B'nai B'rith Collecting Jewish WWII Soldiers' Profiles and Stories for Israel's Museum of the Jewish Soldier in WWII
Project to Recognize and Honor Jewish Service People
(Washington, D.C., Nov. 10, 2021)--B’nai B’rith President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith is collaborating with the Chaim Herzog Museum of the Jewish Soldier in World War II for a project to commemorate the role of Jewish soldiers around the world who served in World War II. The museum is located on the site of Yad Lashir, the Latrun Museum in Israel.
Chaim Herzog, the sixth president of Israel, was a British army soldier in the war. His sons—Isaac Herzog, the current president of Israel, and retired Brigadier General Mike Herzog, who is Israel’s new ambassador to the United States—are firmly supportive of this effort.
More than 1.5 million Jews from around the world served in World War II, including 550,000 Jewish men and women in the armed forces of the United States; another 500,000 in the Soviet Army; 100,000 in the Polish Military; 30,000 in the British Army; 17,000 in the Canadian Armed Forces. This new museum will tell their stories.
As B’nai B’rith International commemorates Veterans Day, we invite Jewish WWII veterans and the families of those who served—in any capacity—to submit short summaries of their lives. These profiles will be curated for a website, telling the stories of these soldiers.
Among early submissions by B’nai B’rith are the following:
Maj. Gen. Abe Dreiseszun--born in Kansas City, MO, on October 2, 1920—entered military service in 1940. During World War II, he was a navigator on a B-17 aircraft with the 97th Bombardment Group and the youngest person to complete 50 combat missions in Europe and North Africa. He participated in the first all-American daylight bombing raid over occupied Europe before becoming a navigation instructor. Military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster; Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster; Distinguished Flying Cross; Air Medal with nine oak leaf clusters; Air Force Commendation Medal; Air Force Exceptional Service Medal, and Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster.
Marvin M. Kress served in the Navy during World War II as a Lieutenant, JG, which is the branch’s second commissioned officer rank. He was assigned to 31 N.C.B. Special Unit and was involved in Seabee operations in Saipan and later in Japan, all during the years from 1943 to 1945. As an Ensign, he worked as a transportation officer. The Seabees heroically served under the motto “Construimus, Batuimus,” which is “We Build, We Fight.” They were recognized as being able to work anywhere, under any conditions or circumstances.
Ted Willner was in the infantry of General George S. Patton’s Third Army, 71st Division, in the European Theatre of World War II. He crossed through France beginning in January 1945, following the Battle of the Bulge, and then fought through Germany into Austria. His division participated in the May 4 liberation of Gunskirchen, one of the sub-camps of Mauthausen, a Nazi concentration camp in upper Austria. Ted was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery in battle. After V-E Day, May 8, Ted remained in the occupying U.S. army through the winter of 1946.
Meyer Krakowski was a language teacher at Los Angeles City College when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. After being discharged, he reenlisted as an officer for the Camp Ritchie Intelligence Training School program in Maryland. He was attached to a forward fighter squadron of P47s in France and he interrogated Luftwaffe pilots and other German officers. The Ritchie Boys were the U.S. special German-Austrian unit of the Military Intelligence Service.
Flight navigator Philip Phineas Dreiseszun, a first lieutenant, bailed out of a burning B-17 Flying Fortress 27,000-feet over Germany after the 381st Bomb Group was decimated by German planes. His parachute was riddled by shells and shrapnel. He was wounded and captured and spent 22 months as a prisoner of war. Dreiseszun’s B-17 was called “The Lethal Lady,” which was assigned with targeting Hamburg, Germany. It was a mission, his 11th, that would attract blanket fire by the Germans, augmenting the anti-aircraft fire during the entire bombing run of the squadron.
Army Captain Stanley M. Kaufman served in the Burma-China-India Theater. He has the distinction of being awarded both the Silver and Bronze Star medals for bravery in battle. He served in the walled city of Tengchung in southwestern China, as part of the Chinese Expeditionary Force (CEF) in the Salween camp, where 1st Lt. Kaufman served with the Y-force Operations Staff. He also was part of the liaison group which trained, supplied and assisted the CEF in the field.
Major Billy B. Goldberg served as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) for the State of Texas during World War II. He joined the Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor as a JAG. He was stationed in Manila, the Philippines, with Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
To submit a photo and profile, email: Latrun@bnaibrith.org
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit bnaibrith.org.