Guide to the Records of the Memoirs of American Jewish Soldiers

RG 110

Processed by Rachel S. Harrison as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation.

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, NY 10011

Phone: (212) 246-6080

Fax: (212) 292-1892



©2008 YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Rachel S. Harrison in December 2008. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Memoirs of American Jewish Soldiers
Title: Memoirs of American Jewish Soldiers
Abstract: This collection contains mainly contest submissions from the 1945-1946 YIVO essay contest for Jewish soldiers and veterans of World War II as well as additional materials sent in by the contestants and administrative information about the contest compiled by YIVO staff members.
Languages: The collection is in English and Yiddish, with some German, Hebrew, Arabic, and Dutch.
Quantity: 0.75 linear feet
Identification: RG 110
Repository: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
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Historical Note

In 1945-1946 YIVO held an essay contest for Jewish soldiers and veterans on the subject of “My Experiences and Observations as a Jew in World War II.” In addition to over 50 official submissions, YIVO received autobiographical information about the contestants, photographs, journals, private correspondence, and newspaper clippings. The contestants labeled their essays with pseudonyms and also sent their real names in a sealed envelope to be opened after the judging. YIVO reserved the right to keep all materials and to publish any of the essays, not only the winning submissions. The winning contestants received prizes ranging from $25 to $150.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of essay submissions, autobiographical sketches submitted by the contestants, index cards in Yiddish summarizing some of the essays, a notebook with the pseudonyms and numbers of each contestant, newspaper clippings, photographs, correspondence between YIVO and some of the contestants, personal correspondence submitted by the entrants, administrative information about the contest and the entrants including demographic information, main themes of the essays, entrant addresses and real names, official announcements of the contest in Yiddish and English, and an invitation to the awards ceremony. Most of the essays are about the soldiers’ experiences in Western Europe and the Pacific theater. The main themes are interacting with Jews in other lands, Judaism and anti-Semitism in the army, interacting with Jews who had been in concentration camps or had hidden and were now Displaced Persons, and how the soldiers’ lives, thoughts and Judaism have changed because of the war and their time in the army. There are some particularly rich essays about the Jewish communities of India and the Philippines as well as Germany and one about Palestine. There is one submission from a woman detailing her experience being Jewish in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service).

The folders are labeled with the contestant’s number, determined by YIVO staff, and the contestant’s real name, when known. Some entrants have two contestant numbers and thus two folders, either because they submitted two essays or because they sent essays and supplementary materials in separate packages. Some essays and materials were not given contestant numbers, perhaps because they arrived after the contest deadline or they did not meet the contest criteria. All of the essays are undated but were all submitted in 1946. The additional materials date from 1944-1946.

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The materials are arranged in one series.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to researchers.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011

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Related Material

The YIVO Library has several books on the experiences of Jewish soldiers in wartime. Some of these include Birnbaum, Meyer. Lieutenant Birnbaum: A Soldier's Story; Fredman, J. George. Jews in American Wars; and Kligsberg, Moshe. American Jewish Soldiers on Jews and Judaism : (A Report of a Contest). This article, originally printed in YIVO Bleter 31-32 (1948) and republished in English in the YIVO Annual (1950), summarizes the main topics of the contest entries and breaks down the contestants and their experiences into psychological categories.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Memoirs of American Jewish Soldiers; RG 110; box number; folder number; YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

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Acquisition Information

Essays and supplementary submission materials were sent directly from the contestant to YIVO in 1946. The administrative information was created by YIVO staff members in 1946.

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List


Memoirs of American Jewish Soldiers, 1944-1946

11Contestant 1-Solly Landau1944-1946
12Contestant 2-Seymour S. Weisman1944-1946
13Contestant 3-Jessard A. Wisch1944-1946
14Contestant 4-Ben Magdovitz1944-1946
15Contestant 5-Samuel H. Sherman1944-1946
16Contestant 6-Emanuel Schaffer1944-1946
17Contestant 7-Harold U. Ribalow1944-1946
18Contestant 8-William Charney1944-1946
19Contestant 9-Eliot Blin1944-1946
110Contestant 10-David A. Levine1944-1946
111Contestant 11-David Moscow1944-1946
112Contestant 12-Beatrice Gibbs1944-1946
113Contestant 13-Herbert Cohen1944-1946
114Contestant 14-David Daly1944-1946
115Contestant 15-Robert T. Howard1944-1946
116Contestant 16-Bernard Zaritsky1944-1946
117Contestant 17-E. Max1944-1946
118Contestant 18-Joseph J. Berkowitz1944-1946
119Contestant 19-Isadore A. Rosen1944-1946
120Contestant 20-Louis Sherman1944-1946
121Contestant 21-Morris Rubin1944-1946
122Contestant 22-Mordecai L. Brill1944-1946
123Contestant 23-Nathan Hurvitz (I)1944-1946
124Contestant 24-Irving Goldberg1944-1946
125Contestant 25-Dov Ben-Abba1944-1946
126Contestant 26-Jack L. Schaffer1944-1946
127Contestant 27-Eric Ellenbogen1944-1946
128Contestant 28-Marshall Wolke1944-1946
129Contestant 29-Ernest Stock1944-1946
130Contestant 30-Shmuel N. Citrinovsky1944-1946
231Contestant 31-H. Ziglin1944-1946
232Contestant 32-Abraham Bohenek (I)1944-1946
233Contestant 33-Jack Solomon1944-1946
234Contestant 34-Alexander Shatton1944-1946
235Contestant 35-Leo Molow1944-1946
236Contestant 36-Gerald Selbst1944-1946
237Contestant 37-Sholom Bloom1944-1946
238Contestant 38-Herbert Weiner1944-1946
239Contestant 39-Herman Denmark1944-1946
240Contestant 40-Abraham Bohenek (II)1944-1946
241Contestant 41-Henry Simon (I)1944-1946
242Contestant 42-Unknown1944-1946
243Contestant 43-Sidney Shafner1944-1946
244Contestant 44-Norman T. Roffa1944-1946
245Contestant 45-Nathan Hurvitz (II)1944-1946
246Contestant 46-Harold Hoffman1944-1946
247Contestant 47-Samuel Krasner1944-1946
248Contestant 48-Harold Heifetz1944-1946
249Contestant 49-S.L. Birulin1944-1946
250Contestant 50-Henry Simon (II)1944-1946
251Contestant 51-Howard Preston Goodman1944-1946
252Contestant 52-Julian Scheineson1944-1946
253Additional Contest Entries and Materials1944-1946
254David Rothbart Journals1944-1946
255Abe Blinderman Correspondence1944-1946
256Administrative Materials1944-1946
2 Notebook of Pseudonyms and Numbers 1944-1946
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