Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day, 2010

This is my Grandfather. His name was Martin. He died in 2001, and I was fortunate to know him.




He was born in Poland, but his family was living in Austria when Hitler came to power. As Jews, the family knew they had to leave, and pooled their money to send the smartest child (his name was Irving) to America, with instructions to find a way to make a living in America, FAST, and then bring them all over one by one. Irving was 19 years old at the time, and only knew 1 distant cousin in the U.S.

Somehow he did it. That's a story in itself.

World War II was only a few month away when it was Marty's turn. He remembered being on an immigrant ship when it was stopped and searched by a Danish warship, and the passenger's fear that it might be a German ship coming to turn them back if war had broken out.

Many family members didn't get out, and vanished from history. Lost anonymously in a death camp, with millions of others.

Marty joined the family in Chicago. To gain citizenship quickly he volunteered for the Army, and served through the war. Because of his German background he wasn't allowed at the front, as there was concern about loyalty. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, in California, guarding against a Japanese invasion that never came.

After the military he went through the struggles of returning to normalcy, at different times working as a fur salesman, a door-to-door vacuum salesman, and finally finding his career at a clock factory. He had 2 children, one of which is my mother (Hi, Mom!).

Thank you, veterans everywhere.

33 comments:

Kim said...

Nice. :)

I didn't know my grandfathers...one died in 1945 which was way before my time, and the other when I was 4 yeas old. Wish I had known them.

Cheryl said...

He was so cute! What a wonderful story. I heart veterans!

The Mother said...

I had a grandfather in WWI. Piper in the Black Watch (aka--the Ladies From Hell--the Germans thought these kilt wearers were hairy women).

See how much older I am?

Kyla said...

Thanks for sharing this, Dr. G! I enjoy stories like these.

M.Brayfield said...

Thanks for sharing. one of my grandfathers was on the USS Louisville as a machinist mate. My other grandfather didn't serve [I think because of an old injury?], but his brother, my grand-uncle died on d-day on the beaches.

And in my real life, hubby's done Iraq and Afghanistan at one each, plus a Navy tour.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing.
You may want to visit the Holocaust museum in DC if you haven't already.
I hope you will share the story of Irving later :)

Anonymous said...

My grandfather served in Texas in the Navy during WW2 and it's just come to mind that I don't know what my other grandfather was doing, I just realized, since it was well-known that memere and mother ran a gas station during the war, and mom soon enlisted in the WAF after finishing her normal education. ('Normal' referring to colleges that taught teachers.)
Since my Pepere was the eldest son, he was probably taking responsibility for his immigrant siblings as well as his carpentry work, and business decisions for the farm back in Montreal.

Pam said...

What a sweet and sad story. Thanking you for your grandfather and all other vets out there.

ERP said...

A hearty salute to you Martin.

Sharon said...

I just finished reading a wonderful book "The Enemy I Knew: German Jews in the Allied Military in World War II" -- stories of Jews who escaped from the Nazis and then fought in allied armies. (Mostly American but a few British.)

A really good book and perfect for Remembrance Day.

Queen of Crafts, Current Events, and Such. said...

What a brave soul...Thx Dr.G.

Anonymous said...

What a nice tribute - thanks for that!

We owe a lot to our vets. My brother was Army Infantry and was deployed to Iraq. I'm grateful for his service and that of all veterans and all military personnel.

Anonymous said...

Both my grandfathers were at the Somme in WWI. One was lucky enough to take a bullet in the shoulder, the other lucky enough to catch leptospirosis from the rats in the trenches. So they both survived!

Former Navy Corpsman said...

Thanks for remembering, Dr. Grumpy.

Anonymous said...

My father, my friend's fathers, every house in my suburban neighborhood housed a veteran when I was growing up. My father used to say that WWII was the first and last war that the US had to be involed in. Would it be an honor to our veterans to never again squander the lives of young people in some ill conceived fight.

Jane said...

What an amazing family! Thanks for the story, Dr. G. It would be great to hear Irving's story, too.

Anonymous said...

I hope you do tell the story of your grandfather's courage and determination. Too many historical revisionists out there have very loud voices, and keep trying to obliterate even the memory of the millions (my family too!) who died in the Holocaust. Attention must be paid...

Anonymous said...

Wow. Are you Jewish?

My great grandparents died in Auschwitz.

Wonderful story!

Crazed Nitwit said...

Always remember.

Anonymous said...

What an interesting story! I'd like to hear about Irving too.

Anonymous said...

hail grumpy... hail martin...hail grumpy... and stephen ambrose has a way of telling the intimate individual story. john keegan too.

Anonymous said...

and flags of our fathers.

Cal said...

Reading your post reminded me of the first part of the book "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay", where the family pools together to send a Jewish kid over to the USA near the start of the WWII to live with a distant cousin.

Albinoblackbear said...

AMEN!

I had to make a tribute yesterday as well.

I sent letters to both of my brothers. It's gotta be a day of mixed emotion for vets and soldiers.

Last time my brother Russ returned from Afghanistan he had to be the one to deliver the horrible news of soldiers deaths to three families. I don't think he'll ever get over that.

Fiz said...

Great story, Dr Grumpy. My grandfather was blown in a shellhole while bits of his beloved artillery horse, Ginger, rained around him. I did know him , but he was in and out of mental hospitals all his life (PTSD) and the gentle , bewildered man I knew was not the man he had been before 1914. He had repeated electronic shock therapy to "help" and of course they didn't and he was utterly terrified of them. Don't just remember the dead, let's remember the walking dead, too.

thegooddrlaura said...

Thank you for this. It's a great immigrant story and a great American story.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I want to hear some of the WWI Blackwatch tales from The Mother, there are some amazing stories of Scottish regiments at D-day in the second world war.

pharmacy chick said...

Great Post Grumpy! My dad served on the aircraft carrier that plucked one of the mercury missions out of the water. I need to get more details about that :-)

Frantic Pharmacist said...

My dad's a WW II vet. Joined up at age 17.. never been out of his home state in the midwest and all of a sudden he's puking on a ship leaving out of San Francisco Bay. I can't imagine it. My father-in-law wasn't in the military but fled Czechoslovakia, alone, as a teenager during the war also. It's a time that the rest of us can't even begin to fathom.

SECRET PEPPER PERSON: said...

AH! Loved this story. Thank You!

Joann said...

WOW!! What a story!! Very sad part of history. I'm sorry that the rest of the family didn't make it over. Thanks for sharing that with us.

Anonymous said...

when you write your book please include this ... it was one of my favorite posts of yours ever.
you tell a story that touches my heart. thank you
and thanks to all our veterans, past and present. i have dear friends serving in afghanistan and korea at this time.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

No book, folks. The blog is my book in progress.

Believe me, I wish I had time for such a thing, but that's the way it it.

 
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