As I have mentioned, my father was a non-verbal, non-communicative man. He was good with his hands, as he made me my very first desk. He also built a padded bench for our downstairs "rec room," and cut the wood for my mother's decoupage art. In what turned out to be the last few weeks of his life, he talked more with me when I visited, but by then it was too late. He believed he had a twin brother who died at birth. He was born at Beth Israel Hospital in Brooklyn. Beth Israel Hospital no longer exists. What records they may have had were transferred to Maimonides. Who does not keep records as long as my father's memory.
About 20 years ago, he wrote a brief memoir of his time in the Army, which raises more questions than it answers. It is an archetypal trauma narrative--a narrator unrooted in time, suffering from derealization and depersonalization. Like my father, it was so full of deep-rooted hurts, so full of deep trauma, it silenced the other person. How he suffered. What are any slights I suffered growing up, compared to the vignettes offered.
Last D-Day, the NYTimes had a series of articles about the soldiers of D-day. Many of their children offered similar complaints to mine. Their fathers never talked. By the time the children wanted to, it was too late. The NYT suggests interested readers contact the National Archives in St. Louis, to find out further information. I found out that it was likely my father's records were consumed in the 1973 fire. They gave me a form to fill out, to see if they could offer further assistance. I filled out this form, and received a response today: "The record needed to answer your inquiry is not in our files. If the record were here on July 12, 1973, it would have been in the area that suffered the most damage in the fire. ..The fire destroyed the major portion of records of Army military personnel for the period of 1912 through 1959..."
They suggest I contact the VA.
And that is all I can tell you about the military service of Corporal Samuel Kahn, honorably discharged from the US Army on January 10, 1946.