Simple question that hasn't struck me until now...

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by phylo_roadking, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    ...what happened to Jewish servicemen in the British Army/RAF/RN when captured???
  2. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    Did British soldiers wear identity disks equivalent to US dog tags?

    Dog tags had the owners religion on them. I've read that US Jewish POWs often got rougher treatment. My friends uncle was captured during Battle of the Bulge. His captors thought he was Jewish because his name was Canter, even though his dog tags had P for Protestant, which is what he was.

  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

  5. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Dave, IIRC it was marked in their paybooks - C/E, RC etc....
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  7. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Haven't we got a thread on this somewhere? Sure we did - something else about dog tags?
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I asked once to which Ron replied-In the 1940 section perhaps?
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  10. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Surely if they thought there was a good chance of capture (Special forces, paras etc.) they would not carry such information on them or retain an obviously Jewish name.
  11. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

  12. Son of POW-Escaper

    Son of POW-Escaper Senior Member

    Last Sunday, I gave a talk about my book to a combined group at Anshe Sholom Synagogue in Hamilton, Ontario, and had the pleasure to meet Mr. Sam Shapiro.

    Sam was an RCAF NCO second pilot on a Whitley, shot down and taken POW in July or August '41. He ended up in Stalag Luft 3.

    He told me that, because of his name and the Star of David on his dogtags, he was warned (presumably by Dixie Deans, who Sam idolized) NOT to attempt to escape. It was said that, if he did and were to be recaptured, he likely would not survive.

    Sam told me that he took this advice to heart, and focussed his energies on Red Cross activities, for which he was later rewarded with a Red Cross medal (post-war).

  13. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    A veteran of the 17th DYRCH recently described a Jewish corporal from that unit who was bayoneted by his German captors, once they determined that he was Jewish.
    It was the event which caused many in the regiment to no longer " accept the surrender of German soldiers".
  14. Thunderbox

    Thunderbox Member

    Louis Hagen/Levy (Glider pilot, "Arnhem Lift") recounts that his army documents were officially issued in the name "Lewis Haig", and that other jewish servicemen - especially German and European refugees - were all renamed to protect them in the event of capture.
  15. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    As I have often mentioned, I was one of five serving brothers and we all had our own personal way of dealing with the issue of a very Jewish surname.

    Two of my brothers changed their surnames before going in the Forces but Jack, Mick and I opted to serve under our family name.

    I always considered that Mick placed himself at particular risk by volunteering for the Jewish Brigade and dear Jack's ID disks were used by the Germans even after his death.

    I remain thankful, even to today, that I was never taken prisoner whilst with the 4th QOH, and often wonder if I would have had the time or even presence of mind to get rid of my ID disks with their prominent declaration of my religious faith.

    Sombre thoughts for the Remembrance Weekends. :(


    And you may remember Larry Fox telling you about this chap !
    BBC - WW2 People's War - Arnold's Star of David Tattoo
    BrianM59 likes this.
  16. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Great stuff Ron, thank you - and I hadn't read the story of your brother, very moving and interesting account.

    My dad always recalled being told those dog tags didn't belong to him, but 'to the King' by a drill corporal.

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