World War II

Harry J. Kennedy

Hq Co., 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division

Born as Hans Jacob Kahn, he fled Nazi Germany after he was kicked out of high school for being a Jew. He wrote “My father wanted to get all of our family out, but was only able to obtain one American visa for a single member of our family. The family decided that I should have it. In December 1939, my mother and I rode on the train to the Swiss border where we met our father. But before the train crossed into Switzerland I watched my mother being forcibly removed from the train by Gestapo agents. That was the last time that I ever saw my mother, along with my 3 younger brothers and my grandmother. They all perished in Hitler’s Concentration Camps.” He subsequently immigrated to the U.S. on 21 Dec 1939 aboard the SS Saturnia from Genoa, Italy. Hans changed his name to Harry J. Kennedy per Naturalization No. Petition 758-M, Certificate No. 6090165, Superior Court of Cumberland County, State of North Carolina, on 18 Jan 1943. He explained that he chose an Irish Catholic name in case I was captured by the Germans. Harry enlisted in the Army on 8 April 1943 in New York City, NY and volunteered for parachutist duty. A member of the regimental Headquarters Company, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Pfc Kennedy participated in the airborne invasion of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Following the war, Harry received a commission and he attained the rank of Major before retiring.

Wounded in Action
Long Island, New York