Habonim labor Zionist youth groups around the country mourned the death of Lt. Daniel Ginsburg, a Detroit marine killed in battle on Iwo Jimo.
Lt. Daniel Ginsburg. (Photo via JWV-MI)

Some of the Jewish Detroiters who were killed in action in 1945 were Frank Faudem, Myron Rosenthal and Daniel Ginsburg.

Seventy-five years ago in 1945, the world learned of the horrors of the Holocaust.

Those who survived the hellish conditions of the concentration camps yearned to learn the fate of family members and hoped to be reunited.

Many Jewish families in Detroit also yearned to be reunited with family members serving in America’s armed forces as World War II ended.

More than 600,000 American Jews, including more than 10,000 Jews from Michigan, served during the war. According to the National Jewish Welfare Board (JWB), “Forty Jewish families throughout the United States have lost two sons each in the service and one is known to have lost three sons. There were 22,042 Jewish men and women who were combat casualties.” Sadly, 225 of the 22,042 casualties were from Detroit.

Some of the Jewish Detroiters who were killed in action in 1945 were Frank Faudem, Myron Rosenthal and Daniel Ginsburg.

Faudem starred on the Central High School baseball team, leading to a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers. His goal was to make the major leagues with the Tigers and become the only Detroit-born Jew to ever play for the Tigers.

Faudem’s family gave him even more incentive to return home. His wife gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and he couldn’t wait to meet his new daughter. Faudem was part of the units shipped from Guam to the island of Leyte in the Philippines, where the mission was to clean the island of enemy forces. It was the second week of January in 1945 and 24-year-old Faudem took part in the last attack up the hills when he was killed.

Sgt. Myron Rosenthal, 19, the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Rosenthal, was reported missing in action early in 1945. Myron, a gunner, and the rest of the nine-man crew disappeared over Germany while on a bombing mission. A graduate of Central High School and a member of its baseball, football and debate teams, Myron was a rising star in the local Jewish community.

A graduate of the United Hebrew Schools, a member of the Congregation Beth Tefilo Emanuel choir and an officer and cantor of Shaarey Zedek’s junior congregation, Myron assisted chaplains and served as cantor for services as a member of the Air Force based in England.

His parents were well-known leaders in Detroit’s Jewish community and served on the boards of several organizations, and Myron was looking forward to immersing himself in communal service. His remains were never found, and his father propelled the Gold Star Parents of Jewish War Veterans.

Habonim labor Zionist youth groups around the country mourned the death of Lt. Daniel Ginsburg, a Detroit marine killed in battle on Iwo Jima. A talented writer and artist, but best known as the head of the Habonim movement, he was credited with the establishment and building of Camp Kineret in Chelsea, Michigan. Two days before the battle that took his life, Ginsburg wrote a lengthy letter to friends in Detroit and, at the end of the letter, instructed his friends on what to say to his parents if he didn’t survive.

“We’re only little cogs in a machine, and if some of us have to fall by the wayside in order that the machine should continue to run smoothly, it’s worthwhile. After all, it’s the machine that counts, not the little cogs,” Daniel wrote. “And if I don’t come back, will you try to make my folks understand that it isn’t such a tragedy — that their son isn’t any better than anyone else’s son and unfortunately, he happened to be just as vulnerable.”

The Lucky Ones

Some Detroit Jewish servicemen had close calls, but luckily made it home.

Solomon N. (Sam) Cohen, who was married on Dec. 7, 1941, was the father of a baby daughter when he was drafted. Sent to Italy, he was wounded in action while storming enemy lines, resulting in a long military hospital stay. My uncle Sammy was awarded the Bronze Star, Combat Badge and Purple Heart for his heroics.

He went on to become a successful Detroit businessman and active supporter of Young Israel, Yeshiva Beth Yehudah and other worthy organizations. Today all his children, grandchildren, great- and great-great grandchildren are all observant Jews and number more than 100, spread in several major cities.

Lt. Marvin Eliot Schlossberg, a pilot, was shot down on his 16th mission in central Germany in 1944. When two of his engines failed, Schlossberg signaled the nine members of his crew to bail out. It took him longer to eject as gunfire got him in the knee and back. He landed far from the others on a field near a farm. Captured and interrogated, he was then shipped to a prisoner of war camp, where he would be reunited with his crew and interred for 14 months.

Schlossberg used his outgoing personality and love of show business to stage mock talent shows to keep up the morale of fellow prisoners, which helped him hone his skills after the war when he became Sonny Eliot. Schlossberg, whose family and close friends in Detroit called him Sonny, knew the end of the war was near in April 1945.

“The Germans decided to move all of the Jewish prisoners out,” Sonny recalled as we sat in a corner of the Tiger Stadium press box before a game. “But the Russians broke through from the east and thwarted the German plan to move the Jews by train, probably to a concentration camp. We ran wild when the Russians liberated us.”

On April 30, 1945, the day Sonny was liberated, Adolf Hitler, hiding in a Berlin Bunker, put a pistol in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

This is part one of a two-part series.

Irwin Cohen is a historian of Jewish Detroit and the Detroit Tigers and the author of Echoes of Detroit’s Jewish Communities: A History.

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