THE MILK OF HUMAN KINDNESS
Veteran: Sam Brody, POW WWII
Artist: Jill Brody
Writer: Gayle Gleckler
Sam Brody loved milk. His mom said as soon as he could walk, his baby bottle wasn’t enough. He carried around a full quart of milk.
But you can’t always judge a guy by his preferred beverage.
For example, years later during World War II in France, morale in Sam’s unit was low because their much loved Master Sergeant had just been killed.
On their way to Luneville (the soldiers called it “Loonyville) to deliver an important message, Sam and his driver saw two women on the fifth floor of a building waving handkerchiefs. Sam, always the humanitarian, said, “I’ve got an idea.”
In partial French, English and Yiddish, he conveyed to the girls (who had clean health cards) his idea. After some negotiation, they agreed. The girls, riding in the back of the Jeep disguised as soldiers in long trench coats and helmets, slipped past the guards.
The next day, the morale in Sam’s company was sky high.
Adventures seemed to find young Sam, who was captured in a fierce battle. In prison, a German officer took a shine to him (everyone does) so he grabbed his dog tags, which were marked with an H for Hebrew and hid them in his pocket. Even though Sam and ten prisoners were forced to do a 750-mile death defying march through Germany and Austria, this kind officer protected him every step of the way.
In May 1945, Sam sent a Mother's Day message from Paris to his mother through the Red Cross. It read, “I'm alive and well at this time.” The woman who delivered the telegram said, "I wouldn’t be so sure.” Sam’s mother, who had a weak heart, had an attack. She survived, but the family presumed Sam was dead.
Months later, on the way to Fort Dix, Sam got to a pay phone in Penn Station. He called his father at H. Brody and Sons Furrier Company, which was close by. His brother answered and told his father, who started running down the street, wearing his apron covered in fur and his knife in his hand yelling, “My son is alive! My son is alive!"
His father and brothers got there just in time to wave at Sam as his train pulled out.
The next night Sam was back home in Brooklyn wearing a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
His mother smothered him in kisses and gave him a quart of American homogenized milk.