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Medal of Honor Recipients, Jewish

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  • Sgt. William Shemin, Medal of Honor (1896 - 1973)
    Biography and Medal of Honor Citation on United States Army website Shemin, a Jewish sergeant who lied about his age in order to serve, eventually led a platoon in battle where for three days he ra...
  • Jacob Trautman (1840 - 1898)
    Indian Campaigns Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He was a First Sergeant in the United States Army in Company I, 7th US Cavalry. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for action on December 29, 1...
  • Isadore (Isu) Siegfried Jachman (1922 - 1945)
    Isadore (Izzy) Jachman was awarded the Medal of Honor (posthumously) for his role in WWII. He was killed after defending the town of Flamierge, Belgium from a Nazi attack on January 4, 1945. Some yea...

The Medal of Honor was created during the American Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. It is bestowed "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty, in actual combat against an armed enemy force". The medal is awarded by the President of the United States on behalf of the Congress.

Since it was instituted there have been 3,473 recipients; at least 29 American Jews have received the Medal of Honor for their actions, but a 1993 study determined that racial discrimination affected the awarding of medals. In 2005 Tibor Rubin, who many believed to have been overlooked due to discrimination, received the Medal of Honor for his actions in 1950.

Recently, the Department of Defense undertook a review of Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen who received medals of lesser degree than the Medal of Honor to determine if they did not receive the Medal of Honor because of their Jewish, Hispanic or African heritage. In 2014 the Medal of Honor was awarded to 24 military personnel including four Jewish Soldiers.

The American Civil War:

  • Abraham Cohn: Army; Sergeant Major; Battle of the Wilderness and Battle of the Crater, Virginia; May 6, 1864 and July 30, 1864.
  • Isaac Gause: Army; Corporal; near Berryville, Virginia; Sep 13, 1864.
  • Abraham Greenawalt: Army; Private; Franklin, Tennessee; November 30, 1864.
  • Henry Heller: Army; Sergeant; Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia; May 2, 1863.
  • Leopold Karpeles: Army; Sergeant; Battle of the Wilderness, Virginia; May 6, 1864
  • Benjamin Levy: Army; Private; Battle of Glendale, Virginia; Jun 30, 1862
  • David Orbansky: Army; Private; Shiloh, Tennessee, Vicksburg, Mississippi; 1862 and 1863

The Indian Wars

  • George Geiger: Army; Sergeant; Battle of the Little Big Horn, Montana; Jun 25, 1876.
  • David Goodman: Army; Private; Lyry Creek, Arizona; Oct 14, 1869.
  • Simon Suhler (Enlisted under the name Charles Gardner) : Army; Private; Arizona; Aug 1868 – October 1868
  • Jacob Trautman: Army; First Sergeant; Wounded Knee Massacre, South Dakota; Dec 29, 1890.

The Philippines

  • Louis C. Mosher: Philippine Scouts; Second Lieutenant; Gagsak Mountain, Jolo, Philippine Islands; Jun 11, 1913

Battle of Peking, China

  • William Zion: Marine Corps; Private; Battle of Peking; Jul 21, 1900-Aug 17, 1900.


  • Samuel Gross: Marine Corps; Private; Fort Riviere, Haiti; Nov 17, 1915.

World War I

  • Sydney G. Gumpertz: Army; First Sergeant; Bois-de-Forges, France; Sep 29, 1918.
  • Edouard Izac: Navy; Lieutenant; Aboard German submarine U-90 as prisoner of war; Oct 8, 1918.
  • Phillip C. Katz: Army; Sergeant; near Eclisfontaine, France; Sep 26, 1918.
  • Benjamin Kaufman: Army; First Sergeant; Forest of Argonne, France; Oct 4, 1918.
  • William Sawelson: Army; Sergeant; Grand-Pre, France; Oct 26, 1918.
  • William Shemin: Army, Sergeant; Vesle River, South East of Bazoches, France August 7-9, 1918.
  • John Otto Siegel: Navy; Boatswain's Mate Second Class; Aboard the USS Mohawk; Nov 1, 1918.

World War II

  • Isadore S. Jachman: Army; Staff Sergeant; Flamierge, Belgium; Jan 4, 1945.
  • Ben L. Salomon': Army; Captain; Battle of Saipan, Mariana Islands; Jul 7, 1944.
  • Raymond Zussman: Army; Second Lieutenant; Noroy-le-Bourg, France; Sep 12, 1944.
  • William F. Leonard: Army: Sergeant; St. Die, France; December 7, 1944.
  • Alfred B. Nietzel: Army; Sergeant; Heistern, Germany; November 18, 1944.
  • Donald K. Schwab: Army; First Lieutenant; Lure, France; September 17, 1944.

Korean War

  • Tibor Rubin: Army; Corporal; Republic of Korea; Jul 23, 1950 – April 20, 1953.
  • Leonard Harold Kravitz: Army; Private First Class; Yongpyong, Republic of Korea; MArch 7, 1951.
  • Jack Weinstein: Army; Sergeant; Kumson, Republic or Korea; October 19, 1951.

Vietnam War

  • Jack H. Jacobs: Army; First Lieutenant; Kien Phong Province, Republic of Vietnam; Mar 9, 1968
  • John L. Levitow: Air Force; Sergeant; air over Vietnam; February 24, 1969