Operation Benjamin and American Battle Monuments Commission rededicate the final resting places for three Jewish soldiers buried in France

The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), in coordination with Operation Benjamin, replaced the Latin Cross headstones marking the graves of three Jewish American servicemembers in France—one buried at Normandy American Cemetery and two at Brittany American Cemetery—with Star of David headstones.

The errors were discovered by ABMC partner Operation Benjamin, an organization whose mission is to ensure that Jewish American servicemembers, who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II, are buried under headstones that correctly reflect their faith. 

“We have worked with Operation Benjamin for more than four years now, and are constantly impressed by their thorough and detailed research which has allowed us to approve each of the 23 requests made to date to replace grave markers at ABMC cemeteries in Europe and the Pacific,” said ABMC Secretary Charles K. Djou. “We can never repay the debt of the more than 400,000 American service members who sacrificed their lives to free the world from tyranny during WWII, but through work like this we can ensure we honor their faith and family heritage properly and in perpetuity. We look forward to our continued work with Rabbi Schacter and the Operation Benjamin team, together preserving the legacy of the Greatest Generation.”

The ceremonies were made possible by inquiries from the fallen Soldiers’ relatives to ABMC, which oversees American military cemeteries around the world, with historical research and support from Operation Benjamin.

The soldiers honored are:

  • 1st Lt. Lawrence S. Craig from Chicago, Illinois, who was drafted into the U.S. Army in January 1941, and assigned to the 121st Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division. Commanding a small platoon, Craig and his company landed at Utah Beach in Normandy on the July 4,1944, facing grueling conditions as they advanced through the countryside. He was killed in action on July 12 and was buried at Normandy American Cemetery (Plot E, Row 15, Grave 6).


  • Pvt. Simon Goodman from Indianapolis, Indiana, who was drafted into the U.S. Army and assigned to F Company of the 175th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division. On June 7, 1944, Goodman and his regiment landed at Omaha Beach, and for the next six weeks, the 29th Division worked toward their key objective of securing Saint-Lô. While advancing towards the key city of Vire on July 30, Goodman was killed and buried at Brittany American Cemetery (Plot L, Row 18, Grave 4).


  • 2nd Lt. Robert Meltzer from Los Angeles, California, who worked as a screenwriter and assistant director in Hollywood. While Meltzer became friendly with talents of the day like Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles, his priorities shifted after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He commissioned as a U.S. Army officer in June 1943, and was shipped overseas shortly after D-Day, volunteering to join the 2nd Ranger Battalion and later took charge of the 1st Platoon in Able Company. In August 1944, while he led his platoon on a foot patrol during a combat mission, he was killed by German artillery fire. He was initially buried alongside six of his men on a farm in the area of Milizac, France. His remains were first moved to the U.S. cemetery in St. James in January 1945, before being permanently transferred to Brittany American Cemetery (Plot I, Row 5, Grave 12).

“It’s a sacred privilege to work with the American Battle Monuments Commission to see the process through replacing the headstones of three Jewish American soldiers who, quoting Abraham Lincoln, ‘gave the last full measure of devotion,’ said Shalom Lamm, CEO of Operation Benjamin. “Lieutenants Craig and Meltzer, and Private Goodman gave their lives during humanity’s greatest test. We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude and the least we can do is to ensure that they rest under the symbol of their heritage for all eternity. Everyone at Operation Benjamin appreciates the hard work that goes into replacing the headstones. We especially appreciate the cooperation of Secretary Djou and the entire staff at the American Battle Monuments Commission.” 

Operation Benjamin is named for Benjamin Garadetsky, a U.S. serviceman killed in 1944 during a Luftwaffe bombing of the 2nd Armored Division positions. Garadetsky was laid to rest in the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, mistakenly buried underneath a Latin Cross. His headstone was changed to a Star of David in 2018.

1st Lt. Lawrence S. Craig. Credits: ABMC.
Pvt. Simon Goodman. Credits: ABMC


2nd Lt. Robert Meltzer. Credits: ABMC