2003-11-06 / Arts & Entertainment

Museum Exhibit To Honor WWII Jewish Veterans

Museum Exhibit To Honor WWII Jewish Veterans

Museum Exhibit To Honor WWII Jewish Veterans

Meyer J. Birnbaum kneels at the graveside of his brother killed in combat in Europe during World War II.     Collection of Meyer J. BirnbaumMeyer J. Birnbaum kneels at the graveside of his brother killed in combat in Europe during World War II. Collection of Meyer J. Birnbaum

The contributions and heroism of Jewish soldiers in the U.S. Military during the Second World War have long been overlooked, and on Veterans Day, all that will change with the opening of a new exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage — Ours To Fight For: American Jews in the Second World War, which will examine and celebrate the role of Jewish men and women who were part of the American war effort on and off of the battlefield. The exhibit will also illustrate what the war experience was for its participants and for Jews in particular in the Second World War. Video testimony, artifacts, letters, and photographs tell the stories of the "Greatest Generation" in this comprehensive exhibition.

The exhibit will open to the public in the new 6,500 square-foot exhibition gallery of the Robert M. Morgenthau Wing of the museum next Tuesday, Veterans Day. Two programs will be presented that day in conjunction with the exhibition. At 2:30 p.m., Bearing Witness: The Liberators and the Liberated will bring together Holocaust survivors and GIs to share first-hand accounts of the liberation of the camps. At 7 p.m. Tuskegee Airmen: Fighting on Two Fronts will discuss fighting racism at home and fighting against the Axis powers overseas. Admission on Nov. 11 is free.

While the focus of the exhibition is primarily on Jewish Americans serving during World War 11, visitors will also use an interactive program that allows them to examine the experiences of other minority groups. The interactive gallery will present a selection of interviews with African-Americans, Japanese- Americans, Chinese Americans, Native Americans, Mexican- Americans, and Puerto Ricans, as well as Jews who served in other Allied armies (British, Russian) who contributed to the fight to preserve democracy. The kiosks in this gallery will enable visitors to explore the archival material in the Museum’s collection to learn about other experiences and voices not covered elsewhere in the exhibition.

Upon completing a tour of Ours To Fight For, visitors are invited to record their own war experiences or impressions of the war via a video-capture kiosk and leave photos of themselves or their loved ones in uniform during World War 11 to be scanned and eventually displayed in the exhibition.

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