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Theodore "Ted" Katz

PVT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co B

ASN#32587414 Casualty: Wounded

Born 1914 in NY, Died 1991


County of residence at enlistment: Onondaga County, NY
Other residence(s): Syracuse, NY
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: commercial artists
College education before the war: College of Fine Arts, Syracuse 4 years
Notes: Co A in photo; CPL?
Source: 603rd Camouflage Engineer Roster provided by W. Anderson; Photo of 603rd Company A, 13 May 1945; Company A Roster; 603rd handwritten list; Teddy Katz Co A Roster; List of Casualties (Unofficial); photo from Teddy Katz Collection, GALP Archive

Theodore Katz was born in Syracuse, New York on March 22, 1914. His parents were both born in Russia, and he was the oldest of two sons.

He graduated from the College of Fine Arts at Syracuse University in 1938, and almost immediately was hired to create seven oil paintings which represented various eras in the history of Onondaga County, to be hung in the main lobby at the Merchants National Bank and Trust in Syracuse. He spent some months studying the county's early history, including researching the clothing, weapons, tools, and customs of the time, in order to produce the series which illustrated Native Americans, French missionaries, early settlers, the Erie Canal, and other scenes through the early 19th century.

During this time he had gotten together with two Syracuse undergraduates and they had rented a private studio to do their work, since the on-campus studios were crowded and less convenient (couldn't leave work in progress there overnight).

He had also painted murals on glass for several hotel bars.

At the same time he was playing the piano in jazz and swing groups. Several of these took place in Syracuse in 1940 at a bar/club called Richardson's, and advertised the groups as "Ted Katz and His Kittens" and "Ted Katz and His Augmented Swing Band."

When he registered for the draft in October, 1940, he stated that he was self-employed, and gave his work address as the studio.

In April 1942, one of his paintings, a watercolor called "Volunteers," was exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago. It was part of an exhibition called Art in War: American Artists’ Record of War and Defense, shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The works in the show had been commissioned by the Government, and purchased by the Office for Emergency Management from a competition conducted by the Section of Fine Arts, Public Building Administration, FWA (Federal Works Agency).

He enlisted in the Army on November 17, 1942, and gave his profession as commercial artist. Like many other artists, he was assigned to the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion, and saw service with the unit during the war. After the war he returned to Syracuse and married his fiancée Helen on December 2, 1945. They had one son, Richard.

Ted would go on to practice both his art and his music. A 1958 newspaper article describes him as an "artist-musician."

He also practiced his art in at least two advertising agencies in Syracuse—by 1970 he was the Art Director at Chapman-Nowak Associates and later Art Director at Conklin, Labbs, & Bebe, from which position he retired.

Ted died on April 23, 1991, and is buried at Beth El Cemetery in Syracuse.

NOTE: Ted Katz wrote over 400 letters to his fiancée Helen, which are part of the Ghost Army Legacy Project archives. 94 of them, written between July 1943 and November 1945, have been transcribed and are available on the Ghost Army website.


1930 census

1939 article from Syracuse Herald Journal re his art commission

1939 article from Syracuse Herald re his art studio and Syracuse Univ.

1940 census

1940 Syracuse ad, advertising his appearance as a musician (clip attached)

1940 draft card

1941 Social Security application and claims index

1942 Art Institute of Chicago page describing show that contained one of his artworks

1942 enlistment record

1945 marriage record

1991 Find a Grave record (contains obituary)

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