It seems, while looking for stories 75 years ago from the JN for my columns, I often write about the war and the crisis for Jews in Europe. This week, the June 19, 1942, issue of the JN had this headline: “60,000 Vilna Jews Massacred by Nazis.” There was also a sub-headline on the front page that read: “Nazis Renew Mass Murder of Jews in Germany.”

The enormity of the atrocities against Jews, now known as the Holocaust, or the Shoah in Hebrew, was certainly becoming clear in the Jewish News by 1942. Nearly every issue that year had stories like those above, but a massacre of 60,000 was still particularly striking at that time. It is sad to think this only represents about 1 percent or less of the total number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Once past the disturbing headlines, the front page had another interesting piece about the annual Memorial Day parade in New York City. It showed a photo of the New York governor and Daniel Harris, a 97-year-old Jewish Civil War veteran on the dais with him. Not only did Harris survive the war with the most casualties in American history, but to reach 97 in that day and age? He must have been living right.

There were two other small items of good news. After 15 years of service to the University of Michigan, it was announced that Hillel would have its own house on campus. In another article, the Jewish Community Council passed a resolution officially welcoming the Jewish Theater Guild of Detroit. This was one of the ancestors of our current Jewish Ensemble Theater (JET). It is good to know that the arts were still alive during the war.

Mike Smith
Detroit Jewish News Foundation



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