PVT. ALBERT FIELDS
Albert Fields was the first deceased Jewish World War II soldier to be brought from the battlefield to Belgium for reburial in the United States. His death on December 12, 1944 left his wife Lillian and young son, Sander to go it alone in Detroit. Private Fields was recovering from shrapnel wounds received in a bomb blast, when he was reassigned to active duty. This time he would participate in the Battle of the Bulge.
His unit, the 80th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, Company B was sent to Hoven, Germany to capture a bridge. Fields perished in Hoven as he gave his life in order to allow emergency medical treatment to other casualties.
Six years later, his memory was honored with a Detroit city park bearing his name. His son, Sander Fields remembered the pride he felt standing by his mother’s side and at that initial dedication ceremony in 1951.
In 2007, the Forrer Community Block Club along with support from the City of Detroit and Wayne County cleaned up the Albert Fields park and had it rededicated. At that ceremony, grandson James said, “My father often wonders about what his relationship with Albert would have been like. My brother Andrew and I wish we had the opportunity to have known our grandfather. A part of all of us died with Albert Fields in Hoven, Germany, on that nasty winter day. No one will ever know the influence he may have had on his family and fellow Americans if he had not been killed defending his beloved country.”
Albert Fields was awarded the Silver Star and two Purple Hearts for his wartime valor, courage, and commitment to country. The Memorial Playground dedicated to his memory is located near Florence and Greenfield – it’s in great shape and enjoyed daily by neighborhood walkers and joggers.
Military photo courtesy of Temple Beth El / Franklin Archives.
Copyright 2013 – Andrea Gallucci. All Rights Reserved.