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World War II

The NYPL Librarian Who Spied on the Nazis

Florence Mendheim was a Jewish librarian for the New York Public Library, and in 1933 she went undercover to spy on Nazi-associated groups in the United States. Her collection, featuring a large amount of antisemitic propaganda, is held by the Leo Baeck Institute, and is an invaluable window into the spread of fascist propaganda in America leading up to World War II. Florence, the…

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On Display at the Center for Jewish History

Illuminated Manuscript Presented in Thanks after the HolocaustJuly 1945Tangier, MoroccoVellum, Gouache and Silk Ribbons, Bound in LeatherFrom the Collection of the American Sephardi Federation On display through November 3rd Hungarian Jews stranded in Morocco during World War II created this lavish thank-you note for Lorna Gascoigne (1887-1979), the second wife of Alvary Douglas Frederick Trench-Gascoigne (1893-1970), the wartime British consul-general at Tangiers. Lorna was…

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The Molly Picon Story, Part 5: Postwar Europe–and Radio

We continue Sarah Ganton’s story of Molly Picon, for decades a household name in Yiddish theater and vaudeville, then a Broadway star and performer with the USO, then a radio personality. We’re very fortunate to have a rich record of her life through the archives of the American Jewish Historic Society, one of the five partners of the Center of Jewish History. Join us in…

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Row of Jewish-owned stores near Great Synagogue, Lumobl, Poland (now Ukraine), 1925. (Collection of Photographs and Measurement Drawings, neg. 23441. Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw. All rights reserved. Image courtesy the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress). The prevailing image of the shtetl is the one in Fiddler on the Roof: a small, dirt-poor, strictly Jewish village. But shtetls in…

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Dramatis personae: Addressing a playwright Out of the ArchivesHow to Find Arthur Miller Without Even Trying, or, The Perks of Being the First Ladyby Stefanie Halpern, Archival Processing Fellow, Center for Jewish History I was processing a collection on the Friends of Ida Kaminska Theatre, a foundation that existed for only a few years to raise funds and to book shows for Kaminska, the much-loved (and…

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In Honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day

by David P. Rosenberg, M.P.A., Reference Services Research Coordinator, Center for Jewish History The UN General Assembly designated January 27—the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau—as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The children of today will be the last generation to meet Holocaust survivors. The Center for Jewish History houses countless artifacts and archives concerning this horrific period in history. However, learning about what happened…

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We’re hosting an advance screening of The Monuments Men (starring George Clooney and Matt Damon) on Thursday, 1/30. Click here to enter to win free tickets! Tickets are only available through this lottery. Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, NYC

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Mapping the Offenbach Archival Depot: A Collaborative Endeavorby Melanie J. Meyers, M.S., Senior Reference Services Librarian, Special Collections, Center for Jewish History Click here to view a map that shows how books looted by the Nazis traveled across Europe. As a reference librarian at the Center for Jewish History, one of my favorite items to show when I am asked to teach and lecture is a…

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Holocaust Education Week

by Daniella Lurion, Reference Services Research Intern, Center for Jewish History To coincide with the anniversary of Kristallnacht (November 9th) the first week of November is always Holocaust Education Week in my hometown of Toronto, Canada. The local JCC and Holocaust Museum promote awareness by organizing events and lectures throughout the week and throughout the city. I thought I would share a personal story…

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Out of the Archives: War Heroismby Kevin Schlottmann, Processing Archivist, Center for Jewish History Fred Lederman (born Manfred Ledermann, 1918-2003) was a baker by trade. After he fled Neckarsteinach, Germany for the United States, he was drafted into the Army and returned to Europe in 1944, where he earned a Bronze Star for convincing a German unit to surrender. The details of his heroic act…

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Conducting Research on Jewish Fighters, WWIIWith a Focus on Ukraine, Belarus and Russiaby J.D. Arden, Reference Services Assistantwith assistance from Aurora Zinder, Volunteer, and David P. Rosenberg, M.P.A., Reference Services Research Coordinator, Center for Jewish History Above image: Kniga Pamiati Voinov-Evreev and Biographical Dictionary of Jewish Resistance In the Lillian Goldman Reading Room here at the Center for Jewish History, you can explore Hebrew-language…

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