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Lewis Albert Stein

The only Jewish soldier to be killed in action was Lewis A. Stein (9/17/1924-1/8/1945), the son of Morris and Mae Rose Stein. He was born in Brownsville and served as a Sunday school teacher at Temple Beth-El. He graduated from Brownsville High School and entered Texas A & M.
When World War II began, Lewis Stein quit college to join the Army. Other Brownsville Jewish families had sons who joined the military including the two Edelstein boys and the five Sommer boys (two were sons-in laws).
On January 8, 1945, Pfc. Lewis A. Stein was killed in action in the Strasbourg area of France. Lewis was serving as an infantryman fighting the Nazis. In battle in France, he was wounded in December of 1944 and was treated at a field hospital. Pfc. Stein soon recovered and was walking back to join his company which was close to the frontlines. The driver of a passing Jeep stopped to give Lewis a ride. He said, “Ride in the back like the officers do”. This was a fatal mistake because a German sniper, thinking Lewis was an officer, shot and killed him. His photograph, Purple Heart, and citation from President Franklin D. Roosevelt are displayed in
Temple Beth-El.
His parents were devastated by the loss of their only child. His dad, J. Morris Stein (1/14/1889-12/7/1946), died a year later of a heart attack and was buried near his son. Mr. Stein served as an Army Sargeant in World War I and was owner of the Brownsville Herald from 1924 to 1929. In 1930 he purchased a newspaper in Georgia but sold it to return to his beloved Brownsville. He wrote articles for the Brownsville Herald until his death. J. Morris Stein’s memorial service was held in Temple Beth-El synagogue on St. Francis St. which was filled to capacity.
Lewis’s mother, Mae Rose Weil Stein (2/6/1896-6/26/1983), is buried near her husband and son. She left a bequest to Temple Beth-El in her will for a new Sunday school in honor of
her son, Lewis A Stein. With these funds, money collected in the building fund and a campaign for donations, the present Temple Beth-El building was constructed in 1989.
Above the door to the school wing is a plaque that reads, “A legacy of Mae Rose and J. Morris Stein, in Remembrance of their son, Lewis Albert Stein – The Lewis Albert Stein Memorial Religious School. “Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children”  Deuteronomy VI, 7.”
Lewis Albert Stein is buried in Buena Vista Cemetery in Brownsville near his father and mother, J. Morris and Mae Rose Weil Stein.

Lewis Stein Photo