PVT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : HQ & Service Co
Born 1923 in NY
County of residence at enlistment: Kings County, NY
Other residence(s): Brooklyn, NY (Banhof Flag); Old Bridge, NJ; Monroe Township, NJ
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
College education before the war: Pratt 2 years
College education after the war: Pratt
Seymour Nussenbaum was born on May 22, 1923, in New York City. Both of his parents were born in Romania, and he was the oldest of four children.
After he graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1939, his family moved from the Bronx to Brooklyn and he attended night classes at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts and at the Pratt Institute.
Seymour registered for the draft in December, 1942 and, knowing that he would be going into the service, took a course in camouflage offered by the Army at Pratt. He enlisted on February 23, 1943.
During the war, as a member of the Ghost Army, he was part of the team that made counterfeit patches. He wrote home regularly, sending sketches and mementos, and when he was discharged, in November, 1945, he went to work creating two detailed scrapbooks of his sketches and memorabilia. He says that he had some downtime while waiting for the spring 1946 semester at Pratt to begin, and that seemed a perfect time to complete that project.
And he had a ready answer when people asked him what he did during the war: "When they asked me what I did, I said I blew up tanks--which wasn't a lie!"
Seymour graduated from Pratt in 1948 with a degree in illustration, and the following year married his long-time girlfriend, Vera Ribet.
Vera has an interesting story in her own right--she grew up in Leipzig, Germany, and was sent away on the first Kindertransport three weeks after Kristallnacht, arriving in England at the age of 12 in 1938. She spent the next nine years with the family that took her in, coming to the US with an uncle in 1947.
Seymour found work as a package designer, working on both the structural and graphic elements of the packaging. He worked for a folding carton company for 32 years, designing packaging for such companies as Barton's Candy, and eventually becoming Art Director there. Then he freelanced until 1997.
He and Vera raised their family in Old Bridge, NJ, where he was a founding member of Congregation Beth Ohr. Both he and Vera were active in the congregation.
In addition to his package design work, he also found time to do some extracurricular art work. For example, in 1963, he was one of 25 winners of the New Jersey Tercentenary Stamp Design Contest.
Vera died in 2016 at the age of 90; Seymour is still alive as of this writing (January 2021) and living in Monroe Township, NJ. He was one of three Ghost Army veterans to attend the events surrounding the opening of the Ghost Army Exhibit at the World War Two Museum in New Orleans in March of 2020, and he serves on the advisory board of the Ghost Army Legacy Project (GALP).
He donated his two wartime scrapbooks to GALP in 2013, and after careful professional conservation, and digitization of the contents, those albums are now housed at the World War Two Museum.
1943 enlistment record
1949 marriage record
1963 article in Central NJ Home News about his design for a NJ Tercentenary stamp
1985 Central NJ Home News article about his wife's fleeing the Holocaust
1994 city directory, Old Bridge, NJ
2013 article in New Jersey Jewish News re Seymour
2014 article in The Senior Gazette about Seymour and his wife
2018 article in centraljersey.com re Seymour and the GA
2019 article in The Forward about Seymour and his friend Bernie Bluestein
2019 article in Township of Monroe News (NJ) about Seymour (scroll down to page 13)
Greatest Generations Foundation Facebook post on Seymour
GA Legacy Project information on Seymour's scrapbooks