Brodsky Library lunch and learn with Elsie Roth

Screen capture from a YouTube video posted by U.S. Army News and Media ( of a press conference given by Elsie Roth at Jewish Federation of St. Louis. 

The Saul Brodsky Jewish Community Library will welcome Elsie Roth for a discussion of “My Long Hard Journey to the Medal of Honor” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13 at the library, located in the Jewish Federation building, 12 Millstone Campus Dr. Guests may bring a brown bag lunch; the library will provide drinks and a sweet treat. 

Through narrative, photos and artifacts Roth will bring to life the story of her late father, Sgt. William Shemin, who served as in the infantry with the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. While serving as a rifleman from August 7-9, 1918, Shemin left his platoon’s trench and crossed open space, repeatedly exposing himself to heavy machine gun and rifle fire to rescue the wounded.  After officers and senior non-commissioned officers had become casualties, Shemin took command of the platoon and displayed great initiative under fire, until he was wounded on Aug. 9. 

Shemin received the Purple Heart. He was also awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for battlefield valor but as a result of anti-Semitism, Shemin was not recommended at the time for the highest honor for military service, the Medal of Honor. However, after much advocacy by Roth, President Barack Obama awarded Shemin the posthumous honor earlier this year. 

For more information, contact the library at 314-442-3720.

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