Benjamin Kaufman

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Benjamin Kaufman
Benjamin Kaufman - WWI Medal of Honor Recipient.jpg
Born (1894-03-10)March 10, 1894
Buffalo, New York
Died February 5, 1981(1981-02-05) (aged 86)
Mercer Medical Center in Trenton, New Jersey
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1917 - 1919
Rank First Sergeant
Unit Company K, 308th Infantry, 77th Division

World War I

Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Benjamin Kaufman (March 10, 1894 – February 5, 1981) was a First Sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War I. He received the Medal of Honor and the Croix de Guerre for bravery in action in the Argonne Forest, France on October 4, 1918.


Kaufman was born in Buffalo, but grew up in Brooklyn, where he lived at 2113 Pitkin Avenue, at the time of enlistment. His mother was Mrs. Anna Kaufman. He was attending Syracuse University when he had to respond to the call to arms and joined the Army in 1917. He was assigned to Company K, 308th Infantry, 77th Division.

Kaufman proved to be a hero almost as soon as he was in combat in France. He became blinded by a gas shell while aiding in the rescue of several of his men. Despite his refusal of medical help, doctors forced him to go to the hospital. Kaufman decided to go back to battle and borrowed a uniform and made his way back to his outfit. Kaufman was faced with a court martial but the charges were dropped. Kaufman received awards for bravery from nine foreign governments. The United States awarded him the Medal of Honor on April 8, 1919.

During World War II, he was director of the War Manpower Commission in New Jersey. He was also a commander of the New Jersey Council of the Disabled American Veterans of the World War and a national vice commander of the National Legion of Valor.

He was the executive director of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States from 1945 to 1959 and a former national commander of the organization, and for nearly 10 years, he was the manager of the Trenton office of the State Employment Service.

Benjamin Kaufman died on February 5, 1981 at the Mercer Medical Center in Trenton at the age of 86. He was survived by his wife, the former Dorothy Finkle; a daughter, Rita DeVries; a sister, Jennie Edwards, and two grandchildren.

Medal of Honor Citation[edit]


He took out a patrol for the purpose of attacking an enemy machinegun which had checked the advance of his company. Before reaching the gun he became separated from his patrol and a machinegun bullet shattered his right arm. Without hesitation he advanced on the gun alone, throwing grenades with his left hand and charging with an empty pistol, taking one prisoner and scattering the crew, bringing the gun and prisoner back to the first-aid station.[1]

Military Awards[2][edit]

Kaufman's military decorations and awards include:

Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
1st row Medal of Honor
2nd row Purple Heart World War I Victory Medal w/three bronze service stars to denote credit for the Oise-Aisne, Meuse-Argonne and Defensive Sector battle clasps. Médaille militaire (French Republic)
3rd row Croix de guerre 1914–1918 w/bronze palm (French Republic) Croce al Merito di Guerra (Italy) Medal for Military Bravery (Kingdom of Montenegro)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "World War I; Kaufman, Benjamin entry". Medal of Honor recipients. United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  2. ^ History of the 308th Infantry 1917-1919 by L. Wardlaw Miles=1927. pp. Citations Awarded to the 308th Infantry. 


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.

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