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Over There: Profiles of American Jews in World War I

Approximately 225,000 American Jews served in World War I. They served as Marines, soldiers and sailors. They served in all aspects of the military: infantry, artillery, cavalry, engineering, signal, aviation, ordnance, quartermaster branches and more. Four received the Medal of Honor. Some were heroes, some did their part, some never made it home. As we observe the centennial, this continuing series will profile Jewish individuals who served.





  • Over There: Herman Gerofsky - For some, a single stint in the military is enough. Others join and don’t leave for a lifetime. For Herman Gerofsky (who later changed his name to Charles Herman Gerard), it was in and out four times between 1907 and 1919.
  • Over There: Jack Herschkowitz - When night came, they crawled unknowingly into the center of a German camp, where they lay for three hours undetected. Finally discovered, they made a dash to escape. In order to protect the officer, Private Herschkowitz deliberately drew the enemy fire to himself, allowing the officer to escape. Private Herschkowitz succeeded in getting through and delivering his message the next morning.
  • Over There: Frank Abramson - In January, 1918, Corporal Frank Abramson, U.S. Marine Corps, saw Navy Yeoman J.C. Mullaney fall from his ship into the freezing cold waters of the New York Bay off the 35th Street Pier in Brooklyn. Fully clothed in his winter Marine Corps uniform, Abramson demonstrated his heroism when he leaped in after him.
  • Over There: Arthur Hays Klein - Arthur Klein was a race car driver who became Klein became a Chief Aeronautical Engineering Officer at the 3rd Aviation Instruction Center (3AIC) at Issoudun, France during World War I.
  • Over There: Ernest Izan - On October 15th, Izan joined the ranks of wounded himself. At Busigny, the home of 27th Division headquarters, a shell exploded next to Izan on the road. Shrapnel struck him beneath his right eye. He was sent to Casualty Clearing Station #48 and from there to a base hospital.
  • Over There: Edwin Schwarz - When a Jenny or D.H. 9 fell from the sky and thundered into the ground, routine activities immediately ceased and the total emphasis of the medical group turned to the rescue and recovery of the involved airmen.  Interrupting his other duties, Edwin rode out to accident sites in an ambulance, across bumpy, hole-ridden, rough roads and fields, kicking up massive clouds of choking light brown dust.
  • Over There: Abel Davis - In World War I, Abel Davis commanded the 132nd Infantry. He received the Distinguished Service Cross for heroism at Consenvoye.
  • Over There: Samuel I. Trachtenberg - Private Trachtenberg was shot 12 times in both legs, both thighs and right hand.  The next day as his comrades planned to continue the attack, news of the armistice arrived at 8:30am.
  • Over There: Abie Fox - Abie Fox, a Polish émigré and Fort Worth, Texas, coffee shop owner, entered the U.S. Navy in April 1917 and he immediately shipped out for training at the Great Lakes Naval Air Station.  He eventually joined the USS Texas as a Fireman Second Class on June 28, 1917.
  • Over There: Benjamin Prager - The riflemen of Company E were having difficulty identifying where the machine gun fire was coming from. Sergeant Prager had a solution. Give the Germans a clear target. He stood in the window of the house providing the Germans something to shoot at.
  • Over There: Harold Epstein - The night of July 28th would be the wartime experience to affect him most deeply. The 28th Division was in combat with the Prussian 4th Division attempting to take the area around Ronchères, France. The area was strongly held by Germans with heavy armaments. Epstein and the men of Company G were part of an attempt to capture a German machine gun nest in the Grimpette Woods.
  • Over There: James J. Joffe - In mid-January 1918, Lt. Joffe flew his Airco de Havilland twin seat bomber at several hundred feet altitude. The aircraft suddenly became uncontrollable and spun toward the earth nose first at full speed.  He pulled back his control stick with all his strength and hit his pedals attempting to stabilize the plane to no avail.
  • Over There: Zadoc Morton Katz - A series profiling American Jewish service in the First World War Zadoc Morton Katz Baltimore Boy Killed in Action at Montfaucon The U.S. had entered the Great War.  Friends of Zadoc Morton Katz suggested his education and training as an executive in the clothing industry might make him well-suited to contribute to the war effort by… Read More »Over There: Zadoc Morton Katz
  • Over There: Abraham Krotoshinsky - Before the war, the "Savior of the Lost Battalion" was still an immigrant barber in the Bronx. Krotoshinsky came to New York from Płock, part of the Russian Empire in Poland. He'd left there specifically to escape military service. His attitude toward military service changed drastically in his adopted country.
  • Over There: Joseph Linett - Joseph Linett left Ukraine for the United States. He was inducted into the Medical Corps and served in France as doctor. While overseas, he tragically lost his wife back home.
  • Over There: Hyman Silverman - On October 27, 1918, German fire ignited an ammunition dump near Verdun. While exploding shells were seriously wounding his comrades, Private Hyman Silverman jumped into action. He began removing the ammunition even as more exploded around him. Silverman was hit multiple times by grenade explosions.
  • Over There: David Carb - Fort Worth’s David Carb (1885-1952), a Harvard graduate, poet, and playwright, was among the idealists who romanticized the Great War. In June 1915, two years before America entered the conflict, he was among the dozens of literati to join the American Red Cross Ambulance Service.
  • Over There: Sam Raiz - Heavy rains and strong winds whipped across the American trenches lining a hill near the French town of Saint-Mihiel on a mid-September morning in 1918. Sam Raiz fixed his bayonet to his rifle. Along with other members of A Company of the 360th Regiment of the 90th Division Texas Brigade, he began a march towards the heavily fortified German lines.

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