Capt. Alexander White

Capt. Alexander White, shown on left in his Army uniform, is the 2021 East Valley Veterans Parade Grand Marshal. 

Capt. Alexander White, a concentration camp survivor who lost his entire family to the Nazis, is the 2021 East Valley Veterans Parade Grand Marshal.

Born in 1923, in Krosno, Poland, near the Ukraine/Slovakian borders, White as a teenager lived through the liquidation of the Krosno Ghetto, then spent a year in the Luftwaffe Labor Camp and six months in the concentration camp at KrakowPlassow.

In October 1944, his name appeared on a list of workers assigned to German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who was relocating his factory from Poland to the Sudetenland to avoid advancing Soviet armies. White surmises that he ended up on Schindler’s list because his profession was listed as a glazier and painter.

His specialty in glazing made him a rare commodity. Upon arrival at Schindler’s factory, he was assigned to a small area of the factory to work as a glazier. White survived the last months of the Holocaust at Schindler’s camp in Bruennlitz, Sudetenland, and was liberated on the last day of the war in Europe, May 8, 1945, from the camp – as shown in the movie “Schindler’s List.” After liberation, he made his way to Germany where, in 1950 as a refugee, he earned a medical degree from the University of Munich. Soon thereafter, he immigrated to the United States.

In 1953, he married Inez Libby, a Chicagoan, and joined the U.S. Army. He received a commission as a first lieutenant and completed his medical field service training at Ft. Sam Houston in Texas. From 1953-55, he served as a medical officer at USA Hospital at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

He was honorably discharged as a captain in the Army Reserves in 1955. Alex moved his wife and two children – soon to be three – to Chicago, where from 1956-58 he was a full-time faculty member of the Chicago Medical School.

He practiced medicine in a private practice in the area for close to 50 years while continuing to teach there as an associate professor as well as a voluntary faculty member of Cook County Hospital.

He retired to Scottsdale in the late 1990s, where he has become active in veteran affairs, becoming a member of the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame.

At age 98, he said he remembers his military years with fondness – especially the camaraderie – and often wished he had never left the service. He is joined in the parade by the following service marshals: 

• Army – Barry Rosenblatt Lt. Col. Barry Rosenblatt began his military career in the Army in 1972. He served in the medical corps where he performed advanced trauma surgery as a dentist, helicopter medical evacuation, and trained others in setting up mash units. Seven years ago, Barry took painting, welding and photography classes through the Mesa Art League Arizona Art Alliance Program and the Boeing Funded Mesa Art Center Veterans Art Program. These days his art can be viewed at a gallery he shares with his wife, Susan Paige, on Main Street in Mesa.

• Navy – Oakley J Ray Ensign Oakley J Ray was born in Gilbert in 1920 and is 101 years old. He served in the Navy 1943- 46. He was the payroll officer aboard the USS Estes, the ship upon which he witnessed the raising of the U.S. flag over Hiroshima. After WWII, Ray returned to Mesa, where he and his wife. Janet Anderson, raised 10 children. He received degrees in both accounting and law from Arizona universities. The Oakleys have 88 grandchildren, 330 great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren.

• Marine Corps – Sam Ingram Cpl. Sam Ingram enlisted in the Marines in 1961 in Los Angeles, making him a “Hollywood” Marine, and he’s proud of it. As a member of the 1st Marine Division in Camp Pendleton, Calif., he boarded a ship for Cuba shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Later, he set sail to the Mediterranean and finally to Vietnam, where he received his discharge. The VA provided the funds for Sam to complete an accounting degree at Franklin University. He is now retired and resides with his wife in Tempe. 

• Air Force – Bob Jeffrey Col. Robert “Bob” Jeffrey was a top fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force and flew critical missions in Vietnam. On Dec. 20, 1965, his F-4 Phantom took a direct hit from anti-aircraft fire and he was forced to eject in enemy territory. He endured 2,611 days in captivity at the infamous Hanoi Hilton. He commanded numerous aircraft both in his military and civilian careers. His military decorations include: Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with V device and one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart with palm, POW Medal, and many others.

• Coast Guard – Jason Roberts Chief Petty Officer Jason Roberts served with the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army before transitioning to the Florida National Guard, law enforcement, and eventually enlisting with the U.S. Coast Guard. He was one of the initial first responders on scene after the destruction of southern Louisiana during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He is credited with saving the lives of more than 75 people during these round-the-clock operations. Roberts earned degrees from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Arizona State University. He retired from active military service in 2018 after a combined 27-year career and continues to serve his community in ministry with Rock Point Church

The East Valley Veterans Parade is supported by: Premium Sponsors

• Arizona Dept. of Veterans Services

• East Valley Tribune • Signarama-Chandler

• 960 The Patriot Stars & Stripes Sponsors

• Albertsons-Safeway

• Downtown Mesa Association

• Geico of Mesa

• Larry H Miller Ford

• MD Helicopter

• Mesa Community College

• Mesa Hohokams

• SRP Patriot Sponsors

• Copa Health

• Gateway Bank

• Mesa Secure Storage

• Mesa Sunrise Rotary Club

• Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport

• Virginia Berg

Visit Mesa Special thanks for the support of the City of Mesa.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.