Fighting the Bias

Since 1896, the Jewish War Veterans of the USA (JWV) chartered by Congress, has been tasked with the responsibility to support, insure benefits for, and honor our troops. It has pursued this mission vigorously.

Beginning in the 1950s, rumblings arose that bias in the chain of command prevented truly deserving service personnel from receiving our nation’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor. Throughout the remainder of the twentieth century, these rumblings grew louder. JWV and other veterans’ organizations began to respond. Our members, people who had served with the deserving veterans and those whose lives had been saved by them, stated that these veterans were being prevented from being awarded the Medal of Honor because of their race, religion, or ethnicity.

In 2001, JWV legislative chairman, Republican Congressman Ben Gilman, and JWV patron member, Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler, helped pass Section 552 of Public Law 107-107. This law mandated the review of the records of all Jewish American veterans and all Hispanic American veterans whose service might merit the receipt of the Medal of Honor. As a result of this Act, Tibor Rubin received the Medal of Honor in 2005.

On March 18, 2014, 24 new members were enshrined in the Medal of Honor Society, including Pedro Cano, Jesus Duran, Jose Rodela, and Leonard Kravitz.

1Sgt. William Shemin was posthumously honored with the nation's highest award for valor on June 2, 2015.


Jewish Medal of Honor Recipients

Civil War:
Abraham Cohn
Leopold Karpeles
Benjamin Levy
David Orbansky

Indian Wars:
Simon Suhler

Haitian Insurrection:
Samuel Marguiles (aka Samuel Gross)

Sydney Gumpertz
Benjamin Kaufman
William Sawelson
William Shemin

Raymond Zussman
Isadore Jachman
Ben Salomon

Tibor Rubin
Leonard Kravitz

John Levitow
Jack Jacobs