in Action
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Beitch, Morris, Pvt., 37647567, Purple Heart (Killed at Okinawa)
United States Army, 77th Infantry Division, 307th Infantry Regiment
St. Louis, Mo.
Chesed Shel Emeth Jewish Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo.
American Jews in World War II – 207

Kalish, Norbert, 2 Lt., 0-41915, Purple Heart (Killed at Okinawa)
United States Marine Corps, 6th Marine Division, 22nd Marine Regiment, 1st Battalion, B Company
Mr. Julius Kalish (father), 301 West 15th St., Linden, N.J.
Born 11/5/22
Casualty List 5/13/45
Mount Lebanon Cemetery, Iselin, N.J.
American Jews in World War II – 240

Stein, Robert, HA 1C (Hospital Apprentice), 9071256, Purple Heart (Killed at Okinawa)
United States Navy
Mr. Hyman Stein (father), 6413 Bay Parkway / 325 East 21st St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
1926
Casualty List 7/10/45
Cemetery Location Unknown
American Jews in World War II – 454

Died Non-Battle

Silverstein, Marvin M., Pvt., 32982076
United States Army Air Force, 1562nd Army Air Force Base Unit
Mrs. Belle E. Silverstein (mother), 1460 Grand Concourse, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 1926
MACR Name index – No number on Index Card

Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines – Plot A, Row 9, Grave 105
American Jews in World War II – Not Listed

Prisoner of War

Zack, Milton E., 2 Lt., 0-707368, Navigator-Bombardier
United States Army Air Force, 11th Air Force, 28th Bomb Group, 77th Bomb Squadron
Hakodate POW Camp (Babai Machi), Hokkaido, Japan
Mrs. Pearl Zack (wife), 50 Harlem St., Dorchester, Ma.
Born 8/21/20; Died 12/13/06
MACR 14472; Aircraft: B-25J 43-36140, Pilot – 2 Lt. Raymond B. Lewis, 6 crewmen – 3 survivors
Casualty List 6/29/45
American Jews in World War II – Not Listed

Milton Zack’s moving story – of his training as an Aviation Cadet, service as a Navigator / Bombardier, being shot down, survival as a POW of the Japanese, liberation, and eventually his postwar life – is available under the appropriate title “Milt’s Military Memoirs“.

Milton’s B-25, piloted by 2 Lt. Raymond B. Lewis, was one of three B-25J Mitchell bombers of the 77th Bomb Squadron of the 11th Air Force’s 28th Bomb Group, which were lost during a mission to Cape Minami on Shimushu Island (the second northernmost island of the Kuril Islands) on May 19, 1945.

The other two aircraft were B-25J 43-36152 (MACR 14471), piloted by 1 Lt. John F. Mitchell, from which there were no survivors, and 43-36134 (MACR 14473), piloted by 2 Lt. Harold V. Beever, which landed at Petropavlovsk, Russia, with the plane’s crew of six surviving uninjured. 

Though Lt. Lewis’ entire crew survived the plane’s crash-landing and were captured, only Lieutenant Zack, flight engineer Cpl. Robert L. Trant, and aerial gunner Cpl. Walter Bradley survived the war.  As reported by the Japanese, Lt. Lewis, co-pilot F/O Edward N.F. Burrows, and radio operator Cpl. William E. Bradley lost their lives when the ship on which they were being transported to mainland Japan (the “Tenryo Maru”) was torpedoed and sunk on May 29, 1945.   

The image below shows Milton in the bombardier’s compartment of a B-25 Mitchell during training in the United States. 

The image below, at the website of the Center for Research: Allied POWs Under the Japanese (created by the late Roger Mansell) shows Milton and his fellow crewmen in happier times. 

Front row:  Lt. Zack, Lt. Lewis, and F/O Burrows. 
Rear row: Corporals Bailey, Trant, and Bradley

Lt. Lewis and F/O Burrows are also seen in this photo.

Paralleling Milton’s story, Walter Bailey’s account of his military (and postwar) experiences – transcribed from audiotape – is also available at the Center for Research: Allied POWs Under the Japanese website, under the appropriate title Walter Bailey: B-25 Crewman – Zack crewman.  Walter’s story is very detailed, profoundly moving, and quite explicit about the physical and emotional nature of capture by – and captivity under – the Japanese in the Second World war.

A summary of the story of B-25J 43-36140 and her crew is also available at Pacific Wrecks.

And, another Incident:
Safely parachuting after a bombing mission to Japan

Polansky, Harry H., 1 Lt., 0-686687, USAAF, Bombardier-Navigator, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart
20th Air Force, 40th Bomb Group, 45th Bomb Squadron
Parachuted with crew over Iwo Jima, after mission to Hamamatsu
Mr. and Mrs. Morris and Bessie Polansky (parents), 1203 North Fulton Ave., Baltimore, Md.
Born 1921
B-29 # 271, Pilot – Major Donald M. Roberts, 12 crewmen – all survived (No MACR Index Card)
http://www.40thbombgroup.org/45th.pdf
http://www.40thbombgroup.org/memories/Memories59.pd
American Jews in World War II – 143

Reference

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

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Sergeant Michael E. (“Mickey”) Drucker – May 7, 1944

On June 23, 1944, the Times published a Casualty List encompassing the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, comprising the name of 3,073 soldiers “Missing  in Action” in the Asian, European, Mediterranean, and Southwest Pacific Theaters of War, as well as an extensive list of men reported as prisoners of war in Germany.  Of the Missing, the overwhelming majority were reported from the European and Mediterranean Theaters of War, with only seven soldiers – airmen, specifically – reported from the Southwest Pacific.

Missing in the Southwest Pacific was Sergeant Michael E. Drucker.  An aerial gunner in the 64th Bomb Squadron of the 43rd Bomb Group (5th Air Force), his B-24D Liberator (42-40525, “Toughy“), piloted by 1 Lt. John E. Terpning, vanished during a mission from Nadzab, to Sarmi.  On March 5, 1946, almost two years later, with no further information forthcoming, Sgt. Drucker’s obituary – transcribed below – was published in the Times

Now Listed as Killed In New Guinea Mission

Sgt. Michel [sic] (Mickey) Drucker of the Army Air Forces, who was reported missing in action on May 7, 1944, while on a bombing mission from Nadzab, New Guinea, is now presumed to be dead, the War Department has informed his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Marcy Drucker of 359 Fort Washington Avenue.  Sergeant Drucker did radar and radio work on a B-24 Liberator bomber.

Born in New York on Jan. 27, 1922, Sergeant Drucker was graduated from Haaren High School, where he was a member of the swimming team, and then attended New York University.  Later he was associated with a wholesale hardware concern, the Guarantee Speciality Company, 60 Lispenard Street, in which his father is a partner.  He enlisted on Aug. 15, 1942.

Besides his parents, he leaves a sister, Miss Eveline Drucker of New York.

____________________

Here are three pages of the Missing Air Crew Report (#5664) for Toughy and her crew. 

____________________

Toughy was originally assigned to the 529th Bomb Squadron of the 380th Bomb Group.  The image below, from the 380th Bomb Group wesbite, gives a nice impression of her nose art, which consists of a simple nickname.  By the time the aircraft has been transferred to the 43rd Bomb Group, the bombardier’s nose “greenhouse” had been replaced with a field-installed A-6 tail turret, giving the aircraft better protection against head-on fighter attack.

____________________

Nineteen years after they went missing, the remains of Toughy and her crew were discovered in mountainous terrain five miles northeast of Nadzab. 

The remains of the crew were interred at Arlington National Cemetery, in a group burial, on October 18, 1974.  (Section 30, Grave 486)  In April of 2013, after further investigation of the crash site, the remains of S/Sgt. Raymond E. Thompson (whose name also appears on the monument) were buried at Olney Cemetery in Pendleton, Oregon.  

____________________

The image below is a contemporary (2017) Google Street view of the wartime residence of the Drucker family, at 359 Fort Washington Ave., in the (I assume…?!) Washington Heights section of New York. 

____________________

Some other Jewish military casualties on Sunday, May 7, 1944, include…

Killed in Action
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה.

Friedland, Max, Lt., 96919V, Wireless Operator / Air Gunner (At Maleme Airdrome, Crete)
South African Air Force, No. 24 Squadron
Mr. and Mrs. Isaac and Sarah Friedland (parents), 9 Alexandra Ave., Oranjezicht, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Born 1917
Aircraft: Martin Marauder II; Serial number: FB508 (“T” – “HonkyTonk”); Pilot – Lt. Deryk Broosbank; 6 crew – no survivors
Buried at Suda Bay War Cemetery, Crete, Greece – Collective Grave 13,B,12-15
http://aviationarchaeology.gr/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Martin-B26-Marauder-losses-in-Greece-1943-1945.pdf
Eagles Victorious – 189
85 Years of South African Air Force – 292, 416
South African Jewish Times 9/7/45

Klippel, John Owen, F/O, 412149, Navigator
Royal Australian Air Force, No. 31 O.T.U. Unit, Debert / Headquarters, Ferry Command, Royal Air Force / Number 45 Atlantic Transport Group
Mr. and Mrs. Alec and Haidee Klippel (parents), Eridge Park Road, Bowral, New South Wales, Australia
Born Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia; 11/28/21
Mosquito XX, KB220, Pilot – F/Lt. George H. Wood; Aircraft lost during severe icing conditions on ferry flight between BW1 airfield, Greenland, and United Kingdom, via Iceland
Commemorated at Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England – Panel 257
World War II Crash Sites in Iceland
Aviation Safety Network
The Jewish Chronicle 5/26/44

Silverman, George S., 2 Lt., 0-688116, Navigator, Air Medal, Purple Heart, 18 Missions
United States Army Air Force, 5th Air Force, 43rd Bomb Group, 64th Bomb Squadron (also in the Toughy crew)
Miss Florence Langbaum (fiancé), 70-39 Kessel St., Forest Hills, N.Y
Mrs. Lena Silverman (mother), 111-14 76th Ave., Forest Hills, N.Y.
Mr. Harry N. Below (brother in law), 111-32 76th Ave., Forest Hills, L.I., N.Y.
Born 3/19/19; Last letter to fiancé written 5/6/44
Casualty List 6/23/44
Long Island Daily Press 6/22/44
American Jews in World War Two – 444

Aviator – Prisoner of War

Barron, Israel Manuel, 2 Lt., 0-684468, Co-Pilot, Air Medal, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, 13 Missions
United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 801st Bomb Group, 406th Bomb Squadron
(Also wounded 8/9/43)
Stalag Luft III (Sagan), Stalag VIIA (Moosburg)
Mrs. Eleanor J. Barron (wife), 160 University Road, Brookline, Ma. / 146 River Road, Winthrop, Ma.
Born Roxbury, Ma., 2/19/20
MACR 4603, B-24D 42-40530, Pilot – 1 Lt. George Pipkin, 8 Crewmen – 7 survivors
Aircraft shot down by Feldwebel Hugo Fütscher (Fintscher?) of 12 / NJG (Nachtjagdgeschwader) 3
Casualty List (Liberated POW) 6/4/45
American Jews in World War Two – 150

The photograph and other images below are part of the Israel Manuel Barron collection at the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.  The digitized items include Israel’s German POW information card, transcribed Missing Air Crew Report, and POW Diary (“A Wartime Log”).  Through the generosity of Mr. Barron and the foresight of the Veterans History Project, the documents are fully; openly available to the public, the pages on display “below” giving an impression of the nature of this material, which is as fascinating as it is moving. 

The Israel Barron collection also includes a video file of an interview with Mr. Barron, conducted on November 11, 2002. 

References

General

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-24D 42-40525 “Toughy

History of Aircraft (at website of 380th Bomb Group)

Loss and Postwar discovery of aircraft (at Pacific Wrecks website)

Burial of crew at Arlington National Cemetery (at ArlingtonCemetery.net)

Israel Manuel “Red” Barron and B-24D 42-40530

Collection at Veterans History Project (General Description)

Digital Collection

POW Diary – “A Wartime Log” (27 pages)

B-24D 42-40530 (Description of loss of aircraft and fate of crew – “Airwar Over Denmark” website)

Loss of 42-40530 also described at juhlerdenmark (Kim Juhler) website

Max Friedland

Brent, Winston, 85 Years of South African Air Force – 1920-2005, Freeworld Publications, Inc., Nelspruit, South Africa, 2005

Martin, Henry J., and Orpen, Neil, South African forces, World War II. Vol. 6, Eagles victorious : the operations of the South African forces over the Mediterranean and Europe, in Italy, the Balkans and the Aegean, and from Gibraltar and West Africa, Purnell, Cape Town, South Africa, 1977

Martin B-26 Marauder Losses in Greece, at Maritime Aviation Archeology

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Second Lieutenant Richard H. Davis – October 18, 1944

Lieutenant Richard H. Davis, from Belle Harbor, New York, was the subject of several news items during his military service.  Three such items appeared in The Wave (Rockaway Beach) on July 22, 1943, and May 18 and August 24, 1944, and covered his military training and deployment to England. 

On April 12, 1945 the sad news item covering Lt. Davis’ death – during an operational mission over Europe on October 18, 1944 – appeared on The Wave’s front page.  This announcement was accompanied by a photograph of the Lieutenant standing before a B-24 Liberator bomber. 

The article (found and accessed via Thomas M. Tryniski’s fantastic FultonHistory.com website) is presented below.

____________________

Lt. Richard H. Davis Killed In Action

Lieutenant Richard H. Davis, 20-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Davis of 156 Beach 134th Street, who was reported missing October 18, 1944, was killed in action on that date in the European Theatre of Operations, his parents were notified by the War Department last week.

Lieutenant Davis was a navigator on a Liberator B-24 bomber with the 8th Air Force.  He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and was called in February, 1943.  He received his training at Selman Field, Louisiana, and few to England in July, 1944, and attended combat training school in North Ireland.  While there he underwent a period of intensive training in high altitude bombing procedures used in the European Theatre of Operations.

Lieutenant Davis was the holder of the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters.

He was a graduate of Public School 114 and of Far Rockaway High School, class of 1942.  Before enlisting in the service, he was active in Boy Scout Troop 112 and in the Beth-El Players Guild, having appeared in “It Can’t Happen Here,” “Out of the Frying Pan,” and “Our Town.”

Before enlisting, Lieutenant Davis was a Government Civil Service employee in Manhattan.

The B-24 serving as the backdrop in the photograph appears, based on the shape of the forward fuselage and bombardier’s window, to have been a modified “D” version of the Liberator, with a Consolidated A-6 tail turret – installed by the Army Air Corps Oklahoma Modification Center – replacing the conventional D-version’s bombardier “greenhouse”.  Given that such planes were assigned to the 8th Air Force’s 479th Anti-Submarine Group, the image probably was taken after Lt. Davis’ arrival in England, while he and his crew were undergoing additional training in that country.

By way of example…  The image below (Army Air Force Photograph 76493AC / A11897) showing a 479th ASG aircrew (Lt. Hill’s crew) and their B-24D was taken at Saint Eval, England, in 1943. 

____________________

A month after the article in The Wave, on May 12, 1945, The New York Times carried an obituary for Lt. Davis.  The portrait of Lt. Davis was taken when he was an Aviation Cadet.   

Bombing Plane Navigator Lost in Europe Last Fall

Lieut. Richard H. Davis, navigator of a Liberator bomber and holder of the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, who was reported missing last Oct. 18, was killed on that date in the European theatre, according to word received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Davis of 156 Beach 134th Street, Belle Harbor, Queens.

Lieutenant Davis, who was 20 years old, entered the Army Air Forces in February, 1943.  He was attached to the Eighth Air Force.

____________________

Nearly a year after the mission of October 18, 1944, The Wave – on October 25, 1945 – carried mention of a memorial tribute held in Lt. Davis honor at Temple Beth El, on Friday evening, October 19, 1944. 

Another year – October 20, 1946 – and Lt. Davis’ was mentioned in the “In Memoriam” section of the New York Times obituary page.

____________________

Lt. Davis was and his crew were assigned to the 68th Bomb Squadron of the 44th Bomb Group, otherwise known as the “Flying Eight-Balls”. 

The following two images are from the Missing Air Crew Report (#10140) covering the loss of Lt. Davis and his crew in B-24H Liberator 42-50381 (WQ * K), piloted by 1 Lt. Julian H. Dayball.  As described in detail in Will Lundy’s 44th Bomb Group Roll of Honor and Casualties, during a mission to chemical works at Leverkusen, Germany, there was apparently a mid-air collision between WQ * K, and B-24H 41-28944 (NB * D, “Flying Ginny“) of the 67th Bomb Squadron, which was piloted by 1 Lt. Michael Bakalo.  This occurred over Belgium in severe weather, while their formation was returning to the 44th’s base at Shipdham, England. 

The planes crashed 1 kilometer from Petegen, Dienze.  Of the 21 men aboard the two aircraft there emerged two survivors – waist gunners S/Sgt. George J. Encimer and S/Sgt. Cecil L. Scott – who were both seriously injured after parachuting from Flying Ginny.

Richard Davis is buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo. (Section 82, Collective Grave 114-115.)  Other crew members buried at the same site include Lt. Dayball; right waist gunner, Sgt. Couvillion; tail gunner, Sgt. Shea; flight engineer, Sgt. Fink; nose gunner, Sgt. Steinke, and radio operator, Sgt. Sicard.  The image below – from FindAGrave contributor “Remo” (Bobby Jean “Remo” Remelius) – shows their collective grave marker.   

Lieutenant Davis was awarded the Air Medal and two Oak Leak Clusters. 

His name never appeared in the postwar publication American Jews in World War Two

____________________

Some other Jewish military casualties on Wednesday, October 18, 1944, include…

Killed in Action
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Herman, Bernard L., 2 Lt., 0-817213, Co-Pilot, Purple Heart
Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin C. and Molly Herman (parents), 7301 Park Heights Ave., Baltimore, Md.
Place of burial unknown
Baltimore Sun 2/6/45

American Jews in World War II – 140

Stern
, Jerome J., T/Sgt., 16105797, Radio Operator, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart

Mrs. Celia Stern (mother), 1656 47th St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Place of burial unknown
Casualty List 2/6/45

American Jews in World War II – 455

Lieutenant Herman and T/Sgt. Stern, members of the 67th Bomb Squadron, 44th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, were crewmen on “Flying Ginny”, the loss of which is covered in MACR #15241. 

Witkin
, Leonard, 2 Lt., 0-701359, Navigator, Purple Heart, Ten Missions

United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 44th Bomb Group, 68th Bomb Squadron
Mr. and Mrs. Jacob and Sylvia S. Witkin (parents), 2851 Baxter Ave., New York, N.Y. / 980 Simpson St., Bronx, N.Y.
Born 9/2/21
MACR 9654, B-24J 42-50596, “Flak Magnet”, “WQ * O”, Pilot – 1 Lt. Edward C. Lehnhausen, 9 crewmen – no survivors
Wellwood Cemetery, East Farmingdale, N.Y.
American Jews in World War II – 474

Wasserman
, Gerald M., 2 Lt., 0-2060421, Navigator, Purple Heart, Four Missions

United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 390th Bomb Group, 568th Bomb Squadron
Mrs. Ruth W. Wasserman (wife), 1020 E. 7th St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mr. Samuel Wasserman (father), c/o Ferber, 732 N. 26th St., Allentown, Pa.
MACR 9484, B-17G 43-38189, “Powerful Katrinka / Bugs Bunny”, “CC * M”, Pilot – 2 Lt. Donald T. Drugan, 9 crewmen – 4 survivors, Luftgaukommando Report KU 3131
Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo. – Section 84, Grave 235-239 (Buried 10/16/50)
American Jews in World War II – 465

Fiegelman, Joseph, PFC, 33603325, Purple Heart, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
United States Army, 90th Infantry Division, 358th Infantry Regiment
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel and Dora Fiegleman (parents), Lawrence and Louis (brothers), 520 S. Washington Ave., Scranton, Pa.
Dalton Jewish Cemetery, Dalton, Pa.
American Jews in World War II – 520

Gordon
, Oscar, Pvt., 31406940, Purple Heart

United States Army, 85th Infantry Division, 359th Infantry Regiment
Mrs. Sarah Gordon (mother), Bridgeport, Ct.
Florence American Cemetery, Florence, Italy – Plot D, Row 10, Grave 19
American Jews in World War II – 64

Marcus
, Herbert, Pvt., 32802905, Purple Heart

United States Army, 35th Infantry Division, 320th Infantry Regiment
Mr. Abraham Marcus (father), 4701 12th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, England – Plot F, Row 7, Grave 102
Casualty List 11/28/44
American Jews in World War II – 387

Diskant
, Isaac, Pvt. (Died at Silute)

16th Lithuanian Rifle Division
Mr. Moshe Diskant (father)
Born 1922
Road to Victory – Jewish Soldiers of the 16th Lithuanian Division – 293

Freedman
, Israel, Pvt., 4038716

England, Pioneer Corps
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis and Rachel Freedman (parents), 15 Mayland St., Stepney, London, E1, England
Born 1914
East Ham (Marlow Road) Jewish Cemetery, Essex, England – Block U, Grave 21
The Jewish Chronicle 10/29/44
We Will Remember Them – Volume I – 086

Gruzd
, David, Sgt. (Died at Silute)

16th Lithuanian Rifle Division
Mr. Gutman Gruzd (father), Pvt. Chaim Gruzd (brother)
Born 1915
Road to Victory – Jewish Soldiers of the 16th Lithuanian Division – 294

Hurwitz
, Samuel Moses, Sgt., D/26248, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Military Medal

Canada, Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, Canadian Grenadier Guards, 22nd Armoured Regiment, No. 3 Squadron
Captured 10/18/44; Died of wounds 10/20/44
Mr. and Mrs. Harry and Bella Hurwitz (parents); Archie, David, Esther, George, Harry, Ian, and Max (brothers and sisters), 6093 Park Ave., Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Born Lachine, Quebec, Canada, 1/28/19
Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands – 9,F,1
The Jewish Chronicle 1/12/45, 6/29/45
Canadian Jews in World War II – Volume I – 46, 52
Canadian Jews in World War II – Volume II – 34

Kolsberg
, Mieczyslaw, Cpl., Poland, Mazowieckie, Otwock, Otwock Hospital

9th Infantry Regiment
Mr. Karol Kolsberg (father)
Born 1904
Andriolli Street Cemetery, Otwock, Mazowieckie, Poland
Jewish Military Casualties in the Polish Army in World War II – Volume I – 38

Lobel
, Alois, Pvt., B/1196 (Died in France, at Dunkirk)

Czechoslovakia, 1st Armoured Brigade
Born Czechoslovakia, Rajec, okres Diein; 5/23/21
La Targette British Cemetery, Neuville-St, Vaast, Pas de Calais, France – M,13
http://www.army.cz/acr/vuapraha/db/index.php
Zide v Ceskoslovenskem Vojsku na Zapade (Jews in the Czechoslovak Army in the West) – 246

Shamis
, Monia, Lt. (Died at Priekule, Latvia)

16th Lithuanian Rifle Division
Mr. Shmuel Shamis (father)
Born 1912
Road to Victory – Jewish Soldiers of the 16th Lithuanian Division – 304

Wounded in Action

Dienstman, Samuel, Pvt., 33778251, Purple Heart (Mediterranean Theater)
(Captured on January 27, 1944, and escaped)
Mr. Raphael and Anne Dienstman (parents); c/o Morris Dienstman, 404 W. Rittenhouse St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Pvt. Benjamin Dienstman and Morris Dienstman (brothers), 1533 Devereaux St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Born Pa., 1924
The Jewish Exponent 1/12/45
Philadelphia Inquirer 1/7/44
Philadelphia Record 1/7/44, 2/29/44
Philadelphia Bulletin 1/8/45
American Jews in World War Two – 517

This photograph of Samuel Dienstman appeared in The Philadelphia Bulletin on January 8, 1945. 

Prisoners of War (Infantry)

Nadelman, Jack W., Sgt., 32822644, Purple Heart, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
United States Army, 30th Infantry Division, 119th Infantry Regiment
(Also wounded ~ 9/22/44)
POW at Stalag 6G (Bonn)
Mr. and Mrs. Charles and Mary (Feber) Nadelman (parents), 58 E. 1st St., New York, N.Y.
Born N.Y., 1/6/26
Casualty Lists 11/22/44, 4/1/45, 7/6/45
American Jews in World War II – 398

Peters
, Abraham, Pvt., 42087543, Purple Heart

United States Army, 30th Infantry Division, 119th Infantry Regiment
POW at Stalag 2B (Hammerstein)
Mrs. Doris F. Peters (wife), 1664 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Casualty Lists 6/6/45, 6/15/45
American Jews in World War II – 405

Strauss
, Arthur, PFC, 32648586

United States Army, 1st Infantry Division, 18th Infantry Regiment
POW at Stalag 2B (Hammerstein)
Mrs. Klara Adler (sister), 140 Vermilyea Ave., New York, N.Y.
Casualty List 6/18/45
American Jews in World War II – Not Listed

Prisoner of War (Aviator)

Love, Harry Wilson, 2 Lt., 0-777006, Bombardier (On fourth mission)
United States Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 390th Bomb Group, 568th Bomb Squadron
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Edgar Wilson and Fannie (Genov) Love (parents), 1717 Parkview Ave. / 1590 E. 172nd St., Bronx, N.Y.
Born Bronx, N.Y.; 10/18/23; Died March 27, 2016
MACR 9484, B-17G 43-38189, “Powerful Katrinka / Bugs Bunny”, “CC * M”, Pilot – 2 Lt. Donald T. Drugan, 9 crewmen – 4 survivors, Luftgaukommando Report KU 3131
Casualty List 3/7/45
American Jews in World War II – Not Listed

Second Lieutenant Harry W. Love was one of the four survivors of Lt. Donald Drugan’s B-17.  In 1985, his account of his singular (…an understament…) experience was published in Volume II of the 390th Bomb Group Anthology

His story is presented below.

Birthday “Blow Out”
by Harry W. Love
Bombardier, 568th Bomb Squadron

My story begins like so many other bomber crews… at 0400 hours 18 October 1944.

As per schedule, the crews are awakened; the quick wash-up; off to the mess hall for the usual chow-down; back to barracks for completion of dress, storing of personal papers and finally, off to the briefing room.  As rhetoric will have it, this is basically the routine for any bomber crew in the 8th Air Force, flying out of England.

My story, however, departs from the traditional version espoused by so many others on 18 October 1944…  It was my 21st birthday.  My attitude, no different from any other 21 year old; I was happy, had a great crew and festivities were planned for that evening when we returned from the bombing mission.

At the briefing, we received our instructions.  Our mission was to Koblenz, Germany.  (Considerably less difficult or dangerous we thought than Berlin, Regensburg, Augsburg, or so many others.) During the briefing session, the members of the crew contemplated no unusually heavy problems.  At the completion of the general briefing, the pilots, navigators and bombardiers parted ways for individual briefings.  We then were driven to our assigned aircraft.

The plane we originally had been assigned to was the Silver Meteor.  It was, however, taken out of service for this particular mission because of heavy damage it sustained two days prior, on a mission to Cologne.  Therefore, we were reassigned to a brand new B-17G.  It was a truly magnificent looking craft as we approached it that morning.

Inspection of armament loading procedures (which was my responsibility as Bombardier) was conducted and before too long, it was takeoff time.  Reflecting back I feel a few words are deemed necessary regarding my Pilot, Donald Druggan.  He was a masterful, highly prestigious, military man and competent in all aspects of his assigned field.  Our Co-Pilot, John Mohn, was very astute, tolerant and somewhat more pacific than Donald Druggan.  Our Navigator, Gerald Wasserman, a Brooklyn boy, was very dedicated to his job and an asset to our crew.

Take off was uneventful.  The weather was clear (although dark at the time of departure).  We found our assigned positions at the prescribed altitude.  Not too long thereafter, the British Coast was behind us.

The order to “check your guns, and fire your guns” was given.  The response traditionally heard was, “All guns firing properly and in order.”

We approached the coast of Europe at approximately 0830 hours.  Our target Koblenz was still an hour and a half away.  We encountered no enemy fighters en route, and the flak was light.

The bomb run over the target was considered very successful.  Upon making our turn off the bomb run (after release of bombs), we then headed in a northwesterly direction to meet up with the balance of the Wing which could be seen some 15-20 miles away.  At this time, it was quite apparent that we were some 5 or 6 minutes behind schedule in our rendezvous with the Wing for our trip back to England.  This necessitated our lead crew to change course some degrees further to the north which brought us over a portion of the Ruhr Valley.  On approaching this particular area, some 5 or 10 miles from our rendezvous, we began to pick up massive concentrations of flak fire.  One of the first bursts came within 100 yards of the front of our plane.  This was followed by 5 or 6 more immediately, thereafter, each one closer than the preceding one.  It seemed that we were well tracked down below by the antiaircraft crews.  At this time, I announced to the crew that the bursts were directly in line…  the Pilot, in accord, confirmed my communication.

Some 2 or 3 seconds later, we received a hit in the nose of the plane directly above the chin turret leaving a hole some 15-20 inches in circumference.  I immediately back tracked away from my chin gun position and took up a station to the right (which was the cheek gun).  The cyclonic rush of air that came through was impossible to control.  I recall vividly the Navigator stating over the intercom, “Nobody will know how close the Bombardier came to buying it…  the bursts of flak came through within inches of his right leg.”

The antiaircraft gunners on the ground weren’t finished tracking our plane, for at that instant we received a direct hit in one engine (starboard side) with shocking impact.  Massive vibrations developed and fumes and smoke filled the plane.  The pilot, without hesitation, pulled out of formation, and attempted to put out the flames within that particular engine by sideslipping the plane.

Upon looking at the right wing, it was obvious that the damage thereto, was extensive.  The entire right wing was oscillating up and down some 20-30 degrees.  On seeing this, I assisted the Navigator Gerald Wasserman in putting on his chest pack.  As Bombardier, I always wore my backpack throughout the entire mission.

I called to the Pilot in the customary technique…  “Bombardier to Pilot, do you have any instructions?” He replied, “Bombardier, I hear you.” Looking back at the wing again I could clearly see the oscillation increasing.  The Engineer, Sgt.  Parker, dropped down from his position to our station with the Navigator between us.  I instructed the Engineer to open the escape hatch located directly in front of him.  He complied immediately.  I again called to the Pilot asking if there were any further instructions regarding possible bail out.  The Pilot, once again replied, “Bombardier, I hear you,” but no instructions followed.

Looking out at the wing again (which was oscillating even more), it was obvious to me that the wing could not stay on much longer.  At this point, firmly believing the alarm bell and intercom were no longer operating, I directed the Engineer to bail out.  He (Parker) looked up to the Pilot for some expression of guidance…  he did not receive any.  He then looked back at me and the Navigator who was directly in front of me.  At this critical point (with little or no time for conversation), a mandated determination had to be directed and carried out.  The Engineer would have to bail out of the plane first, the Navigator second and then myself.  I, in a loud tone (after removing my oxygen mask), ordered the Engineer to bail out… again he hesitated.  I then began to physically push the Navigator in that direction stating, “We have to go, the wing is coming off.” The Navigator looked at me with quite an acceptable (and understandable) look of doubt, and shook his head.  At that instance, the wing came off!

It is apparent that with one of the wings off of a B-17, it will not fly.  Our plane began to plummet down in a spiraling, leafy fashion to earth.  At this point, I would assume we were in the neighborhood of 20-22,000 feet.  Quite instantaneously, all within the craft were seemingly welded to their specific positions.  I was flung against the starboard cheek gun slamming my neck against it in a rigid fashion, unable to move a muscle due to the powerful centrifugal force exerted during the spiraling effect.  At this moment, I vividly recall thinking of one thing, and one thing only…  “What will Mom say or feel when she hears about me being killed in action?” There was no question or doubt in my mind that I was to meet “my maker” in a matter of moments.  There was no possible chance for anyone to successfully escape this situation.

Approximately two or three seconds later, there erupted a tremendous, all-encompassing explosive force, I felt my entire body weight being lifted by an unknown force.  I was literally catapulted through the air, head first and out the front plexiglass nose of the aircraft.  The plane had exploded.  The gas tanks (I am assuming), from the other wing or in the body of the craft, had been ignited by the flak we took.  Luckily I did not black out.  I was alert and fully cognizant of the entire situation.  I knew instantly that I was free from the aircraft.  I had the foresight, however, not to pull the rip cord immediately.  As I began to fall to earth, I could clearly see burning debris from our aircraft.  Far to the left, a chute opened; shortly thereafter on my right, another chute; and then a few seconds later, still another chute opened.  This chute (the latter), perhaps opened too soon, and as fate would have it, part of the burning debris struck his chute as it opened.  Which crew member it was, I could not identify.  I held my rip cord with a firm grasp for what seemed to be hours, but I’m sure it was only a second or two before making a move.  I saw clear areas around me.  I then pulled the cord and to my utter surprise, I felt no jerk, as anticipated.  My most prevalent thought at this time was, “The parachute must have been torn from my back when I was blown from the front of the plane.” I looked up and there it was … blossoming beautifully above me.  Perhaps the reason for not feeling the impact of the chute opening, can be attributed to the mental trauma I had so recently experienced, i.e., being blown out of the aircraft.  My thought at this time, “My God, I’m going to be safe.  I’m floating down to earth.”

At this juncture, everything began to go black, or more accurately, red.  I now realized I could not see.  I placed my hands over my eyes, wiped them and realized I did not come away from this situation unscathed completely.  I was bleeding profusely from head wounds received when I was blown through the front plexiglass of the craft.  I also realized that my shoes that were tied to my parachute harness were not there.  They had been snapped, or torn, off when I was blown out of the aircraft.

On descending, I could see a forest area and remembered some of the instructions we received concerning means of generating control over the parachute.  I was able to tug at the harness, thus controlling the direction of the chute so that my landing would be between some very large fir trees.  I landed on a 45-degree slope of a hill.  Not being proficient in parachute landings, I came down extremely hard, striking both legs in a rather awkward position, that later would prove to give me untold pain and discomfort.  The impact of landing so hard and abruptly, caused one of my legs to collapse on the base of my spine.

Reflecting back to military orders and instructions, concealment of the chute after landing was of the utmost concern.  I picked the chute up as quick as I possibly could and dug and scratched a large hole in a leafy area where I buried it under branches, twigs, etc.  I began moving in a westerly direction but soon, thereafter, collapsed.  The injuries I had sustained were not as minor as I initially thought.  Both of my ankles were swollen out of proportion, and the bleeding from my skull wounds were now in a hemorrhaging state.  I took stock of what medications I had and treated myself with sulpher for my scalp wounds and bandaged them the best I could.  I then constructed make-shift crutches and again attempted to move on.  As my arduous journey continued, I further realized I was experiencing pain at the base of my neck.  Later I found that my 2nd Lieutenant bar was bent completely in half.  Something most assuredly had struck it with a great impacting force to have caused it to bend.  The object which had struck the metal bar so precisely, had to have been metal; the 2nd Lieutenant bar undoubtedly saved my life.  I sustained a massive hematoma on my neck where the bar had originally been affixed to my collar.

I placed the time of my landing at 1230 hours.  I continued to move on through the afternoon.  I traveled for several hours in a westerly direction as best I could, and rested part of the night in a thickly wooded area.  I did not know for sure how many of the crew got out, but I had seen two chutes at a distance.  Later I was informed that a fourth airman had in fact gotten out.  There were only four survivors from our B-17G.

The following day, during the early hours after dawn, determined and still limping, I continued to move on.  The wooded area that concealed me began to echo with a terrifying sound; that of track dogs.  The area where I had descended was flooded with civilian and Wehrmacht troops.

I was finally detected and captured by the aforementioned group of people, at approximately 0900 hours on the 19th of October 1944.  I was taken to a town (to the best of my recollection, Oberursel) where my imprisonment began.

Some weeks later, during which time I spent a week of interrogation procedures in Dusseldorf, I had the heartwarming pleasure of seeing three of the enlisted members of my crew.  The Tail Gunner, Conwell, related to me that he was blown out of the tail section.  Raymond Hutt was blown out of the Waist Gunner’s compartment and the Radio Operator, Ledford, was blown out of the top section of the craft’s radio compartment.  I was further informed that the Ball Gunner, Stevens, had not emerged from the ball nor did he have his chest pack on at the time the wing disengaged itself from the aircraft.  Out of a crew of nine, only four survived.

After spending about eight months in prison camps, Stalag Luft 3, Sagan and Moosburg, I was liberated by Patton’s Third Army on 29th April 1945 and returned home in May of that year.

October 18th, Nineteen Hundred Forty-Four, was my day of infamy, it too was my Birthday .  .  .  my day of Rebirth.

This Is My Story.

Control Tower Log for 18 October 1944 shows one aircraft MIA

0715: All mission a/c off except 325T-hydraulics out – ship stuck off edge of r/w and field will be u/s (Ed: unserviceable) for landing a/c until at least 1030 – possibly later.

0930: 831-C aborted with #3 feathered, prop run away.  Will circle until 325 is cleared.

1130: 325 off r/w.  Ship 007-M (Lewis) lost a piece of 325 plexiglass nose on t/o.  No damage to 007.

1131: 831 C landed. (Ellis)

1542: All a/c returned except 189-M (Drugan)

J.H. Stafford 1 Lt. S.C.

____________________

On August 9, 2002, Harry spoke about his wartime experiences – and other aspects of life – in an interview available at the New York State Military Museum.  

When Harry passed away on March 27, 2016, he was the last survivor of the crew of Powerful Katrinka / Bugs Bunny. 

____________________

A photograph of Donald Drugan’s crew (contributed by FindAGrave contributor Patootie), taken during training in the United States, is shown below.  The names of the crew members are listed beneath the image. 

Rear (L – R)

Sgt. Jurl T. Parker (Flight Engineer – KIA)
Tamaha, Ok.
Ardennes American Cemetery, Neupre, Belgium – Plot D, Row 3, Grave 5

Sgt. Willis T. Ledford (Radio Operator – survived – Died July 3, 1996)
Cleveland, Ga.
Hoschton City Cemetery, Hoschton, Ga.

Sgt. Raymond L. Hutt (Waist Gunner – survived – Died Nov. 19, 2008)
Tecumseh, Ne.
Tecumseh Cemetery, Tecumseh, Ne.

Sgt. Robert Stevens (Ball Turret Gunner – KIA)
Long Beach, Ca.
Ardennes American Cemetery, Neupre, Belgium – Plot A, Row 38, Grave 47

Kaiser (Waist Gunner – did not fly on mission of October 18)

Sgt. Cleon Conwell (Tail Gunner – survived – Died April 6, 2006)
Monticello, In.
Buffalo Cemetery, Buffalo, In.

Front (L – R)

2 Lt. Donald Terrance Drugan (Pilot – KIA)
Portland, Or.
Ardennes American Cemetery, Neupre, Belgium – Plot D, Row 1, Grave 47

2 Lt. Jonathan V. Mohn (Co-Pilot – KIA)
Portland, Or.
Ardennes American Cemetery, Neupre, Belgium – Plot D, Row 5, Grave 30

2 Lt. Gerald M. Wasserman (Navigator- KIA)
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo.

2 Lt. Harry Wilson Love (Bombardier – survived – Died March 27, 2016)
Bronx, N.Y.

____________________

These are pages from the Missing Air Crew Report (#9484) for Powerful Katrinka / Bugs Bunny, covering the crew list and technical details about the plane.

An account of the plane’s loss follows.

____________________

This image of Harry, from Ancestry.com, shows him as an Aviation Cadet…

…while this image, also from Ancestry.com, is a photograph of Harry taken by the Germans shortly after his capture.  The picture is attached to his German Prisoner of War “Personalkarte”. 

  ____________________

Postwar reports on the loss of the bomber, by Harry Love and tail gunner Cleon Conwell, are seen below. 

____________________

____________________

This image (WW II Army Air Force Photo 3200 / A45511) is captioned, “Lt. Maurice A. Bonomo, Bombardier, 333 W. 86th St., New York City, 18 daylight missions; holds Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters”.  The picture gives an excellent representative view of the the bombardier’s position in a B-17 Flying Fortress (specifically, a B-17G Flying Fortress). 

Lt. Bonomo, viewed as if looking forward from the navigator’s position, is facing the bombardier’s control panel.  Above the control panel can be seen a nose-mounted “flexible” port M-2 Browning 50 Caliber machine gun, with its ammunition feed chute hanging to the right.  (Another flexible M-2 Browning, out of view of the photograph, is mounted within the right side of the nose.)  The remote control for the aircraft’s Bendix chin turret (housing two M-2 Brownings) is visible – in its stowed position – to the right of Lt. Bonomo.  In front of Lt. Bonomo is the bombardier’s plexiglass nose “bubble”, which – despite variations in design among different versions of the B-17 – is so visually characteristic of the Flying Fortress.

Given that Lt. Bonomo is not (!) wearing his oxygen mask, and is directly touching the control panel without (!) gloves (neither of which would be advisable at altitude…) this is almost certainly a “posed” photograph, taken while the B-17 was on the ground.

Though the date of this photograph is unknown, what is known is that Lt. Bonomo, a member of the 401st Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group, became a prisoner of war on July 20, 1944, during a mission to Leipzig, Germany.  On that date, he was a member of 1 Lt. Arthur F. Hultin’s crew in B-17G 42-102509, which was lost due to anti-aircraft fire.  Fortunately, all 10 crewmen survived as POWs.  The plane’s loss is covered in MACR 7274 and Luftgaukommando Report 2560, the latter document being unusually detailed in its description of the plane.

Maurice (serial number 0-754720), the husband of Janet A. Bonomo, of 333 West 86th Street, in New York, was imprisoned in North Compound 2 of Stalag Luft I, in Barth, Germany. 

His name appeared in Casualty Lists published on December 13, 1944, and (as a liberated POW) on June 15, 1945, and can be found on page 281 of American Jews in World War Two.

References

Books

Blue, Allan, The B-24 Liberator – A Pictorial History, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, N.Y., 1975

Davis, Larry, B-24 Liberator in Action (Aircraft No. 80), Squadron / Signal Publications, Inc., Carrollton, Tx., 1987

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

Kulka, Erich, Zide Československém Vojsku na Západé, Naše Vojsko, Praha, Czechoslovakia, 1992

Leivers, Dorothy (Editing and Revisions), Road to Victory – Jewish Soldiers of the 16th Lithuanian Division, 1941-1945, Avotaynu, Bergenfield, N.J., 2009

Lundy, Will, 44th Bomb Group Roll of Honor and Casualties, Green Harbor Publications, 1987, 2004

Meirtchak, Benjamin, Jewish Military Casualties in the Polish Armies in World War II: II – Jewish Military Casualties in September 1939 Campaign – Jewish Military Casualties in The Polish Armed Forces in Exile, World Federation of Jewish Fighters Partisans and Camp Inmates: Association of Jewish War Veterans of the Polish Armies in Israel, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1995

Richard, Wilbert H.; Perry, Richard H.; Robinson, William J., The 390th Bomb Group Anthology – Volume II, 390th Memorial Museum Foundation, Inc., Tuscon, Az., 1985

Canadian Jews in World War II – Part I: Decorations, Canadian Jewish Congress, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1948.

 Canadian Jews in World War II – Part II: Casualties, Canadian Jewish Congress, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1948

Websites

44th Bomb Group

General Index: http://www.greenharbor.com/index.html

October, 1944: http://www.greenharbor.com/ROHPDF/ROHSO44.pdf

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Captain William Hays Davidow – January 21, 1943

Army Air Force Captain William Hays Davidow, a pilot in the 12th Ferry Group, lost his life in the crash of a P-40 Warhawk fighter plane at Accra, British West Africa (now Ghana), on January 21, 1943.  His aircraft, P-40F 41-14403, suffered engine failure on takeoff.

On January 27, an obituary of Captain Davidow appeared in The New York Times.  This news item did not appear in association with a Casualty List.  Rather, it was published as a “stand alone” item on page four of the newspaper’s first section.  The sad prominence of the obituary – which is transcribed below – was due to Captain Davidow’s familial relationship to Arthur Hays Sulzberger, publisher of the Times

Born in New York on December 15, 1919, William Davidow was employed by the Times prior to entering the Army Air Force as an Aviation Cadet.

Along with The New York Times, news about Captain Davidow appeared in the Herald Statesman (Yonkers) (1/28/43), the Long Island Daily Press (12/17/40, and 1/29/43), and Nassau Daily Review – Star (6/30/42, 2/5/43) while a tribute in his honor, written by fellow employees at the Times, was published in the German exile newspaper Aufbau on June 11, 1943. 

Captain Davidow is buried in the North African American Cemetery, in Carthage, Tunisia, at Plot C, Row 19, Grave 7.  His name appears on page 295 of American Jews in World War Two.  

His obituary from the Times is presented below:

____________________

Army Flier Is Victim Of a Crash in Africa

SCARSDALE, N.Y., Jan. 26 – Captain William Hays Davidow of the Army Air Forces has been killed in an airplane accident in Africa, the War Department has notified his mother, Mrs. Irwin Friend, of 44 Graham Road, Scarsdale.  [Also 121 East 94th Street, in the Carnegie Hill section of Manhattan – MGM]  There were no further details.

Captain Davidow was born in New York City twenty-three years ago.  He attended Lafayette College for two years, and was a member of the swimming team.  In 1939 he became a member of the merchandise research department of THE NEW YORK TIMES.

In October, 1940, he enlisted in the Air Forces as an aviation cadet, graduating as a pilot in August, 1941.  He was trained at Maxwell Field, Birmingham, Ala.  He went to Africa shortly before Pearl Harbor.

Surviving besides his mother are his father, Leonard H. Davidow of New York, and two sisters, Mrs. Marjorie D. Mathias and Miss Betty Davidow.  Mrs. Arthur Hays Suzlberger of New York is a cousin.

____________________

This image of Captain Davidow – standing in front a PT-17 Stearman biplane – appeared in the Scarsdale Inquirer on November 6, 1942.

____________________

A formal portrait of William Davidow as a Flying Cadet, from the United States National Archives collection of “Photographic Prints of Air Cadets and Officers, Air Crew, and Notables in the History of Aviation”.  (RG 18-PU)  He received his wings on August 15, 1941. 

____________________

The image below, a formal portrait of William Davidow, appeared both in the Times’ obituary and the Lafayette College Book of Remembrance, the latter profiling Lafayette College alumni who lost their lives in World War Two.

____________________

A memorial essay in honor of Captain Davidow, from the June 11, 1943 issue of Aufbau:

____________________

The Davidow family home in Scarsdale as it appears in 2017, as seen at Zillow.com.

____________________

Two other Jewish servicemen – both members of the Navy – are known to have been involved in military incidents on January 12, 1943.  They were Lieutenant Albert Plotkin (killed, non battle) and Seaman Bernard Applebaum (rescued, but died in October of 1945).  Biographical information about them is presented below:

Killed (non-battle)

– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Plotkin, Albert, Lt., Co-Pilot
Navy Air Transport Squadron VR-3
Aircraft (R4D-1 Skytrain Bureau Number 5051), struck Fremont Peak, near Flagstaff, Arizona; Pilot – Lieutenant Max S. Knudsen; 6 crew and passengers – no survivors
Mrs. Virginia (“Betty”) Plotkin (wife), New Smyrna, Fl. / Kansas City, Mo.
Mr. and Mrs. Harry Herman and Pearl Plotkin (parents), David and Ruth Plotkin (brother and sister), 90-36 149th St., Jamaica, N.Y.
Born Akron, Ohio, 12/14/16
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va. – Section 8, Grave 6169

Herald Statesman (Yonkers) (1/28/43)
Long Island Daily Press 12/17/40, 1/29/43
Nassau Daily Review-Star 6/30/42, 2/5/43
American Jews in World War Two – 406

The article below appeared on the first page of the January 29, 1943 issue of the the Long Island Daily Press

Rescued

Applebaum, Bernard, Seaman 1st Class, serial number possibly 5791828
Crew Member of Submarine Chaser USS SC-709 (lost off Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia)
Born 1926
Mr. Jacob Applebaum (father), Philip (brother), 16 Henry St., Malden, Ma.
Died (non-combat) at Brooklyn Naval Hospital on 10/26/45; Malden Press 11/2/45
American Jews in World War Two – p. 149
Buried at Mont Vale Cemetery, Woburn, Ma.

References

Websites

Arthur Hays Sulzberger (Wikipedia)

Captain William H. Davidow incident of January 21, 1943 (Aviation Archeology Database)

Scarsdale Inquirer for November 6, 1942 (Hudson River Valley Heritage Historical Newspapers)

Aufbau, poem honoring Captain William H. Davidow, in issue of June 11, 1943 (German Exile Press newspapers, at Deutsche National Bibliothek)

Submarine Chaser USS SC-709

Wrecksite.com

and

Wikimapia.org

Books

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.

Lafayette College Book of Remembrance, 1946, Lafayette College, Easton, Pa. (With special thanks to College Archivist Elaine M. Stomber!)

 

Soldiers from New York: Jewish Soldiers in The New York Times, in World War Two: Private Marc C. Dauber – November 18, 1944

The name of Private Marc C. Dauber, a resident of Brooklyn, appeared in The New York Times on February 4, 1945, in a list of soldiers killed in action in the European Theater of War.  His obituary – shown below – was published on September 26 of that year.

____________________

Second Highest Honor Awarded Him After Death

The nation’s second highest honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, was awarded posthumously yesterday to Pvt. Marc C. Dauber, 22 years old, a Brooklyn soldier who was killed in action in the Huertgen Forest at Hamich, Germany, after twice leaving “safe” Army assignments to get into front-line action.

At a ceremony at 90 Church Street, Col. John R. Reitmeyer, Public Relations Officer of the Eastern Defense Command, presented the award to the soldier’s father, Emanuel Dauber of 1574 Fifty-Sixth Street, Brooklyn.  Private Dauber was killed last November while serving with Company L of the Sixteenth Infantry Regiment, of the First Division.  Badly wounded in a German counter-attack, he defended his position until he was killed, shouting and throwing grenades, and drawing enemy fire away from the rest of his platoon.

He had left his engineer camouflage unit to stow away on a landing barge, for the D-Day landing.

Assigned to a desk job in Brittany, he again transferred himself to the infantry unit, and served so well that his commanding officer requested his official transfer.

Before entering the Army he was a senior at Brooklyn College.

____________________

The official citation for Private Dauber’s DSC award, available at Military Times Hall of Valor, states:

A member of 3rd Battalion, L Company, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, he was killed in action on November 18, 1944.  A recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, the citation for his award states, “During action near Hamich, Germany, Private Dauber assumed command of his platoon when the platoon and squad leaders became casualties. He led a group of men into the town, silenced a German machine gun with a grenade, courageously advanced alone on a second machine gun nest and eliminated that position with rifle fire. He continued to lead his men until nightfall when the enemy counterattacked and surrounded his platoon. Although seriously wounded he defended his position with heroic determination against overwhelming odds until he was killed. Private Dauber’s inspirational leadership and supreme devotion to duty at the cost of his life, exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.”

____________________

Born in Germany on October 24, 1922, Private Dauber is buried at the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, in Henri-Chapelle, Belgium, in Grave 18, Row 6, Plot B.  A photograph of his tombstone, by WW II military history researcher Des Philippet, can be found at his biographical profile, at FindAGrave.com.

____________________

A late-2016 Google view of the residence of Marc and his parents – Emanuel (a veteran of the German Army in WW I) and Pauline – in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, appears below.

____________________

Some other Jewish military casualties on Saturday, November 18, 1944 include…

Killed in Action
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Egel, Ely, PFC, 37619938, Purple Heart
United States Army, 26th Infantry Division, 101st Infantry Regiment
Mr. and Mrs. Simone and Minnie Egel (parents), 956 Hamilton Ave., St. Louis, Mo.; Mr. Sam Goldblatt (best friend), St. Louis, Mo.
Place of burial unknown
Saint Louis Post Dispatch 3/5/45
American Jews in World War Two – 209

Ellman
, Alan H., Pvt., 32978581, Purple Heart

United States Army, 95th Infantry Division, 377th Infantry Regiment
Dr. Isadore William Ellman (father), 701 Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Born 1924
Place of burial unknown
American Jews in World War Two – 302

Emmer, Raymond Philip, Pvt., 37618928, Purple Heart
United States Army, 99th Infantry Division, 394th Infantry Regiment, F Company
Mr. and Mrs. Vivien Horace and Blanche (Nathan) Emmer (parents), 6304 Rosemary Drive, St. Louis, Mo.
Born Saint Louis, Mo., 4/6/25
American Jews in World War Two – 209

Raymond P. Emmer and Carol Strauss, at Beverly Hills, California, in 1942.  (Photo c/o Robert Alyn)

Fried, Louis, Pvt., 35233154, Purple Heart, Casualty in France
United States Army, 95th Infantry Division, 379th Infantry Regiment
Mr. Samuel Fried (father), 139 Roslyn Drive, Youngstown, Oh.
Born 1923
Place of burial unknown
The Jewish Times (Youngstown, Ohio) 12/22/44
American Jews in World War II – 486

Kaufman
, Arthur S., Pvt., 32525103

United States Army, 32nd Infantry Division, 32nd Signal Company
Mr. and Mrs. Meyer and Mollie Kaufman (parents); Irvin and Norman (brothers), 1735 Walton Ave., Bronx, N.Y.
Born 1921; City College of New York Class of 1942
Place of burial unknown
Casualty List 2/6/45
New York Times obituary page (Memorial Section) 11/17/46
American Jews in World War II – 47, 359

Schlamowitz
, Milton, Pvt., 32803627, Purple Heart, Casualty in Germany

United States Army, 29th Infantry Division, 116th Infantry Regiment, B Company
Mrs. Jennie Schlamowitz (mother), Herbert (brother), 1234 Vyse Ave., New York, N.Y.
Born 1925
Place of burial unknown
Casualty List 3/6/45
American Jews in World War II – 431

Schor
, William, PFC, 42056382, Purple Heart, 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Casualty in France

United States Army, 103rd Infantry Division, 411th Infantry Regiment, Anti-Tank Company
Died of Wounds 12/5/44
Mrs. Mina R. Schor (mother), 3640 (3650?) Rochambeau Ave., New York, N.Y.
Place of burial unknown
Casualty List 1/28/45
American Jews in World War II – 433

Sussman
, Daniel, Pvt., 36727698

United States Army, 95th Infantry Division, 377th Infantry Regiment
Mr. and Mrs. Charles and Bess (Kaiserman) Sussman (parents), Chicago, Il.; Mrs. Thelma Friedman (sister)
Westlawn Cemetery, Norridge, Chicago, Il. (Buried August, 1949)
Chicago Tribune 8/4/49
American Jews in World War II – 118

Wiesen
, Fred R., PFC, 18151571, Purple Heart, Casualty in France

United States Army
Mr. and Mrs. Alex and Ruth Wiesen (parents), New York, N.Y. / Orleans Parrish, La.
Mrs. Estelle (Wiesen) Levine (sister), Harold and Lois (?); Lenore and Milton, Seasonwein; Gertrude and Arthur Holzsager; Naomi Hicks; Fred and Clara Penner; Carl, Julius, Charlotte, and Harold
Place of burial unknown (Buried 5/21/48)
New York Times Obituary page 5/20/48, 5/21/48, 5/22/48;
New York Times Obituary page Memorial section: 11/18/45, 11/24/26
American Jews in World War II – 472

Died of Wounds
– .ת.נ.צ.ב.ה. –

Captain Wallace Nathan Emmer, USAAF (brother of Raymond Philip Emmer), Capt., 0-730422
United States Army Air Force, 9th Air Force, 354th Fighter Group, 353rd Fighter Squadron
138 combat missions
Silver Star
Distinguished Flying Cross
Distinguished Service Cross,
Air Medal with 24 Oak Leaf Clusters
Purple Heart
Born Omaha, Nebraska, 11/18/17
Shot down by flak 8/9/44; Prisoner of war; Died 2/15/45 at Wetzlar / Lahn, Klosterwald, Germany, of a heart attack, from effects of severe burns received when his Mustang was shot down.
MACR 8149, P-51D 44-13948, No Luftgaukommando Report
American Jews in World War Two – Not listed

Unlike all other soldiers listed in this post, Captain Wallace N. Emmer was not a casualty on November 18, 1944.  Information about him is presented here because he was Private Raymond P. Emmer’s brother. 

Raymond and Wallace are among the numerous sets of brothers profiled in Helen Kantzler’s article “Double Gold Stars”, which was published in the Jewish Criterion (Pittsburgh) on September 20, 1946.  The Emmer brothers were buried alongside one another at New Mount Sinai Cemetery, in Saint Louis, Missouri, on April 21, 1948.  (Section Q, Lot 25)   For more information about Raymond and Wallace, visit their biographical profile (by Trip Alyn) at FindAGrave.com.

The image below, reproduced from a photographic print loaned to me by Robert Alyn, shows Wallace’s personal P-51D, “Arson’s Reward”.  Very (very, very!) close magnification of that photographic print showed that this aircraft’s serial number is 44-13400.      

According to the Aviation Archeology database, 44-13400 was wrecked in a landing accident Criqueville, France, on August 3, 1944, while being flown by Franklin Rose, Jr.  This was six days before Captain Emmer was shot down in P-51D 44-13948. 

Though low resolution, the image below, from the book History in the Sky: 354th Pioneer Mustang Fighter Group, clearly shows the wreck of “Arson’s Reward”.  The picture shows the plane’s nickname on its forward cowling.  (Plus, a rather broken left wing.)

Notice that while the photo above shows the plane with 11 crosses denoting German planes shot down, the image below shows 16 crosses.  Based on the dates (in USAF Historical Study 85) of Emmer’s 13 full-credit and two half-credit aerial victories, this suggests that the above photograph was probably taken in very late June through mid-July of 1944.

Therefore, it seems that 44-13948 – the aircraft in which Wallace Emmer was shot down – was not “Arson’s Reward” and thus, not his “personal” Mustang.

____________________

Since information about Captain Emmer abundantly exists in digital and print formats, the following two pictures are included here as representative images.

____________________

This superb photograph shows Captain Emmer standing before a P-51B Mustang fighter, at the 354th Fighter Group’s base at Boxted, England.  Curiously, it is not an official USAAF photograph.  Instead, it was obtained through Britain’s Imperial War Museum, where it has been cataloged as image EA18248.  It may have been taken by Childs & Coxey Photographers, who apparently visited Boxted for a photo session early in 1944.

____________________

This photograph, of Raymond and Wallace’s parents, Vivien Horace and Blanche (Nathan) Emmer, accompanied by Robert Alyn, was taken in Saint Louis on July 14, 1951.  They passed away within a day of one another in October, 1975.  (Image c/o Robert Alyn.) 

Wounded in Action

Burstein, Charles, 2 Lt., 0-1822586, Purple Heart
United States Army, 702nd Tank Destroyer Battalion
Mrs. Mary Burstein (mother), 1002 Keniston Ave., Los Angeles, Ca.
Casualty List 1/31/45
American Jews in World War Two – 286

Friedenwald
, Aaron, Capt., Silver Star, Purple Heart

United States Army, 29th Infantry Division
Miss Dorothy Lane (fiancée)
Dr. and Mrs. Edgar B. Friedenwald (parents), 1616 Linden Ave., Baltimore, Md.
Baltimore Sun 1/21/45, 1/26/45
Jewish Times (Baltimore) 2/2/45
American Jews in World War Two – 138

Epstein
, Herbert W., Pvt., 12225760, Purple Heart, Severely Wounded, France

United States Army,
Mr. Samuel S. Epstein (father), 229 Van Cortlandt Park Ave., Yonkers, N.Y.

Born 1925
Casualty List 1/31/45;
The Herald Statesman (Yonkers) 12/21/44

American Jews in World War Two – 303

Prisoners of War

Feier, Joseph Arthur, Pvt., 42109607
84th Infantry Division, 334th Infantry Regiment
Stalag 2B (Hammerstein)
Mrs. Elsie Feier (mother), 153 Grove St., Passaic, N.J.
Casualty Lists 4/6/45, 6/13/45
American Jews in World War Two – p. 232

Hanowitz
, Stanley, Pvt., 33588225

84th Infantry Division, 334th Infantry Regiment
Stalag 2A (Neubrandenburg)
Mrs. Rosita Hanowitz (wife), 601 West 163rd St., New York, N.Y.
Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Albert and Frances Hanowitz (parents), 5058 F Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
Born Philadelphia, Pa., 4/26/24
The Jewish Exponent 4/13/45; The Philadelphia Inquirer 4/5/45, 6/10/45; The Philadelphia Record 1/23/45, 4/5/45
American Jews in World War Two – Not listed

Sackter, Arnold M., Pvt., 36864894
26th Infantry Division, 104th Infantry Regiment
Stalag 12A (Limburg an der Lahn)
Mr. Jacob Sackter (father), 3824 Humphrey St., Detroit, Mi. / 446 1/2 North Curson, Los Angeles, Ca.
Casualty Lists 5/4/45, 6/19/45
American Jews in World War Two – Not listed

____________________

References

Brown, Arthur F., History in the Sky: 354th Pioneer Mustang Fighter Group, San Angelo, Tx., 1946

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.

The 16th Infantry: 1798 – 1946, Edited by Lieutenant John W. Baumgartner, 1st Sergeant Al De Poto, Sergeant William Fraccio, and Corporal Sammy Fuller

Brooklyn Eagle
, February 23, 1946, “96 Jewish Vets Get State Service Cross” (p. 2)

New York Post, October 6, 1945, “Parents Seek Word of Son” (p. 11)

New York Post, October 10, 1945, “Seek Word of Missing Relatives” (p. 11)

Military Times Hall of Valor – DSC Award for Private Marc C. Dauber, at
http://valor.militarytimes.com/recipient.php?recipientid=22028

USAF Credits for the Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II, Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center, Air University, Office of Air Force History, Headquarters USAF, 1978 (Wallace N. Emmer, pp. 60-61)