Soldiers of The Great War: Jewish Military Service in WW I, as Reported in l’Univers Israélite (The Jewish World) – “Les aumôniers du culte israélite” (Chaplains of the Jewish Faith), November 27, 1914

Paralleling my research in coverage within The Jewish Chronicle of Jewish military service during World War One, I’ve also reviewed the periodical l’Univers Israélite – The Jewish World – concerning the military service of French Jewish soldiers during that time.  Due to the publication schedule of the periodical, as well as the length and format of each issue, the total number of such articles, though many, has turned out to be fewer, and typically of shorter length, than those in the Chronicle.

But, what was published within the l’Univers Israélite was nevertheless as compelling and interesting – sometimes as profound, in its own way – paralleling the nature of what appeared in the Chronicle.  Items of note include biographical profiles of French Jewish soldiers (and inevitably military casualties) – many such items, news from foreign Jewish communities, discourses on religion and politics, and, lengthy descriptions of religious services held by, and among, French Jewish soldiers “in the trenches”.

Among the above, one such item is the following:  Information aimed at the families of servicemen concerning contacting Jewish chaplains assigned to the various French army corps.  Notably, this as the first really “lengthy” concerning French Jewish military service that appeared in l’Univers Israélite, this article did cover actually cover the military experiences of French Jewish soldiers, per se.

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The article is provided in the original French, accompanied by English translation.  (My own translation.)  Further articles from l’Univers Israélite will be presented in the future.  Likewise, translated.  In the meantime, a PDF of this article is available here.

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Les aumôniers du culte israélite

En CAMPAGNE

Chaplains of the Jewish Faith
In Campaign

l’Univers Israélite
November 27, 1914

The Jewish World
November 27, 1914

Tous nos coreligionnaires ne savent pas qu’aux armées en campagne sont attachés des aumôniers des différents cultes et que le culte israélite a droit à un aumônier par corps d’armée. Quelques-uns ne tiennent peut-être pas à le savoir. C’est un tort. Même en laissant de coté, si c’est possible, la question de religion et la question de dignité, une considération de sécurité devrait engager tous les israelites à faire appel, le cas échéant, aux bons offices de l’aumônier du culte dont ils relèvent. L’aumônier, qui marche à l’arrière du corps d’armée, peut se mettre en relation avec les militaires israélites dont il connaît l’existence, les visiter s’il y a lieu dans les ambulances, prendre ou se procurer de leurs nouvelles et communiquer avec leurs familles ; assimilé à un officier sans troupes, il peut se charger de recevoir et de distribuer des colis.

Not all of our coreligionists are aware that chaplains of various religions are attached to armies in the field and that Israelite worship is entitled to chaplains by the army corps.  Some may not be keen to know.  This is wrong.  Even leaving aside, if possible, the question of religion and the question of dignity, a security consideration should engage all Israelites to appeal, if any, to the good offices of the chaplain under whom they worship.  The chaplain, who walks to the rear of the army corps, can relate to the Israelite soldiers which he is aware, visit the place where the ambulances are taken or obtain their news and communicate with their families; compared to a non-troop officer, he may be responsible for receiving and distributing the packages.

Nous croyons donc rendre service aux familles Israélites qui ont quelqu’un des leurs à l’armée en dressant la liste des aumôniers israélites actuellement en fonctions, avec l’indication du corps d’armée auquel ils sont attachés:

We believe as a service to Israelite families who have someone of theirs in the army listing the current functions of Israelite chaplains, with indicating the army corps to which they are attached:

1er corps           MM     Hermann, rabbin de Reims (en congé).
2e corps                        Tchernaïa, rabbin; ministre-officiant d’Enghien.
3e corps                        Nathan Lévy, rabbin de Rouen.
4e corps                        Albert Hertz, rabbin.
5e corps                        Maurice Zeitlin, rabbin.
6e corps                        Joseph Sachs, rabbin de Châlons-sur-Marne.
7e corps                        Paul Haguenauer, grand-rabbin de Besancon.
8e corps                        Julien Weill, rabbin de Paris
(précédemment M. Schumacher, rabbin de Dijon).
9e corps                        Léon Sommer, sous-rabbin, ministre-officiant de Tours.
13e corps                      Marcel Sachs, rabbin à Paris.
15e corps                      Hirschler, ministre-officiant à Marseille.
16e corps                      Joseph Cohen, gran rabbin de Bayonne.
17e corps                      Moïse Poliatscheck, rabbin de Toulouse.
18e corps                      Ernest Ginsburger, grand rabbin de Genève.
20e corps                     Maurice Eisenbeth, rabbin de Sedan.
Place de Toul,             M. Isaac Bloch, grand-rabbin de Nancy.
Place de Verdun,        M. Jules Ruff, rabbin de Verdun.
Place d’Epinal,           M. L. Sèches, grand-rabbin de Lille.

First Corps                          M.M. Hermann, Rabbi of Reims (on leave).
2nd Corps                           Tchernaia, Rabbi; officiating minister of Enghien.
3rd Corps                            Nathan Levy, Rabbi of Rouen.
4th Corps                            Albert Hertz, Rabbi.
5th Corps                            Maurice Zeitlin, Rabbi.
6th Corps                            Joseph Sachs, Rabbi of Chalons-sur-Marne.
7th Corps                            Haguenauer Paul, Chief Rabbi of Besancon.
8th Corps                            Julien Weill, Rabbi of Paris
(formerly Schumacher, Rabbi of Dijon).
9th Corps                            Sommer Leon, Deputy Rabbi, Officiating Minister of Tours.
13th Corps                         Marcel Sachs, Rabbi in Paris.
15th Corps                         Hirschler, Officiating Minister at Marseille.
16th Corps                         Joseph Cohen, Grand Rabbi of Bayonne.
17th Corps                         Poliatscheck Moses, Rabbi of Toulouse.
18th Corps                         Ernest Ginsburger, Chief Rabbi of Geneva.
20th Corps                         Maurice Eisenbeth, Rabbi of Sedan.
Place de Toul                    M.L. Isaac Bloch, Chief Rabbi of Nancy.
Place de Verdun               M.L. Jules Ruff, Rabbi of Verdun.
Place d’Epinal                  M.L. Sèches, Chief Rabbi of Lille.

En écrivant à un aumônier, on libellera l’adresse comme suit:

M. le rabbin (grand-rabbin) X..
Aumônier du culte israélite
Groupe des brancardiers de Corps
…eme corps d’armée

Writing to a chaplain, words are addressed as follows:

Rabbi M. (Chief Rabbi) X…
Chaplain of the Jewish faith
Corps Stretcher Group
…th Army Corps

La première destination à donner à la lettre est le Bureau central militaire à Paris ou la ville qui est le siège du dépôt de la section d’infirmiers du corps d’armee en question (consulter le tableau affiché dans les bureaux de poste).

The first destination to give the letter is the Military Central Bureau in Paris or the city that is the seat of the filing of the nursing section of the corps in question (see the chart displayed in post offices).

On remarquera que les 10e, 11e, 12e, 14e, 19e, et 21e corps d’armée n’ont pas, à notre connaissance, ou n’ont pas encore d’aumônier israélite. Nous reviendrons sur cette lacune et sur quelques autres desiderata dans un prochain où nous étudierons l’organisation du service de l’aumônerie militaire, au point de vue Israélite, et la place faite à notre culte.

Note that the 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 19th, and 21th army corps have not, to our knowledge, or do not yet, have Israelite chaplains.  We will return to this absence and upon some other desiderata in the future or we will study the organization of the service of the military chaplaincy, from the Israelite perspective, that has instead made our worship.

– Transcribed and Translated by Michael G. Moskow

Pacific Pesach: The Guam Haggadah – V (References)

References

Books

Finkelstein, Noah and Sadie G., Memorial Album – Dedicated to the Boys of the 20th Air Force, Noah and Sadie G. Finkelstein, Los Angeles, Ca., 1951

Herbert, Kevin, Maximum Effort: The B-29s Against Japan, Sunflower University Press, Manhattan, Ks., 1983.

Izawa, Yasuho; Holmes, Tony; Laurier, Jim, J2M Raiden and N1K1/2 Shiden/Shiden-Kai Aces (Aircraft of the Aces), Osprey Publishing, Oxford, England, 2016.

Kaufman, Isidor, American Jews in World War II – The Story of 550,000 Fighters for Freedom – Volume I, The Dial Press, New York, N.Y., 1947

Marshall, Chester, and Stallings, Scotty, The Global Twentieth – An Anthology of the 20th AF in WW II – Volume II, Marshall Publishers, Memphis, Tn., 1987.

Newman, Irving S., ETA Target 1400 Hours, or Hi Ma, I’m Home, 1945 (unpublished manuscript)

Tanakh – A New Translation of The Holy Scriptures – According to the Traditional Hebrew Text, The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1985.

The Chumash – The Stone Edition – The ArtScroll Series, Mesorah Publications, Ltd., Brooklyn, N.Y., 1997.

Magazines

Mapping Japan for the Bombers, Popular Mechanics, December, 1945, pp. 24-25

Newspapers

(No author), The Jewish Post (Indiana), May 3, 1946 (Brief note concerning Chaplain Cedarbaum’s anticipated creation of a book about Jews in the 20th Air Force.)

Clark B. Bassett, Jr. – The Evening News, North Tonawanda, N.Y., June 6, 1945; December 1, 1948; December 27, 1948; November 2, 1982

Jewish Concept of Freedom

Commentary on Parshas Metzora, by Rabbi Dovid Zauderer, at http://www.ourvillageshul.com/single-post/2016/04/15/Zmail-Parshas-Metzora

Commentary on “Freedom”, by Rabbi Benjamin Blech, at http://virtualjerusalem.com/holidays.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3266:freedom-without-limits&catid=56:passover&Itemid=3266

Military Units

949th Engineer Aviation Topographic Company guidon, at http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/194394-949th-engineer-aviation-topographic-co-enola-gay/

949th Engineer Aviation Topographic Company organization within 20th Air Force, at http://www.cbi-history.com/part_xv.html\

Pesach and Haggadot

The Haggadah, at AISH website, at http://www.aish.com/h/pes/h/Haggadah-An-Introduction.html

The Haggadah, at Chabad website, at http://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/1735/jewish/The-Haggadah.htm

The Haggadah, at Ohr Somayach website, at http://ohr.edu/ask_db/ask_main.php/188/Q2/

The New Haggadah

Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordecai_Kaplan.

The New Haggadah, at phy6.org/outreach/Haggadah/Haggadah notes.rtf

Crew of B-29 42-93953

B-29 42-93953, Missing Air Crew Report 14364

B-29 42-93953, at http://aomorikuushuu.jpn.org/B29-42-93953.html

Fate of Crew of B-29 42-93953, Case File 36-305, concerning B-29 #42-93953 (No Nickname), Crash at Miyazaki-ken, Nobeeka city on 5 May, 1945.

Various Web Sites and Other Information

Go Down Moses, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_Down_Moses.

Guide to the Papers of David Cedarbaum (1903-1987), undated, 1944-1951, 1955, 1959, 1989 (bulk 1944-1946), at http://findingaids.cjh.org/?pID=1358852

Jewish servicemen and women celebrate Passover, at https://www.flickr.com/photos/center_for_jewish_history/

Navy Nurse Corps Insignia, at http://www.blitzkriegbaby.de/nnc/nnc3.htm.

Greenspan, Marvin J., Cpl., USAAF, NARA Records Group 331, Investigation Report 1834

Greenspan, Marvin J., Cpl., USAAF, War Crimes Trial Record 296.

Kronick, Archer S., biography at http://www.findagrave.com/.

– Michael G. Moskow

Pacific Pesach – The Guam Haggadah – IV (Major David I. Cedarbaum, Rabbi)

Is one picture is worth a thousand words?  – Well…?  Maybe.

Is one picture is worth a memory? – Hmmm…?  Definitely.

Given Major Cedarbaum’s efforts on behalf of the Jewish servicemen on Guam, it is more than fitting to present an image of the Major, himself.  The picture below, from his Jewish Welfare Board Chaplaincy Record (available at Ancestry.com) is a fitting denouement to the prior posts covering Pesach on Guam in 1945.* 

Intriguingly, due to the quality of the photo, which clearly shows two newspapers in the Rabbi’s library, the image can be approximately dated.

At the left is The Jewish Floridian, of July 13, 1945.  (This newspaper is available in digital format at the Florida Digital Newspaper Library of the University of Florida George A. Smathers Library, via the Florida Jewish Newspaper Project.)

At the right is The Jewish Post, of August 3, 1945.  (The Post is available in digital format at the website for the – appropriately enough, Jewish Post – of the Indiana Historic Newspaper Program.)

Digital images of the first page of each newspaper are presented below.

Given that Major Cedarbaum was stationed on Guam between March and October of 1945, this suggests that the photo was taken in mid to late August of that year.

Major David Isadore Cedarbaum, Rabbi, ASN 0-529289

The Jewish Floridian, July 13, 1945

The Jewish Post, August 3, 1945

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And, a possible segue for a future blog post… 

…of particular note in The Post is the item “Fighting For America”, by artist Leon Blehart.  Fighting for America was issued by the Jewish Welfare Board and depicted – through cartoon vignettes – actions (sometimes involving wounds, or worse) by Jewish servicemen which resulted in military awards.  The series appeared from (at least?) – May through October of 1945.  The sketches in each release presented actions by four to five soldiers, from all branches of the American military. 

This “Fighting for America” item in The Jewish Post of August 3, 1945, appeared in The Jewish Exponent (Philadelphia) on the same day, and is shown below:

The actions depicted in the first two, and fourth vignettes, pertain to the following servicemen:

PFC Jerome Rubin, 75th Infantry Division; Incident occurred January 18, 1945; Mother (?), Marion Rubin, of 5502 14th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.; In Casualty List published in New York Times on 3/17/45; Story reported in Chicago Jewish Chronicle 8/10/45.

1 Lt. Robert Burton Paris, 342nd Bomb Squadron, 97th Bomb Group, 12th Air Force; From Memphis.

“Cpl. Isidore Goldberg” is probably Pvt. Isidore Goldberg; Father Ben Goldberg, of 1311 Grant Ave., New York, N.Y.; In Casualty List published in New York Times on 9/10/44.

– Michael G. Moskow

Pacific Pesach: The Guam Haggadah – III

     One wonders what happened to the 2,700-odd Jewish servicemen after the evening of March 28, 1945 (15 Nisan 5705). 

     Certainly, the overwhelming majority survived the war and returned to the United States after Japan’s surrender. 

     Some – with a probability verging on certainty – did not. 

     Case in point, the image below:  An Honor Roll, created by Chaplain Cedarbaum, bearing the names of sixty-five Jewish airmen who were casualties while serving in the 20th Air Force.  Based on this and other information, he planned to eventually create a book about Jewish aviators who served in the 20th Air Force as crewmen in B-29 Superfortress bombers.  His plans never came to fruition, at least as he expected…

20th AF Jewish Aviator Honor Roll (Chaplain Cederbaum)     …The above photograph was received by Noah and Sadie G. Finkelstein, whose son, 2 Lt. Joseph Harold Finkelstein, a Co-Pilot in the 6th Bomb Squadron of the 29th Bomb Group, was killed during a mission to Tachiarai Airfield, Kyushu, Japan, on May 5, 1945. (1)  (His name appears under the heading “314th Wing.”)  The image inspired them to create their Memorial Album covering Jewish airmen who were casualties – killed or missing – in the 20th Air Force.  As recorded by Noah in the book’s forward, “I decided to attempt to obtain biographies of all those whose names appeared on the plaque, and to publish an album to their memories.”

     So far as I know, Noah and Sadie’s book is almost unique, for it is one of the very few monographs giving detailed biographies of American Jewish military casualties – in the context of a specific time frame, activity, and theater of war – that appeared during the twentieth century.   

      Some Jewish periodicals, such as the South African Jewish Times, and, the Jewish Criterion (Pittsburgh, Pa.) allocated special sections at the war’s end for comprehensive photographic and biographical coverage of Jewish military casualties, but this material was never translated into books.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, Volume Two of the 1947 publication American Jews in World War II, by I. Kaufman, presents state-by-state lists of the names of American Jewish servicemen who received awards for military service, or, who were casualties (wounded, injured, or killed; the book does not specifically identify men who were POWs).  The entries in this volume are limited to a man’s name, rank, city of residence, and military awards, being derived from information recorded on National Jewish Welfare Board – Bureau of War Records Master Index Cards.

memorial-album-01     Cover page of the Finkelstein’s Memorial Album, “Dedicated to the Boys of the 20th Air Force”.

memorial-album-05     A stylized aircraft flies towards a burning sun: A brief introductory poem by Sadie Finkelstein on page 4.  memorial-album-15     Sadie composed other poetry for her book.  This comprised three other four-line poems with allegoric illustrations (the one shown above is from page 16), and, two full-length poems in Yiddish.  The latter include English translations by Paul Monroe, and, Ruth Kaswan. 

     Notice that this powerful image – probably in pen and ink – is signed by “M.D.”, who also created the preceding illustration.  Unfortunately, “M.D.’s” full name is not given in the text.

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   Unknown at the time to Chaplain Cedarbaum, among the sixty-five men whose names appear on the plaque, seven would survive as Prisoners of War (POWs).  Their names, dates of capture, and crew positions follow:

Einstein, Alvin J., S/Sgt. – June 22, 1945 – Gunner (Central)
Ginsberg, Abraham Saul, Sgt.  – May 29, 1945 – Gunner (Right)
Greenwald, Mortimer L., Sgt. – August 2, 1945 – Gunner
Leavitt, Harold F., S/Sgt. – May 26, 1945 – Radar Operator
Moritz, Wallace, 2 Lt. – May 29, 1945 – Navigator
Siegel, LeRoy, Sgt. – April 7, 1945 – Gunner
Unterman, Melvin, Capt. – May 26, 1945 – Bombardier

     Among those who did not survive, the majority were never found, due to the combination of physical circumstances and / or locations in which their aircraft were lost.  Their names of most are commemorated at the Tablets of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

     Of the sixty five, the Finkelsteins’ book presents biographies and photographs for twenty-four.  They are:

Bauch, Selig H., Sgt. – Radar Operator
Berkowitz, Martin, S/Sgt. – Radio Operator
Binger, Marvin Louis, Sgt. – Gunner (Right)
Broome, Richard Jerome, Sgt. – Flight Engineer
Cohen, Abe, PFC (Not actually an air crewman; died while trying to rescue a comrade from a burning building.)
Cohen, Monroe Melvin, F/O – Navigator
Feinberg, Robert Alvin, 2 Lt. – Radar Operator
Finkelstein, Joseph Harold, 2 Lt. (Their son) Co-Pilot
Greenspan, Marvin Jerome, Cpl. – Gunner (Right)
(Shot down over Japan on 4/15/45 (his first mission); captured immediately; murdered shortly after under direction and instigation of Second Lieutenant Ippei Tamura.)
Harris, Benjamin L., 2 Lt. – Flight Engineer
Hoenig, Sidney, F/O – Bombardier
Klein, Donald Philip, S/Sgt. – Radar Operator
Kronick, Archer S. (Asher Simcha bar Yoel), Sgt. – Gunner (Central)
Levinson, Gerald M., 2 Lt. – Flight Engineer
Levy, Jules, 2 Lt. – Navigator
Orkin, Milton, 2 Lt. – Navigator
Porjesz, Kurt, S/Sgt. – Radio Operator
Powsner, Maurice J., F/O – Bombardier
Schneider, Leon, 2 Lt. – Bombardier
Sheshansky, Harold, S/Sgt. – Gunner (Central)
Siegel, Norman Sydney, 2 Lt. – Navigator
Stein, Monroe, 1 Lt. – Bombardier / Navigator
Tomberg, Leon,1 Lt. – Bombardier
Weiner, Herbert Coften, 2 Lt. (Actually, a casualty in Australia with the 5th Air Force)

     The sixty-five names alluded to above represent a portion of Jewish servicemen who were casualties in the 20th Air Force.  The total number stands substantially higher and includes six other POWs.  The names and dates of capture of the latter are:

Levine, Joseph, 1 Lt. – December 14, 1944 – Bombardier
Levine, Stanley H., 2 Lt. – August 8, 1945 – Flight Engineer
Newman, Irving Sidney, 2 Lt. – August 20, 1944 – Navigator
Paul, Chester E., 1 Lt. – December 14, 1944 – Co-Pilot
Presender, Robert Eugene, 1 Lt. – March 2, 1945 – Navigator
Sellz, Norman, S/Sgt. – April 7, 1945 – Radar Operator (Sole survivor of his crew)

     Many more names could be presented, but this list will suffice, for now. 

     Perhaps better to let one man symbolically speak for all – for those few who returned; for the many who did not:  Irving S. Newman, at a reunion of the 468th Bomb Group in September of 1995.

irving-s-newman-september-15-1995_edited-1      From Dorchester, Massachusetts, Irving was a navigator, and one of three survivors (along with the flight engineer and radar operator) of Calamity Sue, a 468th Bomb Group B-29 piloted by Captain Ornell J. Stauffer.  Calamity Sue was lost on a mission to Yawata, Japan, on August 20, 1944 (the crew’s second combat mission) when a nearby B-29, the Gertrude C, was deliberately rammed by a Japanese fighter, debris from the disintegrating B-29 striking and mortally damaging Stauffer’s aircraft.

     Like many veterans of the Second World War, Irving wrote an account of his experiences.  Intended for his family, and in a symbolic sense simply for the historical record – to make a historical record of the past for its own sake – Irving actually began this process very soon after being liberated from captivity in Omori, Japan, in 1945.  As he recounted, “This book was started in September of 1945, aboard the USS Yarmouth.  She was a little out of her accustomed territory.  Boston to Nova Scotia was her regular run, but here she was come to take me home from my Pacific war.  I wrote laboriously, telling who, what, when and where, but never why; that always escaped me.”

     The book is arranged chronologically and encompasses such topics as Irving’s pre-war life in the Boston area, his training as a bombardier, and navigator; his relationships with other airmen, particularly his crew members and fellow POWs; being Jewish in the military in the 1940s (though not a central thrust of the book); the loss of Calamity Sue, his capture, and the realities of interrogation by the Japanese; life as a prisoner of war. 

     Given the immediacy of its composition, the book is a work of great clarity, detail, directness, and near-complete frankness.  As Irving himself implied, there is genuinely and intentionally very little “why” in the book in the way of discussion of deeper religious or philosophical issues.   

     Which, perhaps, when pondering the names above – why some men returned,; why some did not – is just as well. 

     We all have to answer such questions in our own way. 

     Here is a brief answer from Irving, speaking for his father, Harry Newman:

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     (1) Their B-29, serial 42-93953 and commanded by 1 Lt. Ralph E. Miller, was shot down by Petty Officer Toru Kurita of the 343rd Kokutai, who was flying a N1K2-J Shiden Kai fighter plane.  The crew consisted of:

Pilot: 1 Lt. Ralph E. Miller (Eaton Rapids, Mi.)
Co-Pilot
: 2 Lt. Joseph H. Finkelstein (Los Angeles, Ca.)
Navigator:
2 Lt. Charles C. Winder (Salt Lake City, Ut.)
Bombardier
: 1 Lt. Clyde M. Roush (Neosho Rapids, Ks.)

Flight Engineer: T/Sgt. William H. Chapman (Calhoun, Ga.)
Radar Operator: 2 Lt. Jack M. Berry (Atlanta, Ga.)
Radio Operator
: Sgt. Jack V. Dengler (Danville, Il. / Salt Lake City, Ut.)
Gunner (Central)
: Sgt. Albert R. Howard (Cullman, Ak.)

Gunner (Left): Pvt. Merlin R. Calvin (Saint Louis, Mo.)
Gunner (Right)
: Cpl. Clark B. Bassett, Jr. (Son of Clark B. and Bonnie W. Bassett, of 202 Niagara St., North Tonawanda, N.Y.)

Gunner (Tail): Cpl. Irving A. Corliss (Somersworth, N.H.)

     “No eventual”, because five men did survive the aircraft’s shoot-down, by parachuting.  They were 2 Lt. Berry, Sgt. Dengler, Cpl. Corliss, and Pvt. Calvin.  All captured uninjured, they were murdered – while prisoners of war – on June 20, 1945.  The fifth crewman, Cpl. Clark B. Bassett, Jr., severely wounded and unconscious, was parachuted from the plane by those men, and died of his wounds not long after landing.  He is the only member of this crew who has a place of burial.  (Acacia Cemetery, North Tonawanda, N.Y.)

New York State Digital library
New York State Digital library

Corporal Clark B. Bassett, Jr., from the North Tonawanda Evening News of December 27, 1948.

      The plane’s other crewmen – Miller, Finkelstein, Winder, Roush, Chapman, and Howard – were presumably still aboard the aircraft when it crashed at sea, at a place still – and probably forever – unknown.

Ralph E Miller Crew 1Rear row: Roush, Winder, 1 Lt. Paul E. Remmetter (Killed in Action April 16, 1945; replaced by Lt. Miller), Finkelstein, Berry
Front row: Howard?, Dengler, Chapman or Corliss, Bassett

Ralph E Miller Crew 2Rear row, left to right:  Roush, Winder, Remmetter, Finkelstein, Berry
Front row, left to right: Howard, Dengler, Chapman, Bassett, Corliss, Calvin

 – Michael G. Moskow

 

Pacific Pesach: The Guam Haggadah – II

0-haggadah-000-2_edited-1Title Page: SEDER IN THE MARIANAS – PASSOVER – 5705 – 1945

0-haggadah-00_edited-1Acknowledgements and Officiating Chaplains

0-haggadah-01_edited-1Page 1: Kiddush Blessing

0-haggadah-02_edited-1Page 2: Kiddush Blessing (continued); Blessing over Greens (Parsley); Dividing the Matzah (Among 2,700 servicemen, who was the lucky Private First Class who found the afikomen?!)

0-haggadah-03_edited-1

     Page 3: A noteworthy section of the Guam Haggadah – an uneasy if not irresolvable balance between particularism and universalism – is found under the heading “Let My People Go”.

     The text obviously, pointedly, and directly address Jewish peoplehood, Zionism (albeit without that word), and a sense of collective pride, through the text, “Men can be enslaved by intolerance.  When Jews are forced to give up their Jewish way of life, to abandon their Torah, to neglect their sacred festivals, to leave off rebuilding their ancient homeland – they are slaves.  When they must deny that they are Jews in order to get work – they are slaves.  When they must live in constant fear of unwarranted hate and prejudice – they are slaves.”

     The thrust of that text is curiously counterweighted by setting Pesach in the form of a generalized yearning for “freedom”, but “freedom” defined as an individual, if not philosophical, if not universalistic value of the Enlightenment – rather than a particularistic and covenantal concept – set in the frame of the war effort of the United States, and the Allies, in general.  

     This is evident in such statements as, “Peoples have suffered, nations have struggled to make this dream come true.  Now we dedicate ourselves to the struggle for freedom.”  “It means liberation from ail those enslavements that warp the spirit and blight the mind, that destroy the soul even though they leave the flesh alive. For men can be enslaved in more ways than one.”  “Pesach calls us to be free, free from the tyranny of our own selves, free from the enslavement of poverty and inequality, free from the corroding hate that eats away the ties which unite mankind.”  “Pesach calls upon us to put an end to all slavery!  Pesach cries out in the name of God, “Let my people go.”  Pesach summons us to freedom.”

     Though I do not have access to the 1942 edition of Rabbi Kaplan’s New Haggadah, I wonder if this text – perhaps reflective of the hopes, aspirations, and ambivalence pervasive among early and mid twentieth century American Jewry (and still today?…) – is derived from that work.   

0-haggadah-04_edited-1Page 4: “Let My People Go” (continued); Art depicting Moshe Rabbenu in the wilderness

0-haggadah-05_edited-1Page 5: “Go Down Moses”; Art depicting Moses and Aaron confronting Pharaoh

0-haggadah-06_edited-1Page 6: Presentation of Matzah; The Four Questions

0-haggadah-07_edited-1Page 7: The Four Questions (continued); Pesach narrative

0-haggadah-08_edited-3

Page 8: Pesach Narrative (continued)

0-haggadah-09_edited-3Page 9: Dayenu!

0-haggadah-10_edited-1Page 10: Dayenu (continued); “In every generation do men rise up against us, and God delivers us from their hands.”

0-haggadah-11_edited-2Page 11: Display of Symbols of Pesach (Shankbone and Matzah)

0-haggadah-12_edited-2Page 12: Display of Symbols of Pesach (maror (bitter herbs))

0-haggadah-13Page 13: Call to Hallel; Hymn “Praise the Lord”

0-haggadah-14_edited-3Page 14: Benediction over Matzah; Blessing over Bitter Herbs

0-haggadah-15_edited-2Page 15: The Pesach Meal is Served; Opening the Door for Elijah

0-haggadah-16_edited-1Page 16: Opening the Door for Elijah (continued); Eliyahu Hanavi

0-haggadah-17_edited-1Page 17: Closing Benediction; Singing of America

0-haggadah-18_edited-1Back Cover: Printed by 949th Engineer Aviation Topographic Company

     Your PDF version of the Guam Haggadah can be found here.

– Michael G. Moskow

Pacific Pesach: The Guam Haggadah – I

     Pesach – Passover – is the most universally observed festival of the Jewish people – regardless of the nature of one’s religious beliefs, level of observance, or political affiliation.

     Though Pesach certainly carries a festive air, the holiday is far more than merely “a holiday”; at least, as such days are understood in the conventional sense of the term. 

     Pesach commemorates – even as it celebrates – the origin of the Jews as a distinct people sharing a national ethos and identity, through the form of a vivid historical narrative suffused with overtones, messages, and commentary – some subtle; some direct – about their identity, ideals, and relationship to God. 

     While it is obviously true that a central message of Pesach is the moral and practical imperative of freedom from slavery – whether that slavery be physical, intellectual, psychological, or spiritual – the core of the celebration extends beyond “freedom” per se, as a philosophical concept and legal actuality.  For, pure and unalloyed “freedom”, if not carefully guarded and consciously guided, can in time revert back into a form of slavery. 

      In a fuller sense, the message of Pesach is not simply “Let my people go!”, but, “Let My people go that they may worship me in the wilderness.”  (Exodus, 7:16) *

     The Haggadah – an example of which is the subject of this post – is the central text that serves as both a narrative and guide for the Pesach Seder.  Though Haggadot are centered around the central and ordered sequence of elements that comprise the Pesach Seder, the actual text and physical appearance of “a” Haggadah is not solidly fixed.  Even the most cursory Internet search for the term “Haggadah” reveals a myriad of images of the text – some simple; some elaborate.  Thus, with each new iteration of the Haggadah, its wide variety of forms, formats, and styles are reflective of the cultural conditions and historical forces influencing the long and continuing history of the Jewish people, shedding light on the mindset, values, and beliefs of the community or organization which published the text.  In that sense, each new publication can be a sociological, cultural, artistic, and linguistic “window” upon the past.  Such is so with the Guam Haggadah. 

____________________

     The document presented in this post – “Haggadah – Seder in the Marianas : Passover 5705-1945” – is one such example.  This Haggadah was published for and used by Jewish soldiers, airmen, and sailors stationed on the Island of Guam – the southernmost island of the Marianas archipelago, in the western part of the North Pacific Ocean – for Pesach services in March of 1945. 

     One might aptly call it the “Guam Haggadah.”

     This Haggadah – in remarkably good condition – is among the holdings of the Dorot Jewish Division of the New York Public Library.

     The three men whose names appear on page two of the text – David I. Cedarbaum (Army), and, Philip Lipis and Elihu Rickle (both Navy) – were chaplains serving Jewish military personnel on Guam. 

     As indicated by the notation on the last page, the text was printed by the 20th Air Force’s 949th Aviation Engineer Topographical Company. 

     The text of the Guam Haggadah is derived from the revised edition of The New Haggadah, edited by Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan and published by Behrman’s Jewish Book House in 1942.  The literary descendant of Kaplan’s 1942 Haggadah exists today as The New American Haggadah, and is available at Berhman’s House.   

     Mention of the Guam Haggadah is made in “Volume I” of the two-volume 1947 publication American Jews in World War II.  In an extensive account of Chaplain Cedarbaum’s service with the 20th Air Force (in a chapter entitled “They Delivered the Atom”) it is stated that, “He had hardly reached his new post when he found himself involved, along with Navy chaplain Philip Lipis, in the organization of an ambitious Passover service on Guam, the first ever held in that part of the Pacific.  The ancient Seder services were celebrated on March 28, simultaneously in two large mess halls.

     “Twenty-seven hundred soldiers and sailors attended.  The Hebrew Haggadah they used had been printed on the Island by 20th AF presses.  No doubt to all of them it was the most impressive service of their lives.”

     At least one photograph from the Seder is available on the Internet. 

     At the flickr Photostream of the Center for Jewish History (CJH), an image from the David Cedarbaum papers shows, “Jewish servicemen and women celebrate[ing] Passover together by eating matzo.  A caption next to the photo notes that the woman pictured is one of only seven Jewish women stationed in Guam.”  The woman in question is an Ensign in the Navy Nurse Corps.  Copies of the Guam Haggadah can be seen on the table before both her, and, the happily distracted (!) serviceman to her left.

Jewish Servicemen and Women Celebrate Passover (Center for Jewish History)     The next post will show the individual pages of the Guam Haggadah.

* Alternatively, “Send out My people that they may serve Me in the Wilderness.”

– Michael G. Moskow