Reading the 1942 issues of the JN, it soon becomes obvious that World War II and Nazi atrocities dominate the headlines as well as many articles. It also becomes obvious that weekly content, such as tracking the achievements of “Jewish Boys” in the war, often focuses on men.

Well, women also played a huge role in the war. There were those who joined the military, those who worked in the factories (“Rosie the Riveters”) and those who worked hard in the home. To say the least, women were deeply involved in the effort to win the war.

There was a very interesting story on the front page of the June 12, 1942, JN that discussed a different role for Jewish women in the war: “The Expansion of Women’s Training in Palestine by Conclave.” It focused on women who enrolled in the PATS (Palestine Auxiliary Territorial Service). Like women in the United States and other Allied nations, these women filled jobs in the civilian work force for men serving in the military. In this case, women in the PATS received regular British Army pay and uniforms.

Jewish women from Detroit played a role in this endeavor. On the editorial page of this issue of the JN, there was a piece about Detroit hosting the National Convention of the Pioneer Women’s Organization. It noted that this group was dedicated to “guiding and training young women refugees in Palestine,” and that many volunteers for the PATS came from their ranks. This was sort of a “two-fer” for women: They helped win the war and build the foundations of Israel at the same time.

Mike Smith
Detroit Jewish News Foundation


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