The headline, “Spain Balks Escape of Jewish Refugees,” in the Jan. 8, 1943, issue of the JN seemed a lot like the headlines of 1942. Every week during the war brought reports of bad news for Jews. Inside this issue, however, there were also several very positive stories.
The JN’s headline referred to the fact that Spain had refused to give visas to 5,000 Jewish men of military age. These were Jewish men and boys who had escaped from the Nazis. No surprise here. At that time, Spain was a fascist dictatorship under Franciso Franco, a friend of Hitler.
The JN also had a couple of stories related to the number 100. First, on the front page, there was a respectful political cartoon about B’nai B’rith. As the oldest Jewish service organization in the world, with a largely American membership, B’nai B’rith was celebrating its 100th birthday. The cartoon depicted one of the 12 German Jewish founders of the organization, Henry Jones, along with its contemporary president, Henry Monsky.
There was another celebration in that issue involving the same number — a photo on page 8 showed Rabbi Joseph Levenson being sworn in as the100th Jewish chaplain for the American Armed Services during World War II.
And, on the home front, there was another celebration. Hyman Altman was celebrating his 13th year of having a featured show on WJLB radio in Detroit. Apparently, Altman was quite popular with the local Jewish community. In his honor, over that weekend, nearly 400 trees were planted in the Altman Grove in Palestine. Moreover, the story predicted that the final goal of 1,000 trees would be met in 1943. This is certainly worth of a mazel tov (albeit 75 years later)!
Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.