Oscar Silton (1945/05/03)
A German Jewish refugee made a final commitment to his adopted country.
Oscar Silton was born on May 6, 1926, in Cologne, Germany, to Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Silton. Early in his life young Oscar experienced life as a Jew living in Nazi Germany. While he was in school, he saw the concentration camps being built and observed the special work details to which Jews were consigned. He added in an interview for the Santa Cruz Sentinel on November 2, 1941,
“Full-blooded Jews, he said, were drafted for work under the Nazi German system. Many of them are on airdrome construction projects. The half-Jews, he explained, are drafted for regular army service. Oscar was drafted for military service at age 14 because "I was strong and husky."
In 1941 his father, faced with concentration camp or deportation left Germany with Oscar. The fate of his mother, who may not have been Jewish, is unknown. In September 1941 the Siltons arrived in Santa Cruz where they lived with relatives. Ernest Silton went to San Francisco to attend a special English language course and Oscar remained in Santa Cruz to attend Santa Cruz High School.
While in high school, Oscar learned auto mechanics and after his classes, was employed part time as a mechanic. In 1942 he transferred to Boulder Creek High School where it is believed he graduated. Prior to his military service, he moved to San Francisco and was employed as an auto mechanic.
On September 27, 1944 Oscar Silton was inducted into the US Army in San Francisco. He received his basic training at Camp Roberts, California, and was assigned to the 197th Glider Infantry Regiment. The regiment was serving in "mopping up" operations on Luzon in the Philippine Islands.
Private Oscar Silton was reported killed in action on May 3, 1945, during unspecified action at a yet to be identified location. His remains were later returned to California and reinterred in the Golden Gate National Cemetery at San Bruno.
(NARA2; USDVA; SCSn, November 2, 1941, SCHSC Pg. 18)