By Shandra Morehouse, Jewish Museum Milwaukee Archives Intern
The Archives at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee recently received a collection of letters written by Arthur (Artie) J Grossman, a Jewish soldier from Milwaukee during World War II; they were donated by Lloyd Levin, Artie’s nephew. This collection of letters provides insight to what life was like for both Artie in the Army and his family in Milwaukee during World War II.
Artie was born March 19, 1918 to Frank and Sarah Grossman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was a graduate of Riverside High School and went on to the University of Wisconsin in Madison for college. He enlisted in the armed services in August 1941 and attended Officer Candidate School in Kansas. He was sent overseas in January 1943 and was stationed in Northern Ireland, England, and later in France where he was a Lieutenant.
“As for me, you know I don’t change much despite the locality” (Artie to Ros, January 1944)
Artie wrote his family often and asked his family to do the same. His letters were full of questions about home, updates on his life, and requests for things to be sent to him – more letters, cigarettes, apple strudel, cookies, and fruitcake because “it stays fresh very well”. To his family, he wrote about the skills he was learning that would be useful in the future and the logistics of getting his car taken care of. To his sister, Ros, he often wrote dating news, or, as he frequently bemoaned, the lack of news.
“I suppose I should sign off with the “lone wolf” or something!” (Artie to Ros, February 1944)
In October 1943, while stationed overseas, Artie wrote the following letter to his family:
First of all, I suppose it won’t do any good to tell you not to worry about me for that will be anyway. At least know this – your son is also doing his part in this great effort of ours to make things right again….Be proud that you have strong sons to help save homes, families, and the ability to raise kids to love and enjoy freedom, the pursuit of happiness, and the right to worship as we please. These aren’t just words anymore, for some have already died in their defense; and nowhere could there be a more glorious cause for which to give one’s life…Rejoice that half your son power will soon be in it. Be strong, for your strength live in me and helps me to do the right I must. Love Ever, Artie.
In August, 1944, the family of Lt. Grossman received word that their son was missing in action. They later received word that Lt. Grossman had been killed in action somewhere in France on August 4, 1944. Arthur was posthumously awarded the Silver Star in 1945 for his actions. His grave is located in the St. James Military Cemetery, St. James, France.
This Memorial Day, the Jewish Museum Milwaukee remembers those, like Lt. Grossman, who have served their country and have made the ultimate sacrifice.