MS 55 The Louis E. Shecter Collection

Posted on December 6th, 2012 by

Louis Shecter as a graduate from Baltimore City College, 1918. Courtesy of Louis E. Shecter. 1974.21.4

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Louis E. Shecter (1901-1992)?Collection

n.d., 1921-1985

?MS 55

Jewish Museum of Maryland

?ACCESS AND PROVENANCE

The Louis E. Shecter Collection was found in the collection as MS 55.? Multiple accessions have been identified as materials donated by and related to Louis E. Shecter and probably incorporated into MS 55: 1973.013; 1974.021; 1975.020; 1982.015; 1985.104; and 1985.105.? However, none of the materials in the manuscript collection can be positively identified with these accessions.? Because of this the collection was given the FIC accession number 2012.061. The collection was processed at some unknown date then reprocessed and given a finding aid in June 2012 by Jennifer Vess.

Access to the collection is unrestricted and is available to researchers at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.? Researchers must obtain the written permission of the Jewish Museum of Maryland before publishing quotations from materials in the collection.? Papers may be copied in accordance with the library?s usual procedures.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Louis Shecter (1901-1992) was born in Baltimore and graduated from Baltimore City College in 1918.? He began work at the Baltimore Sun then left for the Joseph Katz advertising company.? In 1928 he became the advertising director for the Hecht stores until 1931 when he and his brother-in-law, Jack L. Levin, started their own advertising company.? Shecter also began to invest in real-estate and businesses, ultimately owning several theaters (The Rosalyn, The Rex, The Roxy, and The Times ? now known as the Charles Theater).? Other businesses included the Famous Ballroom and two bowling centers.

Rosalyn M. and Louis E. Shecter on their way to London aboard the R.M.S Queen Mary, 1946. Courtesy of Louis E. Shecter. 1982.15.17

In 1939 Shecter married Rosalyn Margareten (d. 2009).? Rosalyn was born inNew York City and attended first Hunter College then later the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) for sculpture.? Louis and Rosalyn had three children: Alan, Mark and Alyce.? In 1961 Rosalyn was appointed vice chair of the Maryland Board of Motion Picture Censors.? Rosalyn focused on preventing children from being exposed to adult content in films, and she played a minor role in the implementation of the current movie rating system.

Louis Shecter was involved with a number of political figures and also became a collector and promoter of the arts.? Shecter died on November 9, 1992.? Rosalyn died on November 24, 2009.

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

The collection is divided into three series: Series I. Louis E. Shecter, n.d., 1921-1985, Series II. Rosalyn Shecter, n.d. 1931-1984, and Series III. Children and Grandchildren, n.d., 1949-1983.? Series I. is further divided into eight subseries: Subseries A. American Jewish Congress, n.d., 1957-1983, Subseries B. Business, n.d., 1924-1984, Subseries C. Politics, n.d., 1944-1985, Subseries D. Genocide Convention and Civil Right Activities, n.d., 1954-1981, Subseries E. Charitable Contributions, n.d., 1945-1985, Subseries F. Art Collection, Museums and Culture, n.d, 1953-1983, Subseries G. Personal Correspondence, n.d., 1921-1984, and Subseries H. Misc, n.d., 1932-1984

Louis Shecter with Ladybird Johnson, 1962. Courtesy of Louis Shecter. 1975.20.33a

Series I. Louis E. Shecter, n.d., 1921-1985 contains correspondence, programs, clippings, and writings related to Shecter?s business dealings, civil rights activities, charitable contributions, art collecting, and personal life.? The series is divided into eight subseries. Subseries A. American Jewish Congress, n.d., 1957-1983 contains correspondence, press releases, newspaper clippings, meeting minutes and programs related to Shecter?s work with the American Jewish Congress in Baltimore.? Subseries B. Business, n.d., 1924-1984 contains correspondence and clippings related to Shecter?s work with the Joseph Katz advertising firm, the Hecht Company, his own advertising firm, his real-estate ventures, the Advertising club, etc. Subseries C. Politics, n.d., 1944-1985 contains invitations, correspondence, clippings and programs related to Shecter?s interaction with politics and political figures at the local and national level. Subseries D. Genocide Convention and Civil Right Activities, n.d., 1954-1981 contains correspondence, clippings and talks related to Shecter?s work promoting the Genocide Convention and Civil Rights.? Subseries E. Charitable Contributions, n.d., 1945-1985 contains correspondence, clippings, invitations, etc., related to Shecter?s involvement with charitable organization and his own charitable contributions.? Subseries F. Art Collection, Museums and Culture, n.d, 1953-1983, contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, lists, newsletters, magazines and minutes related to Shecter?s art collection activities, his donation of art, and his interactions with museums and other cultural institutions and organizations. Subseries G. Personal Correspondence, n.d., 1921-1984, contains Shecter?s personal correspondence including a collection of letters (photocopies) to and from H.L. Menken.? Subseries H. Misc, n.d., 1932-1984 contains membership materials to the Masonic Lodge and Beth Tfiloh, invitations, play programs, writings, etc.? All of the materials are organized alphabetically within each subseries.

Louis Shecter and Senator Edward Kennedy reviewing a painting of President Kennedy and Governor Tawes at the opening of JFK Highway. Courtesy of Louis E. Shecter. 1975.20.25a

Series II. Rosalyn Shecter, n.d. 1931-1984 contains correspondence, diplomas, booklets, publications, newspaper clippings, scrapbook pages and genealogical material related to Rosalyn?s education, work and family.? A large portion of the collection relates to Rosalyn?s work with the Maryland State Board of Motion Picture Censors.? The folders are organized alphabetically except for the genealogy materials which are placed at the end of the series.

Rosalyn Shecter being sworn in as chairman of the Maryland Board of Motion Picture censors, 1968. 1974.21.18a

Series III. Children and Grandchildren, n.d., 1949-1983 contains correspondence, invitations and writings related to Louis and Rosalyn?s children and grandchildren.? The series is arranged alphabetically.

Rosalyn, Louis, Alan and Mark Shecter, 1950's. Courtesy of Louis E. Shecter. 1974.21.20

RELATED COLLECTIONS

The American Jewish Historical Society and Syracuse University Library both have Louis E. Shecter Manuscript collections.

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Louis Shecter with Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland, 1952. Courtesy of Louis E. Shecter. 1975.20.1

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Posted in jewish museum of maryland




The Jewish Legion of World War I

Posted on November 15th, 2012 by

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Post card of the First Jewish battalion of the Jewish Legion, n.d. Courtesy of Hanan Sibel. 1992.154.1
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?After 36 hours continuous journey we arrived in this town [Trudo, Nova Scotia,Canada] and I gladly jumped into a bath tub and after that I feel almost like new born and start my diary on the most adventurous event of my life ? the campaign in Palestine.? Ferdinand Breth, October 12, 1918, pg. 1. [?MS 53, 2000.50.19]

Herman Carliner, seated in Jewish Legion uniform, Palestine, 1918. Courtesy Rita Miller and Elaine Carliner Millstone. 1996.80.5a

I think that most people?s knowledge of World War I is centered on the battlefields of France or maybe the cold Western Front.? But World War I was fought in other places as well, including Israel, then Palestine.

This is a subject I am just beginning to understand, but what I?ve learned this about the fighting in what was then Palestine: Germany and the Ottoman Empire were allies.? The Ottoman Empire at that time controlled a region that includedPalestine.? Germany and Britain both desired control over the Middle East, and Palestine was a key region for that control.? The British established the Jewish Legion to fight the Ottoman Empire (and the Germans) in Palestine.? The battalions formed by the British consisted of Jews from all over the world ? Britain, Palestine, America, Australia, etc.

Legionnaires standing at attention. Courtesy of Paulyne R. Hyman. 1998.35.11

We have very little in the museum related to the Jewish Legion, but we are lucky enough to have a few pictures and the diaries of Ferdinand Breth who joined the Jewish Legion with many others from the US and travelled to Palestine.? The following are pictures of various soldiers in the Jewish Legion and excerpts from Breth?s diaries.? Breth actually reached the Middle East after the armistice went into effect so he and his fellow recruits didn?t see any military action.? But Breth wrote in detail about his comrades (including one Ethiopian Jew), camp life, and the Jewish communities he visited while abroad.

Louis Brandeis and Harry Friedenwald passing between two soldiers. Courtesy of Hanan Sibel. 1992.154.18

??The most interesting persons of the Boston Bunch were 5 Christian Syrians, who joined the Jewish Legion because they want to free their homeland Palestine from the Turks.?? Pg. 14, October 16, 1918. [MS 53, 2009.50.19]

Jewish Legion soldiers in their daily dress at their camp, n.d. Courtesy of Hanan Sibel. 1992.154.4

??As leader we now get a recruiting ?sergeant? Rodman, who in some nondescript uniform was taken by most of us for real sergeant.? He was a Hebrew teacher inBaltimoreand knew Sonneborn.?? Pg. 15 October 16, 1918 [MS 53, 2009.50.19]

Michael Margolis, Jewish Legion, c. 1918. Courtesy of Aaron and Dorothy Margolis. 1994.193.71ab

?We crossed the Suez Canal on a pontoon bridge and then marched about a mile thru the camp, till we finally came to the tents destined for us?.? Next morning we were full of wonder about our new station.? The camp is the biggest we ever saw, as far as the eyes could see the dessert sand is dotted with white tents.? Everywhere we see soldiers of all branches and of all nationalities.? The camp is now used for demobilization and they arrive here by thousands soldiers from Palestine, Mesopotamiaand other places and are sent from here home.? There are here Indian soldiers with big Khaki Turbans, long hair and long beards, Sundanese and other African troops, Australians, Scotch and many other troops.? Also we about hundred Legionnaires, from the 38th Batailon [sic], which saw action in Palestine.? They are mostly Egyptian and Algerian Jews…speaking Arabic and French, but we found also some American Boys among them, which told us the story of Palestine Campaign.?? Pg. 150-151, January 1919 [MS 53, 2009.50.19]

ewish Legionnaires marching along a road lined with people and under suspended American, Israeli, and British flags, n.d. Courtesy of Paulyne R. Hyman. 1998.35.12.3

?At about 3pm we arrived in Rafa, the first station inPalestine.? We were in land of our dreams and many times before I was thinking what a wonderful moment it will be, when our Legion will reach the Palestinian ground.? I expected that our boys will lose their heads in enthusiasm, that we will smile on our knees and kiss the land for which liberation we were willing to sacrifice our lives, but nothing like this happened.? The Russian Jew is not a sentimentalist and the crossing ofPalestineboundary, did not interrupt the quarelling [sic] of our bunch or the poker game of the other.? We even did not sing Hatikwah, and as soon as the train stopped most of us were running to the cantine [sic] to buy cakes or cans of preserved pineapples.? Pg. 159 January 1919 [MS 53, 2009.50.19]

The Palestine Legion, in Haifa on Shabbos, on Shul parade. Man with head down is Colonel Samuels, Simon Sibel's former colonel. Courtesy of Hanan Sibel. 1992.154.2

Soldiers in front of their tents, n.d. Courtesy of Paulyne R. Hyman 1998.35.12.1

?By the summer of 1919 Breth's father was very ill and he asked to leave the service.

?The repatriation papers I wrote about last night, came to-day and I may leave Palestine next week.? It came so suddenly that I hardly can adjust my mind to it.? Leave Palestine and maybe for ever, and still I have accomplished so little.? It appears to me like deserting my post and even when I assure myself that I will come back, it cannot quiet my mind.? I may come back, but so many things may happen.? Pg. 16, August 24, 1919 [MS 53, 2009.50.20]??

Funeral ceremony, n.d. Courtesy of Hanan Sibel. 1992.154.40

Jewish Legion veterans reunion, c. 1950 Identified are Abraham Shapiro, third from left in back row, William Braiterman, fourth from left in back row, and Julius Sussman, third from left in front row. Courtesy of Erich and Thelma Oppenheim. 1994.38.5

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MS 206 The Felix Kestenberg Collection

Posted on October 5th, 2012 by

The Felix Kestenberg (1921-2008)

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Collection

n.d., 1987-2008

 MS 206

 Jewish Museum of Maryland

ACCESS AND PROVENANCE

The Felix Kestenberg collection was donated to the Jewish Museum of Maryland by Veronica Kestenberg in 2010 as accession 2010.69. The collection was processed by Jennifer Vess in 2012.

Access to the collection is unrestricted and available to researchers at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Researchers must obtain written permission of the Jewish Museum of Maryland before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library’s usual practices

Hebrew Free Loan Association - October 1989. Felix Kestenberg kneels third from the left in the front row. 2010.69.6

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Felix Kestenberg was born in 1921 in Radom, Poland, the son of a shoe manufacturer.  In 1939 he was sent to a labor camp on the border of Russia and was moved to seven other camps including Auschwitz and Maidanek.  In January 1945, he was marched to Dachau. The camp was liberated on April 29, 1945 by American troops.  He was the only member of his family to survive.

Kestenberg moved to Baltimore in 1949 to live with his uncle Leo Altfeder.  Kestenberg’s first jobs included TV repairman and roofer. He eventually joined his uncle’s clothing business and later worked for London Fog and Misty Harbor Outerwear.

Kestenberg was active in the Jewish community serving in various positions for the Hebrew Free Loan Society, the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society and Jewish Family Services.  Under the Jewish Family Services he served as the chair for the Holocaust Claims Conference Committee.  Kestenberg traveled around Maryland telling his story at schools, churches and synagogues.  He was a founding member and long-time supporter of Beth Israel Congregation.

His first wife, Doris Potler, died 1968 and he later married Veronica Salazar.  He had three children, David Homoki, Leah Miller and Edith Creeger.  Kesternberg died in Baltimore on July 22, 2008.

SCOPE AND CONTENT

The Felix Kestenberg Collection contains photographs, certificates, programs, articles, letters, and DVDs predominantly related to Kestenberg’s work with Holocaust remembrance.  The materials reference Kesternberg’s talks given to students, participation in yearly Holocaust remembrance events aroundMaryland, and awards for his accomplishments.  The papers are organized with all articles first followed by certificates then materials such as programs and letters related to his talks on the Holocaust.  Each grouping of materials is organized chronologically.  The DVDs and photographs are stored separately.

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