By: CSM Sam Yudin, CA ARNG
The Texas Revolution was fought from 1835 to 1836 resulting in independence for the Republic of Texas until the United States’ annexation in 1845 which led to the Mexican-American War. Sydney Gumpertz in his book The Jewish Legion of Valor writes, “…the Jew again drew the sword in defense of liberty” for “the Lone Star State in its fight for independence…” In her book, Pioneer Jewish Texans, Natalie Ornish writes, “…there may have been eight Jews at the Alamo in the fighting for Texas independence…”
David Levi Kokernut, Dr. Albert Moses Levy, Julian Harby, and Herman Ehrenberg, members of the New Orleans Grays fought for five days in the storming of Bexar starting on December 4, 1835. Kokernut, Levy, and Ehrenberg would record in writing the experience of fighting house to house. Dr. Levy was rewarded for his bravery and Ehrenberg who stayed in the Alamo was known to scout and acquire provisions, risking his life, in enemy areas.
Louis Moses Rose is said to have been a French Jew who fought in the French Army under Napoleon in Italy, the French invasion of Russia and the Peninsular War. It is also said in Texas he had fought in the Fredonian Rebellion (1826) and at the Battle of Nacogdoches (1832) and with his friend Colonel James Bowie at the first two battles at the Alamo, the storming of Bexar and the battle which proceeded the fall of the Alamo. What happened next is shrouded in mystery. The story goes that Rose escaped the Alamo before the fall and made his way to the Zuber Ranch. Some didn’t believe he escaped but the story of Colonel Travis’ speech and drawing a line in the sand with his sword is credited to Rose’s account.
Anthony (Avram) Wolf and his two sons, Benjamin(12) and Michael (11), had moved to San Antonio with the Texas Army as a member of Captain William R. Carey’s artillery company. Wolf was killed as king the Mexicans for clemency after the fall of the Alamo. According to two survivors the Wolf boys were killed by the Mexicans in a room with other survivors. Wolf and his two sons are the only known Jews to die at the Alamo.
Three weeks after the fall of the Alamo, 330 Texan prisoners including their leader, James Walker Fannin Jr., were shot to death at Goliad on March 27, 1835. Of the four Jews present at Goliad, Herman Ehrenberg, Benjamin M. Mordecai, and M.K. Moses escaped. Edward Isaac Johnson the fourth Jew was killed. Ehrenberg writes about the massacre at Goliad and his miraculous escape.
Originally published in the Purim 2021 issue of The Jewish American Warrior.