Love, Abe: A Jewish GI’s World War II Letters Home
By Bonnie Klapper Goldenberg
The children of immigrants, Abraham “Abe” Klapper and Lillian Schein were newlyweds expecting their first child when Abe was inducted into the U.S. Army and later served in an antiaircraft battalion. Between 1943 and 1945, the couple exchanged over 800 letters. In Love, Abe, author Bonnie Goldenberg draws from her parents’ voluminous correspondence to reveal the unique perspective of a first-generation American Jew sent to fight the Nazis in Germany.
While contending with the vicious anti-Semitism of the Nazi regime, Abe was no stranger to prejudice on the home front. An articulate observer, he shares his experiences during training stateside and his service overseas, including: celebrating Passover in Hitler’s Germany; joining the front line in Europe’s biggest antiaircraft battle at the bridge at Remagen; using his background in Yiddish to act as an interpreter with German civilians and POWs; the elation of V-E Day and V-J Day; guarding the Ministerial Collecting Center as part of “Operation Goldcup” to recover documents scattered across Germany during the Allied bombing.
In his letters, Abe poured out his love, hopes and dreams for his wife and young daughter and the future he was fighting for. Although this is a story unique to Abe and Lillian, much of their experience was also shared by many Americans who served in World War II and their loved ones at home.