Photo courtesy of the American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. Photo courtesy of the American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY.
Yom Kippur services, Luxembourg 1944. Gift of Samson and Rosalyn Goldstein, Yaffa Eliach Collection donated by the Center for Holocaust Studies, Collection of Museum of Jewish Heritage, NY.
Pfc. Stanley Meyerson sent a Passover V-mail to his parents from India. Gift of Ronnie F. Liebowitz in Loving Memory of Stanley Meyerson, Collection Museum of Jewish Heritage, NY.
Ours to Fight For," Courtesy, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. Ours to Fight For," Courtesy, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY.
Bernard Katz of the Bronx and Joel Schatz of Brooklyn in the US Army, Italy, 1944. Collection of Bernard Katz.
1st Lt. Meyer J. Birnbaum at his brother’s grave, Blosville, France, June 26, 1944. Albert Birnbaum died in battle after the D-Day invasion at Utah Beach. Collection of Meyer J. Birnbaum.
“Ours to Fight For” examines and celebrates the role of Jewish servicemen and women who labored on and off the battlefield during World War II.
The story is told almost exclusively in the first person, using quotations from the more than 400 oral histories of Jewish servicemen and women. It powerfully illustrates what it was like to serve as an American and a Jew in this greatest of human conflicts.
The voices of the soldiers and sailors, airmen and marines, WACs and WAVEs appear in seven videos, two audio programs, and dozens of written “labels” that narrate the exhibition and animate the artifacts, documents, military paraphernalia and images.
Among the more than 200 artifacts is a Jewish prayerbook of Staff Sgt. Jacob Eines who was hit by shrapnel but not fatally wounded because of the prayerbook in his breast pocket; the accordion Hermann Goering gave to the Jewish GI who interrogated him after his surrender; and a Torah scroll used by Chaplain Rabbi David Max Eichhorn at the first Jewish service conducted at Dachau after the camp was liberated (together with the film taken at that service).
Interactive stations at the end of the exhibit allow visitors to explore the experiences of other groups who served in the military during World War II, including African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and Russian Jews.
“Ours to Fight For” was curated and is circulated by the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, New York.
Major funding for this exhibition has been generously provided by Jack and Susan Rudin and Family in memory of Lewis Rudin; by Irving Schneider in memory of his friend, Lewis Rudin; and by Irving and June Paler in memory of June’s father, Duncan Robertson, who fought for justice in both world wars.
Additional local sponsors include Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, in memory of Lt. Col. David Dewhurst; the Jerry and Walter Finger Families; Punkin and Walter Hecht and Family, in memory of Capt. Harry Katz; A.I. and Manet Schepps Foundation in memory of A.I. Schepps; Michelle and Gregg Philipson, in memory of Bernard H. Philipson, Joseph I. Warech and Gerard M. Degenstein; Eileen Cersonsky in memory of Leonard “Swede” Cersonsky; and The Machol Family in memory of Fred Machol.
The public is invited to a free preview reception at from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 14, 2011. Admission is free, but advance registration is required for this reception. Visit http://www.hmh.org/RegisterEvent.aspx to RSVP online.