from the kehila kedosha janina site
Our Gang in World War II
This exhibit will become a permanent part of our website. It can be seen in person from November 2, 2008 through November 2009.
The United States officially entered WWII on December 7, 1941. It would be a war that would affect everyone. Among the many who served was “Our Gang,” Greek Jews from the NYC area, most of whom were sons of recent immigrants.
There were those who were wounded in battle. Both Ralph Battino and Joseph Lafazan would receive the Purple Heart.
There were those who were taken as prisoners of war, including Isaac (Pat) Nachmias of 279 Broome Street, captured during the Battle of the Bulge and imprisoned in Stalag IVB until May of 1945.
And, finally, there were those who did not return. Hyman Barash died on Omaha Beach on D-Day during the landing at Normandy. Both Nissim Attas and Abraham Matza died during the Battle of the Bulge. Herbert Nachman, son of past Sisterhood President Rae Nachman, was shot down over Germany. Both Arthur Rubenstein and Hymie Atun were lost in the Pacific.
This exhibit is dedicated to “Our Gang,” Greek-Jews, most sons of immigrants from Ioannina, many from the Lower East Side, who proudly fought to defend their country. Jews by faith, Americans by nationality, Greeks by ethnicity, they would make us all proud.
The title for this exhibit was taken from a series of newsletters written in 1944 and 1945. “Our Gang,” written by Mildred Barouch (later to become Mildred Coffina), was intended to inform family and friends of what was happening during the war.
The actual exhibit includes photos and artifacts. We were pleasantly overwhelmed by the response to this exhibit and by the enthusiastic participation of the Greek Jewish community.
Our apologies to those whose stories were not included. It is not too late.
Send us your photos of Greek Jews who served in the United States Armed Forces during WWII and we will include them on our website.