Ephraim Goldberg
423rd Regiment, Company C
106th Infantry Division
Goldberg, ex-POW, accountant, dies at 86
Jul 11, 2008

Ephraim Goldberg, a World War II prisoner of war who went on to be an accountant and an active member of the Long Beach Jewish community, died Wednesday in Chevy Chase, Md., after a long illness. He was 86.

Goldberg, known widely as Ed, was born in Brooklyn, where his father, Joseph, was administrative director of the Brooklyn Jewish Center, a combination synagogue and community center. It was at this distinctively American institution -- "the shul with the pool" -- where Goldberg attended elementary school at the center academy, said Goldberg's son, Michael, of Cranston, R.I. Goldberg graduated from Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn and New York University.

He was drafted into the Army and after training at Fort Benning, Ga., and Camp Atterbury in Indiana, was shipped to Europe with the 106th Infantry Division. He was taken prisoner at the Battle of the Bulge and was held in a German POW camp (Stalag IV-B) until war's end. Goldberg was awarded the Purple Heart.

"He had never spoken about being a POW when I was a kid," said Michael. "Then one night at dinner, when I was about 11, he said, 'When I was in prison ... ' "

"I said, 'You were in jail?' " Michael recalled.

"He said, 'I was never in jail. I was in prison. There's a difference.' "

Relatives in Long Beach had arranged a correspondence between soldier Goldberg and a young woman named Natalie Perlo. The two exchanged letters during his training and met before he went abroad. Through the Red Cross, Goldberg was able to send letters out of the prison camp but was unable to receive any. When the Russians liberated the prison camp in 1945, Goldberg weighed under 100 pounds. When he had recovered his health, he married Perlo on Nov. 3, 1946.

The couple moved to Long Beach in 1954. For more than 50 years, both were active members of Congregation Beth Sholom, then known as East End Synagogue of Long Beach and Lido Beach. Natalie Goldberg died in 2004. Goldberg worked as a public accountant for the Charles W. Weiss Co. in Manhattan, eventually purchasing the practice. Before retiring, he was treasurer for Lifton Co., a Long Island-based private investment firm.

A lifelong fan of Big Band-era jazz, Goldberg "had virtually everything that Benny Goodman ever recorded," his son said, including V-disks distributed to the armed forces by the Defense Department that were not commercially available. He kept a phonograph that played 78s so he could still listen, Michael said.

In addition to his son, Goldberg is survived by two daughters, a brother, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at noon today at Congregation Beth Sholom in Long Beach. Burial will follow at Old Montifiore Cemetery in St. Albans. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to Congregation Beth Sholom or Hadassah.

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Page last revised 07/11/2008