Mayor Mark A. Smith announced that the misspelled name of a Bayonne man who died in the Battle of the Bulge has finally been corrected on a local memorial. For years, the name of Solomon Saltzman had been rendered “Satlzman” on the World War II memorial at Mayor Dennis P. Collins Park on First Street. Seeing that error disturbed members of the Saltzman family. It also bothered Bayonne resident Earl Dobkin, who grew up in the same West Side neighborhood as the Saltzmans.
Dobkin brought the issue to the City’s attention, and recently Pompilio and Sons Monuments Company was hired to solve the problem. Workmen were able to sand off the letters and reattach them in the proper order.
As Dobkin recalls, Solomon Saltzman was not necessarily obligated to serve in the military during World War II. As a student at Yeshiva College (now Yeshiva University), Saltzman could have been exempt from military service, if he had trained to become a rabbi. However, after one year of studies, Saltzman dropped out of school to enlist in the armed forces. His brother Nat recalls, “In his mind, he had to go.” Dobkin agrees, saying that Solomon Saltzman left religious studies “for patriotic reasons.” Nat says that their immigrant parents, Isadore and Ida Saltzman, raised their children with a strong appreciation of the opportunities that America offered them. Isadore was very “enamored of America,” as Nat describes him.
Solomon tried to join the Air Force, but was rejected for being color-blind, reports Nat. Then Solomon enlisted successfully in the U.S. Army.
Military records on the Internet indicate that Solomon Saltzman enlisted on July 17, 1943. He was assigned to the 420th Field Artillery, 10th Armored Division, which was known as the “Tiger” Division. The group trained in Tennessee and Georgia before being sent to Europe on September 13, 1944. The 10th Armored Division entered France through the Port of Cherbourg on September 23, 1944, and trained in Teurtheville, France, before being put into combat. The unit entered combat on November 1, 1944, in support of the 20th Corps, containing German troops in the area. In mid-November, the 10th Armored Division went on the offensive, crossing the Moselle at Malling, and driving to the Saar River. It was ordered north to stop the German winter offensive on December 17, 1944. Private First Class Saltzman was killed in action six days later. Dobkin remembers being with Shia Saltzman, the second Saltzman brother, when the latter’s mother, Ida, received the news about Solomon’s death.
Solomon Saltzman was buried at the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium. Nat Saltzman, his son Seth, his nephew Richard, and other family members have visited Solomon’s grave. It is one of 7,992 graves of our military dead from World War II at that cemetery.
Mayor Mark A. Smith commented, “As we prepare to commemorate Veterans’ Day, it is altogether fitting and proper that we are able to correct this long-standing error and properly honor one of Bayonne’s sons who gave his life defending freedom.”