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Alex Fleischmann

 

Date and Place of Birth: 1919 Bronx, NY
Date and Place of Death:    August 8, 1944 Brittany, France
Baseball Experience: College
Position: Unknown
Rank: Private First Class
Military Unit: 1st Platoon, Company A, 802nd Tank Destroyer Battalion, US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Alexander Fleischmann, the son of John F. and Rae Fleischmann, was born in the Bronx, New York in 1919. A football star at Roosevelt High School, Fleischmann went on to play guard and tackle with the Long Island University football team. He was also on the varsity baseball, basketball, swimming and track teams.

In 1941, Fleischmann served as assistant football coach at the College of the City of New York under Benny Friedman. He also played professional football that year for the New York Yankees in the short-lived American Association.

His coaching and playing careers were put on hold in February 1942, when he enlisted with the army at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Later that year, stationed at Camp Croft, South Carolina, with Company S, 40th Battalion, Fleischmann was playing football for the camp team alongside Stan Krivik of Fordham, Heinie Adams of Pittsburgh and James Cousart of Villanova.

Private First Class Fleischmann was engaged to Bernice Bernadsky when he left the United States to serve in Europe. Serving with the 802nd Tank Destroyer Battalion, they embarked from England just before midnight on June 29, 1944, and came ashore in France a little before noon on July 1. On July 3, the Battalion moved into position in the vicinity of Carentan, attached to the 83rd Infantry Division, Third Army. During August the Battalion was assisting in the capture of the St. Malo area. On August 8, 1944, the 25-year-old was killed in action along with other platoon members when German soldiers, who were apparently surrendering, suddenly opened fire. Here is a description of the event from the 802nd Tank Destroyer Battalion Unit Journal:

"At 0630 hours 1st Platoon of Company A was attacked by a strong enemy patrol. The enemy advanced singing and wearing overcoats, when they reached within approximately 30 yards from the gun positions, they dropped to the ground and opened fire with automatic weapons which had been concealed under their overcoats. 1st platoon of Company A returned the fire and repulsed the attack. Subsequent examination of enemy casualties and questioning of prisoners showed that the patrol conSisted of 50 hand picked German paratroopers, including one major, one captain, and two lieutenants, whose mission was the destruction of the platoon's guns because of the devastating effect of their fire during the preceding day. All the men were equipped with some type of automatic weapon. Thirty-nine Germans were killed killed, eleven wounded and captured. The platoon suffered four killed and fourteen wounded."

Pfc. Fleischamnn was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart. A citation for bravery described how he saved the lives of several officers and men. Initially buried at St. Malo, France, his remains were returned to the United States and now rest at Mt. Hebron Cemetery, Flushing Meadows, New York.

Shortly after the war the Jewish War Veterans, Alexander Fleischmann Post, was created in New York.

Sources:
Spartanburg Herald-Journal, June 21, 1942
802nd Tank Destroyer Battalion Unit Journal, August 1944
Brooklyn Eagle, October 17, 1944
Brooklyn Eagle, August 28, 1949

Many thanks to Alex's sister, Rita Fleischmann Price, for help with this biography.

Date Added February 9, 2014 Updated May 7, 2014

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