For young Jewish men in the American military, World War II had particularly high stakes. They served both as Americans and as Jews in this greatest of human conflicts, determined to defeat Nazi Germany at all costs.
The Museum held a Veterans Day screening of Bagels Over Berlin: Voices of American Jewish Airmen, a documentary from filmmaker Alan Feinberg which explores the experiences of these young men and highlights their heroism. The film focuses on the U.S. Army Air Corps, which suffered the highest mortality rate among branches of the U.S. armed forces but which nonetheless attracted Jewish volunteers in disproportionately large numbers.
Following the screening was this discussion with Feinberg and Gerald Gersten, who flew 35 bombing missions over Germany between 1943 and 1945.
Watch the discussion below.
This program’s original recording transcript is below. This transcription was created automatically during a live program so may contain inaccurate transcriptions of some words.
Ari Goldstein: I'm Ari Goldstein Senior Public programs producer at the museum Jewish heritage living memorial to the Holocaust and it's a real pleasure to welcome you to bagels over Berlin voices of American Jewish airman.
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Ari Goldstein: want to acknowledge that today is veterans day and offer our thanks and acknowledgement to all the veterans and families of veterans in our audience today.
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Ari Goldstein: For young Jewish men in the American military World War Two had particularly high stakes.
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Ari Goldstein: A served both as Americans and as Jews in this great human conflict determined to defeat Nazi Germany at all costs.
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Ari Goldstein: Their experiences with the subject of the museum's award winning 2003 exhibition hours to fight for American Jews in the Second World War.
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Ari Goldstein: Today, on veterans day we are revisiting the subject and learning from these men, through their own words, first in the wonderful documentary bagels over Berlin directed by Alan feinberg.
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Ari Goldstein: And then in a brief discussion with Alan and Gerald gersten who flew 35 bombing missions over Germany between 1943 and 1945 today Jerry is 97 years young Jerry welcome, thank you for being with us.
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Gerald Gersten: Thank you.
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Gerald Gersten: it's a pleasure to be here.
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Ari Goldstein: and special things to sherry gersten jerry's daughter who's helping her dad and is also also with us today off camera.
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Ari Goldstein: As you're watching the film please feel free to share questions for both Alan and Jerry in the zoom Q amp a box and we'll get to as many as we can, during the post film discussion.
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Ari Goldstein: Without further ado i'll turn things over to her for a few words, before we begin the film.
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Ari Goldstein: Originally from buffalo New York Alan graduated from the wharton school and moved to Florida 40 years ago where he has spent his career as a photographer concentrated on documentary filmmaking Alan thanks for being here and over to you.
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Alan Feinberg: Thank you for the introduction it's a pleasure to be here, thank you for everyone for tuning in we are on the 11th day of the 11th month we didn't quite catch the 11th hour.
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Alan Feinberg: But this is veterans day.
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Alan Feinberg: And no perfect more perfect time to show this film.
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Alan Feinberg: People describe World War Two as the good war, though it's, a fact that the majority of Americans were against any involvement in what they called.
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Alan Feinberg: europe's war people felt the conflict across the Atlantic had nothing to do with them and that brought oceans would protect our American way of life and we didn't have to get involved.
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Alan Feinberg: Well, everything changed, of course, following the sneak attack on Pearl harbor and even the most demonstrative isolationist change their tune after Pearl.
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Alan Feinberg: And they urged all Americans to join the fight all these years later, with most of the wars participants having passed on our connection with World War Two has begun to fade.
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Alan Feinberg: I became involved with my wife's 95 year old uncle His name was Donald cats came for dinner one night and unsolicited he began talking about a bombing mission.
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Alan Feinberg: where he served as a nose gunner a board of be 24 like most veterans of his generation he never spoken about his work experiences even to his family.
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Alan Feinberg: They came home they returned to school or jobs and they went on, with their lives, but now, many of the men realize that time was running out if they wanted to tell the story in their own words.
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Alan Feinberg: that's where I entered the picture I recorded interviews with her uncle Donald just for fun to have it, for his grandchildren.
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Alan Feinberg: And then he introduced me to some friends, he said you've got to listen to their stories because they've got some fabulous stories to tell.
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Alan Feinberg: I had a whole bunch of these things and I was going to donate them because they're so fascinating to me air force museum and Dayton Ohio or maybe the Holocaust Museum in Washington.
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Alan Feinberg: But it didn't get that far, because I sent some clips to my brother Gary who lives in phoenix and he's a history buff and I said look what i've got here i'm going to donate these these are fabulous collections he responded he called me and he said.
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Alan Feinberg: it's great did you notice, they all seem to be Jewish, I said that wasn't for pointing that not at all, it just happened that way.
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Alan Feinberg: He called me the next day, and he said, you know forget what I said yesterday in the 1930s Jews were shopkeepers and peddlers they weren't fighters you've got stories from Jewish American war heroes that's a movie you could make why don't you try that so I did.
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Alan Feinberg: Over the next three years, I assembled lots of material I did some more interviews and I stuck with the Jewish theme and the funny thing is when.
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Alan Feinberg: I showed the film, for the first time here in Florida, where I live in the Community room a whole bunch of friends were there and that night I got an email from.
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Alan Feinberg: One of our friends he's a Gentile married to a Jewish girl, and he sent me an email, and he said Alan it was a great film glad I was there tonight, but tell me, there are no going in the war.
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150,000 Jews joined the United States army Air Corps during World War Two.
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Jews suffered over 50,000 casualties, including 11,000 killed.
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All those stereotypes persisted of Jews, avoiding military service and seeking safe assignments, the reality in World War Two was far different.
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juicer there country in a higher percentage than their share of the population and many chose the Air Corps, which, in the early years of the war at a motel any rate as high as 70%.
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They were brave they were young at that age.
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They felt invincible.
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The Air Corps had the highest casualty rate of all the armed services just would arrive in a sudden and horrifying manner.
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In the sky.
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This is a study in patriotism and of the brave Jewish men who fought to defend their country.
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These men came of age, in a time when anti Semitic talks on the walk to school or not at all uncommon.
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They were typical American teams who follow the New York Yankees and brooklyn dodgers and who thought of themselves as Americans first.
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And Jewish second.
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Following the German invasion of Poland and with all of Europe embroiled in war reaction across America to the hospital studies abroad with sharply divided.
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One anti war group was known as isolationists comprised in part of immigrant families who had left their European homelands, to avoid the endless conflicts and who felt that isolation gave them security.
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interventionists believe strongly that Hitler had to be stopped before he gained domination of all Europe their differences, would continue to be the subject of bitter debate in the months and years prior to america's entry into the war.
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isolationist speech was openly filled with anti Semitic rhetoric, as they sought to achieve their two primary goals keeping America out of the European war.
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and keeping European Jews, seeking to escape Hitler out of America interventionists did not want war either, but felt that Hitler had to be defeated before he spread his brand of hatred.
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When Congress declared war on Japan on Monday December a Jewish boys rushed to defend the country of their birth eliminating any notion that Jews were insular and insensitive to the freedoms and safety granted by their American citizenship.
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Despite suffering insults at the hands of anti Semites and growing up with discrimination in their own country Jews were front and Center at the recruiting stations, the morning after Pearl harbor.
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My friends, all my own age 1817 and 18 year old kids couldn't wait to get into the service to serve our country, whatever branch they went to everybody was gung Ho to go.
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They never had to be coaxed into going.
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at the age of 18.
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I was at the y ma che a 92nd street and someone came running in saying hey the japs bombed Pearl harbor and everybody there said where's Pearl harbor and immediately everyone made a decision to join the army navy marines.
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i've had that all my life, the moment.
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Pearl harbor was bombed the emotion of all my fears was let's get in and get to fight and to are we all ready to go, we all wanted to go the next morning.
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And my mother, my mother had aside for me, because I was only I think 80 or 70 and she wouldn't size, maybe, my friends at Tobias when he moved he and I went together and his brother was glad to get rid of them.
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I wanted to fly, since I was five years old.
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I shook up my parents, when one day one night because I put three chairs on the floor in the kitchen.
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fuselage the wings and I sat in between the spokes in with flying the airplane.
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Who was good, when was an ex football player you way too much takes over for six foot six and a half or something he was too tall.
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Very helder had bad eyes somebody else had they had ears or something wrong with their hearing or something I don't know, everybody anyway, something wrong I was the only one of the group from buffalo.
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That passed the physical.
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A high percentage of Jewish boys volunteered for the army Air Corps the branch with the highest casualty rate in the early years of the war.
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And so, a new breed of airman was born.
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Air Force, had I would think a higher percentage of tools, the army air force than any other friends of the service, we were accepted, I brought the papers home for signature.
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My dad who was an.
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English fi in World War one he volunteered my mother was hesitating didn't want to sign it, I says mom.
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i'm gonna fly, I want to fly I don't want to be drafted into the infantry.
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She looked at my dad and he shook his hand, so they both signed that.
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As you go for your examination you go through one doctor after the other, and they stamp you if you're breathing well accepted accepted accepted.
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Now, when you come to the very end, because you started with the head, then they go down to the toes and.
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There were four desks in front of me.
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army navy coast guard and the marines.
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And as i'm walking down they point, as if to say you come to me you come to me, etc, the coast guard fella says.
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come over here and follow and I walked over to him and he says to me give me around the globe you're going to call Scott and I said, oh no I don't want the coast guard.
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He says you don't want to call Scott, I said no, I don't want to call Scott, he says, what do you want, as I want the ECHO.
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So he says to me, you know we only take maybe 25 a day for the coast guard, he says, and you don't want it no I don't want it, he says, you know what kids it's your ass i'll never forget that.
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And the army fellow was sitting next to him at his desk gave me the finger and walked over and he says, give me your papers, I gave him the papers and he says to me.
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Before I accept this.
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You want to change your mind.
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I said no, I don't want to change my mind, he says, congratulations you're in I wanted to go to the air force I didn't want to one of the reasons I enlisted because I wanted to be fly with the men, you know that sort of stuff so no I wanted to fly by from the beginning.
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You asked me why did I do in the airport, which is something you were kind of talking about and.
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I said, if I have to go to work i'd rather sleep on streets at night and sleep in a box or.
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They issued me usual stuff and say, then they came to me, and they took everything back and said you're shipping out and gave me.
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I got on the train and I wound up in Miami beach because they were hush hush hush.
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And they gave us a test of hearing test for certain if you on sound hearing.
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There was 1000 of us, I was the only one that got everything right, so the next thing I knew they sent me to radio school in sioux falls South Dakota.
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There were 10,000 students 8000 had pneumonia.
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I was on the night shift I was there for three days and I didn't feel right to yes, I had pneumonia to I had 105 fever, the meanwhile, my class shipped out and they wound up with the.
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They all got shot down on that oil raid and the PLO St and I was the only survivor of my class, so I can honestly say pneumonia saved my life.
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They didn't take us immediately about January 1 I think it was 150 of us will call up in our civilian clothes and put on a train to Miami beach.
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We stayed at the Atlantic something hotel, we are a big double room for the 12 of us, so we always kid about that, but that's what we stayed in basic training we just learning how to become a soldier learning how to march learning how to obey orders from somebody.
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After that our basic training was different we went Of course they got even spending January in Miami beach 450 new Yorkers they got in with us in February, they sent us to jamestown North Dakota I came from a kosher home my mother will only cook kosher food.
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And when I got the keys land for space in biloxi Mississippi the first meal, they gave me was pork chops I never knew what a pork chop was or what it looked like.
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And so I would need it, and whatever else they gave me to eat was all strange and I wouldn't need that either, so I ended up the first three days I was there I had coffee bread and butter for every meal.
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After three days I said to myself, this is stupid i'm going to die of starvation if I keep doing this, and so, whatever they put in front of me to eat I ate and never asked any questions.
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When I was taking pilot training.
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The first thing this was it camden field in South Carolina.
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And the train is back in those days, believe it or not, we're not air force people they were these barnstorm is that when around doing tricks with airplane they were they instructed.
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So the first time I got into this twin wing airplane with one of these instructors I had never been in an airplane before so we took off and we flew up the 5003.
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And it flips the plane upside down and he said, Maria to reply.
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The guy I had with i'm sure he was an Anti Semite he didn't like my name or the fact that I was applying to become a pilot.
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So he took me up in a plane very first flight I ever had.
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And he immediately went into a dive a nine turn dive and then he went back up a flu upside down.
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And he would get me sick, so I wouldn't.
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continue to try to become a pilot that's what happened, I quit.
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One guy tried to shoot me down and training, so I wound up on his tail.
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And my two friends who were flying flew in between.
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In blocks him, so I wouldn't shoot them.
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And when we landed, they said you're a dupe stupid son of a bitch to try that and do that why.
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kill him you're gone.
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he'll go, but you don't have to do with.
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CEO of the outfit put out a bullet.
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That he would like all the Jewish boys that were taking training the volunteer for kp kp was kitchen duty.
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Because he wanted to give all the non Jewish boys, the day off because it was Christmas.
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And so we all volunteered there was 12 of us.
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And we served 24 hours doing kp and they took our picture and they put it in the camp newspaper ad they wrote up that 12 Jewish boys gave all the Gentile kids.
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Christmas, the one really anti Semite was a guy I tried to find him after the war, I he I know his name and he came from it through and mass and with us mercs I don't like to use I don't want any part of view, I never want to talk to you, and that was that.
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So I wound up with 52 missions or 35 sorties I wanted to be a Jew, so a battle.
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Because I thought I had more to prove because I was to.
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Every mission after the first one, I said day guy and if a farmer live i'll try to be a good person and that's that's what happened.
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I became I I try I would swear I was going to become a saint that's every every every after every mission, it was it was all a whole, it was an experience.
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Who was an experience if if you say we got i'll be a good person, as I was saying, I said Hebrew prayer sure my Israel on a sham Hello Kanal.
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And I said that and the guy said to me, what are you saying I tell him hear O Israel, the Lord is one and it says to teach tours and all my crew said the same thing I told the whole crew and they said it and it works.
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I had 35 bucks to do, and after the first mission I said i'm never gonna survive 35 missions, and here I am.
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tall six foot three probably hundred and 85 pound man joined us, and he came to my bed, which had already been locked into two beds, there was an upper bunk and a lower bunk.
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And he jumped up on the bed, and the bunk hit me on the head and I looked up and he said, my name is winter and I said hi winter brick, and he said.
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My best names rockfeller I said that's great my name is margulies well every time he got in bed his mattress and spring were on my face.
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and his backside was right there beside it so we slept that way for about a week and, finally, I got up and I said when.
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We can change I gotta have the upper bunk you're gonna have to get the store bunk and he breathed a sigh of relief, he said, God I don't know how to pay you for that, so we could buy me a cup of coffee or a drink anyway Winthrop and I went to Rockefeller and I became.
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Unbelievably close it was a friendship that lasted way through the war and in the New York, where I had the office at 41st and fifth and winter was 26 broadway.
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And I used to visit him about once a week and have lunch at the Rockefeller brothers restaurant at 26 broadway and there was no there was john jr Nelson went up and David and we had lunch.
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And I say to myself, you know.
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what's a nice little Jewish boy like you doing in the place like this.
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I went to what was called the College training detachment.
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matt wasn't slippery state teachers college 50 miles north of Pittsburgh now my junior high school was all male my high school was all male.
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I went to nyu university heist was all male by enlisting the service slippery rock fake teachers college was coed first time I went to a coed school was when I went in the service.
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I was inducted in Fort dix New Jersey.
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I guess they keep us out of trouble to what to put us into deep in trouble, they gave us.
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A pair of 12 our peers.
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And we were near trenton New Jersey.
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And I wanted to Trent.
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What to a bar.
00:26:52.080 --> 00:26:52.890
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There was a Gal at the ball at the other end of the balls and it'll show a poor.
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And she's looking at me and I she's smiling she's kicking a feed and pretty soon the bartending gives me another beer, I said.
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You know she did so I pick up my beer.
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And I angled over to her.
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she's looking down at my shoes.
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And she's laughing and smiling.
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I said what's what games what's the matter.
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She said after she did it two or three times, she finally said or heard that all then with big fee have big.
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So why should I give myself away.
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The evening ended in her apartment.
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And we will post plastic talk on on remember all the details, but I know when I woke up in the morning.
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She was gone.
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And I walked around her apartment she had left me a note.
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Inside the note.
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Inside the envelope with a note was, together with a note was a $20 bill.
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She said soldier had a great time last night, want to go out and get a pair of shoes that fit.
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I was offered the opportunity to be an instructor Bombardier which meant teaching young kids like me in albuquerque new Mexico with 2000 young girls at the University of new Mexico and I turned it down because I wanted to go, I was so stupid I should have stayed.
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As you know, as a instructor Bombardier and albuquerque but I did I wanted to go.
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I said, how could I ever faced by family and tell him I was instructed when there was a war going on.
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And yes, there was flak and the plane was this and they were shooting at us from fighters and I had to get up to the gun as soon as I as soon as I notified the pilot he could close the door.
00:29:20.910 --> 00:29:21.630
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I remember watching our bombs and all the other bombs falling and thinking they don't all hit a target one of them hits a farmhouse.
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And I remember thinking can I I I didn't care.
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I a Jew.
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Thinking of myself as a kind person thinking of myself as an intelligent man.
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Thinking myself as a father.
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And a family person.
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I could even for an instant hate that much.
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combat flying was voluntary if you didn't want to go anymore, they would put you in the infantry you could transfer you, it was because of the danger.
00:30:15.120 --> 00:30:25.740
It was voluntary and you didn't have to fly or you had to do is say I don't want to fly anymore, and they transfer you that's how that's how tough, it was.
00:30:52.710 --> 00:31:04.290
Now my grandmother whenever we had a family problem, she would go visit lubavitcher rabbi in brooklyn I think it was rabbi schnitzel at the time i'm not certain about that.
00:31:05.850 --> 00:31:19.740
He gave her up the common matter, and she gave it to my father and said before Marty goes overseas give him this matter I already left my father says, I can't he's left.
00:31:21.570 --> 00:31:43.020
I don't know how this happened, but for some reason they delayed are leaving the coast and I got a second leave and came back and got the monster now with that much I carried on every mission and my shirt pocket I know with that much nobody could hurt me and the way it worked out.
00:31:44.130 --> 00:31:46.020
I still have the mud, and I.
00:31:48.240 --> 00:32:00.990
It still exists, I have two little flasks with a metal that Members that the kids will have for I hope time immemorial, I had the sister, who was seven years older than me.
00:32:02.190 --> 00:32:14.880
i'm not happy with what i'm sending you is there anything that you would like and i'll try my best to send that to you just tell me what you will really like so jokingly I answered a letterman said.
00:32:15.990 --> 00:32:19.680
If you want to send me a couple of bagels.
00:32:20.730 --> 00:32:24.030
Sure enough, a package arrives i'm in the hot.
00:32:25.230 --> 00:32:27.660
I open up the package, and there are two bagels.
00:32:29.040 --> 00:32:42.450
As it follows look what I got I got to bagels and one idiot some phenomenal Montana, with somebody says what's a bagel and I said a bagel is a donut depth and cement.
00:32:43.050 --> 00:32:50.310
And I don't know what to do with the bagels that like a rock like put them on the shelf over my bed, the next day or two.
00:32:51.720 --> 00:32:56.160
i'm alerted to fly what's the target big be.
00:32:57.420 --> 00:33:04.500
Big be is Berlin open Bombay doors, I take the two bagels and I draw them out.
00:33:05.760 --> 00:33:15.060
I come back and I write a letter and I said libby he want to know what happened that the two bagels it was bagels over Berlin.
00:33:16.650 --> 00:33:20.670
so next time same cream cheese unlocks.
00:33:21.840 --> 00:33:29.910
The pilot His name was Linda Linda everybody called them lindy of the first of the number two plane was flying all over the sky on the way up.
00:33:30.450 --> 00:33:40.080
I mean you know we have to fly formation, the be 24 is a difficult place to fly, and he was was really wasn't paying attention you know he'd be appeared appeared.
00:33:40.620 --> 00:33:49.950
we'd have to fly so Finally, my pilot to write and called up and said lindy either you get back information or i'm going to take your place.
00:33:51.240 --> 00:34:05.940
And let's is all right all right all right they got back information and blew up and all 10 people killed over the target that i'll never forget, of course, we want to take your space so i'll never forget that and they be think a lot about the future.
00:34:14.220 --> 00:34:25.320
I was chosen the fly high element lead on the high Squadron and the other friend that was dropped off with maybe the other crew that was dropped off of it was flying in the low Squadron.
00:34:26.100 --> 00:34:38.310
We had 125 me one on lines come out our group, the reason they came at our group is the low swatter was lead planning heritage in trouble, and he was dragging behind a little bit.
00:34:39.150 --> 00:34:47.160
And the fighter is when they come to attack they look for people who are separated from the group because the number of guns becomes less.
00:34:48.240 --> 00:35:06.690
In about five or 10 minute period, why i'm under 25 me one man's came at us, the whole low Squadron was eliminated nine aircraft that were left there and we got 23 German fighters it's when we got back to base when you go you fly over the base in that.
00:35:07.710 --> 00:35:29.400
astra aligning instructions and the radio from the tire comes back says squatter in a land runway so, and so, and it will often come around on my end and Squadron be does the same thing, and there was silence and the terrorists that were a Squadron see their listeners Squadron see.
00:35:31.470 --> 00:35:42.120
So our mission that last mission was to blow up bridges, we never made it because we got hit in our number one and number two engine.
00:35:43.260 --> 00:35:53.280
And there was fire and they in the wings and the hydraulic system failed when the hydraulic system fails, you lose control of basically everything operating the plane.
00:35:54.300 --> 00:35:56.010
I opened the Bombay doors.
00:35:57.570 --> 00:35:58.560
drop the bombs.
00:36:00.000 --> 00:36:09.810
Wherever they went, I don't know, we had dog tags and those days, they still have them, but they had an H for Hebrew P for Protestant see for Catholic.
00:36:10.830 --> 00:36:22.680
And I knew I didn't look like a Hindu so I decided i'd throw my tags away, and I did the Germans were totally convinced that any American officer.
00:36:24.000 --> 00:36:36.720
knew what was really happening as far as their missions are concerned, and what the plans were in the bombing and of course we didn't we got to this interrogation Center called a do log loft.
00:36:38.280 --> 00:36:44.940
And the Gulag lift is a interrogation for air people lift as the air in German.
00:36:46.650 --> 00:36:47.100
00:36:48.690 --> 00:36:59.400
we're putting solitaire and they psych you you hear noises and they come in and they turn the lights off and they turn the lights on and they threaten you and all this goes on okay and.
00:37:00.420 --> 00:37:06.330
After a day or two of this they feel your softened up enough to go to an interrogator.
00:37:08.400 --> 00:37:15.780
And I went to this office they took me out of my cell took me into this interrogators office.
00:37:16.800 --> 00:37:24.840
And the welcome me in perfect English and I couldn't understand there was no trace of a German accent, I mean it was just perfect English.
00:37:26.520 --> 00:37:28.830
So he said to me, Lieutenant.
00:37:30.120 --> 00:37:32.160
I know you can help me because I can help you.
00:37:33.570 --> 00:37:50.100
And I said I don't know I can help you and he said, but he sure you can, and so I told him all I had was a name rank and serial number now i'm not trying to be a hero, but that's what I was told I was allowed to tell them my name rank and serial serial number nothing else.
00:37:51.120 --> 00:38:04.710
And so, he started to talk to me, and he said to me, I know what Squadron you were in I know what I know what base, you were at I like I don't know I mean I all I know, is what I was taught to fly and come here.
00:38:06.480 --> 00:38:12.480
And he said well you know where your dog tags will never forget this, I said.
00:38:13.650 --> 00:38:21.360
I lost them I said I don't know if they flew off my head or something when I jumped out, I have no idea where they are and I knew I had them but they're gone.
00:38:22.020 --> 00:38:36.300
And he said, you know, without dog tags, you have no true identity and you could be considered a spy and you know what we can do despise, so I think, maybe you better open your mind up and tell me some more.
00:38:37.980 --> 00:38:49.320
I said sorry I saw all I can tell you sent me back to myself this happened to three times on my fourth time in there, he said to me, Lieutenant.
00:38:49.950 --> 00:38:59.970
Are you going to open up and tell me, so I can save you and I said, I can only give you what I know my name rank and serial number, and he sort of hold on, let me tell you what I know about you.
00:39:01.470 --> 00:39:11.700
And he's named my mother, my father my brother my sister my grandmother my grammar school or high school.
00:39:14.130 --> 00:39:17.100
The place where I worked as an usher.
00:39:18.150 --> 00:39:19.740
And the brewery that I worked in.
00:39:20.940 --> 00:39:27.780
On a summer vacation and I looked at him and I said I don't understand and he said, well, let me tell you something.
00:39:29.130 --> 00:39:32.910
He said you live on Claremont avenue in buffalo New York.
00:39:34.980 --> 00:39:44.550
And my parents live on ashland avenue in buffalo New York, which was the next street over and he said you were there newspaper boy imagine that.
00:39:45.570 --> 00:39:54.930
I couldn't believe it I just couldn't believe it and he said, are you going to tell me anything I said, if I could I would now but I can't I don't have anything to tell you.
00:39:55.980 --> 00:39:56.940
And he said okay.
00:39:58.110 --> 00:40:01.740
He said go back to yourself, when I back to myself.
00:40:04.590 --> 00:40:14.070
and, later on, I found out that under religion on my records my German records which I have he put a question mark, so he didn't want me down in situ.
00:40:20.520 --> 00:40:28.620
We used to broadcast from access Sally Have you ever heard of her, she was a broadcaster from Germany who would broadcast to the.
00:40:29.160 --> 00:40:35.700
To our to our groups, she knew more about what's happening with us, our group than anything but anyway, she was a Nazi.
00:40:36.390 --> 00:40:43.650
And she was bought cares about all these two sales as a home screwing around with your wives and you're getting killed.
00:40:44.190 --> 00:40:55.170
Where we used to laugh 10% of our raffle is Jewish as, and I want to go home with your wife, and you know get killed here, as you walk into the room where they have all the information.
00:40:57.030 --> 00:40:59.430
If there was three chaplains.
00:41:02.790 --> 00:41:07.890
There would be all you'd hear all Berlin because.
00:41:09.030 --> 00:41:24.870
We knew the mission by the chaplains if there were three chaplains you're going to get murdered if they were to chaplains would be pretty rough if there was one chaplain a breeze milk run and that's how we knew what was going on, you can tell by the chaplains.
00:41:27.510 --> 00:41:41.730
When patent ran out of fuel, they pick certain bombers and we happen to be one a took out the bombing equipment and they put big fuel tanks in there, a small leak, no matter how small in that plane.
00:41:43.560 --> 00:41:56.310
That will be the end of us, and the first field missions, the new crews received planes that will old and at 30 degrees below zero.
00:41:57.210 --> 00:42:12.450
The planes that will a fly on the windows came out and to shoot yet gotten the window of went on the floor and your shot your gun and it was 40 degrees and a lot of frostbite but we survived.
00:42:13.620 --> 00:42:16.650
We had jackets that were electrically heated.
00:42:17.760 --> 00:42:26.910
And we plug those in charge to keep warm so I have a warm body, and I feel the sweat running down and my legs and my arms will be freezing.
00:42:28.860 --> 00:42:29.400
00:42:30.420 --> 00:42:49.920
snow in the air force officers and enlisted men were like one, there was no difference and rank we went where they went, they went, we went and we went all over together when the officers went to officers what we went along and when they decided to go the men's club they went along.
00:42:51.120 --> 00:42:58.800
Congressional medal of honor where the guy's name was Smith, they call them snuffy Smith, he was the most.
00:43:00.360 --> 00:43:11.010
He was a lush he was always a book private they Oh, he was always on kp it was always being punished he just just everything he did was wrong.
00:43:12.000 --> 00:43:21.780
And one day there was a situation where they needed an extra gunner and he was the only one available, he was on kp that's the punishment we're.
00:43:22.590 --> 00:43:41.670
And they grab them made a massage and because the Germans respected rank and if you were a sergeant they put you in a different area, we lost so many planes, so they made everybody saw they take him and they put them on the plane and they expect you know he's like a like the nothing.
00:43:43.260 --> 00:43:49.230
They come on this mission I know it was to Berlin or something the plane gets wracked by fighter plane.
00:43:49.710 --> 00:43:58.200
To guys get killed two guys get wounded, the pilot gets hurt the copilot gets hurt he shoots down two planes.
00:43:58.560 --> 00:44:05.850
first day to the guys that are wounded helps the pilot land the plane does everything unbelievable the most unbelievable thing.
00:44:06.270 --> 00:44:22.680
winds up with the Congressional medal of honor and now they're going to dirt decorate them they can't find it where is he he screwed up again he's on kp so they grip put on a uniform made a massage and on the spot and gave him the gradual middle of one.
00:44:33.000 --> 00:44:40.170
Only a few of the B 17 is used on bombing runs in World War Two are still flying all stores scrapped long ago.
00:44:40.650 --> 00:44:47.250
they've been reconfigured to the original design so future generations can see what the Air Corps us to defeat Germany.
00:44:47.880 --> 00:44:59.070
veteran be 17 pilot our Jenkins, who flew over 30 missions in Europe is now a volunteer who leads tours through the play this is why we shut ourselves up here on to have.
00:45:11.220 --> 00:45:14.040
Here we have to kneel and not a lot of room.
00:45:16.440 --> 00:45:16.950
I got it.
00:45:19.980 --> 00:45:20.520
engines one day.
00:45:21.900 --> 00:45:23.850
25 when they went on lines coming after us.
00:45:25.470 --> 00:45:27.630
took down nine of us, we have 23 of them.
00:45:30.630 --> 00:45:39.750
And it was a few got a hunk of flack that came up on my seat stopped in the rubber life raft they put it on replacing my seat after that.
00:45:41.730 --> 00:45:48.120
Okay, this is a pilot copilot instrument panel pilot and co pilot work together.
00:45:50.820 --> 00:45:52.140
let's see and.
00:45:53.550 --> 00:45:56.340
This young while we sit there for now right.
00:45:58.620 --> 00:46:00.660
i'm lucky I brought all my guys back home.
00:46:02.010 --> 00:46:03.510
i'm the only one left of the crew, though.
00:46:17.730 --> 00:46:19.380
it's tight quarters coming through here but.
00:46:21.840 --> 00:46:23.520
Okay got it, thank you, thank you.
00:46:30.630 --> 00:46:33.630
Thank you, thank you, like sitting in the seat again oh yeah it's.
00:46:34.680 --> 00:46:35.340
Real up there.
00:46:38.130 --> 00:46:50.610
Hitler at that point was in Berlin be issued in an order that all Jews anywhere they found any Jews, they were to be killed so we were at this roll call and they start calling off names.
00:46:51.630 --> 00:46:56.310
The following the men will remain in the yard after dismissal.
00:46:57.720 --> 00:47:01.560
And the names came out and all of a sudden, you realize every name, you heard was Jewish.
00:47:03.870 --> 00:47:06.240
When they got to the SS they got to me.
00:47:07.260 --> 00:47:19.110
stovroff remain after it was they dismissed everybody they told us that we were to go to our barracks and put everything together that we had they had a special barracks for us.
00:47:20.790 --> 00:47:33.210
And I got all my stuff together and the Chairman Kim guard guard came in and escorted me to a other barracks a barracks was right, close to the gate eating out of the camp.
00:47:35.190 --> 00:47:44.070
And so, he realized that you know they could at any time move you out maybe in the middle of the night or something when nobody would know and we'd be gone.
00:47:45.300 --> 00:48:02.100
My commanding officer, whose name was zim key fob is empty, he was a fighter pilot is a commander of the one of the best squadrons there was excellent man well, knowing that the Germans knew who he was they had a lot of respect for him.
00:48:04.140 --> 00:48:05.700
And we were enrolled call and.
00:48:09.510 --> 00:48:17.700
chromosome he spoke up to the German comment on was out there at that time, and he said to him, you know, these men are my men not not not yours.
00:48:18.360 --> 00:48:27.120
he's man or American officers and he was pointing out the fact that he knew that they put us because we're Jewish, but he said, these are American officers.
00:48:27.750 --> 00:48:35.790
And they are my men and they belong to me and they're going to go home with me, because you know you're losing this war, and you know it's going to be over very soon.
00:48:36.870 --> 00:48:50.310
And he said i'm going to tell you right now, if any one of these men leave this camp, if anyone disappear for any reason at all, he said that automate automatically makes you a war criminal.
00:48:51.420 --> 00:48:59.130
And if you become a war criminal, you know that does, for me, it gives me the right to come back here after the war and kill you.
00:48:59.820 --> 00:49:10.650
And I will he took his hand like a finger and he says that's what this will be a gun and i'm at the threatening you i'm just telling you the facts of life, you become a war criminal you're going to die.
00:49:11.910 --> 00:49:12.360
00:49:13.950 --> 00:49:19.140
was an unbelievable and I guess that's probably one of the reasons i'm here.
00:49:20.820 --> 00:49:30.750
No, but we were told to be very careful when we got over us we some the initial point normally we got over initial point we opened our Bombay doors.
00:49:31.440 --> 00:49:45.360
And they said don't open your Bombay days doors because you're going over slave Labor camp and wait till you get about two minutes past seven because then you'd be far enough away you won't hurt it's late late this that's exactly what we were told.
00:49:47.760 --> 00:49:51.360
So we didn't know anything about death camp.
00:49:53.430 --> 00:50:05.160
But there's no nobody to this day knows why they survive we had Incidentally, we lost more men than the navy and the marines combined.
00:50:06.330 --> 00:50:21.090
that's fact we Lewis, then they and they hushed up, I would say they they hushed up by at least 5000 from plane crashes, from where we question to our own planes and i'm not exaggerating they push data.
00:50:22.710 --> 00:50:35.670
The losses were in the vicinity, they published that our losses were over 30,000 dead, not to mention how many were wounded, not to mention how many warcraft were captured and not to mention how many were crashed.
00:50:47.070 --> 00:50:54.120
Other gunner said to me, yet you know he's sitting up front and I said, I think you told me that man's name was to it.
00:50:55.290 --> 00:51:07.620
He says yeah don't you know who that is actually just told me to it he's major pages to it, he says that Jim Stewart the actor, I say jim's jim's Stewart.
00:51:08.490 --> 00:51:18.090
Well jim's to a clue as to our group commander Jimmy Stewart within a in our group he used to like a lieutenant Colonel at the time and.
00:51:19.530 --> 00:51:30.390
He climb into one of the planes one mission with us one time, I was on the same mission and we had a bad time we lost a whole bunch of planes.
00:51:31.650 --> 00:51:46.410
And we got back and Jimmy Stewart want to know what happened, so he he sat there I sat here, and the rest of the crew is out here and other foods are out there, and he says what what hopper.
00:51:48.570 --> 00:51:55.380
I don't know what happened a lot of planes got shot down that's what happened, we had a bad day that day.
00:51:56.580 --> 00:52:10.680
By early 1944 fed by the booming output of US factories big fleets of flying fortresses and liberator bombers swelled into 1000 playing our mottos within a few months, the Luftwaffe was virtually obliterated.
00:52:11.430 --> 00:52:22.470
General Eisenhower promised the D day invasion forces, if you see fighting aircraft over your head, they will be ours, on my very first mission.
00:52:23.760 --> 00:52:26.970
My best friend Jimmy edwards didn't come back.
00:52:28.320 --> 00:52:45.120
He was he was a brand new frontier gunner on I when we get up, we were supposed to fly three mornings, before that, but the messaging was cancelled after breakfast and after we got to the line and so far, because of weather bad weather.
00:52:46.380 --> 00:52:47.970
But we had.
00:52:49.590 --> 00:52:52.200
Had breakfast and then we went to take a dump together.
00:52:53.760 --> 00:53:01.350
And the second morning we did it again, even if we didn't have to go and by the third morning it was a real super session.
00:53:02.370 --> 00:53:13.950
And the fourth money where you're headed there and an officer said getting the jeep or going down the line, and we said we just we just want to touch down we'll be right back get energy.
00:53:15.300 --> 00:53:16.860
So we got energy and.
00:53:18.330 --> 00:53:20.400
That was our first question he didn't come back.
00:53:23.760 --> 00:53:25.680
00:53:26.880 --> 00:53:35.430
was getting ready to do a counter attack and throw the troops back into the water like Dunkirk took place in Belgium.
00:53:36.540 --> 00:53:38.310
So they call upon the ECHO.
00:53:40.050 --> 00:53:53.130
and run to briefing and they told us that we're going to be bombing troops carrying anti-personnel fragmentation bombs, the lines are so close to one another, that the IP the initial point.
00:53:57.150 --> 00:53:58.350
there's not enough room.
00:53:59.520 --> 00:54:01.860
So you guys have to come in very low.
00:54:03.000 --> 00:54:10.890
And they're going to put up smoke pots along and you bomb, on the other side of smoke okay fine.
00:54:12.210 --> 00:54:23.040
When the first wave came in the wind shifted the smoke went back to the allied and British lines, we did a lot of damage to the Americans.
00:54:23.880 --> 00:54:49.350
That day gentlemen, now the first American general to get killed in war was a saint low July 24th 1944 ernie pyle, who was the big reporter on World War Two he was wounded at St loan, we were never told how many American fellows were wounded or killed.
00:54:50.370 --> 00:55:05.430
But the next day very next day, the 25th we went out again, but this time they laid down white sheets markers and we bombed, on the other side and we broke that backs.
00:55:06.420 --> 00:55:16.950
And from then on, and they just run right through into Paris so St loads the 24th and 25th and those are my first two messages i'll never ever forget.
00:55:19.230 --> 00:55:36.870
They were planning on bombing, Japan and burning a whole country because Japan they told us that time was mostly wouldn't build it it's not like it is today, so if you sent incendiary bumps.
00:55:37.920 --> 00:55:40.110
into the city's the whole city would burn.
00:55:41.400 --> 00:55:49.440
When we would go and these fire missions like over Tokyo and yoga Armor and somebody said we didn't take guns because.
00:55:50.550 --> 00:56:03.150
firing a gun at night gives away your position and Tokyo rose would come on and next day, these American pilot they got some guts they come here they don't even bring guns with them.
00:56:05.760 --> 00:56:11.430
But we managed to wipe out maybe 90% of Tokyo, in fact.
00:56:12.750 --> 00:56:18.600
There was probably more damage to Tokyo than the Hiroshima bomb.
00:56:25.680 --> 00:56:36.060
And then we started coming over the target but 400 airplane have a be 29 was a big big, it was the biggest airplane and World War Two.
00:56:36.780 --> 00:56:53.970
Now, take 400 of them mind information they practically covered half the city when we go over city, when we were in Hawaii is when they dropped the atom bomb and a few days later, they dropped the second.
00:56:55.170 --> 00:57:05.550
atom bomb, and then the Japanese quit the war, and it was very difficult getting a plane to go back to the States, because I had finished my tour.
00:57:06.600 --> 00:57:08.940
But by coincidence that I found a guy.
00:57:09.960 --> 00:57:12.240
That was going back to the state.
00:57:13.350 --> 00:57:16.050
And we flew back to sacramento.
00:57:17.130 --> 00:57:24.480
And the amazing part about it go further to add to add New York.
00:57:25.830 --> 00:57:28.560
I finally found a be 29 going.
00:57:29.790 --> 00:57:30.330
00:57:31.470 --> 00:57:33.150
And I got onto the plane.
00:57:34.530 --> 00:57:55.320
And we love sacramento and we're up right in the middle of the rocky mountains and the pilot who had never flown the beach when he calls back and says, is there a navigator back there I said yes, so I crawled through the time of there's a ton of by the boat from front to back.
00:57:56.340 --> 00:58:01.290
And by came up front and he said, where are we.
00:58:02.490 --> 00:58:14.520
were up here amongst in the rocky mountains and every little town from there looks the same I said, do you have a map, he said he had a roadmap, like the user.
00:58:16.020 --> 00:58:18.900
So we take this spot where the.
00:58:20.340 --> 00:58:25.020
Where we were approximately I gave my heading to go to Denver airport.
00:58:27.030 --> 00:58:36.630
When we were about 80 miles from Denver engine number four caught caught fire and it was really burn and.
00:58:38.010 --> 00:58:57.090
As a book that's why that would be 29 which shows every electrical murder in there, and he didn't even know whether whether the prop and then we flew in and he called for an emergency landing in Denver, and as we turn to go down the runway engine number one court.
00:58:58.170 --> 00:59:03.510
Now, where the plane, if you looked at it looks like it's completely inflamed.
00:59:04.530 --> 00:59:19.380
And did manage to beat the fire trucks in the ambulance is that on the runway and when it stopped we opened up the nose wheel and I jumped out and I wouldn't go in an airplane for the next 20 years.
00:59:20.490 --> 00:59:35.790
Long before ptsd was known as a post war injury the veterans of World War Two suffered their own traumas returning from war, I remember from driving along one day and coming to a bump in the road that I wanted to miss and I pulled back on.
00:59:37.020 --> 00:59:38.580
The wheel, the car didn't work.
00:59:39.840 --> 00:59:47.850
But i'm sure that there were many times and I still do dream apparently some about some of the worst things that happen, but i'm sure we had.
00:59:49.590 --> 00:59:58.680
Shell shocked, a call that in those days or something similar, that i'm sure that was President at that time, but wasn't as well known, we called it battle fatigue.
01:00:00.150 --> 01:00:03.660
English Trolls post traumatic stress disorder, it really is.
01:00:04.740 --> 01:00:07.290
I got a little bit of it myself I know.
01:00:08.490 --> 01:00:14.820
i'm a little screwy here and there about certain things I notice from the same thing when I was in practice.
01:00:15.900 --> 01:00:17.490
i'm in the O R one day.
01:00:18.750 --> 01:00:19.920
And I get diarrhea.
01:00:21.360 --> 01:00:22.980
never went back to our again.
01:00:24.420 --> 01:00:26.910
I know I didn't know what it was we called it burnout.
01:00:28.110 --> 01:00:32.190
Today they call a stress disorder, we have a nose gunner.
01:00:33.360 --> 01:00:37.950
That decided after forces its mission that he couldn't go into that nose.
01:00:39.990 --> 01:00:58.260
and have me like to do I locked the door on and say keep them in there, so he could be free to rotate the gun and he said I can't go in there i'm not going to her, I said, you have to go in there, I said you'll be you'll get a court martial send you to jail you can't do that.
01:00:59.340 --> 01:01:04.260
So he said I can't go in there, I thought or I tell you what i'll do you go in there and I won't walk it.
01:01:06.090 --> 01:01:07.890
made a deal with it, so he went in.
01:01:09.060 --> 01:01:10.440
He didn't know what I locked it.
01:01:11.700 --> 01:01:13.830
But I thought I would unlock and if I had to.
01:01:15.090 --> 01:01:17.760
And before they would let us go to our family or anything.
01:01:18.780 --> 01:01:20.730
took us down to my base and.
01:01:21.990 --> 01:01:23.970
Kelly field in San Antonio.
01:01:25.350 --> 01:01:38.190
And we sat there for two months because he didn't know what to do with us, you know and they knew we had some problems we did we all both of us had one form or another post traumatic stress disorder.
01:01:40.290 --> 01:01:40.650
01:01:41.730 --> 01:01:43.410
is still rather see your light.
01:01:44.880 --> 01:01:55.860
And after being there, for I guess a couple of months crying and yelling and screaming and they took us up to greensboro North Carolina to an RD base.
01:01:57.150 --> 01:01:57.660
01:01:59.490 --> 01:02:01.020
asked us if we wanted to.
01:02:02.160 --> 01:02:08.310
continue in the military, one way or another in the reserves a regular military and.
01:02:09.390 --> 01:02:10.950
I would, for one had had enough.
01:02:12.300 --> 01:02:15.000
And I told him know that I wanted to be released.
01:02:16.050 --> 01:02:17.430
And they did they released me.
01:02:18.630 --> 01:02:19.230
home, I went.
01:02:31.050 --> 01:02:39.060
Every single night, I have a dream my dream, mostly is the fact that the hydraulic system is shot up in the plane.
01:02:40.740 --> 01:02:42.210
And they have to land the plane.
01:02:43.410 --> 01:02:50.880
And then the beat 24 if you don't have a hydraulic system they have a problem big problem wipe out the target.
01:02:52.260 --> 01:02:53.280
When I got through.
01:02:54.600 --> 01:03:02.730
With the air force a ship me to web buckley field hospital and the Colorado Denver, and they thought I was little.
01:03:03.840 --> 01:03:04.200
01:03:05.730 --> 01:03:21.420
screwy because I flew 57 missions, when I didn't have to World War Two left indelible memories of pride friendship and loss years after long careers and business and industry, they still remember.
01:03:23.070 --> 01:03:40.920
Holland had been surrounded the Germans were terrorists and was still in Holland and the allies had push past that's leaving the Germans had flooded the dikes so that we couldn't go in and do anything, there will be very difficult, but at the same time there wasn't a food.
01:03:42.150 --> 01:03:44.010
And the Dutch people were starving.
01:03:45.630 --> 01:03:52.230
The US Air Force and the British dropped food on Holland, we call it our operation.
01:03:53.250 --> 01:04:04.140
British call there's manner and we dropped food on the airfield and it feels judge the second time there, there were the two fields were in bloom.
01:04:04.740 --> 01:04:24.900
A custom fields to say thank you boys, that was a That was a big lift rest of that story goes on, after the war, when I went to college and became an engineer, and during my engineering true career, I had a picture of that airplane that was taken from by one wing man.
01:04:25.980 --> 01:04:43.380
And I had a picture in my office, one day, one of the engineers some many years later walked in and saw that picture and some of the other Members on the wall, he said, tell me about this and I told him the story I just told you about the Dutch starving, he said, well.
01:04:44.490 --> 01:04:50.070
I was a nine year old boy collected enough food in my father's died of starvation, a month earlier.
01:04:51.480 --> 01:04:55.440
And that was dramatic from then on, he introduced me as the person who fed him.
01:04:57.390 --> 01:04:58.530
And that was very touching.
01:05:01.290 --> 01:05:19.440
Because I had a brother, it was an England for Great Britain fulfil ears, believe me, he's more fun than I am, he was assigned to the embassy, and he was a force and we had a hell of a time with him because he was married with two children and they didn't want to come home.
01:05:20.520 --> 01:05:22.080
Because he was having a ball.
01:05:23.400 --> 01:05:33.210
At my mother one over there, believe it or not, spoke was commanding officer The next thing I know he's back and forth fiction New Jersey.
01:05:35.190 --> 01:05:36.030
She got him on.
01:05:38.460 --> 01:05:43.590
The women of England or beautiful lovely except for one thing.
01:05:45.660 --> 01:05:57.390
Their teeth were so horrible that you can see, the most radiant beautiful woman that meditates while you're while you get nauseous that's how it was unbelievable it was unbelievable.
01:05:59.640 --> 01:06:00.720
When the war ended.
01:06:02.070 --> 01:06:20.400
And they sent us to Paris on a 10 day vacation and I invited, one of the young, ladies to go up to my room and she did, and when we started to fool around I realized that she wasn't a lady, but she was a man.
01:06:23.610 --> 01:06:27.840
You got to understand, I was 20 years old, I never knew that with things like that.
01:06:30.450 --> 01:06:38.730
I was, I was so frightened that I ran out of the hotel i'd never came back out, I found a place to live.
01:06:43.020 --> 01:06:50.880
At a very good friend in the search by name, have any special 30 specify from Chicago Meriden girl from little rock Jewish girl.
01:06:52.170 --> 01:06:55.980
I was in little rock on business and I call the remedy wasn't interested in seeing me.
01:06:57.120 --> 01:07:07.050
And I realized the war is over another chapter in our life that had nothing to do with the way we live now before or after was completely different chapter.
01:07:08.130 --> 01:07:17.850
These were these were buddies overseas we drank together, we ran out together we met women, together, we had fun, together, we fought together, but the war was over.
01:07:18.630 --> 01:07:26.340
And that was it met a guy from Missouri who were drinking together, he says merchant wants you to know.
01:07:26.970 --> 01:07:43.920
But I never met a Jew in my life, I never had a drink with the July never thought and have a drink with a true butcher my friend, a German fighter flew past me and I look twice and I said to myself at playing doesn't have propellers.
01:07:45.690 --> 01:07:54.660
And I called up and I said, Sam take a look at this guy gone by, he doesn't have props That was the start of JET.
01:07:55.410 --> 01:08:12.990
That was the first jet airplane I think it was a 262 that flew by me and he went by so fast that same couldn't even get a look at it, I was strutting around like a peacock, you know as a lieutenant and I had my wings and have my was the air metal and.
01:08:15.090 --> 01:08:17.100
The various theaters I was at.
01:08:18.270 --> 01:08:32.520
I was rated around pretty well yeah I guess that was pretty Nice and next thing I know with my ribbon jaw from my uniform I was pushing a truck and the government sent in New York and we saw those red tails.
01:08:34.170 --> 01:08:39.450
Well, anyway, I just delighted they flew a little closer.
01:08:40.740 --> 01:08:48.240
And they had red tails their Squadron had a red tail so you knew it was risky guys when you saw the red tail.
01:08:49.440 --> 01:08:50.010
01:08:51.870 --> 01:08:54.510
Then Nicholas Brothers of the group i'm thinking him.
01:08:56.640 --> 01:08:57.300
01:08:58.740 --> 01:09:09.570
They did things like dance leaped in turned and twisted in somersault other than that I never saw another hack do.
01:09:10.440 --> 01:09:28.980
And I remember when I saw them so many years after the war, I thought about the guys the tuskegee guys in the sky, because they kind of danced in the sky, they were different than their white brothers in the same plane with it in a different with a different color town.
01:09:31.170 --> 01:09:32.670
I was always happy to see them.
01:09:34.080 --> 01:09:41.400
And I like to think that's why there was a show called the jeffersons a show called good times a show called sanford.
01:09:42.630 --> 01:09:43.620
I was to vote it.
01:09:46.770 --> 01:09:48.450
War is necessary.
01:09:50.520 --> 01:09:54.270
For saviors to save yourself and save the country.
01:09:56.100 --> 01:09:57.900
If necessary, you can do it.
01:09:59.130 --> 01:10:02.520
diplomatically you gotta do it with the end of a rifle.
01:10:04.170 --> 01:10:04.890
01:10:06.780 --> 01:10:15.150
When I went in Sir into the service, I was a kid my mother took care of me until I was 16 that I was on my own.
01:10:16.860 --> 01:10:22.560
And when I went into service, I never ever got outside of New York City.
01:10:23.670 --> 01:10:26.370
I never traveled I be with it was a depression.
01:10:28.770 --> 01:10:36.750
They took a kid said them around the world, and I came back a man, because then I knew how to deal with people when I came back.
01:10:37.920 --> 01:10:38.760
that's a story.
01:10:40.500 --> 01:10:44.910
I have very fond memories of my crew and.
01:10:46.860 --> 01:10:56.970
We weren't it's it's something you can't describe it it's a different feeling is a different feeling it's it's a closeness that that.
01:10:57.990 --> 01:11:03.060
it's like you're sharing it's like you're sharing life really and you sharing death.
01:11:08.670 --> 01:11:12.360
The risk, low country in the world like the US or.
01:11:14.370 --> 01:11:31.410
Whatever it takes and there's a lot of problems in this country and things are changing very rapidly and whether they're good or bad, who knows, but I wouldn't give up one moment my life in this country for any other place.
01:11:35.760 --> 01:11:37.680
And that is the way I feel.
01:11:42.120 --> 01:11:45.780
My pilot whose name is Dan Barry.
01:11:47.340 --> 01:11:52.080
stayed in the air force to retire the 1974.
01:11:53.340 --> 01:13:13.980
As a phone colonel, and he happened to have died about, not even a year ago and the last thing he told this way is make sure you say Marie Claire getting his home safely 39.
01:14:53.940 --> 01:14:54.780
I wanted to go.
01:14:56.730 --> 01:15:02.220
I said, how could I ever faced by family and tell them, I was struck that when there was a war going on.
01:15:19.170 --> 01:15:29.970
Ari Goldstein: Thank you all for joining us that was bagels oberlin from filmmaker Alan feinberg and we are going to be joined just a moment by Jerry Kirsten who saw in the film.
01:15:30.000 --> 01:15:30.630
Ari Goldstein: Along with our.
01:15:31.620 --> 01:15:39.300
Ari Goldstein: Discussion Alan thanks for giving us the opportunity to share your film today, which is especially meaningful on veterans day.
01:15:41.820 --> 01:15:42.330
Ari Goldstein: Jerry.
01:15:42.840 --> 01:15:43.830
Ari Goldstein: How do you feel today.
01:15:45.990 --> 01:15:47.820
Gerald Gersten: I feel fun, how are you.
01:15:48.990 --> 01:15:57.990
Ari Goldstein: we're good at it, you really are amazing in the film and i'm I want to know at 97 what it's like for you to reflect back on your experiences during the war.
01:16:00.450 --> 01:16:02.700
Gerald Gersten: I was a very lucky person.
01:16:04.350 --> 01:16:06.240
Gerald Gersten: i'm very thankful to still be around.
01:16:08.490 --> 01:16:09.450
Ari Goldstein: We all are.
01:16:11.670 --> 01:16:17.580
Ari Goldstein: Allen and we'll begin sorting through some of the questions that have come in from the audience and.
01:16:18.030 --> 01:16:33.240
Ari Goldstein: One of the questions we're getting from a lot of folks is, how can they see the film again, and how can they learn more about this subject, which is a personal interest to a lot of people with family connections to this or interest otherwise um How would you respond to their questions.
01:16:33.600 --> 01:16:50.130
Alan Feinberg: Well i'm glad you asked, we have a website which amazingly is bagels overland COM, so if you'll go to www bagels over Berlin COM, there is a little essay that I wrote it is a trailer to the film and you can click a link.
01:16:51.960 --> 01:16:59.010
Alan Feinberg: And there's a charge for renting it or for purchasing it and I invite you to do that all revenue that comes from this project.
01:16:59.340 --> 01:17:10.050
Alan Feinberg: goes to my passion which is service dogs that we award to veterans with ptsd so I don't keep any of this money but anyway, I think the rental is.
01:17:10.410 --> 01:17:22.020
Alan Feinberg: What 510 dollars or something like that so go to bagels overland calm and you can see a trailer you can see the film and you can see some still shots and some videos that are not included in this film.
01:17:23.220 --> 01:17:31.410
Ari Goldstein: Thank you, Alan we're also getting in question about what happened to the the German interrogator from buffalo do you know, the end of that story.
01:17:31.950 --> 01:17:42.660
Alan Feinberg: Yes, back in the 1920s, with hyperinflation in Germany, the family came to the United States and ended up in buffalo with there's a large German and Polish population and.
01:17:44.220 --> 01:17:50.430
Alan Feinberg: The father was a music teacher in fact berlin's girlfriend took piano lessons from the father, coincidentally.
01:17:51.000 --> 01:17:58.620
Alan Feinberg: And late 1930s is Germany was rising once again the grandmother said i'm going back home.
01:17:59.460 --> 01:18:11.760
Alan Feinberg: And the grandson who became the interrogator said, I want to go with you because I want to experience Germany, but he was an American in every respect went to school there and spoke like an American and wasn't American anyway, he went to Germany he got drafted.
01:18:12.930 --> 01:18:18.870
Alan Feinberg: And he became an interrogator because he spoke American English a six months later, he was killed.
01:18:20.550 --> 01:18:29.490
Alan Feinberg: When when came back to buffalo, the first thing he did was looking at what happened to the family and he was told by the neighbors that when the war started they left and no one knew what happened to her.
01:18:31.380 --> 01:18:33.030
Ari Goldstein: Well, thank you, Alan.
01:18:33.480 --> 01:18:34.890
Alan Feinberg: isn't that amazing coincidence.
01:18:34.950 --> 01:18:35.310
01:18:36.450 --> 01:18:36.660
Alan Feinberg: that's.
01:18:37.080 --> 01:18:38.760
Ari Goldstein: It it's like out of a movie.
01:18:40.920 --> 01:18:41.400
Alan Feinberg: Yes.
01:18:42.270 --> 01:18:47.940
Ari Goldstein: here's a question from Joanne Jerry i'll ask you first and then Alan you might have insight into this.
01:18:48.210 --> 01:19:00.810
Ari Goldstein: duan asks did you and the other Jewish airman discuss the matter of bombing the railways to prevent transportation of Jews, to the death camps is that something that you had any awareness of when you were in New York or.
01:19:04.890 --> 01:19:05.190
Gerald Gersten: It.
01:19:07.290 --> 01:19:08.550
Gerald Gersten: Can you repeat the question.
01:19:09.450 --> 01:19:17.520
Ari Goldstein: Very when you were in the airport, what did you know about the Holocaust and did you and the other airmen ever discuss bombing the camps or the railways.
01:19:20.190 --> 01:19:33.720
Gerald Gersten: Yes, we did discuss destroyed that camps, but the general Patton took care of that that was his specialty he he went to the camp and he picked out the day.
01:19:34.260 --> 01:19:43.410
Gerald Gersten: The prisoners picked out the bed gods and the next thing you know patna took some behind the behind the scenes, and nobody saw them again.
01:19:44.760 --> 01:19:45.030
01:19:46.830 --> 01:19:53.460
Ari Goldstein: Alan one of the veterans in the film shares his reflections on this question was it something that the other men you interviewed spoke about.
01:19:55.110 --> 01:19:59.700
Alan Feinberg: Well, they have apologetically said that we know nothing about.
01:20:01.230 --> 01:20:10.290
Alan Feinberg: what was happening, when you mentioned us wisdom that's Auschwitz, and they said don't drop your bombs because you're going over slave Labor and, as you noticed in the film, he said, so we knew nothing.
01:20:11.340 --> 01:20:16.950
Alan Feinberg: about what was happening and, as we all know, Roosevelt said the quickest way to save the Jews was to end the war.
01:20:18.210 --> 01:20:22.110
Alan Feinberg: A lot of debate about that everybody has a different opinion but that's what happened.
01:20:24.690 --> 01:20:29.910
Ari Goldstein: Jerry someone in our audience is asking what advice, do you have for young people today.
01:20:32.580 --> 01:20:36.510
Gerald Gersten: My advice to young people today is learn whatever you can.
01:20:37.710 --> 01:20:44.430
Gerald Gersten: have an open mind and though and don't don't don't be afraid to learn and don't be afraid to ask questions.
01:20:46.770 --> 01:20:53.790
Ari Goldstein: I want to how about you from your experience you've done a lot of things that in your career but but from your experience, making this film what advice comes to mind.
01:20:55.500 --> 01:21:01.920
Alan Feinberg: Well i'd say yes, having an open mind and study the past, you know the old phrase if you don't study the past you're doomed to repeat it.
01:21:02.370 --> 01:21:10.980
Alan Feinberg: And I think there's no wars going on at present, presumably in this world, but you cannot ever tell what will happen in the future.
01:21:11.550 --> 01:21:27.990
Alan Feinberg: And I would say watch out for China as well, I keep hearing American politicians saying we're the strongest country in the world and i'm beginning to wonder, there may be conflict of some type in the future, and so we just must be well educated, an open mind, just like Jerry said.
01:21:29.220 --> 01:21:29.730
Ari Goldstein: Thank you.
01:21:32.310 --> 01:21:40.530
Ari Goldstein: Someone in our audience named Naomi is asking a little bit more about training Jerry how long were you in training, what do you remember from that period.
01:21:42.930 --> 01:21:45.450
Gerald Gersten: All I remember is that's all I was doing was training.
01:21:45.960 --> 01:21:46.380
Gerald Gersten: I was.
01:21:51.180 --> 01:21:53.700
Ari Goldstein: It looks like jerry's frozen hopefully hooking.
01:21:54.120 --> 01:21:54.900
Alan Feinberg: It click mute.
01:21:58.530 --> 01:22:00.420
Ari Goldstein: Share if you could unmute your dad.
01:22:01.530 --> 01:22:18.450
Gerald Gersten: Think, I had to say that again I learned a lot, I learned that love to handle I handle every kind of machines on every kind of rifle every kind of pistol I handle all kinds of radio equipment, not that I was capable, I am completely.
01:22:20.160 --> 01:22:20.430
Gerald Gersten: At.
01:22:21.690 --> 01:22:31.800
Gerald Gersten: I am the worst mechanic there is in the world, but I have a knack for sending Morse code, I was reaching a suite of 25 words a minute and.
01:22:33.840 --> 01:22:44.280
Gerald Gersten: Very good, for what we were in I was even doing navigation with in conjunction with the Navigator but they trained you right Daddy you were trained to do this.
01:22:47.100 --> 01:22:50.730
Ari Goldstein: You remember how long you were in training Jerry before you went to Europe.
01:22:51.330 --> 01:22:55.500
Gerald Gersten: You remember how long you were in training, before you went to Europe Daddy how long were you in radio school.
01:22:57.990 --> 01:22:58.590
Gerald Gersten: to remember.
01:23:00.060 --> 01:23:00.570
Gerald Gersten: let's see.
01:23:01.980 --> 01:23:03.060
Gerald Gersten: a bunch of Florida.
01:23:07.980 --> 01:23:08.970
Gerald Gersten: about six months.
01:23:10.230 --> 01:23:11.580
Gerald Gersten: I think, five, six months.
01:23:12.750 --> 01:23:14.520
Gerald Gersten: Why was six months, I was in training.
01:23:16.860 --> 01:23:17.520
Ari Goldstein: Thank you Jerry.
01:23:18.660 --> 01:23:29.280
Ari Goldstein: We have another question about the dog tags which one of the veterans in the film mentioned did all Jewish man in the Air Corps where those dog tags identifying you as Jewish.
01:23:31.740 --> 01:23:45.510
Gerald Gersten: Lila told that if we got shot down to ditch your dog tags, because if they coach you with the dog tags that That said, do a Jewish they put you in a special concentration camp and you really suffered.
01:23:47.310 --> 01:23:58.950
Gerald Gersten: for everybody else everybody have to look very rank conscious, so all or everybody that was flying that the lowest rank was a book sajan.
01:24:00.600 --> 01:24:08.340
Gerald Gersten: But everybody worked hard times right Daddy everybody will talk tags except except the Jews ditch them when they shut down.
01:24:09.450 --> 01:24:12.240
Ari Goldstein: Why were you sorted by religion in the first place.
01:24:16.920 --> 01:24:18.180
Gerald Gersten: Would you repeat that question.
01:24:18.540 --> 01:24:23.100
Ari Goldstein: yeah, why did your dog tags identify you based on religion, do you know.
01:24:26.280 --> 01:24:30.180
Gerald Gersten: So he got killed you got buried in a koi gender, religion hmm.
01:24:31.200 --> 01:24:33.210
Gerald Gersten: They buried your quality religion.
01:24:33.840 --> 01:24:34.260
01:24:36.210 --> 01:24:43.440
Ari Goldstein: Jerry there's another question from an audience Member who's asking how your experiences in the war impacted your faith afterwards.
01:24:55.530 --> 01:24:59.280
Ari Goldstein: looks like jerry's frozen again, but hopefully move back with us just a moment.
01:25:00.720 --> 01:25:03.480
Ari Goldstein: Oh great and sharing is just muted again.
01:25:04.860 --> 01:25:05.130
Gerald Gersten: Sorry.
01:25:06.300 --> 01:25:17.730
Gerald Gersten: I didn't hear that I had so many close calls where they substituted someone else for me and they got killed it happens so often that I swear this somebody looking after me.
01:25:21.990 --> 01:25:26.280
Ari Goldstein: Alan was that a similar sentiment that you heard from many of the other men you interviewed.
01:25:27.390 --> 01:25:34.020
Alan Feinberg: Yes, I remember one of the evenings that we did here in Florida, they ask somebody, how do you feel and he said, I know I would never do it again.
01:25:36.540 --> 01:25:50.340
Alan Feinberg: I never served myself I Vietnam War era, and I was just lucky, and that was not a war, I would have wanted to participate in, but many men did and I met so many of them today veterans day at our event.
01:25:50.940 --> 01:25:59.550
Alan Feinberg: And they just all are lucky, but as a result, they all volunteer they all give back that's their thanks for coming through it alive.
01:26:01.230 --> 01:26:14.910
Ari Goldstein: We welcome Holocaust survivors to the museum all the time and people really react differently to their experiences some became really faithful after the war in some totally abandoned faith and feel that they had to reject it after they experienced and.
01:26:15.420 --> 01:26:23.430
Ari Goldstein: Of course surviving the Holocaust is different from from the experience of being in the Air Corps, but I imagine that there's that same kind of diversity of responses.
01:26:26.820 --> 01:26:27.300
Gerald Gersten: Then.
01:26:28.620 --> 01:26:41.670
Ari Goldstein: debbie is asking she's commenting on Norman lear's reflections on the tuskegee airmen which really were remarkable Alan do you know if the Jewish airman ever connected personally with the tuskegee airmen and their National Association.
01:26:43.170 --> 01:26:54.480
Alan Feinberg: No, I do not a Norman Lear did that's fascinating and I was coming home from from work one day and I heard him on the radio on npr and here they're interviewing him because he was a Bombardier.
01:26:55.050 --> 01:27:05.130
Alan Feinberg: And I said i've got to get him so it wasn't easy I don't know him he's not a relative and I just constantly called and wrote and they finally answered and said he would participate.
01:27:06.090 --> 01:27:15.660
Alan Feinberg: But I don't know of anybody else with any relationship there but yes it's interesting how he said I was devoted and he had all those programs featuring black actors yeah.
01:27:18.120 --> 01:27:19.590
Ari Goldstein: I asked earlier question about.
01:27:21.180 --> 01:27:26.940
Ari Goldstein: Learning more about this history but there's a fair number of questions about researching this history, people who have.
01:27:27.330 --> 01:27:37.080
Ari Goldstein: parents or grandparents that were in the army and want to learn more about what happened Alan can you offer any advice what kinds of sources, did you turn to when you were learning this history for the film.
01:27:38.130 --> 01:27:43.680
Alan Feinberg: Well, primarily, it was the men and every time they mentioned an event or something I just frankly.
01:27:44.400 --> 01:27:50.790
Alan Feinberg: was going to say go into the library, but I went to the Internet, our new library and I did some research but I use the words of the men.
01:27:51.330 --> 01:28:00.210
Alan Feinberg: And I didn't fact check some of the things that they said, but I just feel that what they were talking about was true was from the heart it's what they remembered and.
01:28:01.320 --> 01:28:02.040
Alan Feinberg: that's what I went with.
01:28:03.870 --> 01:28:12.600
Ari Goldstein: we'll also send a follow up email tomorrow to everyone who's joining us today with some suggested resources for further exploration and learning so hopefully those will be helpful to those of.
01:28:12.600 --> 01:28:16.650
Alan Feinberg: You have the website up there, so they can go back and see the movie again if they'd like to.
01:28:16.980 --> 01:28:22.560
Alan Feinberg: Of course, I noticed this is being recorded can anybody replay this who's a participant today.
01:28:22.920 --> 01:28:33.030
Ari Goldstein: Yes, will include a link to the recording of this discussion in our in our email tomorrow, so please feel free to share that with family and friends and bagels oberlin COM, you can watch the film again.
01:28:34.890 --> 01:28:43.920
Ari Goldstein: we're just about at the end of our 90 minutes together so Jerry I want to turn to you and ask if you have any closing comments on this veterans day.
01:28:45.630 --> 01:28:46.560
Gerald Gersten: Thank you for.
01:28:47.850 --> 01:28:52.470
Gerald Gersten: For interviewing me, and I hope that I can press to the other people.
01:28:53.130 --> 01:29:04.200
Gerald Gersten: That we use a human and that we are also a part of the human race, because I had a big job trying to convince the people that we were human I.
01:29:04.530 --> 01:29:22.320
Gerald Gersten: I I hadn't worker, I can try to convince I never saw such ignorance on a part of American people that knew so little about the Jews, and it was horrible I was, I was a one main teacher, but thank God Americans are quick to learn.
01:29:24.930 --> 01:29:34.860
Gerald Gersten: Anything else Daddy you want to say thank you for everything, thank you for for showing help me showing the way, and God bless you and God bless America.
01:29:36.540 --> 01:29:37.170
Ari Goldstein: amen.
01:29:37.650 --> 01:29:37.950
Alan Feinberg: Thank you.
01:29:37.980 --> 01:29:49.800
Ari Goldstein: Thank you so much Jerry for being with us and for sharing your story and insights Alan, thank you for making this wonderful film and capturing the stories of these American Jewish airmen from the war, we are in your debt.
01:29:51.150 --> 01:30:02.520
Ari Goldstein: For audience, we are grateful to all of you for joining us today, you can support the museum's work and join us for upcoming programs and events at the links in the zoom chat and do stay posted for the email tomorrow.
01:30:03.030 --> 01:30:08.040
Ari Goldstein: We wish everyone a wonderful rest of your veterans day stay safe and healthy have a good night.
01:30:08.370 --> 01:30:09.870
Alan Feinberg: Thank you very much take care.
Explore Marvin Tolkin’s Story
Marvin Tolkin was a Jewish G.I. who served with the 125th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron during World War II. Like the men featured in Bagels Over Berlin, Tolkin found both community and antisemitism in the military. Explore his story in more detail in this Museum blog post.
Learn about “X Troop,” the Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II
In June 1942, Winston Churchill and his chief of staff devised an unusual plan: a new commando unit made up of Jewish refugees in the United Kingdom. Called “X Troop,” the unit included a motley group of intellectuals, artists, and athletes from Germany and Austria. Many had lost their families and homes, and would stop at nothing to defeat the Nazis. Discover their stories in this Museum program with Kim Masters and Dr. Leah Garrett.
Revisit Bagels Over Berlin
Alan Feinberg’s documentary Bagels Over Berlin tells the story of American Jews who fought in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Explore the film’s website or watch the film again by renting it on Vimeo.