Jews in the Civil War: Jewish Soldiers in Blue & Grey

Source: The Philadephia Jewish Voice, 5-13-11
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, the National Museum of American Jewish History presented Jewish Soldiers in Blue & Gray,  a first-of-its-kind documentary that reveals the little-known struggles that faced Jewish-Americans both in battle and on the home front during the Civil War. This film reveals an unknown chapter in American history when allegiances during the War Between the States deeply split the Jewish community. It examines a time when approximately 10,000 Jewish soldiers fought on both sides; 7,000 Union and 3,000 Confederate. It exposes General Ulysses Grant’s controversial decision to expel all Jews from his territory, and tells the stories of President Lincoln’s Jewish doctor who serve as a spy in the South and how five Union Jewish soldiers received the Congressional Medal of Honor. It features commentary by noted historians, with Sam Waterston as the voice of Abraham Lincoln and narration by Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Milius (Apocalypse Now). This moving film allowed me to discover many surprising facts about American Jews during the Civil War…READ MORE

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PBS Looks At Stalin’s Jews In The Bronx “At Home In Utopia”

Source: NY Jewish Week, 5-6-09

Media Watch: PBS Looks At Stalin’s Jews In The Bronx:

Everyone agrees that the German-American Bund in the 1930s was horrendous, even if they weren’t violent like in the fatherland. The New York bundists were harassed into oblivion at the beginning of the war. Nevertheless, their parading of the swastika through Manhattan’s Upper East Side in 1939 still sends chills through the witnesses still among us….

Jews love ideas. To Stalin, ideas were a crime. “We don’t allow our enemies to have guns,” he said, “why should we allow them to have ideas?”
Nevertheless, the leading “Stalin-American Bundists” were Jews, athiest Yiddishists to be more exact. They even supported the Hitler-Stalin Pact that led to the evisceration of Jewish Poland. But whereas German-American Bundists are reviled in 2009, the Yiddishist-Stalinists, rather than being reviled, are consistently romanticized by the media as cuddly sweethearts, messianists, a quaint Yiddish folktale told to the clarinets of klezmer.

The latest whitewash is the new, well-crafted documentary, “At Home In Utopia,” the story of a cooperative housing experiment in the Bronx known as “the Coops,” as in “loops.” The Coops, highly advanced in its architectural design and cultural opportunities, particularly appealing for residents coming out of Dickensian tenements, were founded by the Yiddishist-Stalinists of the United Workers Cooperative Colony. They were the most “progressive” of the four predominantly Jewish workers’ cooperatives that rushed, like Oklahoma Sooners, into the vacant lots of the Bronx that were suddenly made accessible by the new elevated subway lines.  The film, by Michal Goldman with Ellen Brooks, premiered last week on PBS and is being repeated in the days ahead on the different PBS outlets. (Excerpts and more information can be found here….