He was 93, and would have celebrated his 94th birthday on
"Sol was an extraordinary public servant and a businessman who believed what Judaism teaches about social justice," said former Undersecretary of State
"He supported peace in the
"He had tremendous energy and verve, and he and his late wife Jean were energized, committed and invested as people," she said.
"It was rough making ends meet,"
He landed in Normandy on D-Day in the second wave of troops, and by day's end, 40 percent of his platoon had been killed.
Recalling making his way to the beach from a landing craft, he wrote, "You just tried to keep your legs moving and wondering if you were going to be the next hit."
"I have never gone back [to Normandy] because I have too many friends that are still there," he told the Cecil Whig in a 2014 interview.
He fought across
"We had no idea about concentration camps; no one had ever said a word," he wrote.
He was approached by a man who weighed no more than 70 pounds who wanted to know if they were American soldiers.
"I said, 'Yes,' but in Yiddish, and said, 'I am also a Jew,'" he recalled. "He grabbed my hands and said in Yiddish, 'What took you so long?' I started to cry."
Several days later, when a German major he had taken prisoner called him a 'Jewish pig' and spat in his face,
"I cut him from his neck to his chest, and we threw his body in the woods," he wrote. "I guess I kept seeing myself in those concentration camps, and in that instantaneous moment I just reacted."
Discharged in 1946 with the rank of master sergeant, he returned to
His decorations included the Bronze Star for valor, Purple Heart, Legion of Merit, Combat Infantry Badge with two battle stars for Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, and in 2013 was awarded the Legion d'Honneur by the French government.
In 1946, he married
For more than 40 years, he was an executive with the
"His profession was the insurance business, but his devotion was helping people in desperate straits," said a son,
His wartime experiences led
"When I was [at Buchenwald], I swore if there was ever a Jew in trouble and I could help, I would," he told
In the mid-1950s, he joined the Israeli Defense Forces and worked to get Jews out of the
After being discharged in 1982, he went to
"In 1982, I along with five other people went to
"And then I went to
"They didn't want me there, and I wouldn't even tell them where I was going ... and who I was visiting, and I wouldn't tell them," he said in the interview.
"When I reached the age of 70 ... something came up, and my wife said, 'No that's all. No more.' She never complained or never said I couldn't go or do, but then she drew the line," he said in the Goucher interview.
He was a founder of the
He chaired the
He served on the Governor's
"He was involved in a lot of issues that were important to a lot of people," his son said.
"Our two families were very close, and one of my fondest memories was of our two families going to
A longtime resident of
He had been an active member of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation since 1951.
Funeral services were held Friday at Sol Levinson & Bros. in
He is survived by two other sons,
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