Abraham Grossman, 95, fled Germany as a boy but returned as a soldier bearing Jewish insignia

Abraham Grossman
Abraham Grossman, center. (Courtesy of his family)

By Cnaan Liphshiz

When Abraham Grossman was a teenager, he fled his native Germany on what came to be known as the kindertransport, a rescue effort that brought about 10,000 Jewish children fleeing the Nazis to England.

He returned just a few years later, but by then he was as a proud fighter in the British Army’s Jewish Brigade. One of his postings was to the former prison in Bavaria where Hitler had written his infamous book “Mein Kampf.”

Grossman, who died from the coronavirus in Israel last month at the age of 95, described his pride in participating in the fight against Nazism in his memoir.


“Two thousand years after Bar Kochba commanded a Jewish army, another army of Jewish soldiers arose, founded by the British and serving as an independent fighting force,” Grossman wrote, according to an obituary published in Haaretz. “On their sleeves was the Jewish flag in blue and white, with a Magen David symbol sewn in golden thread in the middle. The uniforms carried Hebrew insignia indicating that they were part of a
Jewish combat unit.”

Grossman had thought of himself as an ordinary German before the rise of the Nazis, though he had suffered anti-Semitic harassment and got into fights because he was Jewish. But as he and his brother left Germany on the eve of the war, Grossman shouted out the window “let Germany die,” Haaretz reported.

When Grossman’s unit arrived at the Landsberg prison in Bavaria, it had already been converted into a displaced persons camp for Jewish Holocaust survivors.

He is survived by two sons, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

—JTA News and Features

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