Kenneth Poch

His life ended prematurely by Lou Gehrig's disease, Kenneth Poch spent his last 10 years as the self-appointed historian of the Jewish soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Inspired by the 1992 book by Mel Young “Where They Lie: Someone Should Say Kaddish,” Ken took it upon himself to visit the graves, say Kaddish (the Jewish prayer for the dead) and place a small smooth stone on the headstone as a sign that someone had visited the grave. These visits caused him to inquire as to how many Jewish soldiers were actually buried at the famous national cemetery. As of January, 2008, there are more than 330,000 total graves at Arlington, but it was not until after World War I that it was permitted to include a religious symbol on the headstones. The headstones of many Jewish soldiers bear a Star of David, but not all. As of Ken's death in 2003, there were approximately 2,700 known Jewish graves at Arlington.

In May, 2008, the family of the late Kenneth Poch donated his extensive research to the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington. The donated materials include the meticulously organized photos, letters, surveys and other items gathered by Ken.

Fittingly, Ken is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 5-JJ, Row 2, Site 4. 


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Last updated: 07-Jan-2011.