Opa: The Red Baron

Military Service

“I know he was really proud of his military service.”

“He originally signed up to be in the cavalry, and as I understand it, the cavalry was not exciting enough for him, and so he then switched to the air force and became a bombardier. He definitely won medals, and I know he was really proud of his military service, and I believe in the effort to leave Germany that his military service medals supported him to be able to get out of the country.”

Editor’s Note: Jackie’s grandfather Alfred was a well-respected Jewish military veteran. Jackie’s family had an inside joke where they would refer to their Opa as the Red Baron (a German air force pilot who was famous for at least 80 aerial victories in his bright red plane). When it came time to flee Nazi-controlled Germany, Opa’s military service and reputation assisted his family’s ability to leave, since he was so highly respected. He saved records of his various military achievements and was written about in a book about Jewish World War I pilots that was first published in Germany in the 1920s.