published: 02.06.2012, 18:25 | updated: 02.06.2012 18:57:57
Prague/Washington - Leopold Karpeles, born in a Prague Jewish family in 1836, received the Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. military decoration, for his courage in the fights on the side of the North in the American Civil War (1861-1865), the public Czech Radio Radiozurnal reported today.
It referred to archivist Wendy Turman, from the Historical Society in Washington.
According to experts from the Czech Military History Institute, it is the only known case of a person of Czech origin being awarded this medal.
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the government of the United States. It is bestowed on the American armed forces´ members who distinguished themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States."
The medal is presented to the awarded person or his/her family members by the U.S. president.
Radiozurnal reported that in the Czech Republic not much was known about Karpeles´s life and relatives.
He lived in Washington in the United States where he left as a boy, probably after 1848. He joined the Civil War since he wanted to fight against slavery, according to a testimony of his daughter.
In one battle, his courage made a North infantry regiment not run away. He was wounded twice in the war fights, the radio reported.
It was not known that Karpeles came from Prague probably over inexact records. He is registered in the Washington-based archive of the American Jewish Historical Society as a native of Prague, but he was officially listed as a native of Hungary.
It cannot be ruled out that he was really born in Hungary but he was growing up in Prague and he considered Prague his home town, the radio said.
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