World War II

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Collection

Edith Flagg

Edith Flagg built a multi–million–dollar fashion empire through her innovative use of polyester.

Harriet Lowenstein

Harriet Lowenstein gave the Joint Distribution Committee its name and led many of the organization’s efforts to aid those trapped in Europe during both World Wars.

Death of Soviet spy Ruth Werner

July 7, 2000

"I fought against fascism.  Whatever else, I can hold my head up high because of that." - Ruth Werner, Soviet spy

Deborah Dash Moore receives the Jewish Cultural Achievement Award

June 10, 2013

"No area offered greater freedom and challenge than American Jewish history… It has been a great voyage.” - Deborah Dash Moore

Trudy Orris

Shaped by her experiences in post-Holocaust Europe and older than most civil rights volunteers, Trudy Orris brought her children with her to participate in demonstrations down South.

Frances Slanger

One of four nurses to wade ashore at Normandy Beach on D-Day, Frances Slanger was the only nurse to die as a result of enemy action in the European Theater.

Gertrude Shapiro

A nurse who put her patients before herself, Gertrude Shapiro travelled to Hiroshima to treat the injured after the city suffered an atomic blast.

Yetta Moskowitz

A pioneer of air evacuation medicine, Yetta Moskowitz received an air medal for flying over 100 hours through combat zones in New Guinea and the Philippines to evacuate wounded soldiers in World War II.

Miriam "Mimi" Miller

Miriam “Mimi” Miller resisted her family’s notions of the proper life for a nice Jewish girl, not only training as a nurse but serving in a combat zone in the Philippines through some of the worst devastation of World War II.

Bebe Koch

Wanting to somehow contribute to the defeat of the Nazis persecuting her fellow Jews, Bebe Koch enlisted at age nineteen and rose through the ranks to become a platoon commander.

Bernice Sains Freid

Bernice Sains Freid called her time in WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during WWII “the happiest days of my life.”

Selma Cronan

Selma Kantor Cronan flew as a pilot both running transport missions during WWII and later as a civilian, winning competitive aerial races.

Charlotte Chaney

Lieutenant Charlotte Ellner Chaney was permanently changed by her work as one of the first army nurses to help survivors of Dachau recover from their ordeal.

Miranda Bloch

Miranda “Randy” Bloch not only served as a Marine during World War II, she was one of the rare women Marines to be issued flight orders, helping pilots and air crew train for radar bombing runs.

Matilda and Bernice Blaustein

While 150,000 women eventually served in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in World War II, Matilda Blaustein was remarkable both as one of the first to volunteer and because she was joined in the service by her daughter, Bernice.

Joanna Eckstein

Joanna Eckstein widened the perspective of Seattle residents both with her travel writing and as a patron of the arts who supported individual artists and museums.
Women Airforce Service Pilots, 1944

Miranda Bloch, The Flying Marine

Tara Metal

"I am proud that I had the guts and the patriotism to defy my parents and enlist in the service of my country when it needed me." –Miranda Bloch

"What is a nice Jewish girl going to do in the military, especially in the Marine Corps?" –Miranda Bloch’s incredulous father

Did you know that there were women in the Marines in the 1940’s? I certainly didn’t.  

Topics: World War II
Frances Slanger

Frances Slanger, Purple Heart

Tara Metal

“The fire was burning low, and just a few live coals are on the bottom. With the slow feeding of wood and finally coal, a roaring fire is started. I couldn't help thinking how similar to a human being a fire is. If it is not allowed to run down too low, and if there is a spark of life left in it, it can be nursed back. So can a human being.” –Frances Slanger

Lt. Frances Slanger of Roxbury, Massachusetts was one of four nurses who waded ashore at Normandy on D-Day. She was also the first American nurse to die in Europe in World War II.

Topics: World War II
Selma Cronan at Avenger Field, Texas, 1944

Women of the U.S. Air Force: Selma Cronan and Yetta Moskowitz

Tara Metal

In 1942, the United States was suffering through a severe shortage of pilots. Men were needed to fight overseas, and the government was forced to take a chance and train women to fly military aircraft. This pioneering group of civilian female pilots was called the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots, or WASP for short. Over 1,000 young women were trained to fly B-26 and B-29 bombers, test new planes, and fly shipments across the country from factories to military bases. Fun fact: the WASP mascot was drawn by Walt Disney, and appeared on each woman’s shoulder patch. Less fun fact: All records of the WASPs were classified and sealed for 35 years, so their contributions were little known and all but inaccessible to historians.

Topics: World War II

Denise Schorr

As a member of the French Resistance, Denise Schorr began saving Jewish children when she was still just seventeen.

Ingeborg B. Weinberger

Ingeborg B. Weinberger has worked much of her life with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), helping new immigrants and refugees to resettle in the United States.

Bernice Stern

A native Seattleite born in 1916, Bernice Stern was the youngest National Council of Jewish Women officer elected at the national level, and first woman elected to the King County Council. She attended the University of Washington from 1932–1935, leaving to marry Edward Stern. Mother to two young boys, Bernice began volunteering at home, working on behalf of the blind, and on John F. Kennedy’s Women’s Conference on Civil Rights in 1961, and served on the Washington State Women’s Civil Rights Committee in 1963. She was named Outstanding Public Official in 1979 by the Municipal League of King County. Bernice Stern died on June 29, 2007.

Alice Abrams Siegal

A social reformer and political activist, Alice Siegal is a tireless advocate for families and disadvantaged youth and a fierce opponent of discrimination wherever she encounters it. Born and raised in Seattle, Alice grew up within the Orthodox, Ashkenazic community. After her two children were born, Alice attended the University of Washington and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology, a teaching certificate, and a Master’s Degree in Counseling. Upon graduation, Alice worked for the Washington State Employment Service War on Poverty Office, the Youth Opportunity Center in the 1960s, and the Seattle Public Schools Disadvantaged Youth Program in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1970s Alice began counseling students for the Bellevue Public Schools. More recently, Alice has worked as a counselor for Jewish Family Service. Volunteer work plays an important role in Alice’s life as well.

Blanche Gordon Narodick

Journalist and international Red Cross volunteer, Blanche Gordon Narodick graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington and earned a masters degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, launching her career as a journalist, ghost writer, and public relations consultant. Raised in part by her aunt and uncle, she met her husband, Dr. Phillip Narodick, in graduate school and refers to their partnership as a “true love story.” During World War II Blanche worked with the American Red Cross and has continued that affiliation, initiating an international chapter in Seattle, promoting “Holocaust tracing” helping Jewish families locate relatives, and founding a sister chapter in Shanghai, China. For her work, the ARC awarded Blanche the Harriman Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service in 1989.

Ventura Franco Israel

A native of Seattle, Ventura Israel was
born in 1915, two years after her parents immigrated from Turkey. Forged as a strong woman by the deaths of men in her family-her father’s in 1928, her first husband’s in 1970, and her second husband’s in 1989-she helped support her family during the Depression, and as a twenty-five year employee of Union Federal Savings and Loan. Both her first husband, Maurice Franco, and her second husband, Morris Israel, were born in Rhodes, Greece, and Ventura spent her religious life in Seattle’s Sephardic community. The mother of two, and a vibrant community member, Ventura currently volunteers at the Caroline Kline Galland home and at her synagogue, Congregation Ezra Bessaroth.

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