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Past Events

Watch recordings of previous programs on YouTube.

Historian Robin Judd discusses her new book: Between Two Worlds: Jewish War Brides After the Holocaust. Facing the harrowing task of rebuilding a life in the wake of the Holocaust, many Jewish survivors, community and religious leaders, and Allied soldiers viewed marriage between Jewish women and military personnel as a way to move forward after unspeakable loss. Proponents believed that these unions were more than just a ticket out of war-torn Europe: they would help the Jewish people repopulate after the attempted annihilation of European Jewry. Judd, whose grandmother survived the Holocaust and married an American soldier after liberation, introduces us to the Jewish women who lived through genocide and went on to wed American, Canadian, and British military personnel after the war. She offers an intimate portrait of how these unions emerged and developed—from meeting and courtship to marriage and immigration to life in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom—and shows how they helped shape the postwar world by touching thousands of lives, including those of the chaplains who officiated their weddings, the Allied authorities whose policy decisions structured the couples’ fates, and the bureaucrats involved in immigration and acculturation. The stories Judd tells are at once heartbreaking and restorative, and she vividly captures how the exhilaration of the brides’ early romances coexisted with survivor’s guilt, grief, and apprehension at the challenges of starting a new life in a new land.

The Camouflage Kippa: 40th Anniversary of the 1983 Beirut Barracks Bombing. On October 23, 1983, a suicide driver detonated two bombs at buildings in Beirut, Lebanon, housing American and French service members. 241 U.S. military personnel were killed. U.S. Navy Chaplain Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff was there and immediately began helping wounded Marines. In order to wipe away blood and dirt, Resnicoff had used his own kippa. Catholic Chaplain Father George Pucciarelli, seeing Rabbi Resnicoff without his head covered, tore off the top piece of his Marine camouflage cap, and brought it over to Resnicoff to wear.

Rabbi Joseph Topek discusses the ways the American Jewish community memorialized those killed in WWII. Rabbi Topek examines the material culture of remembrance of Jewish military personnel killed during World War Two. He looks at examples of personal or family memorialization and remembrance as well as communal commemoration of the war dead and its impact on American Jewish life.

Author Ira Kitmacher discusses his book Monsters and Miracles. Al Kitmacher and Pearl Harris were heroes. In WWII, Al led his Jewish family to temporary safety, and through miracles he survived the Warsaw Ghetto and Nazi death camps. Pearl, with her military service in the Navy WAVES, helped fellow Jews who were suffering at the hands of the Nazis.

Steven Collis discusses his book The Immortals: The World War II Story of Five Fearless Heroes, the Sinking of the Dorchester, and an Awe-inspiring Rescue. During World War II, on January 29, 1943, the SS Dorchester and a small convoy sailed the perilous route from Newfoundland to the Army Command Base in Greenland. Four chaplains were assigned to the Dorchester with more than 900 men on board. Alexander Goode, a Jewish rabbi; John Washington, a Catholic priest; George Fox, a Methodist minister; and Clark Poling, a Baptist minister, all offered comfort, reassurances, and prayers with a warning from the captain that a German submarine was hunting their convoy. The Nazi U-boat captain, Karl-Jurg Wachter, had been stalking the Americans for days. When the weather finally gave him an opening, Wachter was in a position to strike.

John Raschke, author of A Tour in Chuong Thien Province: A U.S. Army Lieutenant with MACV Advisory Team 73 in the Mekong Delta, 1969-1970, in conversation with Harvey Weiner. This webinar was done in conjunction with the museum’s Jewish Americans in Military Service During Vietnam exhibition.

Jonathan Sandler discussed his graphic novel The English GI: World War II Graphic Memoir of A Yorkshire Schoolboy’s Adventures in the United States based on the memoir of his grandfather Bernard Sandler. In September 1939, Britain declares war on Germany. Bernard Sandler, a 17-year-old schoolboy from Yorkshire, is on a school trip to the United States and consequently finds himself unable to return home, separated from his close-knit Jewish family in Britain.

Rabbi Joshua Gerstein discussed the World War II letters of his grandfather Charlie Fletcher. Fletcher wrote near daily letters home to his family from training through his service in Europe. The letters are published in the new book Love and Kisses, Charlie: WWII Letters From A Jewish-American Serviceman.

Steve Stoliar joined us to discuss his new book. Salamis & Swastikas: Letters Home From A G.I. Jew is a remarkable collection of letters written by Staff Sgt. David E. Stoliar to his wife and baby daughter in St. Louis during World War II, from North Africa, Italy, France, Germany, and England.

Robert Sutton discusses his book Nazis on the Potomac: The Top-Secret Intelligence Operation that Helped Win WWII. At Fort Hunt, Virginia, the American servicemen who interrogated German prisoners or translated captured German documents were young, bright, hardworking, and absolutely dedicated to their work. Many of them were Jews, who had escaped Nazi Germany as children.

Marc Wortman discussed his new book Admiral Hyman Rickover: Engineer of Power.

Rabbi Sheldon Lewis discusses his book Letters Home: A Jewish Chaplain’s Vietnam Memoir. Rabbi Lewis was deployed to Vietnam as an Army chaplain from 1970 to 1971 to be present with Jewish personnel in the Central Highlands. Serving men and women drafted into a morally fraught war with increasing protest back home, he tried to bring a listening ear and the comfort of Jewish tradition to lonely and conflicted people. Fifty years later, from letters sent home, he retells and relives the drama and agony of serving in that era.

Beverley Driver Eddy, author of Ritchie Boy Secrets: How a Force of Immigrants and Refugees Helped Win World War II joins us to discuss the experiences connected to internment for the men and women trained in military intelligence at Camp Ritchie.

Rabbi Jack Romberg discusses his book A Doorway to Heroism: A decorated German-Jewish soldier who became an American hero. Stern was a decorated German soldier in World War I, a resister in Cologne at the start of Hitler’s reign of terror, and a Silver Star decorated U.S. Army soldier.

Leah Garrett in conversation with Michael Rugel on her new book X-Troop, the incredible World War II saga of the German-Jewish commandos who fought in Britain’s most secretive special-forces unit. X-Troop was a commando unit made up of Jewish refugees who have escaped to Britain.

Michael Geheran discusses his book Comrades Betrayed: Jewish World War I Veterans under Hitler as part of our Alan S. Brown Scholar Series.

A discussion of the Hebrew Union Veterans Association formed in 1896 by Civil War veterans in New York.

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Paul Darling discusses his book Taliban Safari: One Day in the Surkhagan Valley and his experiences as a combat soldier in Afghanistan.

Boaz Dvir  discusses his book Saving Israel: The Unknown Story of Smuggling Weapons and Winning a Nation’s Independence. As it prepared to ward off an invasion by five well-equipped neighboring armies in 1948, newborn Israel lacked the weapons to defend itself. Enter Al Schwimmer, an American World War II veteran who feared a repeat of the Holocaust. He created fictitious airlines, bought decommissioned airplanes from the US War Asset Administration, fixed them in California and New Jersey, and sent his pilots—Jewish and non-Jewish WWII aviators—to pick up rifles, bullets, and fighter planes from the only country willing to break the international arms embargo: communist Czechoslovakia.

Author Norman Fine and World War II B-17 Navigator George Jacobs discuss Blind Bombing: How Microwave Radar Brought the Allies to D-Day and Victory in World War II.

Bernard Lubran  discusses the soldiers trained in military intelligence at Camp Ritchie, MD during World War II. Many of them were German-speaking immigrants who had fled from the Nazis in Europe. Bernie Lubran, the son of a Ritchie Boy, is the President of the Friends of Camp Ritchie, an educational non-profit whose purpose is to educate the public about the importance of Camp Ritchie and the soldiers who trained there during World War II, “The Ritchie Boys.” 

Captain Jerry Yellin addresses growing up with antisemitism, the war in the Pacific as a fighter pilot, losing a wingman on a mission after the war had already ended and finally overcoming PTSD and his hatred of the Japanese after decades.

Frank Lavin spoke on April 2nd, 2017 about his book Home Front to Battlefront describing the World War II experiences of Carl Lavin.

Douglas Stark discusses the history of Jews in basketball and how World War II changed the sport. Stark is author of Wartime Baskeball: The Emergence of a National Sport during World War II and The SPHAS: The Life and Times of Basketball’s Greatest Jewish Team. September 18, 2016.

USAF Col. (ret) Martin Victor, M.D., author of Doctor in Blue, shares some of his experiences of being Jewish and doing good through a thirty-year career as active-duty Air Force Physician and Hospital Commander.

Dr. Elaine H. Berkowitz discussed her book Live Life… Love Country and her experiences in the Army as a dentist around the world. Dr. Berkowitz describes her life and work as a Jewish female soldier in Iraq, Kosovo, Pittsburgh and elsewhere.

Marc Leepson, author of Saving Monticello, discusses U.S. Navy Commodore Uriah P. Levy and the Levy family’s remarkable role in saving the home of Thomas Jefferson.

Mark Zaid, editor of The G.I.s Rabbi, presents the story of his grandfather Rabbi David Max Eichhorn. Eichhorn was the Jewish chaplain who conducted the first religious services at Dachau after the liberation of the concentration camp.

Our 2015 Hanukkah party featuring a talk from Chaplain Michael Bloom.

Open Monday - Friday 9 - 5. Closed Wed, June 12th and Thurs, June 13th for Shavuot. Open Saturday, June 15th, 9 - 4. Closed Wednesday, June 19th for Juneteenth.