ABOUT OPERATION BENJAMIN
It is said that participating in a Jewish burial is the greatest of mitzvot (good deeds), as it is a favor that can never, ever be repaid. Operation Benjamin is an extension of this mitzvah, and is a labor of purest love, devotion and respect.
Operation Benjamin is devoted to preserving the memories of American-Jewish soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending the cause of freedom during World War II. Our aim is to locate Jewish personnel at American military cemeteries all over the world who, for various reasons, were buried under markers incorrectly representing their religion and heritage. Our mission is to correct these mistakes and provide, these many decades later, comfort to the families of the fallen. We work quietly and with dignity, without any cost to the families involved.
Our project is named for Private Benjamin Garadetsky, a Jewish soldier mistakenly buried under a Latin Cross at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. Private Garadetsky’s case was the first for which our team’s efforts led to a successful marker change. Please click here to learn about Private Garadetsky, whose grave was finally marked with a Star of David at an emotional ceremony at Normandy in the summer of 2018.
All of our cases thus far have involved Jewish servicemen whose burials are marked with Latin Crosses. We have every reason to believe that these errors were made inadvertently. Through the fog of war and tragedy, we have found that paperwork was ignored, mistakes were made, or families were otherwise unable to communicate their marker preferences to the government. In cases where these errors became known to surviving relatives, effecting change proved very difficult for already distraught families dealing with massive bureaucracies in times of national emergency.
Regardless of how these mismarkings came into being, we view it as a sacred honor to help set the record straight. We have developed an excellent working relationship with the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), the U.S. government agency that serves as the “pre-eminent guardian of America’s overseas commemorative cemeteries and memorials.” We work closely with our partners at the ABMC to craft and submit the petitions, expedite grave marker change requests, and coordinate with families to see the change through to the end.
Our work rests on three pillars; of faith, family, and historical accuracy, so we can properly honor our heroes and the sacrifices they made in the defense of our country.