A High Holiday Prayerbook Dedicated to an American Jewish Soldier in Dutch https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/history-ideas/2023/09/a-high-holiday-prayerbook-dedicated-to-an-american-jewish-soldier-in-dutch/

September 22, 2023 | Daniel Lipson
About the author:

In the course of his work at the National Library of Israel, Daniel Lipson came across a set of maḥzorim (special prayerbooks for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) published in New York in 1942 that had somehow been placed in the wrong collection. Both bore a label in Dutch and Hebrew dedicating the volumes to the memory of a U.S. soldier named David Meyer Wald, who fell in battle on Yom Kippur 1944 and was buried in the Margraten cemetery in the Netherlands. While Lipson found someone who fits this description, he his buried in Montreal. He recounts his further investigation:

Wald . . . was born in Timkovichi, in what is now Belarus, in 1921. His family immigrated to the United States in 1938 and settled in Pittsburgh, where David worked for a time as a wholesale clerk until he was drafted. . . . [He] served in the 325th Infantry Regiment, a unit belonging to the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. Most regiments in this division were paratroop units, but the 325th was a unit of gliders attached to cargo planes which flew them to the battlefield.

Wald’s glider unit was sent into action on September 23, 1944, in the final days of Operation Market Garden. This was the first combined operation initiated by the Allies on European soil with the aim of penetrating into northern Germany. But the operation failed, and among the thousands of dead was one David Meyer Wald.

[T]he soldiers who fell were buried in temporary graves and only transferred to Margraten after the war. It turns out that five years after he was buried in Holland, Wald’s family asked that his body be reinterred in Canada, where they immigrated from the United States.

In 2007, Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, rabbi of the synagogue in the Dutch city of Maastricht, found an unfamiliar Torah scroll in his synagogue. He didn’t know where the scroll came from, only that it had been kept in a safe for many years. The Torah scroll was dedicated in the memory of David Meyer Wald by his parents and donated to the synagogue closest to his burial place in Margraten. It would appear that the Walds also donated the two maḥzorim and perhaps other books, as well, at the same opportunity.

Read more on The Librarians: https://blog.nli.org.il/en/soldier_yom_kippur_holland/