Carl H. Lavin (1924—2014)
B.S. in Business Administration Miami University, Class of 1948
Born in Canton, Ohio, Carl studied at Miami University until May 1943, when he was called into active duty in the U.S. Army. Lavin fought on the front lines of the Battle of the Bulge, where his unit suffered major casualties. Carl was able to maintain a steady correspondence with his family during the war and his letters provide a window into everyday life in the military. In the weeks after the war, General Eisenhower issued an order that any American Jewish soldier could visit a liberated camp to see the devastation of the Holocaust. Although personally invited by his company commander, Carl declined the visit because of the horrifying photographs of liberated camps that were being published in newspapers at the time. He would regret that decision for the rest of his life, but like many soldiers he had already witnessed enough death and suffering. Following the war, Carl returned to Miami in 1946 and became President of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. Carl’s older brother Fred is also an alumnus of Miami University. Frank Lavin, former U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, wrote about his father’s war experiences in his book, Home Front to Battlefront: An Ohio Teenager in World War II (Ohio University Press, 2016).
1. Photograph of Carl Lavin (middle), Fred Lavin and Dorothy Lavin, 1930
2. Membership certificate, Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity, Miami University, 1943
3. Letter from Carl Lavin to Mr. and Mrs. Leo Lavin, 1945
1. Photograph of Carl Lavin in uniform at Fort Hood, 1943
2. Letter from Carl Lavin to Mr. and Mrs. Leo Lavin, undated
Home Front to Battlefront
An Ohio Teenager in World War II
Carl Lavin’s story is one of ten extraordinary personal journeys of Miami alumni and faculty told in the exhibition, Bearing Witness: The Holocaust and Jewish Experience at Miami University, co-hosted by the Walter Havighurst Special Collections & University Archives and Hillel at Miami University.