It is easy to forget that human history is constructed from the actions of individuals. Sometimes it is the result of mass human activities; at other times, it is distinctly singular. The headlines of the Aug. 7, 1942, edition of the JN were about Nazis and the plight of Jews around the world, but there were two most interesting stories of individuals in that issue.
On the front page, there was this headline: “Bert ‘Yank’ Levy Teaches Guerrilla Warfare.” Described as a “120-pound, black haired, mustached” man, this is one Jewish boy that you would not want to mess with! Levy literally wrote the book on guerilla warfare. During WWII, he was employed as a trainer of irregular forces for the British and Americas.
In the same issue, a story about another individual, who operated closer to home, caught my eye. The “Personality of the Week” was Mrs. Alexander Sanders, who directed the work of 350 instructors training more than 3,000 women in the American Women’s Voluntary Service. Sanders was about to leave to attend a two-week course held by the U.S. War Department’s School for Civilian Protection, the only woman to that point to do so.
I did a bit of searching in the Davidson Digital Archives on Sanders, and found 71 entries over 40 years citing her work on education with the League of Women Voters and the Women’s Division of the American Jewish Congress. In 1961, she even chaired a program at Temple Emanu-El on “Widening Horizons for Today’s Women.” Indeed, I think she did her part in this regard. Despite her prominent role in Detroit, however, I could not find her first name anywhere in the JN.
Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.