GIs Remember

Balfour Goldman - Mauthausen


Balfour Goldman, a Washington, D.C. native, was named for the Balfour Declaration that promised a Jewish homeland in Palestine. After World War II started, Balfour and his two brothers, Aaron and Nathan, volunteered for military service. Balfour served with the 11th Armored Division which went into action in the Battle of the Bulge where he was slightly burned when his tank was hit.

"After advancing through Germany and into Austria, my unit came upon the Mauthausen concentration camp. They sent in the Jewish troops if they could speak Yiddish, to console the liberated prisoners, to talk to them, to give them hope. I was part of the group they sent in and I saw these walking skeletons.... The survivors were virtually all Jewish.... I tried in my limited Yiddish, but I was crying and I wasn't much good to them just crying in front of them. But I guess pointing to myself and saying, 'Yid, Yid,' gave them some hope that we ... had driven the German troops away.

After the war ... there was great fundraising in Washington and we all dug deep ... because we all knew we were saving lives at the time, getting the DPs (displaced persons) out of Europe where they could no longer live. We felt that was what we had to do."

 


Source: GIs Remember, (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Jewish Military History, 1994).