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Old 24th June 2005, 16:53
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Jewish airmen in WWII

I am just curious what was the participation of Jewes in air forces of WWII on either fighting side. Please note the difference between a Jew and a person of Jewish origin. I would expect plenty in USAAF and Soviet AFs and close to nil in Japanese AFs.
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Old 26th June 2005, 20:02
Tom Semenza Tom Semenza is offline
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Re: Jewish airmen in WWII

Franek,

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "the difference between a Jew and a person of Jewish origin," but I assume you are taliking about observant Jews or someone who considers himself to be Jewish. Well certainly there were many Jewish servicemen in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, which is not to say there was no prejudice against them within those forces.

It is interesting that there were a number of Luftwaffe pilots whose Jewish ancestry made them anathema to the powers that be, however the ancestry seemed to have been remote enough to keep them out of the concentration camps. One in particular who comes to mind is Horst Rippert who was long relegated as a lowly Obergefreiter flight instructor with JGr. Süd. He came to note in the spring & summer of 1944 with the Einsatzstaffel of JGr. Süd (later JGr. 200) claiming 19 Allied aircraft over Southern France. Presumably this sufficiently proved his loyalty to "Volk und Führer" as he subsequently was posted to IV./JG 27. He remained an Obergefreiter until at least March of 1945. In April 1945 he as a Feldwebel serving in II./JG 27 against the Soviets, surviving the war with a total of 28 victories.

Tom
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Old 26th June 2005, 20:08
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Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
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Re: Jewish airmen in WWII

Franek perhaps you'd be interested in Hitler's Jewish Soldiers, by Bryan M. Rigg?
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Old 27th June 2005, 14:48
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Re: Jewish airmen in WWII

Hello

There were plenty in the RAF - and not only those of British & Commonwealth nationalities. The CWG cemeteries evidence their sacrifice with the Star of David on the gravestones.

And the Israeli Airforce after the war had many ex-WW2 pilots in it.

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Old 27th June 2005, 19:13
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Jewish airmen in WWII

Thanks for the replies.
For the beginning I will explain my issue concerning Jewishness.
I understand a Jew a person being of Jewish nationality/faith. A person of Jewish origin is the one of Jewish roots but does not recognise itself as a Jew anymore.
A sample of the former might be Weizmann, while of the latter - Marseille perhaps?
I know that in the Luftwaffe, at least Simsch had a Mischling status. Others - I do not know but names like Baer, Krakowitzer, Marseille or Suess suggest their 'nicht ganz arisch' origin.
Similarly, names like John C. Meyer, Myron Levy, Levi Chase sound Jewish but did they consider themselves Jewes?
Another question is what was the presence of Jewes in air forces in percents (approximate)? I have seen some articles on the subject but my impression was that the number was usually inflated.
Oh, and what is typical/traditional Jewish name in UK?
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Old 27th June 2005, 20:48
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Re: Jewish airmen in WWII

If it was a typical jewish name for the UK I do not know but Klaus Hugo Adam was born in Berlin. His father had a famous sportsshop in Berlin and his parents were Jewish. The family went to the UK in 1934. Klaus Hugo Adam and his brother flew as Typhoon pilots in no.123 RAF Wing, 609 and 183 Sqn., from Gilze-Rijen, Kluis and Plantlünne airfields in 1944/1945. So they were German and Jewish and flew in the RAF. Klaus Hugo Adam changed his name during his operational time to Keith Howard Adams and grew a moustache. Now he is Sir Kenneth Hugo Adam OBE.

Jaap
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Old 28th June 2005, 12:32
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Jewish airmen in WWII

If you want the stereotype jewish name in the UK then it is Cohen. However, many Jews were well integrated into British life and had names indistinguishable from Christians, atheists, agnostics or even Welsh.

If I may be permitted a personal story to illustrate this: many years ago I was running the reception desk at an SF convention, when I asked the well-known (in context) Ron Bennet what his wife's Christian name was. He just grinned and gently pointed out that this was rather difficult, both of them being Jewish. Bennet is an entirely English name.

I did notice recently that the list of the nationality of BoB pilots included one Israeli. An interesting concept, that.
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Old 28th June 2005, 15:07
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Jewish airmen in WWII

Thanks for the replies
It seems Adam was one of a number of Jewes that left Germany but was their part significant in the war effort? How many of them joined RAF. We are still talking about single names. There was Sid Seitz or Klibanski (sp?) but were there any more?
Concerning Goodman, it is a pure case of PC. He cannot be considered as an Israeli because the country did not exist yet. He had a Palestinian passport and the table counts citizenship rather than nationality (a lot of mess with Commonwealth I think). In the Polish Air Force we had two non-Polish nationals. Both were on Polish pay roll, both had Polish service nos and both had no relationships to Poland being Czechoslovaks. Should they be counted on Polish or Czechoslovak lists?
Finally, concerning Cohen. I expected something more subtle. Cohen is just a variation of a very popular Jewish name appearing eg. like Cohn (eg. Cohn-Bendit), Kon (eg. Feliks Kon - a member of Polish Soviet government in 1920), Kun (eg. Bela Kun), Kochan, etc. Pronuntiation is almost identical in all cases.
Of course, in case of changed names, there is no possibility to judge, but in Germany or Poland Jewes had different names rather than the rest of population, originating from places (Krakowitzer-Krakowski), trade (Fleischmann), flowers (Blum, Lilienthal), metals (Messing, Goldbaum), etc. I expected similar pattern in England.
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Old 28th June 2005, 15:41
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Jewish airmen in WWII

Many thoroughly Anglo-Saxon English surnames come from placenames (e.g. Kirkham, Barton) and occupations (Palmer, Fletcher, Cooper, Smith) so that would be no way of distinguishing their religion. My understanding was that this is/was common in Western Europe, even Germany. I don't think that there is any suggestion that Messerschmitt had any Jewish origins, or that any was implied in Goering's famous "You can call me Maier" boast.

There are specifically Jewish surnames in England, but as far as I know these are basically those recognisable anywhere. Many Englishmen with Germanic names would be Jewish, of course, but not all. The well-known families of Battenberg and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha spring to mind. However, many English Jews with Germanic surnames will have changed them to avoid being mistaken for Germans during the hate campaigns of WW1.
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Old 28th June 2005, 19:18
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: Jewish airmen in WWII

Graham
Perhaps I was not clear enough. Jewish names were of big cities rather than small villages: Amsterdamski, Berliner, Bremer or Krakowitzer.
Also only particular trade names were considered Jewish. Smith, Schmidt, Kowal or Kowalski are Arian ones, but there are some variations considered Jewish like Kowalewski or Goldschmidt. I cannot say anything about Messerschmitt though. This is a very subtle matter.
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