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Germany entered World War I on August 1, 1914 when the country declared war on Russia. 11 million German soldiers were mobilized, 100,000 of whom were Jewish. A number of these Jewish soldiers were honored for their service with the Iron Cross. In addition, many German Jews supported the war effort at home along with their neighbors. This service and dedication were soon disregarded, but World War I efforts are an essential part of the German Jewish story.

Showcasing artifacts from the Museum’s collection, this program explores these efforts and experiences with scholars Dr. Michael Geheran, Dr. Jason Crouthamel, and Dr. Tim Grady, moderator Ralph Blumenthal, and the Museum’s Curatorial Research Assistant Rebecca Frank.

Watch the program 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.

Sydney Yaeger (she/her): hi everyone, my name is Sydney Yaegar and i'm the public programs coordinator at the Museum of Jewish heritage, a living memorial to the Holocaust.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Now, in its 24th year the museum is committed to the crucial mission of educating our diverse community about Jewish life and heritage, before, during and after the Holocaust.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): As part of that mission our programs are meant to illuminate the stories of survivors broader histories of page and anti semitism through time and stories of resistance against injustice.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): World War one began in 1914 after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand who was heir to the throne of Austria.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Germany entered the war on August 1 1914 when the country declared war on Russia during World War 111 million German soldiers were mobilized 100,000 of whom were Jewish.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): A number of these Jewish soldiers were honored for their service with the iron cross, in addition, many German Jews supported the war effort at home, along with their neighbors.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): today's program will explore the patriotic efforts of German Jews, both in the war zone and on the homefront.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): If you have questions today, specifically for our speakers, please put them in the zoom Q amp a box and we'll get to as many as we can, at the end of the hour.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): joining us today are Michael the heron Jason krauthammer TIM grady Rebecca frank and Ralph Blumenthal.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Michael oca heron is an assistant professor and the deputy director of the Center for Holocaust and genocide studies at the United States military academy at West point.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): He has also taught at the xcel Center for Jewish studies at Boston university his first book comrades betrayed Jewish World War one veterans under Hitler was published in 2020.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Jason crowd hamel is a professor of history at grand valley State University.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): His research focuses on the history of memory trauma masculinity and religious experience in Germany during World War one and World War Two.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): He was one of the co editors of beyond inclusion and exclusion Jewish experiences of the First World War in Central Europe with TIM Brady Mike Luca heron and Julie Carter.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): TIM grady is a professor of history and program leader at the University of Chester in the United Kingdom his research focuses on European history, with a particular interest in World War one.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): He has authored and edited numerous books, including a deadly legacy German Jews and the great for.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Rebecca frank, is the curatorial research assistant at the museum she received a BA in history and Jewish studies from cornell in 2019 and an ma in Holocaust studies from the University of Haifa and 2020.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): During her study she interned at the United States Holocaust Memorial museum yada the Jewish museum and the ghetto fighters house museum.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Ralph Blumenthal who will be our moderator today was a staff reporter at the New York Times from 1964 to 2009 and is a distinguished lecturer at Baruch college of the city of New York.

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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): his most recent book The believer alien encounters hard science and the passion of john mack was published in 2021 Thank you all again for joining us today and i'm now going to hand things over to RON.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Thank you Sydney I want to say first of all, that this is something intensely personal for me.

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Ralph Blumenthal: My father was a German Jewish infantry men in the kaiser's army in World War one I always assumed that he was drafted that's him on the left, but the more I thought of it, I realized I just don't know he may have volunteered like so many other German Jews eager to show their patriotism.

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Ralph Blumenthal: comradeship was very important to a Jewish and non Jewish soldiers alike, some 100,000 Jews served in the German army in World War one and 12,000 were killed, of course, as we now know that didn't count much for the Nazis, as they say in Yiddish garnished helping.

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Ralph Blumenthal: So Hans Blumenthal was from Berlin 17 years old, his profession was listed as student he went for basic training and bevel new Belgium.

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Ralph Blumenthal: In October 1917 and became a chunk of accountants Vega or stretcher berra and an ambulance unit.

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Ralph Blumenthal: until he was luckily captured by the British and and volunteer to become a translator, even though he barely spoke English that much I know from his few stories and family photos.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Unfortunately, I was like that stupid son in the Passover hurghada too dumb to ask questions and before my father died, which was in Israel in 1974.

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Ralph Blumenthal: I did have some glimpses of His story, however, when he came to visit me in West Germany, where I was a correspondent in 1969 we passed the Cologne train station and he did a double take he said it was the first time he'd seen it since shipping out on a troop train in 1917.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Recently, however, I was able to track down Red Cross records and fill in some of the history, he was an infantry Regiment 172 Fourth Company.

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Ralph Blumenthal: In October 1918 after a year of fighting and a month before the armistice he was captured in dwell mate Belgium and spent the last month of the wars and pow.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Now of his experiences as a Jew in the German army, I have no idea we can imagine, some of the anti semitism he encountered.

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Ralph Blumenthal: from other stories that will be discussing what I do know from researching my family history for New York Times article is that around 1920 a hans's two sisters became avid Zionists and emigrated to Palestine.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Hans having a reconnected with his Berlin friend silla de a month and up and coming dealer in metals return to Berlin and married psyllids sister rosie.

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Ralph Blumenthal: They immigrated to America in 1920 justin time for the Great Depression but say from pillar and they became my parents.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Szilard stayed behind in Berlin and was murdered in the Holocaust so from the patriotism of German Jews in the Great War to victimhood under the Third Reich is the subject today and now let's hear from some of our experts.

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Tim Grady: hi there so good evening from the UK i'm just going to say a few words.

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Tim Grady: Just a bit of context to set things up here, so I want to begin really by taking us back to Germany in August 1914 so was been declared first against Russia in the East and then against France in the West now during these first weeks of the war.

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Tim Grady: in urban areas in Germany is full of action there's a lot bustle people rushing about people going down to recruitment officers other people.

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Tim Grady: going down to join up their units and the same we see here is fairly typical troops marching off from major cities data railway stations and then off to the front.

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Tim Grady: In this image here, though, what we've got is the guy in the halls really Lima and he's been waived off by by two students as well, so two friends as well for rational on site in there waving them off in the Center of Berlin.

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Tim Grady: These three people in the thick of we're all German Jews and they were members of a community that totaled around 550,000 up to about 600,000 people.

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Tim Grady: Now Sydney said at the start from this number around hundred thousand gems you served.

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Tim Grady: In German, uniform and all of the front, but they served in uniform and of these around 12,000 died at least that to the estimates it's important to stress, though, that the Jewish communities during this first week of the war will also mobilizing at home, setting up soup kitchens hospitals.

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Tim Grady: Helping get the war industries going economic mobilization with the water.

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Tim Grady: From these sunny days focus 1914 though the war very quickly turns into fairly brutal conflict, because we know mass death mutilation.

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Tim Grady: at the front food shortages at home and a surgeon anti semitism to so question that's often been asked is why did German Jews getting involved in this conflict it's nasty conflict.

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Tim Grady: it's not just a question of enthusiasm, a lot of people were scared and afraid in 1940 but nonetheless there's three reasons why judges got involved after get mentioned.

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Tim Grady: Let me quickly run through these here, the first of these often gets mentioned his revenge on Russia, this is a war against Russia and, of course, that Russia has been persecuting Jews, I had pogroms late 19th early 20th century so, so this is a war of revenge and that's important.

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Tim Grady: As a promise of German unity to now imperial Germany was bad or significantly divided politically, socially religiously.

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Tim Grady: And the war seem to be an opportunity to end these divisions Jewish communities realized this the Kaiser realize this.

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Tim Grady: And in August 1914 the kinds of give big speech, and he said I no longer recognized parties I knew recognize Germans all in this together, you can see, this on the next slide in fact.

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Tim Grady: There we go this is known or became known as the civic truce.

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Tim Grady: kinds of every speech from his palace there to the crowds below this image here was sketched out by Max Lieberman, the great German Jewish painter of this scene in August 1914 massive people there can be unified for the front, because it was going to bring people together.

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Tim Grady: third reason why perhaps people supported the war simply German patriotism.

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Tim Grady: Like other Germans Jews rally behind their country, and if we just click forward there there's a quite good quote here from a more liberal Jewish newspaper.

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Tim Grady: saying we German Jews are indelibly connected heart and soul with life and limb with blood and possessions to German fatherland with back in the wall.

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Tim Grady: So called spirit of 1914 this initial support though doesn't last the longer the war goes on the greater divisions, the greater the suffering in Germany.

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Tim Grady: And fairly quickly, I guess, and German Jews Jewish communities, one of the groups that start to get blamed for this situation, why is Germany not winning the war this all comes to a head in the summer of 1960.

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Tim Grady: and

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Tim Grady: During this period, a number of letters start to go into the war ministry in Berlin really accusing German Jews i'm not doing their bit, making accusations allegations that German Jews somehow shirked their duty.

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Tim Grady: Why ministry sits on these letters for a while, but then, in the autumn of 1916 it makes a decision is going to investigate these complaints and it launches what's known as the Jewish census.

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Tim Grady: What this basically involves was that on a given day in the autumn of 1916 commanders in the field were told that they had to count how many Jews were serving under them.

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Tim Grady: How many Jews were serving how many have been killed, how many had been awarded the iron cross how many have been wounded and so on.

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Tim Grady: The statistics for them given back to Berlin and with the idea of them being acted upon now, this was a remarkable remarkable event, an army Captain so members and our army Captain so members, based on religion.

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Tim Grady: German Jews involved in the war doesn't end then continues, of course, all the way through to the end of the conflict in 1980.

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Tim Grady: But from this point on divisions deepen anti semitism rises and many Jews are left increasingly disillusioned either they asked, of course, still involved in the conflict, at this point i'm going to hand over to my colleague Mike you are continue our contextual overview.

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Michael Geheran: Thank you and my colleague TIM he gave you some context on the First World War and i'm just going to talk for a few minutes about what happened after 1918.

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Michael Geheran: And the Jewish census also called the Jew count it was a debatable whether or not it was a watershed in German Jewish relations during the First World War.

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Michael Geheran: What is clear, though, is that is that have played a crucial role in after World War, one after 1918.

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Michael Geheran: Because the results of the census were never made public, they were never there was never published the mere fact that had been carried out was enough to fuel speculation and wild rumors about the Jewish war record.

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Michael Geheran: In the census and became a kind of rhetorical weapon for the political far Right after 19 it was used to undermine Jewish claims for equality and recognition for having restore lies and battle.

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Michael Geheran: So these accusations are Jews and collectively dodge their duty to serve in combat they would form the core element of the so called stab in the back myth.

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Michael Geheran: And this was alive was repeated, not only by anti Semitic interest groups by far right political parties.

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Michael Geheran: but also by former officer, is the most prominent being Eric gluten dwarf will claim that a conspiracy of Jews pacifists and socialists and undermine the fighting power of the German army.

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Michael Geheran: These views, though they were not confined to the nationalist far right, they also entered mainstream conservative conservative discourses after 1918.

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Michael Geheran: In So what we see is that this it became an article of faith among the conservative middle classes, that you said not sacrificed in equal numbers as other Germans.

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Michael Geheran: Now, to be sure, I mean many, many Germans many conservative Germans they made distinctions between quote unquote jewelry and their former comrade so they'd serve within the war.

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Michael Geheran: But these kind of personal relations, he didn't weaken the consensus among middle class conservative Germans that saw your jewelry as having somehow been complicit in germany's defeat.

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Michael Geheran: These views also penetrated the political Left in one we really don't have to look any further than remarks anti war novel the road back.

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Michael Geheran: in which one of the Jewish one of the protagonist the Jewish character he's the one who was always trying to be duty in the front lines he's he's greedy and selfish in general and trustworthy.

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Michael Geheran: So, in the end, it can be said that these allegations of cowardice this unwillingness to sacrifice for the fatherland, if you will, they weren't given a new life after 1918 because of the do count.

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Michael Geheran: The census at Dave these accusations of premier of credibility and created a created a reasonable doubt.

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Michael Geheran: shirking and accusations of sharking and what this meant was that Jews and collectively sought refuge and comfortable rear area postings while quote unquote real Germans that died facing the enemy.

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Michael Geheran: This was a serious humiliation for Jewish veterans and I don't think the importance of this can be overstated.

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Michael Geheran: shirkers were men without honor they were bad comrades were weak soldiers, they survived by hiding behind the Ford ranks, taking advantage of the bravery of the real soldiers in order to secure their own safety.

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Michael Geheran: These allegations were not only a blow personal blow to Jewish veterans and also forced them into the unenviable unenviable position of having to prove their war record.

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Michael Geheran: And so what this all meant was that, after 1918 Jews were engaged in this unrelenting fight to convince Gentile society about the extent of your sacrifices during the war.

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Michael Geheran: Jewish organizations, the CV and the veterans organizations, they expanded a lot of energy and resources countering this anti Semitic campaign with statistics, they they published books and pamphlets.

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Michael Geheran: They also published leaflets and advertisements and newspapers like you see here on this slide.

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Michael Geheran: This is an advertisement and insert in a Jewish newspaper, and I think if you click on the slide you'll see the caption.

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Michael Geheran: And this is really an advertisement from 1920 to remind the German public of Jewish sacrifices reminding them that Jews had all Jewish mothers and also lost sons and battle that 12,000 Jews died.

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Michael Geheran: And another way that Jews responded to these attacks was by confronting their accusers believing that rigorous demonstrations of patronage.

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Michael Geheran: Use me patriotism encouraged that that these could change Durban perceptions of jewelry.

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Michael Geheran: And in public, they presented themselves as comrades as loyal German fighters oftentimes as we'll see in the next slide please.

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Michael Geheran: donning their war medals wearing their medals in public, and this is why the metals and some of the art artifacts we're going to be looking at here today, I think, are are so important, not just during the war but also after.

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Michael Geheran: After 1918 but especially after 1933 many Jews were wearing their medals as a means of discrediting public publicly discrediting Nazi propaganda.

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Michael Geheran: And i'm going to end this by saying something about this photo here, this is a photo of Richard Stan stern and Cologne in 1933 and he is protesting the April 1.

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Michael Geheran: boycott against Jewish businesses that the Nazi regime has instituted, and when we see this, I mean this is almost a sense of betrayal beat this is a hero of the Great War that's being persecuted.

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Michael Geheran: And it's an appeal to justice, almost in the striking things the body language in the sense of defiance of stern he standing.

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Michael Geheran: Next to the stormtrooper he's he seems unafraid he's not in terminated by these Nazi thugs and he's wearing the iron cross he earned in the front lines, while this kind of.

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Michael Geheran: You know pubescent looking as a man who was clearly too young to have every served in the German army standing next to them.

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Michael Geheran: The sad man is diminished by stern's presence and, if you look closely he almost seems uncomfortable.

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Michael Geheran: And so that the power is with stirring the Jewish veteran from the First World War he's kind of thrown down to Scotland to the essay men picketing his shop.

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Michael Geheran: And it was this attitude this this courage kind of defiance in the face of impossible odds and I found it so remarkable.

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Michael Geheran: important to note that, while this picture was being taken other Jews non military Jews and clone you're being harassed or bullied and, in some cases, physically assaulted.

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Michael Geheran: So this is the what is so remarkable about this photo it's the only one i've seen of a Nazi perpetrator in a Jewish victim, where the power resides with the with the victim, and so I think, have given enough context here i'd like to turn it over to my colleague Jason at this point.

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Jason Crouthamel: Thank you very much Mike and thanks TIM thanks for all for your introductions there.

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Jason Crouthamel: When looking at the history of German Jewish veterans it's important to emphasize the diversity of Jewish war experiences relationships between Jews and Christians encounters with anti semitism and memories of the war were complicated.

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Jason Crouthamel: When we look at individual letters and diaries we find a wide range of experiences as men and women defined and embraced German identities, the upheaval of total war.

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Jason Crouthamel: One of the ways in which Jewish soldiers at the front, as well as women on the homefront battled against anti semitism and often felt a sense of German this was by embracing prevailing gender ideals.

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Jason Crouthamel: For women, this meant fulfilling prescribed roles, by providing support for their husbands and fathers who went off to war This included both emotional support, as well as volunteering for organizations that provide care for soldiers at the front and men, returning home.

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Jason Crouthamel: supporting their husbands fathers and sons women contributed to the nation and its moment of crisis under the strain of war and they felt a sense of acceptance by performing these wartime duties.

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Jason Crouthamel: Jewish men embrace the prevailing masculine ideal of a patriotic warrior willing to sacrifice himself for the nation.

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Jason Crouthamel: The cornerstone of the German masculine idea was the notion of comradeship.

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Jason Crouthamel: Many Jewish friend soldiers felt that they have shared this idea with Christian commits unless this gave them access to national identity.

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Jason Crouthamel: and mutual respect and an example I present here, you see, on the slide on the left is a German Jewish children and Paul Labor.

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Jason Crouthamel: His diaries and photo album and letters to his to his wife are in the Jewish museum and Munich, and this is a photo he included in this photo album which he pasted into his diary.

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Jason Crouthamel: of himself, and I should, including you weren't a caption below that he wrote look i'm, just like the guy in the in the poster on the right, you see a very famous poster from World War one.

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Jason Crouthamel: An image that would have been posted in public spaces, is very popular as men and a postcard as well, of the steel helmeted right uniform to German soldier.

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Jason Crouthamel: leverage that for three years, mostly on the eastern front and in his entire three years of his diary he noted, only one example of a comrade who expressed anti semitism towards him.

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Jason Crouthamel: And he said he bragged that he demon have to speak up against the The anti Semitic guy because his Christian friends came to his Defense they said how could you make fun of him he's a good comrade.

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Jason Crouthamel: And he wrote that he took such pride is his proudest achievement that he could feel that sense of comradeship is a little bit older than his friends so it's kind of a father figure to his buddies in the trenches.

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Jason Crouthamel: And he expressed tremendous pride at that experience after the war, like many other German Jews as Mike mentioned he faced persecution and he lost his job in the Nuremberg loss under the number of laws and he was actually murdered and crystal Naka 1938.

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Jason Crouthamel: Part of this ideal of comradeship was the notion of this tough militarized masculinity like you see on the immature.

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Jason Crouthamel: But comradeship also had a softer side his soldiers provided for each other with psychological and emotional support in the traumatic experience of the trenches.

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Jason Crouthamel: German Jewish men frequently wrote in their letters and diaries about how they felt accepted by their Christian comrades and how their comrades express admiration for their Jewish friends.

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Jason Crouthamel: At the same time, Jewish soldiers still encountered anti semitism from comrades in the trenches and these are these mixed signals that were oftentimes very disorienting for them.

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Jason Crouthamel: As Jewish men struggle to understand how they were perceived by the men that they fought alongside you, to the next slide for me please Cindy Thank you very much.

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Jason Crouthamel: This is an image of billy rosenstein a fighter pilots in the German military the new German air service and 1972 19.

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Jason Crouthamel: On the left, you see him he came home to call zero to visit his family and his mom met him at the airfield and Karlsruhe.

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Jason Crouthamel: With oak leaves a symbol of ancient Roman symbol of victory for her son had just earned the iron cross first class and she has she wrote about how proud, she was of him, he flew in a Squadron.

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Jason Crouthamel: Water number 27 he was the wingman of Hermann goering later the architect of the Holocaust ahead of the Gestapo, among other things.

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Jason Crouthamel: And one night in the mess hall right then they're having a party celebrating their victories for one day.

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Jason Crouthamel: garan shot at it really rosenstein across the the mess Hall, you call them a Jewish pig or you wouldn't sell.

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Jason Crouthamel: and humiliated play roadside wrote to his family, about how he really did he felt any applied for a transfer from the Squadron.

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Jason Crouthamel: Strangely, during provided a letter of recommendation saying that really rosenstein was one of the best comrades in the squad room so that's.

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Jason Crouthamel: kind of mixed signals there's really, really quite bizarre for him, but he ended up in another Squadron on the right, you see the new spider and squatter number 40.

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Jason Crouthamel: And billy restaurant is in the lower rights with his arms crossed kind of looking on his friends who are playfully putting their shotguns at.

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Jason Crouthamel: Karl Malone, who is he he's a nice comfy chair there, he was ahead of the squatter and debbie Hello and Rosa same submitted a lifelong friendship.

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Jason Crouthamel: During their you're fighting that Squadron day-glo running his memoirs later he said that he was assigned was the Saint of the Squadron because he flew wingman above everybody.

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Jason Crouthamel: To cover them in case they were attacked from behind so he was the most selfless comrade he said, and after the war.

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Jason Crouthamel: day-glo helped rosenstein escape after the Nuremberg loss rosenstein fled to South Africa and there, he was in 1940 interned by the South African Government.

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Jason Crouthamel: In a detention camp right where he wrote his memoirs which are available in the buck institute archive.

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Jason Crouthamel: And he wrote about his experiences during the war and after he trained after you got out of the detention camp we actually trained rf pilots to fly in World War Two including his son was a Benjamin rosenstein fluid spitfire and was killed in 1945 flying against Nazi Germany.

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Jason Crouthamel: After the war, the Nazi regime built a racialized version of comradeship that excluded juice from this front community.

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Jason Crouthamel: This caused many Jewish veterans to feel a sense of betrayal is a pointed to their iron crosses their war wounds and their friendships with Christian comrades as proof of their sacrifice and patriotism.

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Jason Crouthamel: Even if they were ostracized from the US, the resumes memory of the war, the experience of comradeship made many Jewish veterans feel that at least between 1914 and 1918 they had been to some degree, accepted.

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Jason Crouthamel: So thanks for allowing us to give an introduction and i'll hand it over to Sydney and Roth, no thanks.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Let me just say quickly that before we move on to the object, some of the objects themselves i'm so glad Jason you raised the question of Jewish hero Jewish pilots and World War one because that's a whole sub subject by itself.

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Jason Crouthamel: I think there's a question from the fact he wasn't signed flew for the British for using the rf somebody just asked so just to clarify that so roadsides son flew with the British against not terminators kill.

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Ralph Blumenthal: This is a book actually on Jewish pilots and roll roll one and it's a wonderful story in itself itself too long to go into here, but one pilot actually flew with a swastika on this plane, which was not yet the Nazi symbol.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Also, many of you Jason and TIM and Mike also touched on the value of letters which are really a.

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Ralph Blumenthal: ground up view of events, the small man's view of history, which is invaluable and knowing what the Jewish experience was in World War.

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Ralph Blumenthal: One and one last thing I know from my mother's accounts in Germany in my my days between the wars that people would say non Jews would say to my father and mother.

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Ralph Blumenthal: The Jews are responsible for this, the Jews that are but not you, you know not you so there was this distinction between jewelry, as you said, an individual Jews.

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Ralph Blumenthal: So with that let's take a look at some of the objects in the collection.

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Rebecca Frank: Thank you so much for everyone for your words and we're so excited to be sharing some objects from the Museum of Jewish heritage his collection.

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Rebecca Frank: Many of these objects, are going to be on view and our upcoming exhibition the Holocaust what he can do.

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Rebecca Frank: The first object that we're looking at is an oil burning metal hanukkah menorah and try that was made during World War one and belong to the Heidelberger flame family and planned in Germany.

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Rebecca Frank: The menorah contains two levels of cups each with eight cups and total so that two families will be able to use the menorah at the same time.

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Rebecca Frank: there's one shamash at the end of the upper level of oil cups and according to Lewis Heidelberger the organ donor and his family used it.

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Rebecca Frank: The menorah was made by someone in their town of flying and during World War one because they could get oil but not candles.

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Rebecca Frank: Thus, cotton was used for webex and oil is port directly into the cups Lewis was born in flying in on June 8 1918 close to the end of World War one.

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Rebecca Frank: He had two older siblings nita and safer and one younger sibling named Norbert.

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Rebecca Frank: During World War one, like many other Jews as we've been discussing Lewis his father Samuel thought in the German army.

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Rebecca Frank: He was stationed in France and survived the war, who was his mother caroline's brother Lewis bar also served in the army, but he died in 1916 and.

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Rebecca Frank: We believe that, then when Lewis was born, two years later, in 1918 that he was died after his uncle who was far from he was named after his uncle Lou as far as who had died in the war.

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Rebecca Frank: Heidelberger immigrated to the United States in 1937 and him and his mother had brought this hanukkah menorah with them, they continue to use it for many years in the United States.

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Rebecca Frank: In 1942 Heidelberger was drafted into the US army and as an American Jewish soldier he bought in the battle of the bulge and was a liberator of the concentration camp door middle about in April 1945.

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Rebecca Frank: So you can really see here we're looking at this hanukkah menorah that it's both about the German Jewish soldiers, but really about on the homefront and about what German Jewish life.

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Rebecca Frank: was like during this time, and the menorah is really a testament to the ingenuity of some Jews, to maintain their practices and identity during times of scarcity.

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Rebecca Frank: And I think it's especially touching that you could see these two rows indicating that it could be used, you know by a son and a father or by two different families, at the same time and showing that the holidays are meant to be shared.

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Ralph Blumenthal: You know becky Thank you, I was struck a temp, especially from your book The reference to his actual services at the front for Jewish soldiers on Yom Kippur poor rabbis were serving in the army that's that signifies a exceptional level of respect for Jewish soldiers right.

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Tim Grady: yeah thanks that's a good point there's.

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Tim Grady: there's two ways of looking at this, I guess, on the one hand we start to see with the star of the First World War, some recognition and respect of German Jews in the military, so we get for the first time army rabbis accepted into the German army.

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Tim Grady: And as you say Ralph there's also recognition of Jewish religious services soldiers are, in theory, given time to attend these.

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Tim Grady: So that we pulled out, on the one hand, but on the other hand, I suppose we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that there was there's always sort of.

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Tim Grady: step aside affair, because there were far fewer army rabbis then there were Catholic priests, for example in the in the in the German army.

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Tim Grady: So they're always brava looked down upon in this regard, and although people have given time to go to services that was only if the military allowed it or suit or sort of that was beneficial in that moment, so there's two ways of looking at I.

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Think.

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Tim Grady: As an introduction I just.

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Ralph Blumenthal: I noticed also that they actually served kosher food sometimes.

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Tim Grady: Correct again, sometimes, yes, it was it was supposedly available and could be sent from the home front as well to the front lines for people.

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Tim Grady: But that depended on circumstances.

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Tim Grady: Because you can imagine, in the depths of frontline cited that wasn't always possible.

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Ralph Blumenthal: And also, I noticed that.

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Ralph Blumenthal: That from some of the accounts in your joint book.

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Ralph Blumenthal: term, and I mean Michael and Jason that.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Non Jewish soldiers went to synagogue services with Jewish soldiers and vice versa, so there was that kind of interchange at fostered neutral regard right.

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Jason Crouthamel: I would say that image I showed earlier if Paul elaborate he wrote in his diary about how he preferred going to Christian services because they had better food.

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Jason Crouthamel: You like brought first a lot.

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Jason Crouthamel: And I have a Paul vase Christian soldier, I have a letter from him, where he describes be invited to a Jewish service, where the rabbi little back.

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Jason Crouthamel: gave a talk and to both Christian NGOs soldiers and this individual a Christian soldier expressed how much he admired back.

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Jason Crouthamel: Because Beck war uniform he carried a rifle he had to lean the rifle up against the front of the where the field service has been held an extra tree.

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Jason Crouthamel: And I said wow this rabbi and he sees one of us he's wearing a uniform is carrying a rifle he's suffering the same way that we are and.

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Jason Crouthamel: He told us fiance that change this feeling about Jewish soldiers, but as TIM as TIM mentioned so sometimes rare experiences right do you see some crossover and people were invited to experience each other's services, but that was often rare.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Right becky let's move on.

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Jason Crouthamel: Can I say one more thing about that that menorah just want to say also i'm the expression of homemade.

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Jason Crouthamel: decor for the families that was also a gesture of patriotism because being economical was about being patriotic for the fatherland is as resources were scarce so that's a component of that as well.

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Rebecca Frank: So these next set of objects, are all related to the hymen brothers and you could see here on the left is a self portrait of David hyman that you've made during World War one of himself.

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Rebecca Frank: And the center's this photo of him with fellow soldiers in June of 1916 and then on the right is a field prayer book that he had used when he was fighting in World War one.

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Rebecca Frank: And all five hyman brothers had bought in World War one David Max Julius Siegfried and Herman and Julia sided battle in May of 1915.

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Rebecca Frank: And then, following the 1933 Nazi boycott of Jewish stores, the hymens actually hunger poster in the window of their retail store a gel hyman.

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Rebecca Frank: Where they detailed each of the brothers wartime experiences and their status during the war, and it was really as an effort to counteract anti semitism that they were experiencing in Germany.

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Rebecca Frank: To show that they were Germans who had fought for Germany in World War one and, nonetheless, regardless of their veteran status the Nazis did persecute the hymens.

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Rebecca Frank: And according to Carl l hyman who was David from self portrait we're seeing here son 22 members of their extended family were murdered in the Holocaust.

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Jason Crouthamel: Okay, can I ask is there an inscription in the prayer book at all, is there any personal inscriptions that are wrote in there.

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Rebecca Frank: there's not a personal instruction in this particular prayer but from the hymens, but there are players within it.

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Jason Crouthamel: it's difficult as historians, we have to have struggled to try to understand the context and the meaning of personal objects for people, you know.

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Jason Crouthamel: One of the.

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Jason Crouthamel: Doctors that we wrote about in our book named Paul plowed a German Jewish doctor he.

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Jason Crouthamel: wrote a salad but it wasn't religious your dad do practice any any rituals or, I think, but he kept a Jewish prayer book with them was in his personal effects so it's always challenging to try to understand what things meant for people individually very subjective history.

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Ralph Blumenthal: You know, I was struck by your various books accounts that many Jewish shoulder Jews Jews were more comfortable at the front.

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Ralph Blumenthal: With their comrades and they were in society so that's interesting that there was a bonding that went on in the field, as you probably expect among soldiers that did not hold true in society at large, so in that sense, the war was a.

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Ralph Blumenthal: You know exercise kind of a salutary effect against anti semitism, that was not true and society at large.

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Jason Crouthamel: let's make this complex your that photo you see that reveals that that kind of sense of integration and comradeship they feel right.

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Jason Crouthamel: yeah they're experts at home oftentimes different from that but that's it's complicated.

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Ralph Blumenthal: And also, I think it's worth noting that some Jews who are extreme nationalists, I think there was some Jewish assassins among those who killed carly's best and Rosa Luxemburg so again, as you said.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Jason it's complicated that they were Jews were extreme nationalists they weren't just all liberals and they really covered that the spectrum, which makes it a very complicated story correct.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Okay.

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Tim Grady: This is really complex story, and you can't i've been with the German Jews and judges in the world, you cannot sort of place judges into one particular particular political category.

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Tim Grady: one set of experiences and that really has to be be emphasized, I suppose, we have to look at the first was kind of a real formative experience for many people as well because perhaps people go into the war, not as extreme.

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Tim Grady: patriots nationalists, if you like, even but it come out of it because of that experience of fighting it, their experience with the wounded, even though.

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Tim Grady: we're putting their neck on the line at the front and they come out of it feeling a different attachment or different view of their country that they now fall fall.

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Jason Crouthamel: and reinforced with him saying when you look at letters and diaries you see a whole spectrum of experiences that have different effects on their political views that spectrum is is kind of what makes the history exciting, but also very complex and challenging to.

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Ralph Blumenthal: And then it became extremely simplified by the Nazis, that all Jews were enemies, so all those nuances were raised by the branding of the you know entire Jewish people as as an enemy so let's move on becky.

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Rebecca Frank: That so this next set of objects, are all related to you go schloss and he had been in the sanitation court during World War one.

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Rebecca Frank: You can actually see in this Center photograph him bandages up someone's had an arm, so you can really see him in action as part of the sanitation core and then.

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Rebecca Frank: here on the top left are a pair of German army issue leather slippers.

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Rebecca Frank: And these are just two of the many medical instruments that we have from him that he had used during the journey, when he was part of the German army to see the scissors and the tweezers but.

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Rebecca Frank: there's a whole set and the pouch that he had used for them and then these are two very tiny stick pins with the metals, for having been wounded in battle.

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Rebecca Frank: And you go schloss he was born in the hospital or extend on June 10 at 90 at 95 his father was educated as a favorite teacher in Castle, Germany and to go from a really observant throughout his entire life.

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Rebecca Frank: Both of his two older brothers had enlisted in the army and then Cuba was drafted his older brother Maurice had died during World War one and after World War one the family was able to emigrate many years later, in July 1938 to escape Germany, with the help of his wife's.

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Rebecca Frank: brothers getting an affidavit from the United States in order to help them and agree and I think the set of objects is really exciting, because you can really see what he had used during the war and.

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Rebecca Frank: Both seeing this photo of him in action as part of the sanitation core and also the instruments that are used in the shoes that he had born it's really interesting to be able to look at them.

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Ralph Blumenthal: I think we have to applaud the museum for assembling this this collection, among others, because this really makes the stories come real.

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Ralph Blumenthal: And it's wonderful that you've you know, been able to assemble this archive I came across your collection when I wrote up your Auschwitz exhibit a few years ago, which was an extraordinary you know effort to.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Dramatic dramatize a story that we all thought we knew, but obviously didn't but anyway it's a wonderful collection and urge all listeners and viewers today to make their way down to the museum at the battery to see these objects for themselves.

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Ralph Blumenthal: So let me just interject this by my calculation if 100,000 Jews served in the German army during the Great War and 12,000 died and to 2 million Germans generally died.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Out of their population of 58 million by my calculation, the number of Jews that died was not appreciably different the two to 3% Jews and Germans generally so isn't that interesting that that should.

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Ralph Blumenthal: expose the lie of Jewish shirkers etc if basically the same percentage of Jews died as as non Jews, as General Germans, as my arithmetic correct.

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Jason Crouthamel: you're correct, but you know, racism, you know racist don't use evidence right So yes, you're right the evidence absolutely supports that but you know the conspiracy theories and and hatred or they don't rely on evidence of course.

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Tim Grady: And I think one of the one of this as Mike said in his introduction there becomes one big debates and into war, Germany is about statistics and numbers.

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Tim Grady: And in 1932 the Jewish veterans association publish a book in which they attempt to list every German Jews died in the conflict.

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Tim Grady: As a hard book of evidence that can be argued against, but when you come to this stage where you were basically saying, or people basically saying at a time that to be German and to belong to Germany is to prove that you've died in.

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Tim Grady: conflict is quite shocking state of affairs.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Right.

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Michael Geheran: In the anti Semitic far right they accuse Jews of fabricating this these numbers at this this this 12,000 number they repeatedly accused do that this was.

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Michael Geheran: These were not real numbers, this was just an attempt by Jews to seize power to gain power for themselves.

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Michael Geheran: And I think in many publications, they said, probably four to 5000 Jews at the most had died in combat without presenting any evidence, of course, but these numbers were constantly challenged by the far right.

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Michael Geheran: it's about thousand number.

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Ralph Blumenthal: And you know I noted from your books that the so called you count of.

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Ralph Blumenthal: was a big factor in society at large than it was in the army, it was kind of shrugged off because I guess they the soldiers, Jews and non Jews are like sort of knew what the Jewish contribution was so it was not a big issue is that right, but in society it low much larger.

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Tim Grady: I think I should say, one of the things I think that comes through when you mentioned that you to count that.

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Tim Grady: Is that one of the things that you can did was to try and make it distinguish about in what area people served in which area people for word us at the from where they behind the lines, and perhaps we see this here with the objects Hugo schloss that he's he's a medic.

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Tim Grady: And in some of the anti Semitic attacks there's criticism of German shoes for not serving at the front lawns for serving as doctors, that somehow become seen as a less a way of serving.

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Tim Grady: them being in the military and being at the front, so that you count, yes, it is about about numbers and statistics as response it's also about here you survey, which I think fits for the schloss objects here quite important.

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Ralph Blumenthal: So that myth was very pervasive that somehow Jews were shirkers by nature and manipulators and the fact I guess that there were a lot of Jews in the pay units of the army, for some reason that didn't help their image, I suppose.

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Ralph Blumenthal: But obviously the anti semitism must have been so embedded in German psyche that even the comradeship of the war could not combat the sudden turn about after defeat when everybody turned on the Jews so.

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Ralph Blumenthal: What explains that that this must have been so deeply embedded that even the experiences of the war couldn't couldn't have much.

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Jason Crouthamel: I think I think or Mike go ahead Mike was a.

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Michael Geheran: No go ahead Jason.

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Jason Crouthamel: I shouldn't say briefly, you know, indeed, was very disorienting for Jewish veterans you know they felt accepted they felt like comrades.

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Jason Crouthamel: They can also point to experiences with Christian soldiers who they they believed accepted them and and and respected them.

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Jason Crouthamel: And so, when they face anti semitism during an especially after the war, it was very disorienting very confusing for a lot of individuals, trying to process.

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Jason Crouthamel: Right what the you know what the perception was I don't think there's a singular German psyche, so to speak, right people at so many different experiences they're trying to process this, and that was a yes, because a lot of confusion after the war, thanks for waiting my.

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Michael Geheran: One of the things that's interesting that i've found in a lot of testimonies into counts written during the 1920s, is that.

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Michael Geheran: Jewish ex servicemen Jewish veterans day encountered anti Semitic anti semitism differently than other Jews and, for example.

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Michael Geheran: You know many veterans who left diaries and wrote memoirs many of them lived in in Nuremberg in East Prussia these these were some of the more anti Semitic very.

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Michael Geheran: very conservative areas in Germany, with a Nazi movement with at already been successful and was growing before 1933 and they don't describe.

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Michael Geheran: encountering any or that much anti semitism there, which is very interesting they described coming home from the war and being able to.

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Michael Geheran: restart their businesses that left behind, they had friends of former comrades connections that they had made, especially former officers.

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Michael Geheran: And this contrast to testimonies by non military Jews, so the Jews who had not served in the army, they did not have this the same experience so it's clear that.

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Michael Geheran: Those those Dudes he's Jewish men, women who had served, it was a different experience for them a lot of times doors that were open that were closed for regular Jews were open for veterans because of their service.

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Michael Geheran: Right.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Also, I mean, I guess, we should discuss this, that that some of the German Jews look down on their fellow religionists from the East, the student who was singled out for particular denigration so did you notice in your scholarship that there was this.

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Ralph Blumenthal: You know this attitude superiority by German Jews it's.

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Jason Crouthamel: it's complicated one of the individual I showed earlier Paul ever he fought in on the Romanian front.

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Jason Crouthamel: and Jews and local communities there would come to them and say you know we just discovered you're Jewish or gone to a synagogue service.

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Jason Crouthamel: And they said how can you fight in the German army, you know what what are you doing fighting the German army.

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Jason Crouthamel: He said Germans are very civilized right, the German army represents a culture this it's very civilized I belong to this culture right and and.

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Jason Crouthamel: there's a little bit of tension there, he said he said he wrote in his diary and he wrote to his to his wife, he said he felt more German.

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Jason Crouthamel: Then he felt connected to these Jewish communities in Romania and like I mentioned, he, like the food of the Christian services better that was always helpful right but but it's an experience of highlighted a little bit of a division there in a way.

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Ralph Blumenthal: becky other Muslims.

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Jason Crouthamel: Are there more objects i'm TIM TIM had a comment there to real quick yeah.

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Tim Grady: No, I sorry I was only just going to interject very briefly just say yeah absolutely Jason I think a lot of German Jews, as they go East there's there's a discovery of these European Jewish communities and often they're looking down on these issue being Jewish communities.

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Jason Crouthamel: Where they feel definitely feel different right yeah.

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Tim Grady: yeah they see them as they see that they're bringing their culture esports perhaps, but there is also a group of German Jews ago East and I discovered the shipping Jewish communities and they embrace this culture.

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Tim Grady: So let me just cover that in a positive sense to, and I think that needs to be.

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Jason Crouthamel: To be stressed as well that's a great example of the diversity of experiences absolutely yeah.

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Jason Crouthamel: I say one more thing to before I move on to reinforce something that becky much you know.

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Jason Crouthamel: Mike and TIM, and I, you know we live in a world of archives we're open shoe boxes, full of objects like this, along with letters and diaries and.

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Jason Crouthamel: I smiled at moving to think about what families considered important what the veteran kept and then with a family cherished through you know, God knows what kind of.

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Jason Crouthamel: You know trials and difficulties in life and everything but that these objects, are what survive for them and the gesture of giving it to the archive is I think it's a very emotionally powerful thing for those families, so I find it very moving to see these objects.

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Ralph Blumenthal: And we also thankfully live in a digital age today when material can be digitized and transferred opening up you know vast archives to.

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Ralph Blumenthal: You know people who normally would never have access to them so we're privileged I would make an argument for parents to talk to children grandparents to talk to children before it's too late and share their stories because there's nothing like you know, an in person account.

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Ralph Blumenthal: All right, let's move on to some more images.

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Rebecca Frank: And thank you Jason for making that point and I think it's especially impactful because so many of these particular objects that we're sharing today that are.

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Rebecca Frank: belong to German Jewish soldiers in World War one.

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Rebecca Frank: They they themselves aren't who had donated the objects, it was then their children and their family that decided to donate it to the museum, a few of them, they themselves did but, for the most part, it was their.

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Rebecca Frank: Families, and I think the fact that these objects survived.

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Rebecca Frank: With the family and then eventually, in turn, that the family members, decided to donate it to the museum that is really special and it's interesting to hear each of those stories of how the objects and survive, I should also say to as we're looking at this last set of objects that.

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Rebecca Frank: This is just a small subset of objects in our museums collection, we have approximately 40,000 objects and testimonies in the collection and so.

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Rebecca Frank: There are so many stories and objects that will love to share with each of you, and continue to be speaking about.

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Rebecca Frank: This last night here are all related to our they're dealing should see you could see this photo of him CIRCA 1920 on the left.

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Rebecca Frank: And in the Center it says iron cross and then on the right is his insignia for the wounded that he had received during World War one and he was a field doctor.

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Rebecca Frank: And after the war, so he received the first and second class I across one of which you can see here, and after the war he continued to practice as a doctor and a number of.

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Rebecca Frank: Different hospitals both Jewish hospitals and non Jewish hospitals, he was really high up in a number of different surgical departments and him and his family had actually left.

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Rebecca Frank: To go to London in 1936 so he was already out of Germany, by the time of the Holocaust and then eventually he moved to New York City, where he continued to practice and opened up his own practice in.

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Rebecca Frank: Central Park Area and so there's the New York City connection, as well as him then continuing to practice here and we're really excited to share all these objects with you.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Well, thank you um there's there's really nothing like seeing these things firsthand and realizing the history that came with it, and what an iron cross symbolize to.

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Ralph Blumenthal: The Jewish German soldiers who want it and how quickly things turn, which you know, after all, our discussion, I think, will forever remain a bit of a mystery.

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Ralph Blumenthal: How how this all kind of changed so fast, but I want to take a step back for a moment to the previous war previous to the the the Great War the Franco Prussian war when.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Jews, for it on both sides, the French side and the German side and you think that the natural place for a Jewish soldier would be on the French side because of the French.

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Ralph Blumenthal: subscription to human rights and tolerance of Jews, the Napoleonic code and yet some German Jews for happily on the German side.

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Ralph Blumenthal: against the French Jews, and I know you just I think TIM you discussed a little of this in your book and all of you did in the other book exclusion and inclusion, so why don't you talk a little bit about that how Jews, found themselves sort of on both sides of this of all these wars.

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Tim Grady: yeah I mean Apps absolutely agree we're not just talking about Franco Prussian war, the First World War, Jews are fighting Jews here and and that's a source of tension, I guess, in both complex really that you are fighting against your fellow.

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Tim Grady: Fellow Jews in these complex and that's problematic and lose too much debate within the communities in the Franco Prussian war, I mean.

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Tim Grady: At this time, is this a Is this a surprise that that people are fighting against the French I don't think so really the Franco Prussian war, of course.

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Tim Grady: Well before we get the emancipation of German Jews as germany's then unified.

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Tim Grady: So both both countries as they become tell themselves narratives about the way that they treat their communities they give people justification for fighting in them and trying to reason to fight religion religion in the in these complex I guess.

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Jason Crouthamel: That wasn't a problem just for Jewish families, you know archbishop's in Germany and archbishop's and France.

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Jason Crouthamel: roots with great worry about Catholics and German and Catholics and France, fighting each other.

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Jason Crouthamel: This is a tension point for for many Protestants in Germany, wrote about the problem of fighting Protestants from from Britain, and so this is something that during the entire work has a lot of stress for religious leaders from from different religions.

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Ralph Blumenthal: I mean it makes it very simple point again that in any war countrymen are separated people.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Religion so separated from fellow religious and why should use be any different they fought on both sides, but it seems to come as a big surprise.

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Ralph Blumenthal: To people, including, as did to me that they were right wing Jews who were you know fervently for Germany in World War one and before and it shouldn't be Jews were like she was like everybody else only more so right isn't that the the old cliche.

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Jason Crouthamel: Like that talk also about you know, look at the images I don't see him anymore, but the the iron cross you know.

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Jason Crouthamel: it's interesting to reflect on and mike's read about this quite a bit in this book on comrades betrayed you know what that meant to these families that it reflected a sense of masculinity right male sacrifice.

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Jason Crouthamel: Families displayed their medals in their living rooms on what we're called origin kissing a pillow on which metals were display.

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Jason Crouthamel: And so, when families came to visit and they on the first things they'd see in the living room would be the symbols of sacrifice and masculinity and there are a lot of accounts of.

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Jason Crouthamel: Jewish Germans who who saw this is kind of a Center of pride, you know there's a great book by David clay large called in the world closes doors about the MAC show family.

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Jason Crouthamel: And after Kristallnacht when he realized right the extent of violence that established facing he He threw his medals he and his old war buddy through their medals in the local river.

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Jason Crouthamel: And said, this is not my Germany anymore right, I said symbolize for them, on one hand patriotism, but also right to feelings of betrayal after the war with the rise of finances.

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Tim Grady: And jet Jason I had to, I suppose, but when these medals are displayed or any other symbols of the war displayed that we would have to remember that some of this might be kind of a defensive fact.

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Tim Grady: That you know as we've as Mike introduced earlier on, with a guy standing in Cologne we've is the iron cross all that if you're displaying these symbols then it's a way of proving that you were there too.

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Tim Grady: So, yes there's a pride in it, but I think there's also a Defense against scientists and.

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Jason Crouthamel: The person comes through I think you're right that's very interesting.

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Ralph Blumenthal: For Jews, it was particularly important because of this, you know pervasive myth of Jews as weak or unpatriotic, and so they I know from your books, all of you that Jews felt a particular urgency to prove their worth and battle and the best.

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Ralph Blumenthal: You know praise, they could get from their comrades was that they were brave in battle.

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Ralph Blumenthal: It is interesting, we can, little by little, get to the questions if you want.

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Ralph Blumenthal: And then i'll probably trigger some other things.

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Ralph Blumenthal: If.

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Ralph Blumenthal: My grandfather was an officer in the kaiser's army, I have always believed.

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Ralph Blumenthal: That it helped some members of my family from the Nazi concentration, but I have no proof, and neither do they how do I find out whether our grandfather service saved my cousins well you all are experts in scholarly archives, where do you go.

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Tim Grady: Might you know not to put you on the spot.

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Jason Crouthamel: yeah Mike our expert on this, I think so yeah.

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Michael Geheran: Well, that that's a very good question I would start with finding out what unit your grandfather served in and also finding out whether he left behind any documents any any personal documents such as a diary whether there are letters or anything like that leftover.

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Michael Geheran: Anything that talks about his personal experience, under the Nazis.

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Michael Geheran: Crucially, though I think stories like that you find in German archives and local archives on the on the look no not not on the town or.

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Michael Geheran: A city level where a lot of petitions were files, with a town hall, for example, or with local courts with a local, regional governor's.

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Michael Geheran: Petitions that we're asking for exemptions for certain Jews from anti Semitic legislation, so I think that's a good place to start.

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Michael Geheran: The unfortunate news is that many of these archives in Germany they were badly damaged or, in some cases, destroyed.

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Michael Geheran: In the war, so it depends on what what city and region, obviously, but but, really, I mean the it's important to try to find a paper trail and look at.

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Michael Geheran: Some of the artifacts and especially some of the written records your grandfather left behind and that that would be the starting place then work your way back.

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Ralph Blumenthal: And I must say that you know today we're very fortunate that we don't have to travel to Europe to access these archives, you can do it, you know with a click of a mouse so.

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Ralph Blumenthal: You know there's a tremendous amount of material on the ancestry websites, you know the mormon church, I mean there's no end of archives, now that have been digitized.

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Jason Crouthamel: i'd say, though, the Federal archive in Freiburg right i'd encourage this person to write the witness Arc even Freiburg You can write to them.

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Jason Crouthamel: Only 4% of their collection is digitized there's so much warehouses and warehouses, full of material right, this is German bureaucracy and action so not all of it is digitized yet, but a lot of it is certainly.

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Ralph Blumenthal: know what I found interestingly enough, when I was trying to trace my father's history in the ambulance corps.

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Ralph Blumenthal: That and he was later captured, as I said, by the British he was in a pow camp and I have the notation of the pow camp on Red Cross records.

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Ralph Blumenthal: But a lot of the British records were destroyed in the German bombing of London, which is interesting, I mean it's it's really ironic that.

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Ralph Blumenthal: The history of German heroism was really destroyed by German bombs in London during the blitz, so there is a there are big gaps, as you say, and a lot of records were destroyed in the allied bombing of Germany.

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Ralph Blumenthal: For example, I was trying to find my trace my father's residence in Berlin and it shows up on the Red Cross records of his captivity.

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Ralph Blumenthal: his home address in Berlin, but I cannot find it on a Google earth, because I think that was obliterated in the bombing, so I found play other German cities with a good Augustine, or should I say.

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Ralph Blumenthal: But not Berlin so it's it's a work in progress, so there are big gaps obviously caused by the war.

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Michael Geheran: let's see said to that that the that the main military archive in Germany depression army archive and Potsdam that was completely almost completely destroyed during the war, only about 10% or so of.

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Michael Geheran: The documents survive maybe a little bit more, some of them ended up in Russian hands up we're discovering.

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Michael Geheran: But the majority were obliterated, but if you look at some of the other armies that Bavarian army they had a separate army, the the the written back army, they also did their archives survived the war in there you'll you'll find them a lot more records in Munich and calls with.

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Ralph Blumenthal: that's interesting that it is, it is.

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Ralph Blumenthal: divided up that way that.

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Ralph Blumenthal: there's no, you know grand central archive of everything you have to really be inventive and figure out what little archive and various German states might have something.

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Ralph Blumenthal: um let's see my great uncle was a soldier in World War one was killed his gravestone was removed by the Nazis, how can I learn about where it was buried, well, I mean so much was just you know disrupted destroyed by the Nazis.

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Ralph Blumenthal: I have, I have no idea but.

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Ralph Blumenthal: There are you know cemetery records that may exist.

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Ralph Blumenthal: So I don't know it's a real investigative project and it's very time consuming, I can tell you that.

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Tim Grady: It probably depends, where the where the where the barrier originally was are we talking about in Germany or one of the front lines.

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Right.

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Ralph Blumenthal: let's see there's a long posting here.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Does anyone know how common the arrangement was to be fed and clothed by one's home family, even when I engage hundreds of miles away.

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Ralph Blumenthal: I don't know you scholars might know his letters were available from Leo back institute how common was it to be fed and clothed by one's home family, even when again hundreds of miles away.

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Tim Grady: I think that's that was fairly common and.

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Tim Grady: on all fronts really Oh, in fact, from from all sides to that people at home would think that a subtype Scott more supplies and send them through to people on the front.

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Tim Grady: Later in the war, people were sending things back in reverse because Germany was suffering so much from food shortages by the war and.

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Tim Grady: there's sometimes soldiers are sending things back back home to help out those on the home from but yeah there.

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Tim Grady: Is a complete correspondence come back all the way through the trade a complex people right into each other daily and sending materials and sending stuff to as well as sending passes as well to people in prisoner of war camps, which was also important those internships thing.

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Jason Crouthamel: Every day over to to over 2 million pieces of mail went back and forth between the home front of the combat front every day.

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Jason Crouthamel: it's pretty extraordinary but yeah care packages organized by people who even know those soldiers send them to strangers, but also by families too, so that was the main lifeline for people.

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Ralph Blumenthal: amazing ND the information in these letters, as we said is so extraordinary things that.

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Ralph Blumenthal: People wouldn't commit they wouldn't tell you know their comrades necessarily but they would tell their wives, in a letter, so you really get an unvarnished view of of events and how individual Jewish soldiers reacted to the anti semitism summit bothered some shrugged it off.

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Ralph Blumenthal: But it is a fascinating window.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Somebody writes our Austrian Jews counted in the hundred thousand that for for Germany know there's a separate census for Austrian Hungarian.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Jews, how do we know how many Austrian Jews, for it, I saw a figure of 300,000 is that.

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Jason Crouthamel: I think, Tim TIM knows more of that but yeah over 300,000 I believe Is that correct him.

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Tim Grady: or Michael sounds about roughly right don't have to take on the top.

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Jason Crouthamel: it's more than more than in Germany, there are more Jewish officers and the Australian army than there were in the German army, the German army had discriminate against Jewish officers much had prevented us from entering the officer corps for much longer so there's a difference there.

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Ralph Blumenthal: When you said more Austrian.

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Jason Crouthamel: Areas a higher percentage of Austrian officers who were from Jewish backgrounds much higher percentage than in the German.

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Ralph Blumenthal: army that's interesting because I have always heard that Austrian anti semitism was more virulent Hitler, having come from Australia, of course, and Eichmann.

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Ralph Blumenthal: More violent than German anti semitism and yet you say Jews rose faster in the ranks in Austria, Austria, Hungary.

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Jason Crouthamel: Mr yeah.

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interesting.

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Ralph Blumenthal: And we, here we have question what happened to Richard stern.

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Ralph Blumenthal: That picture we had of him outside the the shop.

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Michael Geheran: So he he's an interesting person on many levels He remained in Germany after until 1938 and on the on the photograph that was on April 1 he was.

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Michael Geheran: He was arrested about an hour to afterwards briefly detained by the police, but fortunately, he was arrested by the regular police and they.

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Michael Geheran: You know they sympathize with him and they let him go, we didn't get any kind of trouble.

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Michael Geheran: He stayed in Germany till 1938 and fled to the United States, he emigrated to the US and you worked as a waiter in New York City for a couple of years until.

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Michael Geheran: World War Two started and then he enlisted in the US army, and this is where his story really becomes remarkable he served he was an older man he's already in his late.

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Michael Geheran: Late 40s by this time and he served during the Italian campaign.

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Michael Geheran: In the 1945 he burned the silver star, he was a Staff Sergeant and he earned his silver star because he convinced, a German machine gun unit to give itself hop.

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Michael Geheran: By approaching them they've been inflicted casualties on the US troops and he convinced them and German, you know that their cause was lost in that be they'd be treated well that kind of thing, and for that here at a silver star any state in the United States in Pennsylvania.

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Ralph Blumenthal: Oh, I see.

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Jason Crouthamel: that's extraordinary.

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Michael Geheran: In his grandson or no is that is is.

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Michael Geheran: Is because grandnephew just recently published a book called doorway to heroism which came out about a year ago that tells His story.

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Ralph Blumenthal: And question do we know how many Jewish veterans died during the Holocaust.

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01:08:38.340 --> 01:09:00.420
Michael Geheran: We don't know that we have rough estimates of how many died during the Holocaust era about there were about 80,000 probably add 90,000 Jewish veterans in 1933 in Germany in 1933 and it's estimated that probably a little bit less than half perished.

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Michael Geheran: During the Holocaust, many of them, they they did emigrate.

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01:09:03.660 --> 01:09:21.990
Michael Geheran: Unfortunately, some of them emigrated to places like France and the Netherlands that were later occupied by Germany in 1940 so they found themselves under Nazi occupation again but but probably looking at a 40% or so the overall population that's interesting.

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01:09:22.770 --> 01:09:26.640
Ralph Blumenthal: Was the data from the juke count ever released I believe not right.

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01:09:28.290 --> 01:09:38.850
Tim Grady: No, it was it was it was never released, it was never, never taken out which causes this battle of statistics, then in the interwar period because, as it was never published.

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01:09:40.770 --> 01:09:47.070
Tim Grady: number of reasons, you know people start saying well i've got a real statistics here, this is what they are, and it shows that there were only.

428
01:09:48.000 --> 01:09:57.270
Tim Grady: 50,000 Jews that tool and only 5000 died or whatever, so people would use it for their own purposes, because the official documentation was never released.

429
01:09:57.420 --> 01:10:00.330
Tim Grady: It isn't an official documentation is destroyed in World War Two as we've.

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01:10:00.330 --> 01:10:07.380
Ralph Blumenthal: discussed yeah this is interesting because this really fed into what I was saying before how it fell on fertile ground this question of.

431
01:10:07.740 --> 01:10:18.930
Ralph Blumenthal: This lingering question of how how patriotic the Jews really work, and if you don't release the numbers which would confirm that Jews were fighting a 12,000 died said about the same percentage is non Jews.

432
01:10:20.310 --> 01:10:29.820
Ralph Blumenthal: They were serving in frontline units, like everybody else, but if they don't release those those numbers, of course, it can gives rise to to fake news.

433
01:10:31.440 --> 01:10:37.500
Ralph Blumenthal: question how long did German federal archives take to answer you have requested a long time, in some cases.

434
01:10:38.820 --> 01:10:49.020
Ralph Blumenthal: I think they're overwhelmed and a lot of records are missing, but in your experience on the panel How quickly will you getting information from archives.

435
01:10:49.110 --> 01:10:58.410
Jason Crouthamel: You can email the federal archives in Freiburg the military archive there and I usually get response in one or two weeks they're very, very efficient and kind and helpful you tell them what you're interested in.

436
01:10:58.980 --> 01:11:07.950
Jason Crouthamel: As Mike mentioned the most data, you can provide about what unit someone served in where they were from they do a very thorough search and give you feedback quite quick listen.

437
01:11:08.430 --> 01:11:11.250
Ralph Blumenthal: Okay there's the answer the bundle our chief Fribourg.

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01:11:11.820 --> 01:11:12.660
Jason Crouthamel: yeah I put that in the.

439
01:11:12.750 --> 01:11:13.320
Jason Crouthamel: In the chat.

440
01:11:13.560 --> 01:11:15.540
Ralph Blumenthal: About that absolutely that's good that's good.

441
01:11:16.890 --> 01:11:22.410
Ralph Blumenthal: How high in the ranks the Jews get during World War to World War one will not a general as far as I know, right.

442
01:11:24.840 --> 01:11:31.080
Tim Grady: It mainly is reserve officers, because there was, I think was a Jason you are saying that.

443
01:11:31.620 --> 01:11:45.390
Tim Grady: At the start, the First World War, there were no Jewish officers, there were small number Jewish offices, I think, in the Bavarian army in the wider German army that was not, and those are very restricted to manage medical corps and.

444
01:11:46.260 --> 01:11:48.180
Jason Crouthamel: Can I ask you, is it mainly because of the.

445
01:11:48.390 --> 01:11:54.480
Jason Crouthamel: manpower decimation, that is, the losses by 1939 and 16 was that one of the reasons for promotion into officer for.

446
01:11:55.080 --> 01:11:59.790
Tim Grady: me okay yeah I mean, as the longer the wall goes on the greatest shortage of personnel.

447
01:12:00.390 --> 01:12:11.580
Tim Grady: you've got to promote people up and that's what happens, but also of course you've got to keep people fighting by giving some incentives to keep fighting and now he's through having promotions and opportunities to rise up right.

448
01:12:13.230 --> 01:12:26.010
Tim Grady: In terms of the the N we've discussed pilots already many of them had to because they were officers, many of them converted to Christianity in order to to serve in the actual.

449
01:12:27.480 --> 01:12:33.810
Jason Crouthamel: they'll have an uncle who won the blue Max is a Jewish platter to one the blue Max converted about a month before he died.

450
01:12:34.260 --> 01:12:40.710
Jason Crouthamel: partly on the pressure off his fiance who was Christian and want him to convert but he wrote to his friends that he felt very torn about that, but.

451
01:12:41.070 --> 01:12:51.300
Jason Crouthamel: He earned the blue Max in the Nazis did not include his list on the name of pilots or roller one who are honored the Nazis names streets after pilots and things like that, but they excluded from that.

452
01:12:51.780 --> 01:12:59.370
Jason Crouthamel: After World War Two, the Buddhists there named a air force base in the 1950s at prevail home bronco, but that was quite late.

453
01:12:59.940 --> 01:13:01.020
Ralph Blumenthal: And that is interesting.

454
01:13:02.280 --> 01:13:12.150
Ralph Blumenthal: So there's a question here about somebody grant great grandfather who changed his name to something that obviously Jewish so they were conversions obviously to Christianity.

455
01:13:13.560 --> 01:13:18.810
Ralph Blumenthal: And I imagine, I mean how how common was that changing the name of converting.

456
01:13:21.120 --> 01:13:25.710
Michael Geheran: ever heard that much of names being changed but certainly conversions were very common.

457
01:13:26.760 --> 01:13:39.900
Michael Geheran: You know, among among Jews and in Germany me Victor klemperer though the famous director who's diaries are available, he was a convert to Christianity and as as TIM mentioned many officers in the German army.

458
01:13:40.830 --> 01:13:50.850
Michael Geheran: And Jason as mentioned many of the ones that were able to climb the ranks, they were able to do so because they had they had converted to Christianity as well.

459
01:13:51.960 --> 01:13:52.200
Michael Geheran: But.

460
01:13:53.250 --> 01:13:59.970
Michael Geheran: So this was common I don't know about names being changed like that to kind of avoid the stigma of jewishness.

461
01:14:00.930 --> 01:14:01.620
Tim Grady: And I was gonna say.

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01:14:01.830 --> 01:14:10.470
Tim Grady: I was gonna say Mike this is this is something obviously that went on through the 19th 20th century early before the First World War, with conversion being a way to rise up.

463
01:14:11.280 --> 01:14:24.240
Tim Grady: You know, to get positioned in universities or whatever, because of the sunset or unspoken rules they existed in terms of anti Jewish attitudes within the country and conversion became a common thing that people did.

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01:14:25.980 --> 01:14:36.840
Ralph Blumenthal: So there's a question about Walter right now, and I think in TIM in your book is a long section on him what a basically a hero, he was during World War one in terms of mobilizing the.

465
01:14:37.320 --> 01:14:43.290
Ralph Blumenthal: War power for the for the German army and then he got turned on right and tell a little bit about that story.

466
01:14:44.370 --> 01:14:48.480
Tim Grady: yeah so he's obviously he's industrialists.

467
01:14:50.010 --> 01:14:55.980
Tim Grady: His father founded the ag electrical the big big company bought an industry in Germany.

468
01:14:56.520 --> 01:15:03.690
Tim Grady: and start the start the war he realizes that germany's only got a chance of succeeding here if it gets raw materials into the country.

469
01:15:04.170 --> 01:15:14.940
Tim Grady: So he speaks to to the to the office in Berlin and suggests that they need to be various measures to to ensure raw materials are available to the fighting forces.

470
01:15:15.360 --> 01:15:28.470
Tim Grady: Basically centralizing the supply of these materials really important allows germany's carry on the fight allows the war to carry on and for Germany to make up for the shortages there hasn't home.

471
01:15:29.490 --> 01:15:41.760
Tim Grady: And he leaves this position after that come in, recently, but after a year or so various reasons have put forward as to why leaves one of those he is because of anti semitism and criticisms.

472
01:15:42.690 --> 01:15:50.970
Tim Grady: after the First World War, and he writes he gets more and more into politics becomes germany's first Foreign Minister.

473
01:15:52.110 --> 01:16:04.380
Tim Grady: Jewish Foreign Minister, I should say in the Weimar Republic but then is assassinated on the streets of Berlin grenade friend into his car he's shot shot several times as well.

474
01:16:05.550 --> 01:16:18.240
Tim Grady: So that's, if you like his his reward for service to Germany is it is being murdered off First World War, despite his his actions to to bring the country for these industrial shortages.

475
01:16:18.330 --> 01:16:34.170
Ralph Blumenthal: Very said episode also there was a very interesting story about Fritz harbor who I think he converted, but I believe right to Christianity job and develop the chemical industry, including what poison gas right.

476
01:16:37.290 --> 01:16:51.690
Tim Grady: yeah I mean he's a very well known example of very important take, of course, in the war he did converted converted before the First World War II, seen as the father of chemical weapons, the.

477
01:16:53.160 --> 01:16:55.830
Tim Grady: was even up front, so we use, for the first time.

478
01:16:56.940 --> 01:17:11.520
Tim Grady: The story that goes with it is his first wife commit suicide immediately, as the gases used he marries for a second time later on in the conflict, and he marries were in German military uniform because he's he's proud of the way that was coming.

479
01:17:11.940 --> 01:17:14.370
Ralph Blumenthal: He married very quickly, I believe, second time.

480
01:17:14.670 --> 01:17:15.390
Tim Grady: I swiftly.

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01:17:16.050 --> 01:17:20.910
Ralph Blumenthal: Anyway, I think we've covered a lot of ground we've got to talk about wrapping up.

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01:17:22.290 --> 01:17:25.200
Ralph Blumenthal: So Sydney you want to take over.

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01:17:27.210 --> 01:17:40.530
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): yeah Thank you all so much, this has been so interesting i've personally learned so much that I never would have thought of before, so I want to thank each of you, I want to thank you Ralph for moderating today.

484
01:17:41.100 --> 01:17:47.490
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): I also want to thank becky who had to leave early but for those objects were so fascinating.

485
01:17:48.510 --> 01:17:59.070
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): And I want to thank all of you who are out there in the Internet verse for joining us everything we do at the museum is made possible through donor support.

486
01:17:59.700 --> 01:18:14.340
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): To those of you watching we hope you'll consider making a donation to support the museum or becoming a member and joining us for upcoming programs have a great afternoon Thank you again to each of you, this has been so great, and we hope to see you all again in the future.

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01:18:14.580 --> 01:18:15.990
Jason Crouthamel: Thanks for inviting me thanks rob.

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01:18:16.410 --> 01:18:16.770
Ralph Blumenthal: Thank you.

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01:18:17.160 --> 01:18:17.970
Jason Crouthamel: TIM and Mike and.

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01:18:18.150 --> 01:18:18.930
Jason Crouthamel: Thanks for listening.

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01:18:19.230 --> 01:18:21.270
Ralph Blumenthal: Thank you very much about you.

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01:18:21.420 --> 01:18:22.200
Thank you so much.

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