Artifact of the month for April 2015
List of American soldiers in Buchenwald -Josef Mendelsohn (1916 - 1992)
Josef Mendelsohn was born in Trondheim as the youngest of five sons to Aaron (f.1871 in Lithuania) and Thora (f.Paltiel) Mendelsohn. In January 1940 he went to the United States to take an additional year for his engineering education from NTH. When he entered the war, he joined the American army and eventually became a federal officer in an infantry department. He landed at Omaha Beach in Normandy during D Day 6th June 1944. Later he participated in the Ardennes team. On April 11, 1945, he released the concentration camp Buchenwald. There he met five surviving Jews from Norway, including his cousin Julius Paltiel. In the picture we see from left Pelle Hirsch, Samuel Steinmann, Josef Mendelsohn, Julius Paltiel, Leo Eitinger and Assor Hirsch.
Most Norwegian soldiers who returned home in 1945 were able to reunite with a family who had experienced miss, fear and rationalization, but where they most often had not suffered other inconvenience. For Jewish women and men in uniform, the situation was completely different. For the vast majority, the spring and summer of 1945 meant the end of the last hope that some of the deported relatives had survived. Of the around 2,100 Jews in Norway, 767 were killed. Among these were also Joseph Mendelsohns parents and great brother Henrik. Only 34 of the 773 who had been deported had miraculously survived.
Josef Mendelsohn settled in the United States after the war and lived there until his death in 1992.