GI Jews: How World War II Changed a Generation

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By – July 3, 2014

More than half a mil­lion Jew­ish Amer­i­cans served in the Unit­ed States armed forces dur­ing World War II, enter­ing every branch of the mil­i­tary and fight­ing on every front. G.I. Jews is about the strug­gles Jew­ish ser­vice­men faced in fight­ing not only the ene­my but also the anti-Semi­tism of their fel­low Amer­i­can sol­diers. Many of these young men entered the ser­vice tak­ing their Jew­ish iden­ti­ty for grant­ed, but their expe­ri­ences — being forced to eat non-kosher food, con­tend­ing with anti- Semi­tism and racism, con­fronting the dev­as­ta­tion in the con­cen­tra­tion camps — were their ini­ti­a­tion into Jew­ish man­hood and respon­si­bil­i­ty.” Deb­o­rah Dash Moore, Pro­fes­sor of Reli­gion at Vas­sar Col­lege, is unique­ly qual­i­fied to write about this sub­ject. As part of her research, Moore drew on oral inter­views, mem­oirs and let­ters of her father, Mar­tin Dash, as well as 14 oth­er Jew­ish vet­er­ans of World War II. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, illus­tra­tions, index, notes. 

Mo Alter was a retired edu­ca­tor with degrees from Brook­lyn Col­lege and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mia­mi. He served in the Pacif­ic The­atre dur­ing World War II. He passed away in ear­ly May, 2006, at 91 years of age.

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