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True to My God and Country
How Jewish Americans Fought in World War II
Published by: Indiana University Press
True to My God and Country explores the role of the more than half a million Jewish American men and women who served in the military in the Second World War. Patriotic Americans determined to fight, they served in every branch of the military and every theater of the war.
Drawing on letters, diaries, interviews, and memoirs, True to My God and Country offers an intimate account of the soul-searching carried out by young Jewish men and women in uniform. Ouzan highlights, in particular, the selflessness of servicewomen who risked their lives in dangerous assignments. Many GIs encountered antisemitism in the American military even as they fought the evils of Nazi Germany and its allies.
True to My God and Country examines how they coped with anti-Jewish hostility and reveals how their interactions with Jewish communities overseas reinforced and bolstered connections to their own American Jewish identities.
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Unexpected Encounters
1. "True to My God, True to My Country"
2. Invisibility of Jews in the Military?
3. Heroines Took to The Skies
4. Confronting Biased Attitudes
5. "Operation Torch" and Local Jews
6. Religiosity in the Pacific and India
7. Prisoners of War of the Japanese
8. Camaraderie Beyond Prejudice
Conclusions: Bridging Worlds Apart
Françoise S. Ouzan is Senior Research Associate at the Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center of Tel Aviv University. She is the author of How Young Holocaust Survivors Rebuilt Their Lives: France, the United States, and Israel and editor (with Dalia Ofer and Judith Tydor Baumel-schwartz) of Holocaust Survivors: Resettlement, Memories, Identities and Postwar Jewish Displacement and Rebirth, 1945–1967.
"The stories of the more than 500,000 Jewish men and women who served in the American military during World War II have never been told with more honesty and heart than they are here. Françoise Ouzan has written a history that challenges, educates, and inspires. This book is a must-have for any World War II history shelf."~Michael S. Neiberg, author of When France Fell: Vichy and the Fate of the Anglo-American Alliance.
"Françoise Ouzan demonstrates the salience of emotions such as solidarity, empathy, and the yearning for honor for the experience of American Jewish men and women who served in the Second World War. Ouzan's canvas is global, but her approach is personal, drawing on a rich array of life-writing to tell a deeply moving story."~Derek Penslar, author of Jews and the Military: A History
"True to My God and Country makes an important contribution to the scholarship of World War II, Jewish-American history, and women's history. It highlights the ways in which Jewish servicewomen crossed gender and social boundaries. It also illuminates how Jewish service women strove to be accepted in a military framework, and how they successfully confronted anti-Jewish attitudes."~Patricia Kollander, Florida Atlantic University
"Research on the Jewish experience during and vis-à-vis World War II and theHolocaust naturally focuses on the fate of Jews under the control of Nazi Germany and its allies and on the reactions to that fate in the free world. Antisemitism experienced by Jews outside this orbit has hitherto drawn only minimal attention. In this fascinating account of the experiences of the many Jewish GIs in the American military at all fronts of the global war, Françoise Ouzan provides an in-depth picture of their coping with the widespread antisemitism that they suffered among their fellow soldiers. Their unexpected encounter with anti-Jewish hostility in French North Africa also shaped their Jewish identity. This excellent study is a most valuable contribution to the history of antisemitism, to the broader picture of the Jewish war experience, and to American Jewish history."~Dan Michman, Head, The International Institute for Holocaust Research; and the John Najmann Chair of Holocaust Studies, Yad Vashem
Through the generous support of the The Trustees of Indiana University, Indiana University Press is pleased to make this monograph freely available as an Open Access monograph, visit https://publish.iupress.indiana.edu/projects/true-to-my-god-and-country.