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I Bore Witness Fred B. Lavin

Fred B. Lavin (1922—2005)

Jewish Soldier

B.S. in Business Administration  Miami University, Class of 1945

Born in Canton, Ohio, Fred was a student at Miami University from 1941-1943, where he was heavily involved with the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. In 1943, Fred joined the V-12 program at Miami University. The V-12 program was a national initiative that trained officers for the U.S. Navy in American universities. Following the completion of the program, Fred was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy and served in the Pacific. During the war, Fred exchanged letters with his younger brother, Carl, who was stationed in Europe. Although the brothers wrote about their different experiences in the war, their letters also shared a desire to reconnect about mutual friends, family, and their student days at Miami University. After being discharged from the Navy for medical reasons, Fred returned to Miami and graduated in 1945. Fred helped the family business in Canton alongside his brother Carl until 1969. Frank Lavin, former U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, wrote about his uncle’s wartime experiences in his book, Home Front to Battlefront: An Ohio Teenager in World War II (Ohio University Press, 2016).


Three Images 1. Fred Lavin (right) and Carl Lavin, 1930, 2. Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity certificate and 3. Fred Lavin (middle), Carl Lavin and Leo Lavin

  1. Photograph of Fred Lavin (right) and Carl Lavin, 1930

  2. Membership certificate, Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity, Miami University, 1941​

  3. Photograph of Fred Lavin (middle), Carl Lavin and Leo Lavin, 1934


Fred 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.