By Greg Lee, Department Commander of California
Every day, people enquire, “what does JWV do?” The answer varies because there are more than 300 local posts that represent the organization.
One of our missions as Jews and Jewish War Veterans is to ensure that every single one of our service members receives a dignified and proper burial. Usually that happens without a problem, but sometimes we must get involved.
What do you do when the person who needs to be interned has no identification? What do you do when the person has been missing since World War II?
Sgt. David Rosenkrantz had no identification and he was missing since WWII. He was a true airborne hero, dropped behind enemy lines, never to be seen again, but thanks to modern technology and DNA testing, Sgt. Rosenkrantz was finally identified. His remains that had been in cold storage for 70 years have been cleared for internment.
He was to be transferred to Riverside National Cemetery and buried just like the 35 -50 burials that take place there every day. We also learned that the ceremony was not going to be a Jewish ceremony, which we can assume Sgt. Rosenkrantz would have wanted.
When Jewish War Veterans learned of this monumental event, they sprang into action. National Headquarters reached out to the Department of California echelon. Commander Greg Lee made some phone calls.
The most important call was to the Tibor Rubin Post 786 Commander Sam Yudin. CSM Yudin is not only an active JWV member but an Active Duty soldier in the US Army. Rabbi David Becker from the California National Guard also answered the call to help make sure that this Jewish soldier received a Jewish burial, and without either of their help, this soldier would not have the burial that he deserved.
Yudin immediately stepped up and contacted his Commanding Officer with a request to delay his reporting for duty by one day so he could attend the funeral of Sgt. Rosenkrantz. The CO immediately affirmed that action and Yudin was set. CSM Yudin then coordinated the order of battle at the cemetery services by contacting the cemetery director, the Family of Sgt. Rosenkrantz, and some local Rabbis.
CSM Yudin then “suited up” in his military dress blues and drove 75 miles to the Riverside Cemetery on one of the hottest days in California history. He proudly represented Jewish War Veterans as he paid his respects to a Jewish hero. He represented JWV, the Jewish people and himself in the finest tradition of service and Mitzvot.
So in case you ever wondered – this act of supreme respect represents one thing that Jewish War Veterans do!
Volume 72. Number 3. Fall 2018