Those Who Served: B

  • Barnett Sheldon
    Barnett Sheldon

    T/5 Sheldon Morton Barnett
    Serial No. 16157641
    U. S. Army
    European Theater

    Sheldon went into action for the first time in one of the toughest sections of the Sixth Army Group in Eastern France. The enemy held prepared positions in dense forest. Tank traps, booby-traps and land mines ...blocked the narrow routes and paths through the forest. Still against military obstacles like these, against a fanatic enemy and in weather conditions that included rain and snow and ankle deep mud, our soldiers fought gallantly. They were able to press the Nazis back toward the Rhine. At the old town of Bitche, Germany, they fought to capture its citadel that had never fallen in the 200 years since it was built. For his meritorious achievement Private First Class Sheldon Barnett of the 398th Infantry Regiment and an honored member of the "Sons of Bitche", received the Oak Leaf Cluster of the Bronze Star Medal. Submitted by Joan Barnett, wife

  • Becker Mikhail
    Becker Mikhail

    Sgt. Mikhail Becker>
    Red Army
    January 1940 - June 1946

    In 1941 I was in the Russian Army stationed near the Rovno, Ukraine. On June 22nd, the Germans invaded Russia. On the third day of the war we were fighting the Germans and the next morning we were totally defeated and our division was wiped out. From then on we were constantly hungry, cold and wet. We depended on our wits and opportunities that came along. In fall of 1942, I decided to leave the front line. I stopped at the village of Bolbot and lived there until January 1943, when the village was liberated. I joined the Red Army and fought the Nazis until the end of the war. When I was living under Nazi occupation, there were many moments when I was ready to commit suicide. But I was able to live through this horror. I am thankful to those Russian and Ukrainian people who helped me survive and made it possible for me to write this story today.

  • Belinky Soloman
    Belinky Soloman

    1st Lt. Soloman Belinky
    Serial No. 0-676611
    U.S. Army Air Corps
    January 1942 - January 1946

    During my four years in World War II, I was a combat glider pilot who flew gliders in the Normandy Invasion, Southern France Invasion and the Holland Invasion behind enemy lines. Also I was a co-pilot on C-47 transport planes for re-supplying advancing combat tanks and troops.

  • Bensman Norman R
    Bensman Norman R

    Lt. Norman R. Bensman
    U.S. Navy
    European Theater
    Killed in Action

    My brother was killed in action during the invasion of Normandy, June 6, 1944. Submitted by Morey Bensman

  • Berger Benjamin
    Berger Benjamin

    Benjamin Berger
    Serial No. 36 233 488
    U.S. Army
    February 2, 1942 - December 27, 1945
    Pacific Theater

    In the Philippines, I experienced many bombings that were extremely frightening. I received various medals for my service at home and overseas. In Hawaii, Bob Hope and Frances Langford came to entertain the troops, a truly memorable experience for me and everyone else. While in Hawaii I attended a Passover Seder and service, where I was honored with an aliyah. This reminded me of past holidays when I went to the synagogue with my family. While I was gone, I corresponded with my parents in Yiddish. They sent me packages and prayed for my return.

  • Berger Morris
    Berger Morris

    Pfc. Morris Berger
    U.S. Army
    March 1942 - August 1945

  • Berman Milton M
    Berman Milton M

    1st Sgt. Milton M. Berman
    Serial No. 36224260
    Army Air Corps
    May 1942 - September 1945
    Asiatic-Pacific Theater

    My most memorable experience was when I was in a convoy of ships in the Coral Sea Battle and our ship was struck. I was in New Zealand, Australia, and New Guinea. I received the Asiatic Pacific Theatre ribbon and 4 Bronze Stars, the Philippine Liberation ribbon with one Bronze Star, other medals and the Presidential Distinguished Unit Medal for the Papuan, New Guinea, Luzon, Ryokyos Campaign. I got along very well with my troops. My Captain was Jewish, but I did not have time to observe many Jewish holidays.

  • Bernheim Jacob
    Bernheim Jacob

    Captain Jacob L. Bernheim
    Serial No. 0-1636036
    U. S. Army
    January 6, 1942 - January 1, 1946
    African & European Theaters

    I was born in Germany and emigrated to Milwaukee in 1937. My most memorable experience occurred when I returned to my place of birth in May 1944 as an American 1st Lieutenant! There were only three Jews remaining in my town.

  • Bernstein E.Ace
    Bernstein E.Ace

    2nd Lt. E. Ace Bernstein
    U. S. Army Air Corps
    1942 - 1946
    Stateside

  • Bernstein Eliot
    Bernstein Eliot

    Sgt. Eliot M. Bernstein
    Serial No. 16116847
    U. S. Army
    March 1943 - November 1946
    Pacific Theater

    The entire experience of participating in the war was memorable. I was sent to Moratai, Dutch East Indies, which was the second most bombed American base.

    A unique Jewish experience was attending a Seder in the Dutch East Indies; it was the first time we had any fresh vegetables in many, many months.

  • Bernstein Martin
    Bernstein Martin

    Cpl. Martin Bernstein
    Serial No. 36241502
    U. S. Army
    1942 - 1946
    Pacific Theater

    My most memorable experience was participating in the invasions of the Philippine Islands; I was injured by a mortar shell and received a Purple Heart. While in Manila, I was able to attend a Seder.

  • Bernstein Sidney
    Bernstein Sidney

    Sgt. Sidney Josh Bernstein
    Serial No. 36637226
    U. S. Army
    European Theater

    A chilly day, April 29, 1945...ours was the lead tank, Able Company, to enter the city of Dachau. The 157th Infantry, 45th Division who we supported, captured the concentration camp. I discovered a man and a woman shivering in their striped prisoner clothes. I had just begun speaking with them in Yiddish when we had orders to move on. They told me they worked in neighboring satellite factories and had met at the fence separating the two factory areas. They begged me to come to the camp with them. My buddies unloaded the huge box of food we carried while some of the others ran into nearby houses and brought out armloads of warm clothes to give them. A couple of infantrymen said they would see the couple and the food safely back to their camp. I regret I never knew their names, but I'll never forget them and still wonder what their future held for them.

  • Bern Les
    Bern Les

    T/Sgt. Les Bern
    Serial No. 4372992343
    U.S. Army
    August 25, 1942 - November 29, 1945
    Pacific Theater

    In October 1944, we left New Guinea and sailed through heavy storms, with winds reaching gale proportions. When we arrived, we had to wade or swim to the beach on Dinagut Island because our boats were grounded on coral reefs. We had no air protection, nor did we know the size of the enemy on the Island. We chased the Japs through the mountains and destroyed their installations. We then had time to watch the big naval engagement going on. Some of the Japanese ships were destroyed, and we captured their men who were able to swim to the island. I was to interrogate some of them with the help of a Japanese interpreter assigned to our outfit. It would be three days later that the American Invasion Force landed on Leyte. I participated in a huge Seder held at a former racetrack. Four to five thousand GIs attended the Seder. Following the service, the food was served, all of which had been prepared by civilian population, but provided by Uncle Sam.

  • Bessman Leonard
    Bessman Leonard

    Lt. Col. Leonard Bessman
    U. S. Army
    European Theater

    Leonard Bessman was decorated in North Africa with the Distinguished Service Cross, personally presented by 5 Star Gen. Omar Bradley for heroism; also the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart with Clusters. Wounded and captured, he escaped a German prison, hid with Italian farmers until making his way to allied lines. He then taught escape tactics to American soldiers.

    Bessman, well known to Lt. Gen. George Patton, recognized by Gen. Bradley in his war memoirs, was a close friend of Ernie Pyle, famed war correspondent. Pyle said of Bessman in his book, This is Your War, "Of all the soldiers I have ever known, he is the most sensitive to the little beauties of war and the big tragedies of life. Maybe that is because he's Jewish - his bravery was a byword among us.His was the invulnerable kind of bravery and it was inevitable that sooner or later he would either die or fall prisoner."

    Upon learning of Bessman's escape, Pyle, wrote, "You would feel very proud if you could have heard the fine things said about you by the hundreds of officers and men after your capture." In the inside cover of one of his books, he wrote, "For my good friend, Lenny Bessman, who sensed more deeply than anyone I know the majesty and degradation, too, of mankind at war. I'm proud, Lenny, that we are friends and that you approve of this book of which you are a part."

    Written by Melvin S. Zaret

  • Binder Gerald
    Binder Gerald

    Gerald Binder
    U. S. Army
    Pacific Theater

  • Bitker Pierce
    Bitker Pierce

    Lt. Cmdr. Pierce H. Bitker
    U. S. Navy
    1942- 1945
    Pacific Theatre

    I was in charge of procurement and maintenance material on Ulithi, an island in the Western Carolinas. My assistant acquainted me with the quirks of people I would deal with, especially a lieutenant commander who ran Mog Mog, a recreation island He was an Annapolis man who had failed to make commander and had been a thorn in the side of my predecessor. He disliked three things - Englishman, supply officers and Jews. I qualified for two of the three. I found out he had a problem getting enough washing machines. Fortunately, I had already made a contact with someone who had been a shoe buyer for Montgomery Ward and was now a staff supply officer on Guam. I wrote him of my plight. He got me two washing machines, and my new friend from Mog Mog and I had a good relationship. Perhaps the incident took a little anti-Semitism out of his system.

  • Black Sam
    Black Sam

    Capt. Samuel B. Black
    Serial No. 01697721
    U. S. Army Air Corps
    1942 - 1945

  • Blumberg Norman
    Blumberg Norman

    Cpl. Norman Leonard Blumberg
    Serial No. 36842279
    U. S. Army Air Corps
    February 1944 - April 1946

    There were two crewmembers who had never met a Jew before. During training flights they would make anti-Semitic remarks over the intercom. I was called in for a special meeting and was asked if I would like to press any charges. I declined. It was suggested for my safety that I be removed from this crew and wait for the next group to arrive. They shipped overseas about six weeks ahead of the new group I was assigned to. I learned later that these two men were killed in action along with their tail gunner. This would have been me. While stationed in Osaka, Japan, a couple of other Jewish airmen and I were invited to Kobe International Settlement by a group of Jewish families. There were French, Italian and Englishmen in the group. They had formed a small Jewish community. They did not suffer from anti-Semitism and they had a small synagogue. It was interesting to hear familiar prayers in several different dialects.

  • Bornstein Gerald
    Bornstein Gerald

    S/Sgt. Gerald Bornstein
    U. S. Army Air Corps
    European Theater

  • Boxer Aaron
    Boxer Aaron

    1st Lt. Aaron Boxer
    Serial No. 0712767
    U. S. Army Air Corps
    August 1942 - November 1945
    European Theater

    The most memorable experience for me during the War was my participation in 35 bombing raids in Europe. A uniquely Jewish experience occurred during basic training in Oklahoma where I attended a Seder. My family had three sons in service - Lt. Col. Leo Boxer served in the south Pacific, and Capt. Sidney Boxer was in the central Pacific.

  • Brill Robert
    Brill Robert

    Cpl. Robert S. Brill
    Serial No. 16156219
    U. S. Army
    December 7, 1942 - March 1946
    Stateside

    A memorable experience occurred during service when I planned a Seder for 300 men at the Roswell, New Mexico, Air Base in Spring of 1945. The Seder of 1944 was celebrated at Fort Ord with Dr. (Major) and Mrs. Jacob Fine of Milwaukee.

  • Buxbaum David
    Buxbaum David

    Pfc. David E. Buxbaum
    Serial No. 32524018
    U. S. Army
    September 1942 - October 1943
    European Theater

    I did duty as a combat medic with the 5th Army forces taking the Anzio beachhead. For almost three days I worked on the waterline doing basic first aid duty until I became nearly "waterlogged." I did basic training with many servicemen from the South who had never met or seen a Jew. One believed that no Jews existed since Biblical times. I made efforts to show them that Jews were human beings, just like themselves.