Our interviewee Harold Baumgarten, a Florida doctor who landed on the Omaha beachhead in Normandy on D-Day, was honored for his bravery and valor at D-Day celebrations. After drawing a large Jewish star and the words, “Bronx NY” on the back of his flak jacket, he fearlessly plunged into combat, while German artillery rained down all around him. He was wounded five times, lost many close friends and was awarded a Purple Heart and two bronze stars for his service.
Inspired by his war service to give back, first as a science teacher and then as a physician, he also traveled the world lecturing about his war experiences. He wrote a memoir, D-Day Survivor, and his story inspired Steven Spielberg’s unforgettable beach combat scene in his film, Saving Private Ryan.
Dr. Baumgarten, who Tom Brokaw once described as “the greatest of the greatest generation,” passed away on December 25, 2016 at the age of 91. He is survived by his loving wife, Rita, their three children and six grandchildren.