Greenpointers in World War I

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According to the commander of St. Stanislaw American Legion Post 1771Greenpoint lost more soldiers in World War I than any other American zip code. I counted a hundred and twenty eight local boys who died  from the post’s website.

Why so many from Greenpoint? I think part of the huge number stems from the fact that by the outbreak of the war the largest ethnic group in Greenpoint was Polish and many Poles saw the war as a way to liberate Poland. They volunteered in huge numbers. There is a beautiful Italianate Polish War Veterans club on Noble that stands as a reminder of how many Poles fought in the great war.

One of those Polish-Americans who fell was Frank Baliszewski, who lived in the house where I presently live #2 Clifford Place. Baliszewski died of his wounds on October 4, 1918.

Of course, not all the soldiers were Polish. Two  McVeigh Brothers from Hausman Street appeared to have died within a day of each other.

McVeigh James J.
20 Hausman Street, Brooklyn
Private Co E 106th Infantry
Killed in action September 27, 1918.

McVeigh Andrew J 20 Hausman Street, Brooklyn

Private Co A 313th Engrs
Killed in action September 26, 1918.

When you look down the long list of the dead you are also struck by how many died of Pneumonia.

It was a brutal war and so many locals never came back from it. Their friends and family wanted to recall them and they created a statue of great beauty.

One of the reminders of how the great war affected the area is still seen in McGoldrick Park. It is not surprising given the large number of local boys who fell that the community put up such a beautiful statue to honor World War I vets in the park. The striking bronze winged victory figure at the top of the post  was created by Carl Augustus Heber (1875–1956) and dates to 1923. The monument honors the residents from the Greenpoint community who fought in World War I. The statue depicts a female allegorical figure, holding aloft a modified laurel, symbol of victory, and in her right hand supporting a large palm frond, symbol of peace. The granite pedestal is inscribed with the names of battle sites in France. The monument was commissioned at a cost of $7,300 by the Greenpoint Memorial Association.

Heber was born in Stuttgart, Germany, on April 15, 1875. He studied art at the Academie Julian and Écoles des Beaux Arts in Paris, France, as well as at the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois

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