When was the last time you saw a newspaper headline where a U.S. president urged people to give money to a Jewish welfare campaign? Well, the top story for the May 22, 1942, issue was this: “Roosevelt Asks Aid for Allied Campaign.” The front page also featured a letter from the president to Rabbi Jonah Wise, national chairman of the Jewish Allied Appeal, in which he notes that there are “so many innocent victims throughout the world” and that he hoped that campaign would “meet with an enthusiastic response from all generous-hearted people.” This was a rather extraordinary appeal during extraordinary times.
If a reader wanted further proof that there were plenty of “innocent victims,” he or she need look no farther than page 2 of the JN, which had reports (by now, standard fare for 1942) of Nazis stealing $270 million worth of Jewish property in Holland. There was also an article about the pro-Nazi Pierre Lavel taking control of Jewish affairs during the German occupation of France. This was a bad omen for French Jews.
While reviewing the JN issue from 75 years ago, there was no way to avoid the hard news like that. However, there were some interesting, lighter bits like Philip Slomovitz’s editorial about the unique aspects of Yiddish that largely concludes that English is an OK language, but not as fun as Yiddish. And, by the way, Schmidt’s Beer was advertising again. This time, its ad touted “Tanks and Beer.” Until reading the 1942 JN, I just never thought of tanks, planes and beer as a threesome.
Want to learn more?
Go to the DJN Foundation archives,
available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.