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, we will explore 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.

Dr. Michael Geheran 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. Dr. Geheran has also taught at the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies at Boston University. His first book, Comrades Betrayed: Jewish World War I Veterans Under Hitler, was published in 2020.
Dr. Jason Crouthamel is a Professor of History at Grand Valley State University. His research focuses on the history of memory, trauma, masculinity, and religious experience in Germany during WWI and WWII. He was one of the co-editors of Beyond Inclusion and Exclusion: Jewish Experiences of the First World War in Central Europe with Tim Grady, Michael Geheran, and Julia B. Köhne.
Professor 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 WWI. He has authored and edited numerous books including A Deadly Legacy: German Jews and the Great War.
Ralph Blumenthal 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. His most recent book, The Believer: Alien Encounters, Hard Science, and the Passion of John Mack, was published in 2021.
Header image: Moses Sondheimer and others in uniform of German Army during World War I. Gift of Hilda Newton, 578.90.