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Jewish War Veterans


KevinBeyer

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I recently obtained a Service Pin for the Ladies Auxiliary Jewish War Veterans of U.S.

 

LadiesAuxJewishWarVeteransOfUS.jpg

 

The history for the Jewish War Veterans evolves as:

 

1896 - First meeting with Hebrew Union Veterans

1900 - Formation of Hebrew Veterans of the War with Spain

1912 - Above two groups combine into the Jewish War Veterans

1919 - After World War I there was a name change to Hebrew Veterans of the Wars of the Republic

1924 - The name changed to the Jewish War Veterans of the Wars of the Republic

1928 - Ladies Auxiliary formed

1929 - The name changed to the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

 

Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

 

If anyone has any images to post of membership badges with any of the aforementioned incarnations of this organization, please share them.

 

Kevin

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  • 2 weeks later...

It is very interesting. Was this badge authorized officially by the US Administration or is it Jewish community initiative only? Are there the other similar badges in the USA for the Catholic, Protestant, Muslim or other religion veterans?

 

I am asking because I have never heard about such badges in other armed forces of the WWII where the soldier is first of all a citizen, not a representative of a religion. One of my favourite WWII veteran I interviewed for my articles and admired for several reasons is Jew who was a tanker fighting in the Polish Army in Normandy. He is excellent, bright-minded man highly decorated for his ETO service. He was NCO but a few years ago the Polish President promoted him to 2nd Lt. He has not one specially authorized decoration for the Jews though he has various top military medals of the Polish Army. He has always been liked very much in the Polish Army and – as he told me – "my commander was like a father for me". In the Polish Army of WWII era there was no need to decorate troops with emphasizing of their religion. That is why this badge is interesting for me.

 

Best regards

 

Greg

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It is very interesting. Was this badge authorized officially by the US Administration or is it Jewish community initiative only? Are there the other similar badges in the USA for the Catholic, Protestant, Muslim or other religion veterans?

 

I am asking because I have never heard about such badges in other armed forces of the WWII where the soldier is first of all a citizen, not a representative of a religion. One of my favourite WWII veteran I interviewed for my articles and admired for several reasons is Jew who was a tanker fighting in the Polish Army in Normandy. He is excellent, bright-minded man highly decorated for his ETO service. He was NCO but a few years ago the Polish President promoted him to 2nd Lt. He has not one specially authorized decoration for the Jews though he has various top military medals of the Polish Army. He has always been liked very much in the Polish Army and – as he told me – "my commander was like a father for me". In the Polish Army of WWII era there was no need to decorate troops with emphasizing of their religion. That is why this badge is interesting for me.

 

Best regards

 

Greg

These organizations were for veterans, not active duty soldiers. These had no official sanction by the U.S. military and these badges were not worn on military uniforms. There were also patches made by these organizations and any insignia was worn on civilian clothing or the respective organizations uniforms (if they had one).

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Friends,

 

Thank you very much for your additional information and images from your collections. I am very grateful because you opened my eyes very widely for mental and cultural difference between WWII-era European Jewish soldiers and their American countrymen. I am heavily surprised what I can see over here.

 

The topic became fascinating for me thanks to you though I do not understand totally general idea of creation such badges. It looks like the Jews were segregated during WWII in the US armed forces and now they feel they must emphasize their war effort but they were not segregated as far as I know. On the contrary -- if I am not mistaken they were highly appreciated at least for their multi-language skills for example in the OSS.

 

When I see the badge with inscription "West Point Jewish Chapel" then I am totally unable to imagine in Poland or other European country similar badge with inscription, for instance, "National Defense Academy Catholic Chapel" or other badge with the Roman Catholic symbology and inscription "Commander". Fortunately thanks to Lee I know now that such badges are not allowed to wear them on military uniforms. As I think the US armed forces have always wanted to be neutral when it comes to religious symbology.

 

Thanks to you I can see that Kevin's pin is not a kind of one-season ephéméride but this is the system. Frankly speaking when I saw Kevin's pin in the first post I was heavily surprised and thought something like "Good God, who designed it and what for? To manifest what and in front of whom? The pin looks like designed to wear at left upper pocket -- in the same place where Nazi system forced millions of European Jews to wear the Star of David as a symbol of their humiliation. Do the American Jews want to solidarize with the victims of Holocaust by wearing such pins?". Etc., etc.

 

I am normal man, I like and admire WWII-era Jewish soldiers because in frontline units they risked their lives a hundred times much more than Allied Catholic troops and when captured and taken POW Jews' life was counted in minutes. That is why I do not need "well-marked" Jewish WWII soldier today to tell him that I am full of respect for him. I do not understand something in these American pins but it must be my problem. I am afraid one more thing – I can imagine how react various anti-Semitic extremists seeing these pins. That is why I am not sure if it is good idea but of course nobody is forced to agree with me and I am open for your information about sources of this idea. When it was born and what for?

 

Today at Warsaw lives Dr Marek Edelman, the last surviving commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. No greatest WWII-era Jewish hero in the world. In 1943, in the heart of Nazi-occupied Europe he fought in the streets of Warsaw, at the distances of several yards, against anti-Semitic criminals of Waffen-SS. He fought in hopeless situation and fought not for victory, that was impossible, but for nothing, or if you want for the human dignity. His orders, medals, decorations may be counted in hundreds. He is a Knight of the Order of White Eagle -- the highest order of the Republic of Poland, the same as the US Presidents Thomas Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan received from the Polish Presidents. Today Dr Marek Edelman does not wear at his pocket a pin of "Commander" though he is real commander of the most unique and famous Jewish fight.

 

Believe, or not, but Dr Marek Edelman wears nothing, absolutely nothing of his decorations. He does not wear even one the smallest ribbon, never. The same goes for the Jewish tanker I mentioned in my first post. I admire this man because what he did in Normandy was almost crazy. He served in armoured reconnaissance regiment, I would say "at the tip of the tip" of armoured division. They permanently have in front of them fanatically anti-Semitic Waffen-SS tankers or panzergrenadiers. Many times they were several hundred yards from them. He listened their radio messages and thanks to his languages knowledge he cooperated with Canadian intelligence. If captured and taken POW he would be murdered at once or after heavy tortures if the Germans would discover that he is from reconnaissance unit supporting Allied intelligence. Today he also does not manifest his WWII "veteranism" with the Star of David though he is real hero awarded for his courage.

 

I am not sure what is the place where for instance American Jewish women could become war veterans (intelligence? auxiliary services? plants?) to emphasize this fact in post-war American public life if the Jewish men heavily fighting directly, face to face, against fanatic anti-Semitic Germans do not emphasize these facts by the pins, badges or other decorations?

 

One more time thank you very much for extremely interesting topic and your participation.

 

Best regards

 

Greg

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...The topic became fascinating for me thanks to you though I do not understand totally general idea of creation such badges.

Greg

 

Gregory,

 

I think what you do not realize is that the Jewish War Veterans was (is!) an organization created by men who were citizens, then soldiers, then veterans of the United States. This group has no affiliation with the United States military other than its members once served IN the US military. Please do not think that the Jews were the only religion whose members formed a veterans organization. There is also the Catholic War Veterans of the U.S.A.:

 

CATHOLIC WAR VETERANS OF THE U.S.A.

 

I do not have an example of the Catholic War Veterans membership badge. Can anyone post an example within this thread? (Or, better yet, create a new thread with it and including a link here?)

 

The United States has a long heritage of veterans of all backgrounds who wished to join together. There is even an organization for vets of Polish decent:

 

POLISH LEGION OF AMERICAN VETERANS, USA, INC

plav-letterhead.png

 

Kevin

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That’s right; in the United States we have lot of public organization, including veterans and any nationality chambers.

 

The Catholic War Veterans membership logo is on the picture.

post-828-1198878686.gif

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Hi Gents,

 

All is clear now. Yes, of course you are right, I did not know that there is so many veteran organizations in the USA established with so many various membership criteria – religious, unit, national, armed forces branch, war, or whatever else.

 

As a country you are more multi-cultural, multi-religion, multi-language etc. whereas I am writing from the country where 97 percent of population declares Catholicism. Our WWII veterans belong to their units associations and these associations may belong to greater federation called Federacja Stowarzyszeń Rezerwistów i Weteranów Sił Zbrojnych Rzeczpospolitej Polskiej. This federation belongs to well-known international Confédération Interalliée des Officiers de Réserve (CIOR) perhaps better known in the USA as the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (ICRO).

 

Thank you very much for your explaining this subject.

 

Best regards

 

Greg

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Fred Borgmann

Greg brings up an interesting question, were any Jewish GI's captured by the Germans in WWII and if so were they treated any differently than the other American POWs?

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Hello Fred,

 

Here is a link that to some extent tells about the difference between treating by the Germans the American non-Jewish POWs and the Jewish ones.

 

Best regards

 

Greg

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teufelhunde.ret
Hello Fred,

 

Here is a link that to some extent tells about the difference between treating by the Germans the American non-Jewish POWs and the Jewish ones.

 

Best regards

 

Greg

 

Thank you for sharing the link, being of German decent... I too am in complete agreement with the writers sediments.

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Fred Borgmann
I do not know this book but the review indicates that it tells about the same problem.

Thanks for the link. Based on what there was to read in the link this book is very weak on documentation and historical accuracy and seems to have been written to justify the author's personal opinions. For example the German language vote referred to would have been in the 1800's not the 1700's and if my memory isn't totally failing me it was not national but only in Wisconsin at which time the question was also raised if Wisconsin should become part of the German Empire!! The vote failed by a lot more than one vote. The author also thinks that the Germans born after the war should feel guilty for crimes commited before they were born. He also blames all the Germans living during the 3rd reich for making the attempted genocide possible. Both ideas I reject totally. That would be just like if all US citizens would be held reponsible for the Mei Lai (not sure about the spelling)massacre. When studying Germany under the nazis everyone should remember that the Nazis had publically stated their policy of arresting the entire family of any traitor down to the first cousin. As my grandfather who lived through it all told me "you can be brave when it is only your head on the block but it is not so easy to put your children there too." We as Americans who have never lived under a fanatical and criminally insane dictatorship could ever understand the fear that the Germans had of their own government. Remember that only 34% of the German electorate voted for the nazis in 1933 and the first thing that the nazis did was to start eliminating everyones civil rights. The problem with the discussion of German WWII history to this very day is that the war is still being fought at the expense of objectivity. Every one should read the book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shire. That book gives a fair and basic understanding of what life was like under the Nazis in Germany.

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Ok, folks, we have steered off topic significantly enough that I would respectfully ask that we return the conversation to the matter of Jewish War Veterans, their insignia, their auxiliary, and their mission. If you wish to further the discussion of Nazi Germany and their roll in the Holocaust, start a new thread in the appropriate category. This forum is for the discussion of Veterans' Organizations.

 

Kevin

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Fred Borgmann

Right you are Kevin. Let me bring this back in bounds with two medals originally owned by Jewish WWI veteran Meyer Cohon who was the commander of the Jewish War Veterans Post 32 in Worcester Mass. in 1933 and a loyal mason too.

post-591-1198996670.jpg

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Greg brings up an interesting question, were any Jewish GI's captured by the Germans in WWII and if so were they treated any differently than the other American POWs?

 

In the book "RAID" which is the story of Task Force Baum and the attempt to liberate the POWs at Hammelburg, one Jewish soldier relates his story when he was captured. In brief, he was told that if the Germans knew he was Jewish he would be executed. Many of the Jewish soldiers threw away their dog tags as that identified their religion. This soldier did not and when the Germans searched him, the asked him what the "H" (Hebrew) on his dog tag stood for. THinking quickly, he told them it stood for "Heer", the German word for Army. The German soldier accepted that without questioning why an American soldier would have the German word for Army on his tag.

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