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November 24, 1995 - Image 29

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-11-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

r

Stanley Winkelman

S

tanley Winkelman was on his way
to Pearl Harbor. His wife was on
her way to the hospital.

Ensign Winkelman was aboard ship
when his wife, Peggy, called to let her
husband know "she was just going into
labor." He learned about the birth of his
daughter via telegram, and wouldn't see
her until she was almost 1 year old.
Stanley Winkelman was born in the
Upper Peninsula, then came with his
family to Detroit when his father decid-
ed to open a men's apparel business here.
He attended Cooley High, then studied

chemistry in college. But as a Jew, he
couldn't get a job after graduating. So he
continued his studies at Cal-Tech, where
from 1943-1944 he worked on a project
investigating poison gas.
In August 1944, the newly married
Mr. Winkel/van entered the Navy. "Our
indoctrination took place at the Univer-
sity ofArizona," he recalled. "We lived in
the gym."
The first few days aboard ship were
anything but easy. "I was one of those
who got seasick," he said. "But after about
three days I got used to it."
The men sailed to ports in Pearl Har-

bor (where Ensign Winkelman saw his
share of damaged ships, including some
from the battle of Midway), to Saipan and
to Okinawa, among others. Their cargo
included a Landing Ship Tank (LST),
which could transport both men and
tanks to the beach. It was an invaluable
piece of equipment, but not always the
easiest thing to maneuver.
Ensign Winkelman recalled an ad-
venture with the LST around October
1945, not long after he had led Rosh
Hashanah services on board ship.
The men were on their way to Korea.
"We were shooting up mines and saw all

Jacob Baroff

Al Goldberg

1 Goldberg was an assistant Scout mas- went to Okinawa, "where I saw the real com-
ter out on a Boy Scout program when bat."
"I think it was more difficult for those who
he heard the news about Pearl Harbor.
He told his parents he was going to en- were married and had children," he said. "Not
that I wanted to be there —but I learned what
list. They said no.
Soon afterward, "I enlisted anyway, and they life was about." U
understood," he said.
Al Goldberg was born and raised in Detroit.
His lived with his mother and father, immi-
grants from Austria and Latvia, at a home
around 12th Street. He attended Cass Tech.
Mr. Goldberg, who today lives in Farming-
ton Hills, took basic training at Camp Polk in
Louisiana. He had enlisted, he said, "because
I wanted to do my part."
He was stationed for about eight months in
the Hawaiian Islands, then landed in Saipan.
He was appointed a sergeant with the 713th
Flame Throwing Tank Battalion. It was a new
kind of weapon, a variation on the Sherman
tank but with the ability to launch devastating
surprise attacks. There was no other way to get
the Japanese soldiers hidden in caves.
`They were a tough enemy,"
Al Goldberg,
he said of the Japanese, "be-
seated at left,
cause they were more than
with a captured
glad to die for their Emperor." Japanese flag in
Okinawa.
From Saipan Sgt. Goldberg

Robert Lesser, lead navigator for
15th Air Force.

"Maybe it's because I was
Jewish — though I think
this was how all the guys felt
— but it was never hard for

me to drop the bombs. I
was glad to do it. Hitler
was our enemy."
As lead navigator for
the 15th Air Force, Lt.
Lesser worked with a
crew of some of the best
and brightest.
"They were all young,
just like I was, and they
were from all parts of the
country," he said.
They were based first in
southern Italy, and there

kinds of bodies in the Yellow Sea, h
said. Then they launched the LST.
But instead of falling into place it fell
haphazardly into the water, rolling off
into the waves, with all the men scram-
bling behind. Eventually it was recov-
ered, "but I think our supervisor didn't
hear the end of it."
When the men arrived at the Korean
capital, "Seoul was all rubble," Mr.
Winkelman said. They stopped at Iwo
Jima, where Ensign Winkelman found
a small souvenir, a piece of the volcano
he has kept to this day. LI

were always challenges.
"Your engine could fail; there
were mechanical problems,"
he said.
But nothing like what
happened one day when Lt.
Lesser wasn't flying with the
men. They were shot down;
all of them died.
Lt. Lesser returned to the
United States in 1945 and
founded a successful line of
men's clothing stores. ❑

hat he remembers best is the boys. They were 18,
19, many of them Jewish. It was hard when the new
ones came.
"We'd get these replacements in," recalled Jacob
Baroff, an Army staff sergeant during the war. "And, are you
ready for this? Half of them would be gone the first day."
Jacob Baroff was Brooklyn born, but he came to Detroit to
take a job running the Camp Tamarack teen program at the
Dexter-Davison Jewish Center.
He was 18 when he enlisted in 1942. "I was very patriot-
ic," he explained. "I rushed to get in before the war was over."
He trained in Virginia, then served with the First, Third,
Fifth and Ninth infantries, and later with the British Second
Army, to which his unit was attached.
Staff Sgt. Baroffwas'a machine grainer, then a squad and,
later, a section leader." He was at the battle of Brest and con-
tributed to the capture of Cologne — where he burned out three
machine guns firing 20,000 rounds of ammunition, a daring
move for which he won the Bronze Star.
Once, Sgt. Baroff was buried alive after an enemy tank ran
over a house, where he was stationed in the cellar. "I got out
and I wasn't even scratched."
"I didn't do anything but what a lot of other guys did," he
said. "But I was lucky. I would be marching along with one
guy behind me and one ahead and they would both be killed
but I was OK."
His day began before dawn, "when you got up, got ready.
Then you attacked the enemy or they attacked you. In the
evening you would dig in and set up, then take turns being on
guard duty all night, then start all over again."
As challenging an enemy as the fascists was the cold. The
men had no winter attire. "What I did was take one pair of
pants, and then another pair of pants, and put them togeth-
er," Mr. Baroff recalled. "-I'd put paper in my shoes. Socks were
vital, but they were always getting wet. So Pd dry mine by tak-
ing them off and putting them up against my stomach."
After the war, Sgt. Baroff studied social work; today, he sells
insurance.
"The most important
thing about this is that
I'm talking to you now,"
he said. "There were a
lot of guys in my outfit
who didn't make it. I
was blessed." ❑

W

Jack Baroff of the 8th
Division, second from left,
served in France,
Germany, Holland.

29

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