REMEMBERING A FORGOTTEN HERO
Some stories deserve to be told to a new generation. Harold Haberfeld's story is one.
Harold Haberfeld was raised in Beaver County and graduated from Geneva College in 1934. He went on to serve in the FBI-where the language skills he learned at Geneva made him a valuable agent during World War II.
On January 15, 1943, Harold was on a plane bound for North Africa. He and another agent had been assigned to question a suspected Nazi collaborator at the request of General Dwight Eisenhower. Their plane crashed in Dutch Guiana, South America, killing all 35 people on board. The wreckage was spread over more than a mile of thick jungle, and the recovered remains were buried in a single grave. At first, sabotage was suspected, but mechanical difficulties proved to be the cause of the crash. Two weeks later, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover joined hundreds of mourners at the Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Beaver Falls. Harold was survived by his parents and wife.
That would have been the end of the story, except for the curiosity and persistence of FBI staff members in the Buffalo, New York field office. They were informed that Special Agent Haberfeld had served in the Buffalo office, and with the help of the staff at Geneva, they began to discover the details of his story. Their effort culminated on May 17, when the Buffalo field office dedicated its conference room to the memory of Harold Haberfeld.
Director of Alumni Relations Tom Stein '86 attended the ceremony, which included the unveiling of a memorial plaque, the laying of a memorial wreath, the reading of the names of all FBI agents who have died in the line of duty and the poignant sounds of a lone bagpiper. Tom told the crowd, "For generations, Geneva College has trained students to live Pro Christo et Patria-for Christ and country. We want our graduates to be faithful servants of their Savior, and to be fruitful citizens of their country." Harold Haberfeld is an example of that mission fulfilled.
The story of Harold Haberfeld is still not complete. FBI officials say some of the documents related to his mission remain classified, and they are requesting declassification, so that more of his story can be told.
Harold Haberfeld has no surviving relatives. But we are the heirs of men and women like him who have sacrificed their lives, so that we may freely worship our Savior and serve our country.
Norma White (1936-2012)Longtime supporter and friend Mrs. Norma White went to be with the Lord Monday, May 7.
2012 Commencement Address
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