When Lionel Greenberg decided to enlist in 1942 he wanted to fly a plane. Turned down by the Navy Air Corps before the Army Air Corps accepted him. He told his superiors that he needed to be a fighter pilot, when they made it clear that it wasn’t really his choice he accepted his assignment as navigator on a B-24 bomber.
On June 13, 1944, a week after the D-Day invasion, Mr. Greenberg and his crew successfully completed a bombing mission over Germany. On the return flight to the base another B-24 collided with his aircraft tearing a hole in it. Mr. Greenberg lost consciousness during the accident only to regain it outside of the plane - while free falling to earth. He managed to pull his rip cord and land in Germany.
Taken prisoner by the German army, after being punched by one soldier who had lost his wife and child in an American bombing raid, Mr. Greenberg was treated well by his captors and given cigarettes, fresh milk, and food.
After interrogation Mr. Greenberg, now prisoner 6116, was moved to Stalag Luft III outside of Berlin. It was there that he faced his greatest danger. Mr. Greenberg’s dog tags were stamped with a letter “H” for “Hebrew”.
As he was registering for the Stalag, the man recording Mr. Greenberg’s information recognized the “H” and said, “I notice you’re Hebrew.” After Mr. Greenberg confirmed the fact, the German soldier replied “What should I put down?” Mr. Greenberg who not afraid to hide who he was and told the man to write down “Hebrew.” The soldier answered, “But you know we don’t like Jews…You might suffer if I put down Hebrew.”
Mr. Greenberg exclaimed, “Look, you asked me a question, I gave you an answer. What you put down is your business.” The soldier chose to write “Other.”
Mr. Greenberg would remain a German POW for the duration of the war. He was later moved to Stalag VII after a walk across the Autobahn, without pants, in sub-zero weather in January 1945. Four months later the camp was liberated by the Soviet Army.
After the war Mr. Greenberg finished his degree at the University of Minnesota and worked as a tax and estate planning lawyer. He died on November 27, 2013 at the age of 92.
Eleanor Parker’s film career began in 1941 when she was not yet 20. Over the next fifty years she would appear in myriad films and television shows and would earn three Oscar nods and Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her work. In 1980, she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
But for millions of fans she will be forever known as “Baroness Elsa Schraeder” the fiancé of Captain Georg Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) who is eventually replaced by the young nursemaid, Maria (Julie Andrews) in the 1962 musical The Sound of Music.
A decade earlier, Ms. Parker was one of the premiere actresses in Hollywood. She earned three Academy Award nominations for Best Actress for her performances in Caged (1950, the Oscar was awarded to Judy Holliday for Born Yesterday), Detective Story (1951, Vivien Leigh, A Streetcar Named Desire), and Interrupted Melody (1955, Anna Magnani, The Rose Tattoo).
Discovered while sitting in the audience of the Pasadena Playhouse at the age of 18, Ms. Parker’s first film appearance was delayed after her scenes in They Died With Their Boots On (1941) ended up on the cutting room floor. But she would appear in dozens of films and shows, until her retirement in 1991. Along the way she earned an Emmy nomination for best actress in a single performance for an episode of the 1963 show The Eleventh Hour and a Golden Globe nod for her performance as Sylvia Caldwell in the short-lived show Bracken’s World (1969-1970).
Eleanor Parker died on December 9, 2013 at the age of 91.
Demonstrating a nimble ability to find value in all human life, Josh Eisenberg joined the AMp’s Brian Babylon and Molly Adams this morning and he highlighted the incredible and inspiring life of Nelson Mandela, who passed away yesterday at the age of 95, and the culinary contributions of Todd Mills, an Arkansas man who imagined the possibilities of a taco with a Dorito chip shell.
One of the greatest leaders in world history and a guy who thought Doritos should be stuffed with taco meat. How very tumblr of us.
Schaja Kleinberg was a survivor. His hometown of Bochnia, Poland had a thriving community of 3,500 Jews before the Nazi invasion. After the end of World War II, Mr. Kleinberg was one of only 50 to survive.
In 1942, Mr. Kleinberg was sent to the Plaszow labor camp. It was at the camp that he first met Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist whose “list” saved 1,100 Jews from the death camps. But Mr. Kleinberg had a more personal connection to Mr. Schindler. Asked by soldiers to dig his own grave, he was moments from being shot when Mr. Schindler ran up shouting “Stop! This is one of my workers!”
Mr. Kleinberg also had first-hand experience with the sadistic commandant of Plaszow, Amon Goeth. Goeth, according to Mr. Kleinberg, had a dog that he trained to attack Jews. One day in the camp he commanded the dog to attack a boy. The dog, who had developed a relationship with the boy, refused. Goeth shot the boy, and the dog.
After the war, Mr. Kleinberg emigrated to Germany where he worked as a cantor - the leader of song and prayer in a synagogue. While in Germany, Mr. Kleinberg played his own role in preserving Jewish history. Two copies of the Torah had been spirited away from the Munich synagogue on Kristallnacht by a non-Jewish janitor who buried them to spare them from destruction by the Nazis. (He also convinced the Nazis to not burn down the synagogue.) Unfortunately the burial made the Torahs unusable in worship and Munich’s rabbis were going to re-bury the sacred scrolls. But Mr. Kleinberg recognized their importance and had them preserved above ground - one in Munich, one in Oak Park, Michigan, where he and his family moved in 1989.
Schaja Kleinberg died on December 4, 2013 at the age of 93.