This is my third column where I report on the JN issues from 75 years ago, and I am finding the approach I mentioned in a previous column was great in theory, but very tough to accomplish. In short, each issue of the JN from 1942 covers so many topics, it is very difficult to pick a single story to feature.

This week, I was struck by two larger, diverse themes. First, of course, there was World War II and, in particular, Jewish participation in the war. As usual for 1942, the JN had a feature: “Jewish Boys in the War.” At this early point in war for America, most of the guys cited were in training. Indeed, one short item spoke about the three Frank brothers from Detroit — Benjamin H., Leonard V. and Seymour J. — at their various duties at Army bases around the nation.

I also found another story about heroism when America desperately needed heroes. Meyer Levin, Morris N. Friedman, Robert E. Altman and Lester Kramer received Distinguished Flying Crosses “for extraordinary achievement” for their participation in a flight of bombers from Honolulu to the Philippine Islands in the fall of 1941. Levin was the bombardier who sank the first Japanese ship of the war.

Looking at ads, Frank & Seder’s boy’s store was selling patriotic “Remember Pearl Harbor” shirts for 75 cents each.

The second theme was this — life goes on. The JN reported on engagements, weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, and community events around Metro Detroit. In the sports world, there was a rare upcoming bout between two excellent heavyweight Jewish boxers: Buddy Baer and Abe Simon. And, for the last 75 years, the JN has continued to report about Jews in Detroit and elsewhere, in war and in peace.

Mike Smith
Detroit Jewish News Foundation


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