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Jewish American Soldiers: Stories from WWII
October 25, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm$10
The Center is pleased to co-sponsor this event, which is hosted by the UNC Friday Center.
Film screening: Jewish American Soldiers: Stories from WWII
Join us for a screening of this important documentary film, followed by a discussion with film director, Glenn Fishkin, and producer, Mason Sklut.
Jewish American Soldiers: Stories from WWII recounts the stories of Jewish WWII veterans, who share their personal narrative. Of the twelve veterans interviewed, nine are from North Carolina and several are Holocaust survivors who served in World War II. The film explores their unique experiences of being Jewish soldiers at a time when Jews were outcasts around the world, including in America.
The war transformed American Jews in many ways. The veterans were fighting a battle on three fronts: against the American enemies, against fascism and the Nazis, and a personal battle against Anti-Semitism. Deborah Dash Moore, author of GI Jews, said, “it was the formative experience for young Jewish men and since then, there hasn’t been any such formative experience that cuts across class, that cuts across region that cuts across religious belief.”
Some of the veterans were not used to being in the South, where many of the training camps were located. In some of these small towns, there were signs that said, “Jews not welcome.” Bennett Lyons, a veteran from Brooklyn said it was, “foreign country down south to Jews from New York.”
For some it was their first time in an airplane. Jerry Levin, a flight engineer recounted his experience, “I had never flown in an airplane until that time and they put me in an open cockpit back with a 50-caliber machine gun.”
These young men felt they had to prove themselves as fighters worthy of respect by their comrades. These Jewish veterans were responsible for bombing Hitler’s oil supplies in Vienna, Austria, breaking enemy codes, all while keeping their traditions such as celebrating Rosh Hashanah or Passover at base camp. For Alan Goldberg, who was in General Patton’s Third Army, his faith got him through the war. “The principles that we are taught are the universal principles of life and you find it in Judaism and that is why I’m thankful that I’m Jewish.”
These brave men fought on enemy lines for their families, who were persecuted by the Nazis. Without them, many of us would not be here today. The film provides a rare glimpse of war through the lens of Jewish veterans and offers a powerful message of faith, freedom, and the triumph of the human spirit.
Additional information on the film can be found online.
Please note there is a $10 fee for this event. Pre-register at the UNC Friday Center web site.