Army Veteran John H. Horn is today's Veteran of the day.

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran John H. Horn, a Jewish émigré who escaped Germany.

John H. Horn, a Jewish émigré from Nazi Germany, left his home country for America in 1938. While some of his family members managed to escape Germany before World War II, many remained. Horn soon joined the Army as a staff sergeant with the 3rd U.S. Army Intelligence Center.

As a Jewish American, his letters during the war offer a glimpse into how personally devastating it was for him to witness the Holocaust from this unique perspective. In a letter sent to his relatives, dated Oct. 30, 1945, Horn broke the news of the fate of his sister Luzie and his uncle Leo.

“I consider it my duty to tell all I know, and all I heard in Berlin regarding our loved ones. Luzie and Leo are no more,” Horn wrote. He also wrote Germans murdered his sister in a gas chamber at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in July 1943. Germans killed his uncle in October 1944 after a Gestapo agent learned of his Jewish heritage.

“The curtain has fallen on one of the most inhuman and most horrible chapters of mankind, no eternity no power on earth can restore what has been destroyed,” Horn wrote. “In their names I feel obligated to fight this war to a successful end, it is far from concluded. I know if they could speak they would want me to go on.”

As an intelligence member, Horn traveled back and forth through Austria, Germany and Czechoslovakia looking for documents, war criminals, records and Nazi Party files. Horn preferred his position above all others, explaining in the same letter, “This is the only job which could interest me, and what more this job would give me the inner satisfaction, of really being able to do my utmost in the eradication of the last Nazi traces…”

Horn died in 1953, and his brother Herbert donated his letters to the Veterans History Project in 2002.

We honor his service.


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It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Veterans History Project

This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.


Contributors

Writer: Rachel Heimann

Editor: Kelly Dooley

Fact checker: Rebeca Ahring

Graphic artist: Jessica Hunsinger

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, who served as a salvage officer and a NASA astronaut.#VeteranOfTheDay Navy Veteran Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper
Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Air Forces Veteran Quentin Aanenson, who served as a fighter pilot during World War II.#VeteranOfTheDay Army Air Forces Veteran Quentin Aanenson

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8 Comments

  1. Susanne Horn Newmark February 6, 2022 at 7:17 pm

    My father….could not be more proud. His words resonate today more than ever. His letters have been donated to Yad Vashem in israel. The letters are written in impeccable English…without a formal education. He belonged to the special intelligence forces known as the Ritchie Boys. The greatest generation…that welcomed immigrants.

  2. IRA AZNEER, DO February 4, 2022 at 2:55 pm

    A WONDERFUL TRIBUTE TO A MAN WHO EXEPLIFIED WHAT IS IT TO LIVE UP TO THE IDEALS OFBEING AN AMERICAN, ESPECIALLY AFTER WATCHING HIS COUNTRY OF ORIGIN FAIL HIM SO PROFOUNDLY. IT’S SAD, THAT AS THE GREAT GENERATION IS DYING, SO TOO ARE THE MEMORIES OF THE HORRORS THEY FOUGHT. IT IS INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT TO REMIND PEOPLE WHAT ALLOWED THOSE HORRORS TO SUCCEED AND HOW EASILY THEY CAN ARISE AGAIN ELSEWHERE, EVEN HERE. IF WE FORGET WE OPEN THE DOOR TO INTOLERANCE AND HATE.
    –IRA AZNEER, D.O.

    • Susanne Horn Newmark February 6, 2022 at 7:18 pm

      Thank you foe your kind words. I am his daughter and could not be more proud.

  3. Ari Silva January 28, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    Thank you.

  4. Angela January 28, 2022 at 4:14 pm

    WOW what an amazing Man he was.

    • Susanne Newmark February 6, 2022 at 7:21 pm

      Thank you. I was a very young child when he died. Your words are meaningful…I am humbled by his legacy.

  5. John De Vous January 27, 2022 at 5:35 pm

    Are the birth and death dates correct? This says he was 13 years old when he died??

    [Editor: He left his birth country in 1938. DOB is not given.]

  6. Senior Veterans Care Network January 27, 2022 at 11:38 am

    We honor the service of John H. Horn.

Comments are closed.

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