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Jules Janis

Jules Janis was born December 24, 1921, in the Bronx, New York City. He was born Julius Jankowitz to Nathan and Francis Jankowitz. His father was from Romania and his mother was Hungarian.
After high school, with the outbreak of WWII, Jules enlisted in the Army at the age of 20, joining the US Army Corp of Engineers. After training, Jules was sent to France to build
emergency airfields for General George S. Patton’s Third Army. Air support for the troops was critically important during the war.
During the German offensive of the Battle of the Bulge, the US Forces in Bastogne were surrounded by three German divisions. Only airdrops in the face of enemy fire could save the city and its defenders. Once the weather cleared, ammunition, food and medical supplies located at the quickly-constructed airfields were loaded onto aircraft. Precise airdrops were made to the US troops whose continued resistance slowed the German attack. The Germans soon began to retreat. The airfields built by the US Army Corp of Engineers close to the front lines were a key factor in the US victory.
A job that Jules Janis said that he and the other engineers regretted was installing at an army base a large wooden post with straps to restrain a soldier for execution by firing squad.
None of the engineers were told who was to be executed. Later they were saddened to learn that the person to be executed was an American soldier. This was the execution of Private Eddie Slovik*. He was the only American soldier to be executed for desertion in WWII. On January 31, 1945, Eddie Slovik was strapped to the post. Twelve soldiers aimed their rifles at his chest. One rifle was loaded with a blank. At 10:04AM, Eddie Slovik was executed by the firing squad. 

Jules Janis moved back to New York after the war. He went to work for the Franklin Stores selling women’s clothing. He opened a Franklin Store in downtown Harlingen. This was
his first glimpse of the Rio Grande Valley. On a trip back to New York, Jules met Roslyn Moskowitz, the secretary of the president of Franklin Stores. The president heard that Jules was interested in dating his secretary, so he warned Jules to stay away. Jules Janis did not usually obey warnings.


Jules and Roslyn were married on New Year’s Day, 1952, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Jules Janis was fired from Franklin Stores. The couple moved to Baltimore where Jules opened a women’s clothing store called Red Rooster.
In 1972, Jules, Roslyn and their two boys, Brian and Brett, moved to Brownsville. They became members of Temple Beth-El. Jules opened his women’s clothing store, also called Red Rooster, on Boca Chica Boulevard and later a store called Chicago on Elizabeth Street.
Jules Janis passed away in 2004 and Roslyn passed away in 2013. They are buried in the Hebrew Cemetery.
*The 1974 movie, The Execution of Private Slovik stars Martin Sheen.