Photo: Palestinian Jewish Regiment in WWII

47,000 Palestinian Jews were enlisted in an all-Jewish “Buffs” Regiment

The Jewish News
Mike Smith

Mike Smith

The front page of the Nov. 13, 1942, issue of the JN, which still had a headline about the War Chest, featured photos of a unique World War II unit, an all-Jewish “Buffs” Regiment. The story claims that 47,000 Palestinian Jews were enlisted this regiment. While there is no doubt a lot of Jews from Palestine served in the war, since regiments generally only had 4,000 soldiers, I wonder about the number reported in this article.

Nevertheless, the excellent photo display on Page 1 showed the tough training that the Jews were undergoing, and noted that they were eager to strike the Nazis. Their time was coming soon, as another story on Page 3 had the headline: “Nazis Blame Jews for U.S. African Invasion.” To say the least, the Nazis blamed Jews for everything and this was no exception.

Unfortunately, the Nazis began reprisals against Jews in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. But, the Americans had landed in North Africa on Nov. 8. It would take some time, but the Americans, British, Free French and their Allies, including the all-Jewish regiment, would indeed boot the Nazis out North Africa.

There was also a feature on page 14 on ‘Wartime Cooking.” The article first encouraged families not to waste a single scrap of food whatsoever — there were people starving in Poland and China. But the main point of the column was to suggest how one might use ketchup, mustard and other sauces to liven up what food one could obtain.

Finally, it’s been a while since I mentioned a Schmidt’s Beer advertisement. Well, this issue had one that warned against talking about war work, and offered a solution: “War Workers — “If you must talk — talk about Schmidt’s Beer in Quarts.” Problem solved.

Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.

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