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November 10, 2011 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-11-10

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metro >> on the cover

Remembering Our Vets

Southfield WWII veteran receives a French Legion of Honor after 65 years.

Bill Carroll I Contributing Writer


left France in 1945, so I was really sur-
prised when I got the letter, then the invi-
tation to Chicago:' he explained.
The invitation from the French consul
general praised Kaye's "extraordinary
bravery and courage in liberating France'
As if those kudos weren't enough, Kaye
received the U.S. Army's Bronze Star for
his heroism.
Like many WWII vets who are reluctant
to talk about their exploits and downplay
them when they do, Kaye isn't sure what
the fuss was all about.
"Oh, I guess I crawled forward under
heavy fire, rescued a wounded soldier and
pulled him back:' he said modestly. "It
turns out he was a fellow Jew, from New
York. I was involved in a lot of combat
situations after that:'
"Involved" is an understatement. Kaye
landed with the Fourth Infantry on Utah
Beach in Normandy, France, on June 7,
1944, the day after D-Day. "If I had landed
on Omaha Beach on D-Day, I probably
wouldn't be here talking to you: he said.
"Many Americans were wiped out that day.
It was very sad. But the rest of us pressed
onward through France and Belgium."

Battle Of The Bulge
Kaye's infantry group was instrumental
in freeing the strategic French port of
Cherbourg, then found itself in the middle
of Germany's last-ditch offensive of the
war — the famous Battle of the Bulge.
After Hitler escaped an assassination
attempt in July 1944, he called it a mes-
sage from God that he was invincible
and Germany would win the war. He
ordered the amassing of thousands of
troops, tanks and armored vehicles to
the heavily forested Ardennes area of
Belgium and France in the bitter winter
of December '44.
The plan was to rush through Allied
lines — thus creating a bulge — to
Antwerp near the sea, splitting and encir-
cling Allied forces. The result, he falsely
reasoned, would be badly beaten Allied
armies who would beg for a truce and
peace treaty, thus enabling the Germans to
turn their attention to defeating Russia on
the eastern front.
The offensive in an unusually cold and
foggy winter stunned the Allies at first,
and many companies ran out of food,
water, fuel and warm clothing in the con-
tinuing battle.
"Conditions were terrible Kaye recalled.


November 1©m 2011

The French Legion of Honor certificate

Charlie Kaye with his many military medals from World War II

"Like many others, I got 'trench feet' from
frostbite. Various towns were encircled by
the Germans, and many of our guys sur-
rendered and were eventually forced to

march back to prison camps in Germany.
But when the weather improved, supplies
arrived, and we fought back as our planes
bombed the German lines."

Patton To The Rescue
At about the same time, Gen. George
Patton's Third Army rushed in to help
thwart the German offensive. It was
regarded as the bloodiest European battle
of the war, killing 19,000 Americans,
including almost 100 in the notorious
Malmedy Massacre in Belgium, when the
Germans shot wounded prisoners in cold
Along the way, Kaye suffered shrapnel
wounds from a mortar and ended up
in a Belgian hospital, later receiving the
Purple Heart. He then went on restricted
duty, holding an administrative job in
Czechoslovakia, until VE (Victory in
Europe) Day in May.
"I'm glad I enlisted so I could get

Remembering on page 10

Long Overdue

Jewish Chaplains Memorial
erected at Arlington Cemetery.


n Oct. 24, the 14 Jewish chaplains who have died
in service to the United States were honored on
Chaplains Hill in Arlington National Cemetery with a
dedication ceremony and unveiling of the Jewish Chaplains
Achieved through the strong persistence of the Jewish
Federations of North America, as well as the JWB Jewish
Chaplains Council, the American Legion, the Brooklyn
Wall of Remembrance and the Jewish War Veterans of the
U.S.A., the memorial's installation aligns with the 150th
anniversary of service by rabbis in the armed forces.
Veterans, chaplains, families of the fallen Jewish chap-
lains and members of the Jewish community from across
the nation attended the landmark ceremony that corrected
an omission on the sacred hill at Arlington.
"It is fitting and appropriate that we now have a memo-
rial in our national cemetery to properly pay tribute to
these 14 Jewish chaplains," said Kathy Manning, board



The new Jewish Chaplains Memorial, right, joins those of

other faiths in Arlington National Cemetery.

chair of the Jewish Federations of North America. "Today's
dedication ceremony is a reminder for the Jewish com-
munity to come together and reflect on all those who have
bravely served in the armed forces."
When the USAT Dorchester was sunk by German tor-
pedoes off the coast of Greenland on Feb. 3,1943, four
chaplains – two Protestants, one Catholic and one Jewish
(Rabbi Alexander Goode) – all died together after giving
their lifejackets to save others on board.
Monuments were erected for the fallen chaplains of the
Catholic and Protestant faiths and are finally joined today
by the Jewish Chaplains memorial.

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