OUR GREATEST GENERATION

By Daniel Treiman

Published November 07, 2003, issue of November 07, 2003.

“As a Jew, it was Hitler and me. That’s the way I pictured the war.”

— Theodore Diamond, U.S. Army Air Force

For America’s Jews World War II was not just a fight for their country. It was also a fight against the global scourge of fascism that threatened their fellow Jews abroad.

“Ours to Fight For: American Jews in the Second World War” examines the contributions of American Jewry to the war effort. It tells the story of Jewish members of the Armed Forces such as Theodore Diamond, utilizing wartime letters and other artifacts, audio and video presentations and material from interviews the museum conducted with veterans.

While the focus of the exhibit is on America’s Jewish veterans, it also takes a look at the experiences of other American minority groups in World War II as well as Jews who fought for other Allied armies.

The 6,500-square-foot exhibition opens on Veterans Day at New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

For the holiday, the museum waives its admission fee and presents two events in conjunction with the exhibit. Holocaust survivors and the soldiers who freed them come together to offer their accounts of the liberation of Adolf Hitler’s concentration camps in “Bearing Witness: The Liberators and the Liberated.” Later in the day, black veterans discuss their experiences with war abroad and racism at home in “Tuskegee Airmen: Fighting on Two Fronts.”

Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, 36 Battery Place; Nov. 11, 2003-Aug. 31, 2004, Sun.-Tue. 10 a.m.-5:45 p.m., Wed. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri.10 a.m.-5 p.m.; “Bearing Witness” Nov. 11, 2:30 p.m.; “Tuskegee Airmen” Nov. 11, 7 p.m.; $7, $5 seniors and students, free Nov. 11. (212.968.1800 or www.ourstofightfor.org)



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