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Major General William P. Levine

William P. Levine (July 1, 1915 - March 29, 2013) was an American Army officer. He served in the United States Army during World War II as an Intelligence Officer. Levine was among the first allied forces to enter the Dachau concentration camp in Germany. He would eventually rise to the rank of Major General. After the war he was very active in the Chicago Jewish community. Levine died on March 29th, 2013 in Highland Park, IL.[1]

Early life[]

Levine was born in Duluth, Minnesota on July 1st, 1915. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1937. After graduation, he worked in retail sales before being drafted into the Army in 1942.[2]

Military career[]

Shortly after entering the Army, Levine became an officer graduating from the Army's Officer Candidate School in May of 1943. He served with the 34th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Group as an intelligence officer. His unit participated in the D-Day invasion on Utah Beach, as well as the liberation of Dachau. The horrors Levine witnessed at Dachau would trouble him for the rest of his life. For a short time after the war Levine assisted in the operation of a displaced-persons camp. He was involved in feeding, clothing, and eventually resettling more than 5,000 Holocaust survivors.[1]

At some point during his military service, Levine was asked by the Army to command a company of engineers. Having no background in engineering he was sent to engineering school. The skills he learned there would serve him well later on in life.[1]

Levine was discharged from active military service in 1946. He continued his service in the XIV Army Reserve Corps, as an executive officer in 1960 and rising to commanding officer in 1962. When the XIV Corps was deactivated in 1967, Levine was appointed commanding general of the U.S. Army's 8th Division. He was promoted to Major General later that year, the rank he would retire with in 1975.[1]

In retirement, Levine served as chairman of a retired officers association for the Army, which covered numerous Midwestern states.[1]

During his military career Levine would be awarded the Legion of Merit and Distinguished Service Medal.[2]

Civilian career[]

In 1946 Levine, his brothers, and his cousins founded a small plastics company in Duluth that molded advertising and display signs. In 1948, he moved to Chicago to establish the Lakeside Plastics Sales Co., a separate sales business for the plastics firm. Levine retired in 1975.[1]

After his retirement Levine served as the construction project manager for many north suburban Jewish organizations. He supervised the building of the Solomon Schechter Day School in Northbrook as well as two synagogues in Deerfield, IL, Moriah Congregation and B'nai Tikvah. Levine also supervised the renovation of North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, IL. He acted as a liaison between the build team and the owner.[1]

Speaking about the Holocaust[]

The scenes Levine witnessed when he entered Dachau concentration camp on April 29th, 1945 were so terrible he refused to speak about them, even to his family. However, Levine believed " the most important and effective method of preventing another Holocaust is truth and education." It was this belief that led to his speaking about his experience at Dachau nearly 40 years later.[3]

Levine attended a 40th anniversary memorial for the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in Jerusalem. While at the cemetery, Maurice Pirot, a Belgian Jew, recognized Levine as one of his saviors.[3]

In May of 1990, Levine recorded an oral history with the United States Holocaust Museum. He spoke about his life, war time experience, and work with Holocaust victims.[4]

He also spoke at Chicago's 1995 annual Holocaust Remembrance Day. He spoke about his experience and the experiences' of the victims he met there.[3]


The Pritzker Military Museum and Library's William P. Levine Collection contains an assortment of World War II-era military documents, maps, photographs,and artifacts.[5]

At the Moriah Congregation in Deerfield, IL there is a garden and flag pole dedicated Levine. The garden was dedicated on June 4th, 2006.[6] The Congregation operates the "General Levine Garden Fund" which funded the construction and maintenance of the memorial.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Bob Goldsborough Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (2013-04-22). "William P. Levine, World War II veteran helped liberate Dachau, dies - Chicago Tribune". Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Nelson, Jacob (2013-04-05). "Obituary: Major General William P. Levine - Obituaries - Highland Park, IL Patch". Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (1995-04-26). "Man Frees Holocaust Memories - Chicago Tribune". Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  5. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (1915-07-01). "William P. Levine Collection | Pritzker Military Museum & Library | Chicago". Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  6. Moriah Congregation in Deerfield Illinois Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (2006-06-04). "Moriah Congregation, Deerfield, IL". Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  7. Moriah Congregation in Deerfield Illinois Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "Moriah Congregation, Deerfield, IL". Retrieved 2014-05-16. 

External links[]

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