Morton Katz defines the American soldier as one who can adapt and is resourceful. He has proven to be just that.
At 100 years young, this World War II Veteran is still fighting, practicing law as a public defender in Hartford. His clients are getting representation that is truly battle tested.
“Seventy-six years ago to this date, November 11, 1943, we were taking the mountain at Venafro,” he recalls.
Venafro, Italy that is. One of several European locations where Katz fought Nazi German forces.
While his training was as a paratrooper, Katz never parachuted into battle. He instead fought on the ground with the US Army, and recalls being involved in several significant battles including, the 1944 Battle of the Bulge.
“The line at that time was held by inexperienced green troops,” said Katz. “They had inadequate equipment and inadequate winter clothing.”
Katz describes it as “grim.” He remembers the bitter cold and tens of thousands of lives lost.
“(The Germans) caught us flat footed,” he said. “They broke through our lines and there were heavy casualties.”
There were other daunting moments too, like storming into a building filled with German soldiers.
“I went charging with a grenade in one hand and a .45 in the other,” Katz remembers. “The room was empty, they were all going out the back window.”
The fight today, in the courtrooms of Hartford, is less threatening but to Katz, no less important. He represents the under privileged, focuses mainly on criminal law and has no plans of retiring any time soon.
“I can do it and I like what I’m doing and I’m still doing it,” Katz said, “If I weren’t practicing law I wouldn’t know what to do.”