By Retired Chaplain Col. Jacob Goldstein
As I write this column, tectonic shifts and actions are occurring in our country. Our daily way of life has changed for many Americans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our schools are shut, synagogues are closed to prayer and other functions, people are confined to their homes, and our lives are turned upside-down in ways that are difficult to describe. How can we not go to synagogue to pray, attend a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, a wedding, etc.? I wish to share with you an event that changed my life during my 38 years as the longest serving Chaplain in the U.S. armed forces.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I, along with millions of other Americans, was engaged in my daily routine. In an instant, our lives were changed by coordinated terrorist attacks, one at the World Trade Center in New York City. That day I received a message on my pager from the Headquarters of the New York National Guard, where I served as the Chaplain for the Joint Forces Command. The message called me and other unit ministry teams to the World Trade Center site. I saw the horrors of deaths and destruction in an area where hundreds were killed in the blink of an eye. The lives of all Americans were changed from that day forward. No longer were we the open society that existed up to the moment of those attacks. A new way of life started. There were additional security scanners in buildings, more intense airport screenings, and security guards in many buildings with questions asked of all who entered.

This brings me to where we are now in our lives, which have turned upside-down. Eventually after 9/11, our lives returned to a new normal as we adapted to a changed reality. Our country returned to its success, until this pandemic hit the entire world. Just as the Lord assured Moses in the desert, “Do not be fearful and tremble, for I the Lord am with you,” place yourself in the hands of Hakodesh Boruchhu, the Lord above, and continue to do good deeds, be charitable to one another, and engage in prayer as we Jews have always done in times of distress and danger.

I will conclude with an incident that happened to me at the World Trade Center site. On my third day there with almost no sleep, a fellow chaplain came to me and handed me a Yarmulke someone had found in the rubble. Instinctively I turned it over to see if it had an inscription inside. It said, “The wedding reception of Steven to Melanie, Sept. 10, 2001.” Imagine light in the darkness, a religious symbol for all to see. May the Lord guide us in all our deeds for good, heal those who are ill, and comfort the families who have lost dear ones during this time.

Volume 74. Number 2. 2020

By Falk Kantor
During JWV’s 27th Annual Mission to Israel, I participated in a tour of the Armor Corps Museum at Latrun. Our tour guide, retired Brig. Gen. Zvi Kan-Tor asked if anyone knew Maurice Rose. No one raised their hand. That’s when I vowed to learn all I could about Rose.
U.S. Army Major General Maurice Rose died during World War II while leading the 3rd Armored Division into Germany. At the time of his death, Rose was the highest ranking Jewish officer in the U.S. Army and the highest ranking American killed by enemy fire in the European Theater.
Maurice Rose’s grandfather, a Rabbi, lead one of Poland’s premier centers of Jewish learning. Rose’s father Samuel, served as the Rabbi for a congregation in Denver, Colorado for more than 40 years.

After graduating high school in 1916, Rose lied about his age in order to enlist in the Colorado National Guard. When superiors found out about his real age six weeks later, they discharged him. Once the United States entered World War I, Rose re-enlisted, and became a 2nd Lieutenant in the 89th Infantry Division.

The 89th Division fought at St. Mihiel where Lt Rose was wounded by shrapnel and hospitalized. After three weeks, he left the hospital without authorization to rejoin his unit. However, while in the hospital, Rose listed his religion as Protestant, and maintained that affiliation throughout his Army career. There is no record he formally converted.

In the first American offensive of World War II, Rose served as chief of staff for the 2nd Armored Division in North Africa where he received his first Silver Star. Rose received a promotion to Brigadier General and took command of the 2nd Armored Division. Rose led his troops in combat across Sicily and then into France shortly after D-Day.

General Rose became the commander of the 3rd Armored Division during combat in France in August 1944. Shortly thereafter, Rose received a promotion to Major General. Under Rose’s leadership, the 3rd Armored Division led an advance across northern France and Belgium. On September 12, Rose’s division became the first armored unit to enter Germany and the first to breech the Siegfried Line.

During the winter of 1944-45, Rose’s division helped stem the German advance in the Battle of the Bulge. They captured Cologne on March 7. On March 29, the Division made the longest one-day advance through enemy territory by any Allied division during the war, more than 100 miles, stopping just south of the German city of Paderborn.

When the 3rd Division started advancing towards Paderborn the next day, Rose took his usual place up front with his forward echelon. During the fighting a German tank got in the way of the jeep. The tank’s hatch opened and a German with a machine pistol began shouting at the jeep’s three occupants as they stood with raised hands in front of the tank in the fading daylight. As General Rose reached for his holster to surrender his pistol, several bursts of machine gun fire struck the General. The General’s aide and driver fled the area and made it back to the U.S. lines.

When 45-year-old Rose was buried in Margraten in the Netherlands, the military placed a Star of David above his grave. After a review of his records, the Army replaced the star with a cross after finding that he had listed Protestant as his religious affiliation.

While there may be questions about Rose’s religion and the symbol marking his grave, he remains the son and grandson of rabbis.

Volume 74. Number 2. 2020

By Rebecca Bender
At a 70th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day invasion at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, I read excerpts from a book my father and I wrote together. My father, Kenneth Bender, participated in the D-Day invasion, and received both a Silver Star and Purple Heart during World War II.
“Still” is a book about five generations of my family, the Benders. It covers more than 150 years during which the family migrated from Odessa, Russia, to North Dakota, and eventually Minnesota. Included in the story is my father’s recollections about himself and his war service as just one of more than half a million Jewish servicemen and women in World War II.

Near Cardiff, Wales, June 1944
It was two a.m. when Kenneth heard an unexpected knock on the door of his barracks. “Captain Bender, Sir!” There was some urgency in the messenger’s voice.

Captain Bender had been training in Newry, Northern Ireland, with the two hundred men in his unit for a few months. Company B’s barracks were on the second floor of an old abandoned concrete mill. The men practiced hand-to-hand combat drills in a greyhound dog racing enclosure and hiked up and down Camlough Mountain, where even the big rocks they walked on sank into the boggy ground with just one step. They were continuing their preparation to invade Norway…

Bender’s focus and the focus of the men under his command had been Norway for almost two years… Then the plans abruptly changed… and the entire division had been relocated to Wales. Bender had been told of the new mission — training for an amphibious invasion of Europe to fight the Nazis on the ground. He had been informed of the timetable and the plan to leave for Omaha Beach within the week, but the knock on the door of the barracks woke him with a start. “Captain Bender, Sir!” said the messenger again. “I have a message from headquarters… “Sir, you and all the men in your unit who are Hebrews are supposed to get dressed and come to the officers’ tent in fifteen minutes.”
“Thank you, private,” said Captain Bender.
Bender quickly dressed, grabbed the list of two hundred soldiers under his command, and walked swiftly to the enlisted men’s barracks. He walked in and yelled, “Attention!” The men all stood by their bunks at attention. Captain Bender continued, “I will now call out names of some men, and I want you to get dressed and meet me outside the officers’ tent in ten minutes.” He started calling out the names of the Jewish soldiers. “The rest of you can go back to sleep. That is all.”

Captain Bender went to the officers’ tent and waited outside for his men. Standing in the coolness of the Welsh night, he thought back about telling his family that he knew volunteering as a private in the infantry was the right thing to do, even though he had graduated from law school just two years before and was working as a lawyer in Rapid City. But why were the Jewish soldiers in his unit being singled out…

The Jewish men of his unit had lined up silently behind Captain Bender. The Captain led them into the tent. “Captain Bender reporting, Sir.”
“At ease, men,” said the officer. The officer broke the anxious silence:

Gentlemen, we have been sent by Company Commander, Captain Keith Schmedeman. Captain Schmedeman has learned reliable information from the front lines, in North Africa and Italy, about how Hebrews, people of the Jewish faith, are being treated by the enemy once they are captured. The Axis are not taking the Hebrews as prisoners of war. They are shooting them on the spot. This has come down from high up. If they see that your dog tags have an “H” for Hebrew, they will kill you or torture you until you die.

The Lieutenant here has a machine that can change your dog tags — you can either switch them from H, to P for Protestant or C for Catholic. When you change your dog tags, you will have a better chance of surviving the war. Now, line up behind Captain Bender to get your dog tags changed. Captain Bender, tell the Lieutenant if you want a C or a P on your tags. Once you have completed this process, you are dismissed.

Captain Bender moved up across from the Lieutenant sitting with the machine, who had his hand out to take the Captain’s dog tags. Kenneth’s twenty-eight years of life passed before him, as is supposed to happen when you see a car heading straight towards you on the road. But Kenneth Bender didn’t see headlights. He saw his Grandma Becky’s face — stern, wise, and warm all at once. “You are born a Jew, and you will die a Jew.” He knew what she meant. No matter what happens in between, once you are born as a Jew, you are who you are. You carry the joys and responsibilities of your religion. You carry the history of your people.

Each soldier had two metal tags around his neck, listing next of kin and religion. One of the tags had tape on it, so the enemy could not hear the American soldiers approaching due to the clanging of the two tags. If a soldier was killed, one tag would be removed and the other would remain with the body. …

“P or C ?” The Lieutenant’s words brought him back to the mo¬ment. In the quiet of the tent, Captain Bender felt his words come from deep inside of himself, calm and confident.

“Sir, I will not make the change.” Captain Bender then told the men assembled that they had the option to do as they wished, and he started to walk towards the exit of the tent. That’s when he heard Private Feldman, “Sir, I will not make the change”; then Private First Class Skurmann, “Sir, I will not make the change”; and on and on, like a rolling echo in a tent covered with burlap, that would not naturally lead to the phenomenon of an echo. These were man-made echoes. These were echoes that came from thousands of years of faith.

Volume 74. Number 2. 2020

By Gershon Katz
It’s widely known that Jewish members of the U.S. Armed Forces have served on many lands, fighting to protect America’s national interests or helping other nations break free from the yoke of tyranny. Our service men and women have deployed to some of the world’s most inhospitable places. A soldier, sailor, or airman may have briefly enjoyed leave in one of the world’s most beautiful places, but would probably relegate the experience to memory. With this in mind, you may take it for granted that after serving our country overseas, veterans have headed back to America.
You won’t find JWV posts in swampy Guadalcanal, frigid Chosin, or beautiful Paris. However, many of our brother and sister Jewish veterans and their families have made their home in the land of milk and honey, the land of Israel. Not only are we surviving and thriving here, but we’re organized, too. We’re proud to assemble for fellowship and service under the banner of Jewish War Veterans Post 180, headquartered in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel and the Jewish people. At one time, four JWV posts existed in Israel. They were in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Netanya.

As a result of attrition and consolidation, JWV Post 180 is now the only post operating in the Jewish state. Although small in number, we are a vibrant post whose members meet several times a year for camaraderie, good food, and enlightening entertaining appearances by a range of guest speakers. Post 180 not only provides its members with good times, but also contributes to the well being of Israel and its people by supporting various causes in the community.
Our members, who represent a cross section of American-Israeli society, are proud of their service to the United States. We have relocated to Israel to live a more spiritual life. Unflinching in our love for the United States and our admiration for those who currently serve in her armed forces, we are also proud citizens of Israel and supporters of the Israel Defense Forces. Included among our members are parents and grandparents of English speaking veterans of the IDF. We avail ourselves of many opportunities to show support for the defenders of our second homeland. We make financial contributions to IDF and veterans’ support organizations, and we cheer for our soldiers at ceremonies and events. We’ve also devised a way to show support in a personal manner – many of our members carry small cards which they present to soldiers wherever they meet them. The cards bear an expression of gratitude and a wish for the soldier’s safety, in both Hebrew and English.

Our Post Commander, Abraham Kriss, has lived in Israel for 18 years. He’s been a JWV Post 180 member for all of that time. He currently lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Sarah. He served in the U.S. Army between the Korean and Vietnam Wars, spending 18 months in Korea. One of his three children lives in Israel with his wife and seven children, and three of his grandsons have completed service in the Israel Defense Force. His fourth grandson currently serves in an IDF combat unit.

Rabbi Yaakov Iskowitz is the chaplain of JWV Post 180. He served as a chaplain in the U.S. Army for 20 years, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was stationed in Missouri, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Korea, and in both Stuttgart and Frankfurt, Germany. His career included five years on the staff of the U.S. Army Chaplains’ School. Born in Pittsburgh, Rabbi Iskowitz made aliyah to Israel in 1988. He is married with seven children, plus grand- and great-grandchildren.

Rabbi Alan Greenspan, who served as a U.S. Army chaplain, retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He and his wife, Gaila, live in Efrat, south of Jerusalem. Rabbi Greenspan served from 1962 to 1987, including a stint in Vietnam, where he led Passover Seders under very trying conditions. A memorable posting for Rabbi and Mrs. Greenspan was their three-year tour of duty in the Panama Canal Zone, where they served military personnel and Jewish canal workers. The Greenspans came to Israel on aliyah in 1989.

Our leaders and members include several other career service members, and a number of other veterans who served in war and peacetime in various locations. We have quite a few associate members, whose family members served in the U.S. armed forces.
Our group has met with several interesting people in the past few years.

In 2018, we heard from Tom Sawicki, Director of Programming in Israel for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee/American Israel Education Foundation. Sawicki coordinates visits to the region by members of the U.S. Congress and other politically influential individuals. A journalist by profession, he keeps AIPAC’s national office up to date on developments in Israel and the Middle East, and is in frequent contact with political, media, and academic leaders in Israel.
In early 2019, we heard from Ziva Mekonen-Degu, who at the time served as Executive Director of the Association of Ethiopian Jews (AEJ), Ethiopian Jewry’s flagship organization in Israel. Mekonen-Degu made aliyah to Israel from Ethiopia in 1984 at the age of 11. Accomplished academically and professionally, she has served and advocated on behalf of the Ethiopian Israeli community and other populations in need.

At our next meeting, we met with Uri Ehrenfeld, a retired member of Israel’s security forces. Ehrenfeld was a POW during the Yom Kippur War. He is fortunate to have survived not only the battle, but cruel treatment at the hands of his Egyptian captors. Still suffering from the effects of this ordeal, Ehrenfeld came to us as a representative of the Zahal (Israel Defense Forces) Disabled Veterans’ Organization. Ehrenfeld is active on many fronts on behalf of veterans, especially those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). His energy and knowledge in veterans’ affairs is matched by his Positive Mental Attitude (PMA).

Our captivating speakers are not only drawn from the ranks of Israeli society or American supporters of Israel. At our most recent meeting, we were graced with the presence of His Excellency Mario Bucaro Flores, Guatemala’s ambassador to Israel. Shortly after the U.S. embassy moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Guatemala followed suit. This is not the Central American nation’s first presence in our capital. The Guatemalan embassy was located in Jerusalem from 1956 to 1980. Ambassador Bucaro, a veteran of Guatemala’s air force, is a warm, engaging individual. He is an eloquent representative of his country. He expressed his country’s official position that Israel is the natural, historic homeland of the Jewish people. He also expressed his personal joy at serving in a place where he feels appreciated and at home.

As this piece is being written, in person meetings of JWV Post 180 and other groups throughout the country have been on hiatus for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the virus’ effect on the health of people throughout the world is severe, people’s solidarity with their fellow human beings has grown. This was expressed directly in our post leadership’s recent virtual meeting with National Commander Harvey Weiner, Chief of Staff Barry Lischinsky, and staff member Christy Turner. We haven’t started online JWV meetings in Israel yet. In the meantime, let’s express our support for one another in a spiritual way, via prayer and mitzvot.

Our post especially enjoys meeting with the JWV-USA mission to Israel each spring. This year, the trip unfortunately did not take place. Hopefully the coronavirus crisis will be abated soon by scientific advances and concerted public health efforts. We look forward to greeting the 2021 JWV-USA contingent in Israel, with joyous shouts of “This year in Jerusalem!”

Volume 74. Number 2. 2020

Post: Heritage Post 644 in St. Louis, Missouri

Military Service: U.S. Army

Member Since: 2005

1. Where and when did you serve in the military?
I received a direct commission into the U.S. Army Dental Corps and went on active duty in July 1981. My assignments were Dental Activity at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina from 1981 to 1984, Dental Activity in Bad Toelz, Germany from 1985 to 1987, Dental Activity at Ft. Benning, Georgia from 1988 to 1993, Dental Activity at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina from 1993 to 1995, Dental Activity and Dental Officer for the 86th Combat Support Hospital in Ft. Campbell, KY from 1995 to 1999, the Dental Clinic in St. Louis, Missouri from 1999-200, and Dental Activity at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri from 2000-2002. I also deployed to Grenada in 1983 as part of Operation Urgent Fury and Saudi Arabia in 1991 for Operation Desert Storm. I retired from the military in 2003.

2. Why did you join the military?
I come from a strong family tradition of patriotism and American pride. Both my grandfather and father served in the U.S. Army. Many of the dental school faculty at Washington University were retired dental officers or had military experience, which had a positive effect on my decision to join. Lastly, I was looking for an opportunity to get dental practice experience before going into private practice. My family had a very positive experience during my first two tours, so I decided to continue for a full military career.

3. How did your Jewish faith impact your time in the service?
Prior to my military service, my Jewish involvement was at a basic level, with nothing significant after my Bar Mitzvah. That changed when I was asked to be a Jewish lay leader at Ft. Benning in 1988 and received my Jewish Welfare Board (JWB) certification. It was a very rewarding experience to take care of the religious needs of our Jewish military men and women. I also served as the lay leader at Ft. Bragg from 1993 to 1995 and during my deployment for Operation Desert Storm.
Serving as a Jewish lay leader had a profound impact on my overall military experience. One of the highlights of my lay leader experience was during Operation Desert Storm. Our Jewish services were held in Kobar Towers near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Religious police roamed the area and severely restricted our public Jewish practice activities, so we had to be discrete about advertising and conducting Jewish religious services. Rabbi Amos Chorny was deployed with us during the High Holidays and Sukkot. As Sukkot approached, Chorny and I secretly built, as far as we know, the only sukkah in Saudi Arabia. It was on the roof of one of the apartment buildings in Kobar Towers. It was a challenge trying to sneak the palm branches we brought in from the desert into the building for the s’chach (roof) of the sukkah. It was a true religious experience for me to sing with our small congregation in our clandestine sukkah while at the same time listening to the Moslem call to worship which could be heard in the surrounding area.
Another lay leader highlight was during a gap between the assignments of rabbis at Ft. Bragg, the division chaplain asked if I would represent the Jewish community and make some comments along with chaplains representing the other religious denominations at the funeral for actress Martha Raye. I was so proud to represent our Jewish community at that occasion.
These experiences significantly strengthened my Jewish pride and involvement and added an important dimension to my military service.

4. Have you ever experienced anti-Semitism at home or abroad?

5. Why did you join JWV?
I joined JWV in 2005. Joe Iken, a member of our shul, invited me to join Heritage Post 644 in St. Louis, Missouri. My father had been a member of JWV in Long Beach, New York, so I was familiar with the organization.
I immediately got involved with Post activities, elected commander a couple of years later, and have been very active since then.

6. How would you improve a current JWV program or what type of program do you think JWV needs to add?
One of my areas of focus is membership. I think our national membership and marketing committees are doing a phenomenal job. At the Post level, we need to keep promoting JWV in our communities. In spite of all our marketing and presence in the community, we still have people tell us they’ve never heard of JWV. With the current guidelines, if an individual has a DD-214 and an honorable discharge, he or she can be a member. We need to remind potential members that it is not a membership requirement that they served in a combat zone or oversees. I get many veterans tell me that they already belong to other organizations and have no time to add another organization. My response is that even if they don’t have time to participate, their membership is important not only at the Post level, but on the National level as well. Their membership helps JWV maintain the leverage it needs to take care of military veterans and support Jewish values.

7. What’s your favorite Jewish food?
Noodle kugel and matzoh brei.

JWV Post 1 held a ceremony in New York on March 13 to celebrate the 124th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish War Veterans and Post 1. National Commander Harvey Weiner participated in the ceremony at the site of the founding meeting, which is now the DoubleTree by Hilton Metropolitan. In the lobby, a plaque reads:

“On this site on March 15, 1896, in the Lexington Avenue Opera House, the Hebrew Union Veterans Association which became the Jewish War Veterans of the USA, the oldest active veterans organization in the United States was founded.”

Singled out for special mention at the ceremony were the seven Jewish Civil War veterans who organized that first meeting: Jastrow Alexander, Isadore Eckstein, Isadore Isaacs, Jacob Jacobs, Joseph Steiner, Joseph Unger, and Joseph Wolff.

Post 1 Junior Vice Commander Rabbi Andrew Scheer said during the ceremony, “I am heartened when I see American flags on the grounds of the historic 18th and 19th century [Jewish] cemeteries in Chinatown, Greenwich Village, and Chelsea where Jewish veterans from Congregation Shearith Israel, the Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue, are buried.”

He added, “Their sacrifice is a reminder that although our membership in Jewish War Veterans today continues a tradition begun in 1896, we are part of an even longer, unbroken lineage of proud and patriotic Jewish military service that stretches back before our nation was even founded.”
During the ceremony Scheer also led memorial prayers in honor of those seven men who attended the first meeting.

Volume 74. Number 2. 2020

By Jeffrey Blonder
May 20, 2020 marked the 11th anniversary of the death of U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Roslyn Schulte. A roadside bomb killed Schulte while traveling to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. She was only 25-years-old and the first female graduate of the Air Force Academy to die in combat. I met her briefly the day before she died and did not know her name until after she died.

In 2008 I served at Camp Mike Spann in Mazār-i-Sharīf, Afghanistan for 15 months. I was assigned to the base as a Naval Reservist and my mission was to be a Combat Advisor to the Afghanistan National Army. I was also the Senior Enlisted Leader for the naval element on base. At the time of my deployment, Camp Mike Spann was a small Forward Operating Base in Northern Afghanistan. One of my jobs was to assign personnel to augment the base security forces when it needed to leave the base for missions. Due to my position and seniority I was not required to go out on missions.

However, I decided it would not be right to assign others to tasks I would not do myself. I routinely assigned myself to the three types of duties in a convoy, which are the driver, gunner, and truck commander. On May 19, 2009 the security forces of the base had a mission to convoy to the nearby German Air Base in Mazār-i-Sharīf and return. This mission was critical as it was the way we got supplies and provided air transportation. I decided to put my name in as Truck Commander. The Truck Commander is the eyes and ears for the driver. This individual is also responsible for operating all the electronic gear. Although I served as a gunner on a recent mission, I chose to go out again for a personal reason. My wedding anniversary was May 20, and the German Air Base had a nice exchange so I thought I could get a gift for my wife, Cindy. The process of a convoy is fairly simple. You show up at a designated spot on base and are briefed on threat assessments and proper procedures in the event of an emergency. Since my base was small and due to my position, I knew most of the personnel on the base. When I got to the staging point, I noticed three unfamiliar faces. I was curious about why they were on my base so I went over and started a conversation with them. One of the people was Schulte. Our conversation was brief and I don’t think I got her name. The next day, a civilian contractor who I worked with reported that a contactor from his company and an Air Force person died due to a roadside bomb on a road I had traveled on several times. He did not know any other details. Two days later I was watching CNN, saw Schulte’s face, and immediately recognized her as being on my convoy two days earlier. I found out she was visiting my base’s Intel Department so I went to one of my roommates. He told me he had dinner with her the day before she was killed. This hit me hard so I started to research her life. Schulte was from St. Louis, Missouri and raised Jewish. She graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2006. This chance meeting with her reminded me how precious life is and we should cherish every encounter we have with people as important.

JWV’s online Post 77 is named after Schulte and Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Bruckenthal who died in Iraq on April 24, 2004.

Volume 74. Number 2. 2020

The Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America believes in equal opportunities, equal rights, and equal treatment for American citizens regardless of race. 
Black Americans are just that – Americans.
They deserve to be cared about by the American people, listened to by the American government, fought for by the American military, and protected by the American police.
The Jewish community has a long history of fighting for civil rights alongside our black brothers and sisters.

About Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America
Founded in 1896, the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America is the oldest active veterans’ organization in America. JWV is dedicated to upholding America’s democratic traditions and fighting bigotry, prejudice, injustice, and discrimination of all kinds. As a national organization, JWV represents the voice of America’s Jewish veterans on issues related to veterans’ benefits, foreign policy, and national security. JWV also commits itself to the assistance of oppressed Jews worldwide.

JWV worked with officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs on a solution for the headstones of German prisoners of war that feature swastikas and mention the Fuhrer.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie has informed us that his department will begin the process of removing the offensive headstones and replacing them with appropriate markers.

We thank Sec. Wilkie and Randy Reeves, Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Memorial Affairs, for their decision.

JWV also appreciates the VA’s attempt to provide historical context for all cemeteries at which foreign prisoners of war are interred by placing interpretive signs at the locations.

About Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America
Founded in 1896, the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America is the oldest active veterans’ organization in America. JWV is dedicated to upholding America’s democratic traditions and fighting bigotry, prejudice, injustice, and discrimination of all kinds. As a national organization, JWV represents the voice of America’s Jewish veterans on issues related to veterans’ benefits, foreign policy, and national security. JWV also commits itself to the assistance of oppressed Jews worldwide.


The Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. (JWV) supports the right of everyone to participate in peaceful protests against the unjustified killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.  However, the actions of a small minority of protestors has gone too far – especially when it comes to the desecration of a memorial dedicated to the valiant service of soldiers of all races during World War II.

“American soldiers fought to defeat Nazism and other authoritarian regimes, none of which would ever have allowed peaceful demonstrations to protest perceived injustices,” says JWV National Commander Harvey Weiner

JWV condemns those who vandalized the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. on the night of May 31.

“To desecrate the World War II Memorial and other monuments denigrates those who fought and died to maintain the right to peaceful protest.  Martin Luther King, Jr., whom I peacefully protested with in Washington on August 23, 1963, would be appalled,” Weiner said.


About Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America
Founded in 1896, the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America is the oldest active veterans’ organization in America. JWV is dedicated to upholding America’s democratic traditions and fighting bigotry, prejudice, injustice, and discrimination of all kinds. As a national organization, JWV represents the voice of America’s Jewish veterans on issues related to veterans’ benefits, foreign policy, and national security. JWV also commits itself to the assistance of oppressed Jews worldwide.