Jerome "Jerry" Kaplan, son of Celia and August, was born on June 17, 1927, in Bayonne, New Jersey.
Jerry served as an assistant to a pharmacist in the US Navy during and after World War II. After his discharge he entered a preparatory course for the university, but when he heard that the Jews in Palestine, struggling for their independence, needed young forces to help them, he stopped his studies and volunteered for the Hagana. He arrived in Haifa on April 14, 1948, and after two weeks went to combat service in the Givati Brigade. During Operation “Maccabi” for the breakthrough to Jerusalem, on May 21, 1948, a force from the “Givati” Brigade left a number of armored vehicles to transfer ammunition to the Harel forces in the eastern sector. The force encountered British armored vehicles near Deir Ayyub and absorbed casualties. A reinforcements force was sent to his aid and after retreating, the forces seized the Latrun detention camp, intending to use it as a base for the conquest of Latrun. The next morning, the force suffered a heavy bombardment of the Kaukji’s “Rescue Army” guns stationed in Latrun. The force had casualties and had to retreat. In this battle, Jerry fell on May 13, 1948, the day before the declaration of the State of Israel. His remains found in a mass grave were identified 57 years later. He, along with his fellow soldiers, was reinterred with the 32nd Battalion at Har Herzl.