Shortly after the commencement of hostilities between the Allies and Central Powers, The Jewish Chronicle implemented a policy of compiling and publishing lists of the names of Commonwealth Jewish servicemen engaged in military duty.
The Chronicle indeed implemented this policy – at least in the early part of the war – but due to the unanticipated severity and duration of the conflict, the publication of such “nominal” lists of servicemen was eventually overtaken and superseded by straightforward Casualty Lists, and, lists of servicemen receiving military awards. For example, Casualty Lists appearing in mid-July through August of 1916 are enormous, reflective of the appalling casualties incurred by the British armed forces during the Somme Campaign, which commenced on July 1 of that year.
I do not know if the “master” list of servicemen alluded to below was ever, actually, presented to the King and Queen by either The Jewish Chronicle, or, other officials or representatives of British Jewry. However, the impetus to collect and the record names of servicemen eventuated – by 1922 – in the creation and publication of the British Jewry Book of Honour, particularly due to the great efforts of Chaplain to the Forces Reverend Michael Adler.
Akin to British Jewry, post-war memorial and historical compilations of biographical information concerning World War One Jewish war casualties, and Jewish war service, in general, were created in Germany (several such works), Italy, France, Australia and New Zealand. No such work was ever generated for Austro-Hungarian Jewry, though the publication Dr. Bloch’s Oesterreishische Wochenschrift was extremely diligent in regularly collecting and publishing the names of Austro-Hungarian Jewish soldiers.
Astonishingly, no such monograph was created concerning American Jewish WW I military casualties, and general military service, despite the acquisition of information necessary for such a work, let alone the talent and infrastructure needed for its creation and publication. Perhaps what was lacking in American Jewry – through the 1920s, 30s, and 40s (by which time the need had probably become “moot”, having overtaken by another, larger war…) was the impetus – the will – to do so.
As to the reason? Well, that is the subject of conjecture…
Akin to earlier posts, a PDF version of this article is available here.
– Michael G. Moskow
AN HONOUR RECORD
TO ALL JEWS WHO ARE SERVING
A TESTIMONY FOR THE KING
The Jewish Chronicle
September 4, 1914
The JEWISH CHRONICLE is desirous of compiling a full list of all Jews in the Empire who are serving during the War.
As soon as a sufficient number of names and addresses reach us, we shall begin the publication of the record and continue it week by week. All names will be placed in alphabetical order, irrespective of rank.
At the end of the War, when the list is completed, the whole of the names will be printed in a separate form on finest art paper, and a bound copy will be submitted to THE KING for His Majesty’s gracious acceptance.
We shall be glad, therefore, if all who are serving the King or any arm of His Majesty’s Forces will forward it to us at once their names and home addresses, with their status, and regiment or ship and mark the envelope (or post card): –
“Honour Record,” –
2, Finsbury Square