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Jewish Heroism in Present War Praised Before Senate; Nazi Persecution Condemned

A tribute to Jewish heroes of the present war was voiced in the Senate by Senator James Mead who at the same time condemned the persecution of Jews in Germany and in the Nazi satellite countries.

“The part that Jewish servicemen are playing in this war is a matter of public record,” the senator said. “Let me recall for you a part of that record. The first boy to lose his life from Newark, N.J., was Private Louis Schleifer; the first from Delaware was Sergeant Harry Fineman; Connecticut’s first casualty was Kenneth Harold Messenger; the first body to be returned to the United States for burial from the Pacific battle zone was that of Marine Sergeant Herbert Keilson; the first fatality from Minneapolis was Ensign Ira Weil Jeffrey, who received a posthumous award for valor; the first known fatality among the membership of the American Bar Association was Ensign Robert L. Leopold. The first close personal friend of mine to give his life in this war was Capt. Jacob Joseph of New York City who fell on Guadalcanal.

“Lt. Roy Bright piloted the first plane to land on Wake Island just prior to the outbreak of the war, and has since been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Silver Star for gallantry in action. Sgt. Chester Davis was in the first American air raid on Nazi-held Europe. Lt. Col. A. H. Rosenberg led the first American troops into Algiers. Chaplain Alexander Goode was the first Jewish chaplain to lose his life, when he and three other chaplains aboard a torpedoed ship gave their life preservers to members of the crew.

“Wherever the American flag has gone, Jewish soldiers on every battlefield have followed,” Senator Mead continued. “They are fighting on every battlefied of this war. They were at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked so treacherously by the Japanese. They were fighting in the fox-holes of Bataan and Corregidor. A Jew, David Goodman, was one of the “expendables” who helped bring General MacArthur out of Corregidor. Another Jew, Irving Strobing, stuck to his wireless post, tapping out the last brave words of a hopeless fight, and gave his stirring message to the world.

“Jewish servicemen followed the spread of war into the Pacific and on to the far-flung battle fronts of the Aleutian Islands, China, Russia, and the Mediterranean. They are fighting over Europe and in north Africa. It is not possible now to tell the whole story of Jewish participation in this war. It is still in the making-in the heat and dust of land battle, on the high seas through the long stretches of the air. It is no wonder, however, that Rear Admiral John F. Shafroth, commander of the United States naval forces in the southeast Pacific, was recently moved to say to his Jewish fighting men, ‘Your people, your country, and your Navy are proud of you.'”

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