Franklin

David Mendelssohn papers relating to World War II, 1941-1950s, 1975.

Author/Creator:
Mendelssohn, David, 1915-1999, creator.
Publication:
1941-1950s, 1975.
Format/Description:
Manuscript
1 box (.2 linear foot)
Arrangement:
Organized into 2 series: I. World War II service and II. Family and personal material.
Subjects:
United States. Army
Families.
World War, 1939-1945.
World War, 1939-1945 -- United States.
Form/Genre:
Manuscripts, American -- 20th century.
Administrative records.
Correspondence.
Photographs.
Biography/History:
David Mendelssohn was a Jewish-American soldier in World War II. He was born in December 20, 1915, in Wyoming to Russian immigrant parents, Solomon H. and Jennie Gudie Mendelsohn. He was raised with siblings Harry, Reva, Dorothy, and twin brother Bernard (Ben) Mendelssohn. He moved to California, possibly to live with his brother Harry. With the escalation of World War II, Mendelssohn registered for the draft on October 16, 1940. On December 1, 1942, he enlisted in San Francisco as a private in the United States Army, after initially seeking service with the Navy. He served with the 104th Infantry Division, Camp Adair, Oregon, and his brother, Ben, appears to have joined him. It is unclear whether he served overseas, but it seems unlikely. He was honorably discharged on November 16, 1945. He was married to Agnes Lichtenfield (1920 or 1921-1999), probably in 1943. Following his military service, he worked as a plumber, serving as president of Mendelssohn Plumbing and Supply, in Cotati, California, from at least 1958 to 1963. During the early 1970s, he worked as a plumber for Forman Plumbing. He died on July 12, 1999.
Summary:
This collection documents, in a very limited way, David Mendelssohn's service during World War II. The collection is arranged in two series: Series 1. World War II service, and Series 2. Family and personal material. Series 1. World War II service includes administrative documents from draft to honorable discharge. There are letters from selective service, letters relating to a transfer to serve with his twin brother (it was the War Department's policy "to assign twins to the same organization, unit, or station, to the extent practicable and when no urgent military reason exist[ed] to the contrary, provided they so desire[d]" and information about discharge. Of potential interest are Mendelssohn's handwritten notes about training for bayonet combat, as well as a handwritten quiz he took on the causes of, symptoms of, methods of prevention of, and tactics for protecting oneself from malaria. The quiz, which addresses the disease generally, also addresses specific risks to soldiers serving in World War II, particularly in the Southern Pacific theater. Series 2. Family and personal materials includes photographs of Agnes and David Mendelssohn on their wedding day, which most likely occurred in 1943. Additionally, there is one photograph of Agnes after the couple was married. There is also a photocopy from an unknown publication showing David and Agnes Mendelssohn as part of a 50th anniversary committee. It is unknown to what organization the committee belonged. This collection may be of value to researchers looking at twins serving together in World War II, as well as administrative material relating to the draft and discharge of service members.
Penn Provenance:
Gift of Alexander Akin, 2018.
OCLC:
1109725422
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