The Intersection Of Service And Heritage: A West Point Graduate On Understanding Her Family’s Holocaust Experience

Zoe Kreitenberg


Zoe Kreitenberg graduated from West Point in 2016 and became an Air Defense Officer. As she approached her graduation and commissioning in the United States Army, her family heritage became increasingly important to her. Her grandparents survived the Holocaust, and that legacy was instrumental in shaping Zoe’s character. As a young girl, she recalled being given opportunity that had not been available in earlier generations which enabled her to excel. She also knew never to wear yellow around her grandma’s house, because it brought back memories of being forced to wear the Star of David. Her grandparents had recorded interviews for the Shoah Foundation, but no one in the family was permitted to watch the tapes while their grandparents were alive. In fact, no one ever discussed the Holocaust or the war around the grandparents’ home, even though it formed part of the family’s history. Zoe knew that she had to watch her grandmother’s story before she commissioned because it would help her get “in touch with who I am and where I come from.” After watching the interviews, Zoe understood the resiliency she observed in her grandparents, and how they were able to pick up the pieces of a broken world to make their lives better. She discusses three elements of success: having talent and ability, engaging in hard work, and being able to manage time. Finally, she reflects on what West Point and service mean to her, and her determination to make the world a better place.


topics Faith and Religion Diversity Women in Service West Point History Character Leadership Jewish Military Experience
interviewer David Frey
date 10 April 2018


name Zoe Kreitenberg
institution USMA
graduation year 2016
service Air Defense
unit 3-43 Air Defense
service dates 2016