Remember the fallen: U.S. Jewish military sacrifice


As the barbeque embers cool and the streets transition from Memorial Day parades to long weekend traffic crawls, JTA invites you to read about some of the U.S. Jewish soldiers and servicemen/women whose ultimate sacrifice in combat is documented in our archive, from World War I through the War in Iraq:

Anti-jewish Discrimination Matter of Policy at Kings County Hospital, is Charge Made at Mayor’s Hearing (July 3, 1927)

…Dr. Oldstein, a Jewish doctor in the hospital in 1916, was attacked by Gentile internes in April of that year and forced to leave the hospital. He later enlisted in the United States Army and was killed in the battlefield. (Full Article)

Jewish Girl from Boston is First Army Nurse Fatality in European Theatre (November 24, 1944)


Lieut. Frances Slanger, a Jewish nurse from-Boston, has been killed in Belgium, the first American Army nurse on the Western Front to die from enemy action, it is reported in a dispatch from the front.

Lieut. Slanger, who landed in France on D Day plus 4, had seen continuous action since then. She was fatally wounded when a German shell landed near the tent in which she was quartered and a shell fragment pierced her body.

Senate Votes Citizenship to Jewish Refugee Killed in Korea (July 8, 1953)


The Senate yesterday acted to fulfill the dying wish of a young Jewish soldier who wanted more than anything else to become an American citizen.

It passed and sent to the House a bill granting United States citizenship to 21-year-old Henry Litmanowitz of Cleveland who was killed in action in Korea last September 27. Litmanowitz, came to the U.S. from Magdeburg, Germany, in 1949 and was drafted into the Army.

Drill Field of U.S. Army Dedicated to Jewish Soldier for Heroic Act (June 18, 1965)


A drill field at Fort George G. Meade, near here, was dedicated today by the Jewish War Vetrans in cooperation with the U.S. Army in memory of Isadore S. Jachman, one of the two Jewish soldiers who received the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest honor, for neroism in the Second World War. Sgt. Jachman, who was an alumnus of the Talmudical Academy of Baltimore, was awarded the honor posthumously in ceremonies at the White House in 1945.

Sgt. Jachman, who was killed at Flamierge, Belgium, on January 4, 1945, is credited with single handedly driving off two enemy tanks which threatened his ehtire company and disrupting an enemy attack. Among those participating in the dedication of the drill field were Lt. Col. Louis Barash, Jewish Chaplain at Fort Meade, and Rabbi Albert A. Pattashnick, executive vice-president of the Baltimore Talmudical Academy


A Tale of Two Jewish U.S. Soldiers: a Commander and a Rhodes Scholar (December 5, 2003)

…[Lt. Col. Scott] Rutter is one of two Jewish soldiers who talked to JTA recently about the fighting in Iraq. A veteran soldier, Rutter recently returned from Iraq and last month retired from the service. 2nd Lt. Daniel Helmer, 22, a recent graduate of West Point, just won a Rhodes Scholarship and is awaiting orders to get shipped off to Iraq…

 Rutter was no stranger to Iraq. A veteran company commander of the first Gulf War who had won a Broze Star for valor for heroism in ground combat, Rutter won a Silver Star in combat this year in Iraq.

 His victories did not come easily. Rutter’s company lost 10 soldiers, and more than 35 were badly injured.

Rutter notes that two Jewish soldiers — Mark Evnin, 21, a Marine corporal, and David Bernstein, 24, an Army lieutenant and West Point honors graduate — also lost their lives in the war.

Jewish Soldier Mourned After Being Killed in Green Zone Attack (April 14, 2008)


Instead of writing to their soldier pen pal in the Middle East, schoolchildren at the Mirochnick Religious School of B’nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton, Fla., will soon be sending condolence cards to the family of Stuart Adam Wolfer.

Wolfer, a U.S. Army major, was killed April 6 in the U.S.-protected Green Zone in Baghdad. He was 36.

Four years ago while serving in Kuwait, Wolfer had been in regular contact with the second-, third- and fourth-graders at the Conservative synagogue to which his parents were members, according to Cathy Berkowitz, the director of the congregation’s Hebrew school.

They sent him letters. He sent them pictures of helicopters, camels and tanks.

The correspondenced ended when Wolfer, a lawyer in civilian life, returned to his family in Emmet, Idaho — gladly, Berkowitz said, because he was home safe with his wife and three young daughters.

But when the students heard of his deployment to Iraq on Dec. 29, they wanted to restart the letter writing to him after Passover, she said.

"The next part of it never happened," Berkowitz said. "Right now the students are on vacation, but when they get back, they will be writing letters to the family. There will be a hard lessons to learn about life and death."

Wolfer, a reservist assigned to the 11th Battalion, 104th Division, served as an intelligence officer, according to a family friend.

He was working out at the military fitness center in what is considered a safe zone in Iraq when insurgents fired several rockets into the area, hitting the gym, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Another soldier died in the attack.

Described by friends as a religious man — he observed Jewish rituals even in Iraq and prayed daily while wearing tefillin — Wolfer and his wife, Lee Ann, belonged to the Reform synagogue in Boise. (Full Article)

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