By Robert Max, Department Commander of the Southeast Region
The 2018 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival was an exciting year for JWV Post 112. The festival included the Atlanta Premiere of GI Jews – Jewish Americans in World War II, a film about Jewish American military experiences during World War II. There were five screenings of this fabulous documentary during the Film Festival and each screening was packed. The film honors the over half a million Jews who defended this country during World War II.
The special screening was followed by a panel discussion with two of our very own Post members who are WW II Veterans. Jewish War Veterans Atlanta Post 112 provided WWII Veterans to speak on a panel, and I was honored to introduce the Sunday evening screening. The Sunday evening screening was at the same time as the Super Bowl and the theater was full, which either says a lot about the commitment of our Jewish community to Jewish American Military History or their apathy for our Super Bowl choices. Either way, it was very exciting to see such an engaged crowd.
Two of Post 112’s members spoke at the panel after the event. “I saw myself in the film in about six places where I was physically present,” said JWV member Mort Waitzman.
Mort Waitzman was in the first wave of American soldiers who invaded France at Normandy. He participated in the liberation of concentration camps, including the capture of the headquarters of the notorious Nazi Propaganda Minister, Josef Goebbels. He was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor. He went on to a distinguished career as a professor at Emory. Mort’s story can be found in full at an exhibit in the Breman Jewish Museum in Atlanta.
Bob Maran served in Europe in the First Army and after the Battle of the Bulge with Patton‘s Third Army. Instead of returning home after victory in Europe, he was loaded onto one of several troopships that set sail to invade Japan. His ship did not turn back and he spent an additional two years In the Army of the Occupation of Japan. Bob turns 94 this month and continues to be one of our most active members with our Post.
The full video of their Q&A can be found on the Atlantic Jewish Film Festival YouTube Page. If you have some time to look at it, I highly recommend it. Until then, we will be working hard down here in the South.
Volume 72. Number 1. Spring 2018