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Isadore “Izzy” Elstein

T/5 in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : HQ & Service Co

Military occupational specialty: 78 (electrician)


Born 1922 in Romania, Died 1998

County of enlistment: Philadelphia, PA
Other residence(s): Philadelphia, PA; Coconut Creek, FL
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: electricians
Notes: "The Philly Kid" (Banhof Flag)
Source: Unit Shipment 10143-B, 23d HQ, from le Havre 23 June 1945; HQ & Service Company List of Men and Jobs;; Travel Orders, 23d HQ, 29 August 1945

Izzy Elstein was born on December 12, 1922 in Bucharest, Romania, the middle of three children. His parents had both been born in Russia as had his oldest sibling. The youngest of the three Elsteins was born in Canada as the family wended its way to Philadelphia. By 1940, Izzy's father was working as a doorman at a theatre in that city and later, after the war, he operated a newsstand in the Broad Street Trust Building.

In 1940, Izzy was working as an electrician's helper. When he registered for the draft, on June 30, 1942, he was still living in Philadelphia and working at the New York Shipbuilding Corp. in Camden, NJ. (During World War II, this company was the largest and most productive shipyard in the world.)

He enlisted on January 21, 1943. At the time he stated that he had three years of high school and that his occupation was electrician. In 1944, before he went overseas with the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion, he married Stella Cohen.

A number of Nazi flags were "liberated" by members of the Ghost Army at or near the end of the war, and signed by unit members as souvenirs. Izzy signed one such flag "Izzy Elstein, the Philly Kid."

He was discharged from the Army on October 22, 1945 with the rank of T/5 and returned to Philadelphia. He and Stella went on to have two children: Mark Paul and Sharyn.

Little else is known about his life and work. At some point, likely much later in life, Izzy and Stella divorced, and he married Marian Palermo in 1992 in (or near) Las Vegas, NV. But that marriage was short-lived; they divorced in 1994 in Florida, and Izzy remained in that state, dying there in Coconut Creek on July 13, 1998. He is buried at West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, PA; he shares a plot with his grandson, Joey Pozzuolo, who had died at the age of 18 less than two months earlier.


1940 census

1942 draft card

1943 enlistment record (shows incorrect birth country)

1944 marriage record

1950 Pennsylvania Veterans Compensation Files

1992 2nd marriage record

1994 divorce record

1998 Social Security applications and claims index

1998 VA death record (enlistment year is wrong)

1998 Florida death index

1998 Find a Grave record

1998 death notice in Philadelphia Inquirer (PA),0.13585171,0.51803553,0.17828582&xid=3355&_ga=2.257798668.627206720.1630008831-1392210334.1630008831

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