Resources for Teachers
Chartered by an act of Congress in 1958, the National Museum of American Jewish Military History's purpose is to document and preserve the contributions of Jewish Americans to the peace and freedom of the United States, to educate the public concerning the courage, heroism and sacrifices made by Jewish Americans who served in the armed forces, and to combat anti-Semitism.
Educational initiatives pursued by the National Museum include a docent program which offers guided tours of various exhibitions free of charge, educational presentations, the operation of a reference library and the sale of exhibition catalogues at reduced rates for educational purposes. Current exhibits include Hall of Heroes, Rescue & Renewal: GIs and Displaced Persons, Women in the Military: A Jewish Perspective, Major General Julius Klein: His Life and His Career, and the Joshua L. Goldberg Memorial Chapel. Catalogues available for sale include Hall of Heroes, An American, A Sailor, and A Jew: The Life and Career of Commodore Uriah Phillips Levy, USN (1792-1862), and GI's Remember: Liberating the Concentration Camps. The Museum hosts approximately 10,000 visitors annually, a large portion of which are in school or senior group tours. The Museum offers free admission but contributions are gratefully accepted. In addition, the Museum's Study Centre features a seating capacity of 125 people and limited kitchen facilities.
Other programs include the maintenance of museum collections and an archive and various fundraising programs. The Museum collection includes approximately 5,000 donated or purchased objects relating to Jewish participation in all U.S. armed forces. The Archives contains letters, diaries, military records, and other documents relating to the subject as well as to the history of the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. Fundraising programs include several levels of memberships, an honorial wall, a computerized Yahrzeit display, "brick" certificates, memorial certificates and an endowment fund.
- Hall of Heroes: Jewish-American Recipients of the Medal of Honor, pays homage to the fifteen Jewish-American servicemen who have received the Medal of Honor, America's highest award for military valor. Their stories are among the many examples of bravery and gallantry shown by Jews in the United States armed forces.
- Rescue & Renewal: GIs and Displaced Persons relates the role of American Jewish GIs in rescuing survivors of the concentration camps who would not return to their countries of origin. The exhibit shows how these GIs helped the displaced persons restart their lives and eventually make their way to their new homes. The first section, which examines the rescue of survivors of history’s greatest crime against humanity, depicts the stores of individual rescuers and describes the conditions of the displaced persons camps. The second part of the exhibition, which addresses the role of Jewish GIs in helping DPs toward a new life, features the chaplains involved, some of the survivors who benefited and aspects life in the DP camps including daily activities, marriages and the children who were born as a result.
- Women in the Military: A Jewish Perspective profiles personal stories and little-known facts regarding Jewish women and their contributions to the military history of the United States. From the Revolutionary War to the present, Jewish women have demonstrated patriotism and great heroism in defense of America. The exhibition features rare and unique items representing this proud history, from the story of Civil War nurse Phoebe Pember (honored on a U.S. Postage Stamp) to the bombardiers and troop leaders of Operations Desert Storm. Also included are special sections on the enormous number of Jewish women who answered the call to serve in the WACS, WAVES, SPARS and Marines in World War II- thus helping to break the barriers of repression against women in modern American society, and paving the way for their emergence as leaders in the military.
- Major General Julius Klein: His Life and His Work relates the fascinating career of a Jewish major general from Chicago, Illinois. Born to German-Jewish parents in 1901, Julius Klein served as a teenage spy in Germany during WWI. Coming back to Chicago, Klein formally joined the Illinois National Guard and then became a prominent newspaper reporter during the 1920's. Moving to Hollywood, California in the 1930's, Klein became a successful motion picture executive. When WWII broke out, Klein combined his military, journalistic and public relations expertise for the war effort becoming a hero in the Pacific Theatre at New Caledonia. Following WWII, Klein founded a very successful public relations company and became an instrumental figure in international diplomacy and politics. He served as JWV national commander in 1948 and retired from the army as a major general in 1961.
There are catalogs and (VAS)videos available. For further information contact Mary Westley at 202-265-6280 ext 511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.