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An Oral History Of A Young Jewish Women In World War Ii

It was 1940, I was 23, and there was a war going on. Everyone knew that Adolf Hitler, Germany’s Fuhrer, was campaigning against several countries in Europe. He had started another war by invading Poland months earlier, and now it seemed that he was taking other countries as well1. It was being talked about, but not much was known specifically about what exactly was happening in Europe. The United States was not getting involved in another great war. There were so many lives lost from the first war, and the country was still feeling effects of the depression that we could not afford to get into another war so suddenly. After all, for Germany to attack us they would have to go all the way across the Atlantic Ocean; and seeing as how we were not directly participating in the war, they had no reason to attack us. Their war was in Europe, not here in the United States. There was almost a sense of sureness that we were not going to take part in this war. Most importantly was the fact that there were more important things going on in Brooklyn, besides this war. People were looking for jobs and trying to make ends meet. The great depression had left many people without employment and caused many families to struggle. This was one of the main reasons that people did not want to go to war, because of the disastrous effects left over from the Great War.
By 1941, there was a greater sense of the war. The people seemed to know more about the war and see how powerful and dangerous Hitler and Germany were. More and more people were beginning to feel that America should take part in this war, yet most of us still felt that it would be a lot safer and be in the countries best interest to stay away from the war in Europe. The country had to remain out of the war to once again become stabilized, but more importantly because the country was just not ready for another Great War2. People were struggling, yet there was a sense that progress was coming, and that the main focus had to be emphasized on the countries own issues, rather than the involvement in other countries conflicts and affairs3. However, there were still other people who felt that it was America’s duty as a free and democratic nation, to go and prevent the tyranny caused by those Nazi’s and Communists4. As time went on, and the war were perceiving to be a lot more threatening and realistic to the people of the United States, more and more people began to feel that our country needed to prepare for war against the Germans.
It was December and this horrible feeling seemed to spread from person to person, after hearing the news, the news that would change the whole country and eventually the whole world. On December 7, 1941, the radio was playing. The president’s voice, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was on the radio sounding more serious than ever imaginable. The president’s most memorable remark can still be heard clearly, “A day that will live in infamy!” The Japanese bombed the Pearl Harbor Naval Base on that day, killing over 2,000 people and destroying or sinking almost all the ships stationed5. For the next several days all that was being talked about was the horrible attack on Pearl Harbor, by those awful Japanese. This was a shock to all of us because we didn’t know what to expect. Our country hadn’t been in war for a while now and it was scary. A fear stayed with us everyday until the war was over. A fear that the Nazi’s were going to win and all things were going to change all the people in the United States. Very little was known about Hitler’s actions against the Jews, especially the Holocaust. People just had an idea of Hitler wanting to take over all of Europe and do what ever he pleased with whichever group of people. Along with that was the fear of the United States being bombed.
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