Menu JTA Search

Highlights of the Year 5742

During the remainder of the year 5742 the Jewish community was involved in efforts to bring to justice war criminals living in this country. A shock wave was created when a former Justice Department prosecutor charged that U.S. officials smuggled hundreds of Russian-born war criminals into the U.S. after World War II. On another front, leading Jewish representatives called for a nuclear arms freeze.

MARCH 1982 — Controversy swirls around appointment by Reagan of J. Peter Grace, a prominent New York industrialist named as chairman of a presidential study group, because of his close ties to a convicted Nazi war criminal.

The Reagan Administration asks Congress to provide $12.5 million to assist in the resettlement of Soviet and East European immigrants in Israel for the 1983 fiscal year.

The film “Genocide,” which depicts the rise to power of Nazism in Germany and the Holocaust which followed, is honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with an Oscar for the best feature length documentary.

Vice President George Bush describes the charges of dual loyalty aimed at American Jews during the AWACS debate as “scurrilous” and “outrageous,” and rejects the nation that “this charge came out of the White House.”

Nearly 70 years later, Leo Frank, a Jewish factory employee who was lynched in 1913 for the killing of 14-year-old Mary Phogan, is absolved by Alonzo Mann, 83, who said he saw who committed the murder and that it was not Frank. Mann was the key witness in the trial that created an anti-Semitic frenzy in Atlanta, Ga. and later led to the formation of the ADL.

APRIL– Six leading Jewish Republicans, prominent Jewish community leaders, who meet with Reagan are assailed as “court Jews” by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Conference chairman Howard Squadron calls the conclave a “deeply disturbing break in Jewish unity.”

Thousands gather at Temple Emanu-El in New York City to mark the 39th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and Yom Ha-Shoah.

Reagan marks Yom Ha-Shoah at a White House ceremony saying that the Holocaust reminds Americans that Israel is “a country that rightfully never takes its security or survival for granted.”

The U.S. citizenship of a Ukrainian-born Nazi, Bohdan Kosiy, is revoked by a court in West Palm Beach, Florida, for having lied about his Nazi activities when applying for admission to the U.S. and naturalization.

MAY — Some 200,000 persons rally in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza across from the UN for the 11th annual Solidarity Sunday for Soviet Jewry.

The House overwhelmingly approves a resolution warning that if the General Assembly or any UN specialized agency expels Israel or denies Israel’s right to participate in any manner, the U.S. will suspend its participation in that body and withhold all funds for it.

The Supreme Court refuses to hear a new appeal for retention of citizenship by Archbishop Trifa.

A former prosecutor for the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI), John Loftus, charges that U.S. officials smuggled hundreds of Russian born Nazi war criminals into the U.S. after World War II for anti-Soviet propaganda and intelligence purposes.

Leading Jewish representatives call for a half to the nuclear arms race through a freeze on nuclear weapons by the U.S. and the USSR.

JUNE — Elmars Sprogis, 67, a former Latvian policeman, is accused by the OSI of having concealed his wartime aid to the Nazis, and killing Jews and Soviet prisoners during the war, when he applied for and obtained American citizenship in 1962.

Premier Menachem Begin, in the U.S. to meet with Administration officials and representatives of the American Jewish community, is presented with $35 million in cash purchases of Israel Bonds at a New York Bond luncheon. It is described as the single biggest Israel Bond cash day since the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

JULY — Julius Berman succeeds Howard Squadron as chairman of the Presidents Conference. Berman is president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations.

A 24-year old immigrant from Florida, Jerry Wolfe, becomes the first American born soldier to die in Israel’s invasion of Lebanon.

Interior Secretary James Watt warns that U.S. support for Israel could end if “liberals” in the American Jewish community continue to oppose the Administration’s energy policies.

Harris poll indicates that a majority of Americans support Israel’s stated objective of its military action in Lebanon: to rid that country of all foreign forces and to have Lebanese eventually control their own country militarily.

AUGUST — In its first official statement regarding the war in Lebanon, the AFL-CIO declares its unequivocal support for the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, saying it’s “justified on security grounds.”

Two American citizens — Anne Van Zanten, 30, and Grace Cutler, 66 — are among those killed in a terrorist attack an Jo Goldenberg’s restaurant in Paris.

SEPTEMBER — The Senate unanimously adopts a Sense of the Senate Resolution urging the International League of Red Cross Societies to formally recognize the Magen David Adom. A similar resolution is expected to be introduced in the House.

Conrad Schellong, 71, a former SS officer alleged to have commanded a unit at the Dachau and Sachsenburg concentration camps during World War II and to have trained SS recruits for concentration camp guard duty, has his American citizenship revoked by a federal judge in Chicago for having made “material misrepresentation” of his Nazi past when he applied for U.S. citizenship.

(Continued Tomorrow)

NEXT STORY