Translation of news from Enlace Judío México e Israel – During the dedication of the Centro de Documentación e Investigación Judío de México (CDIJUM) this passed Sunday, a valuable historical document came to its archive, in commemoration for this new site for the Mexican Jewish community.
Recalling the history of MS St. Louis, the president of the Comité Central de la Comunidad Judía de México, Moisés Romano Jafif, celebrated the dedication of the CDIJUM and presented to the audience the bill prepared by Alfredo Félix Díaz Escobar, who said it has its origin in the story of the tragic fate of the more than 900 Jewish crew members who were frustrated in their hope of fleeing from barbarism to our continent.
Félix Díaz presented this initiative to the Congress of the Union, which ended up being approved, for the benefit of Jewish refugees from Germany amidst the full development of the Holocaust in Europe.
After the declaration of war exercised by Mexico against the Axis in May 1942, restrictions were taken against the nationals of Germany, Italy and Japan who were residing at the time in Mexican territory, such as the seizure of property. Jewish immigrants or future refugees of German origin would fall under the framework of these measures. The deputy decided to reverse this for the benefit of the victims of Nazism by law.
Félix Díaz when he presented the initiative before the chamber of deputies on October 6, 1942, and argued for the defense he was asking the Mexican State to give the Jewish refugees, as recorded in the Journal of Debates:
“It is evident that the Israelites are the first victims and the most threatened of Hitlerism. If the civilized world fights for its freedom and for the basic principles of civilization, the Israelite people fight for their own life, and it would be unjust that the just measures that civilized countries, like ours, implant against the hostile foreigners of the nations with which we find ourselves in a state of war, they would harm the Israelites in the same way; this fact would give the unprecedented result that the victims of Nazifascism were likewise the victims of democracy”
The text of the actual legal initiative is as follows:
Article 1 – Excluded from the restrictions of the state of war imposed on the nationals of Germany, Italy, Japan and other enemy countries, the Israelites of such origin or nationality.
Article 2 – In each and every one of these cases the institution of the Israelite Colony, officially recognized by the authorities of the country, will be responsible and will certify:
a) The Israelite origin of the interested party.
b) The political and ideological loyalty of the interested party towards the cause of Mexico and the democracies.
c) The accuracy of the information you provide with respect to your co-religionists.
Article 3 – In the exclusion of the Israelites from the restrictions imposed on nationals and natives of the countries referred to in Article 1, everything related to the freezing or seizure of property, residence rights in the national territory, freedom of movement is included. general and all those points related to individual rights and guarantees that have been decreed or decreed against hostile foreigners.
Article 4 – This decree will come into force on the day of its publication in the “Official Gazette” of the Federation.
The bill was the first of its kind in the world enacted for the reception of refugees from the Second World War and the protection of Jews from any type of persecution, according to Cecilia Félix Díaz, daughter of the deputy.
Politician and writer, son of the Sinaloan poet Cecilia Zadi, Félix Díaz was a career soldier who enrolled in the activities of the Mexican Revolution in the second decade of the twentieth century. Within the national potics, which he joined in the 1930s, Félix Diaz not only formed the Comité Nacional Antinazifascista, (Antinazifascist National Committee), but also the Comité Nacional Antisinarquista, which, as the name implies, opposed the Mexican synarchism movement, one of the main groups opposed to the arrival of Jews in the country, which he described as being a “fifth column” of the Adolf Hitler regime in our country.
Félix Díaz, decided to promote his law initiative partly because of the friends he had in Europe who were living through the persecution directed against them, his daughter told Enlace Judío. Jewish families like Jalamsky, Constantine or Ramiansky were great friends of Alfredo Félix Díaz because of the support he gave to the Jews who came to our country.
Cecilia Félix Díaz described her father as someone from the left and a defender of universal values, as well as an admirer of the Jewish people due to their contributions to philosophy, literature and science, both in Mexico and in the world.
During the event, Dr. Alicia Gojman de Backal acknowledged to Cecilia the importance of Félix Díaz for the Jewish Community of Mexico, of whom she has conducted extensive research and has written several articles. “I have no words to thank you,” she said emotionally.
Her granddaughter, Sara Paola Galico Félix Díaz, told Enlace Judío she felt very grateful and moved by the Jewish community for the tribute paid to her grandfather. “My grandfather made this law, and against all odds, it was approved. It was a law which would be an example for many parts of the world, where it began to be replicated; and this legislation began to be a reality for all the lives that had been suffering a monstrous act such as the Second World War,” she said.
Galico Félix Díaz said that the Mexican legislator was a fundamental influence on her to champion social causes and values, which she considers her driving force in the country’s political life, which she says “I learned from my mother, and my mother learned them from my grandfather”.
Currently, Galico Félix Díaz has control of the Mixed Tourism Fund of Mexico City in the administration of Claudia Sheinbaum, the body in charge of promoting the Mexican capital city nationally and internationally. Previously, he held a seat in the Chamber of Deputies for the Morena party in the LXIII legislature, between 2015 and 2018.
Hollywood and Boyle Heights celebrating Chanukah together
Shmuel Gonzales the Barrio Boychik, saying the Hebrew blessings and lighting the Chanukah lights in Hollywood with the hosts of “Two Jews Talking” Podcast.
This year I had the great pleasure of joining my dear friends Josh Heller and Erika Brooks Adickman of the fantastic “Two Jews Talking” podcast to help them light-up the holiday of Chanukah. I’ve had the honor of being on their show a couple times previously, so I was totally thrilled to be asked to come back to celebrate the holidays with them.
We came together on the eighth and final night of Chunukah at Tabula Rasa Bar in East Hollywood to kindle the fullness of the Chanukah lights and spread light across city. This event was part of Infinite Light, a city-wide festival powered by Nu Roots – “a movement of young people building community across L.A.” which is funded by generous grants from the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
Now Josh knows what my interests are, so he asked for historical stories about Chanukah in the early 20th century which shed light on the history of Jews in Hollywood… and maybe even throw in some stories about labor movement or antifascist organizing. Something to inspire us in this dark time of political resistance.
Now this was a tall order… one that I thought might require a holiday miracle!
And below you will find a more detailed written history and some fascinating sources on this topic.
Chag urim sameach… happy festival of lights!
The history of Chanukah Balls and Banquets in the early-20th century.
Jewish Chanukah 8-Day Feast Begins. “The holidays are welcomed especially by the children, for Chanukah has become largely a children’s festival.” From the Los Angeles Herald, December 16, 1919
In the first half of the 20th century in Los Angeles, Chanukah was seen as mostly a child’s holiday. The synagogue Hebrew schools would host all day celebrations for the small children. And for the the older youth, the ladies of society would host balls in the grand ballrooms to encourage the mingling of Jewish young people.
Then around 1915 these events would become more and more cause-related, and often tendered to in some way be focused on the national matters, matters which were important to Jewish people and the American nation at large. In this spirit they would begin to hold charity events for causes, such as war relief amidst the First World War.
And in the zealous national theme of the holiday of Chanukah – and in the spirit of the times in regard to the aspirations of many people for the establishment of a haven for Jews in Palestine – for those so inclined to the almost Maccabean sentiments of the time, the holiday events would also at times begin to take focus around Zionism. Though it must be noted that this would most certainly become a secondary cause for many Jews, in the face of more pressing domestic and international issues.
Then taking the lead in organizing Chanukah functions starting in the 1920s was the AZA – Aleph Zadik Aleph – a fraternal group dedicated to patriotism, Judaism, love for one’s familial elders, and charity; today they are a junior auxiliary of BBYO – the Bnei Brith Youth Organization.
And that was what celebrations for Chanukah were like in the early 20th century; something between a mixer for Jewish young people and a charity ball.
It is out of this mold that would emerge a tradition of Chanukah celebrations being held by junior auxiliaries and charitable societies, in order to rally people around a cause.
Also worth noting is that over the years children’s Chanukah celebrations in Los Angeles would also be enriched by the magic of Hollywood; with local theaters being booked to show, “Motion pictures of a religious and historic nature will be shown, through the courtesy of Warner Bros. Studios. Parents also are invited.”
Chanukah parties were sponsored and held in theaters which showed motions pictures of “a religious and historic nature,” shown through the courtesy of Warner. Bros. Studios. Bnei Brith Messenger, Dec 4. 1940 Chanukah
In the backdrop of Hollywood, Chanukah in Los Angeles would flourish as a holiday.
The year Hollywood and Boyle Heights Celebrated Chanukah as a Resistance to Fascism
Now tonight we are going to talk about one Chanukah celebration that would bring the Jewish community of Hollywood out to Boyle Heights in the year of 1940 for a matter that was very important to the Jewish people, the American nation, and all the nations of the world. To address the threat of fascism which was ravaging Europe, and causing discord domestically in American cities.
This Chanukah luncheon would attract some of the finest people of Los Angeles and Hollywood society to the banquet hall of the Jewish Home for the Aged, then located in Boyle Heights.
Ida Mayer Cummings (oldest sister of Louis B. Mayer of MGM) and actress Mary Pickford would fund-raise for charities together for over two decades. Photographs provided courtesy of the Alicia Mayer Collection.
Among them would be the famous silent film actress Mary Pickford. For over 20 years the Hollywood actress would involve herself in philanthropy and charity fund-raising. It is important to note that among the most notable stories in Boyle Heights history are those of her charity events she co-hosted along with the Junior Auxiliary for the Jewish Home for the Aged. The actress was often the celebrity draw for charity banquets such as these.
Though the most important and interesting person behind the success these events would be Ida Mayer Cummings, the older sister of Louis B. Mayer of MGM Studios. She was a notable socialite and charity fund-raiser who was connected to all the important people of business, industry, as well as the religious, civic and philanthropic leadership. And by all accounts, an amazing organizer and larger than-life character who touched many with her gripping appeals.
In the researching of this story I have been in contact with Ida’s great-grand-daughter Alicia Mayer, who has been help in opening up the family photo albums and scrap book. And sharing some interesting details about the Mayer family and their charity work. She relates that Bob Hope said of Ida that “she was the only woman he knew who could grab a man by the lapels over the phone.”
And she knew more than a few things about how to bring a crowd of influential people together as well.
This one holiday event for Chanukah in the year of 1940 drew out a record crowd of the big movers and shakers of the city of Los Angeles and Hollywood itself – over 500 guests. This luncheon attracted an amazingly diverse group of studio heads, actors, politicians, a bishop, a rabbi, members of the most wealthy families of the city, as well as thrilled young socialites.
They had all eagerly come out that day to hear a most special keynote speaker to address the current crisis threating the Jewish people and the world.
Ida Mayer Cummings with Eleanor Wilson McAdoo at the Jewish Home for the Aged in Boyle Heights in December 18th 1940. Picture courtesy of the Alicia Mayer Collection.
The greatly anticipated speaker was Eleanor Wilson McAdoo, the youngest daughter of former President Woodrow Wilson. She would address the Nazi threat in Europe and the sad spirit of isolationism which had gripped the American public, and the anti-refugee rhetoric which was prohibiting Jewish refugees from immigrating to America.
Keep in mind that it was already two years after Kristallnacht erupted in Germany and the invasion of Austria, and a whole year after the invasion of Poland… yet, it was still a year prior the attack on Pearl Harbor which would eventually draw the United States into the war.
Mrs. McAdoo contended that “democracy and humanity are at stake.” And charged that the United States “seemed to be indifferent to the present war.”
All this spoken correctly at a time when the war was going from bad to worse. Little did the people attending this banquet know that on this very day Hitler would order the execution of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasions of Russia.
Rabbi Solomon M. Neches of the Breed Street Shul in Boyle Heights, the Palestinian-born Jewish leader who was considered the orthodox Chief Rabbi of Los Angeles at the time, also addressed the crowd with a dvar torah/sermon, as reported in the Los Angeles Herald:
“The first words of the Lord recorded in the Bible are, ‘Let There be Light’. No one can live in darkness. Every year the Jew rededicates himself to the spreading of the light through the world.
“We shall continue to do so despite Adolph – we do not mention the rest of his name. Adolphs or no Adolphs, Israel will still go on. What we suffer is only temporary.
“Surely, in the final reckoning, light will triumph over darkness.”
As President of the Junior Auxiliary for the Home for the Aged, Ida Mayer Cummings addressed the crowd. That year Chanukah just happened to coincided with Christmas that year, which doesn’t always happen. It is likely with this in mind that she made the following statements and reflections for the holidays:
“Our Chanukah lights are set on a background of darkness, the gloom of a world at war, with bigotry rampant. Against this blackness our Chanukah lights gleam the brighter, with promise of a future of peace and goodwill, that same peace and goodwill stressed in the Christian Christmas.”
This was followed with the saying of the national anthem and singing of songs, and many rounds of thunderous applause.
“Chanukah luncheon attracts record attendance. Mrs. McAdoo pleads for brotherhood.” Courtesy of the Alicia Mayer Collection.
“Mrs. Eleanor Wilson McAdoo Guest speaker at Chanukah Luncheon of Old Home Jr. Auxiliary Wednesday.” Courtesy of the Alicia Mayer Collection.
Mrs. McAdoo was presented with a Star of David award.
In fact, it should also be noted as part of American history that in later years First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt herself came out to speak from the rabbi’s lectern in the synagogue sanctuary located withing the Emil Brown Auditorium of the Jewish Home for the Aged in Boyle Heights; with rabbis and people of Hollywood society at her side; after the war ended, in 1946. The building the Roosevelts spoke in still stands to this day, but is threatened by re-development.
Now this event in 1940 prior to the start of the war, it was an amazing display of resistance to fascism. They were resisting the normalization of the Nazi darkness that had descended upon and was spreading across Europe. They were boldly standing up to the isolationism which had a firm grip on the American public at the time.
However, what is largely unknown this side of history is that this assembly was also resisting Nazism and fascism here in the city of Los Angeles as well. Just a few miles away in downtown Los Angeles, the American manifestation of the Nazi party was actively recruiting and advocating for Nazi Germany at the headquarters of the German American Bund.
Despite the strong Jewish presence in Hollywood… or I should say, in spite of the Jews in Hollywood… Nazi-sympathizing and antisemitism had made much inroads into Los Angeles society, and through out the country. In an age in which nationalism was still fashionable and in a time when people attended controversial political meetings was common, national socialism could be founded in the mix. As well as various assortments of fascist sympathizers as well.
Indeed, early on Mary Pickford herself – this most famous actress of the silent film era, known simply as “America’s Sweetheart” – early on she was know for being vocally pro-fascist, praising Mussolini when he came to power. Pickford even praised Hitler as late as 1937. Like many people she thought these men were strong leaders who were just telling it like it is, out to make their nation strong for their own people, and she sympathized with their aims and rhetoric. However, in the next few years she appears to have shifted in her views when their genocidal intent became clear and evident. Pickford would feel so repentant that she would even write a whole chapter confessing this in her memoirs titled, “Sunshine and Shadow” printed in 1955.
What is important to note is that Mary Pickford would make amends for years to come through charity work starting around 1940, especially focusing on advocating on behalf of the elderly. And so she quickly become very active in helping Ida Mayer Cummings with the Junior Auxiliary for the Jewish Home for the Aged, and would remain actively involved with them for the next two decades. Pickford would actually raise enough money to build an entire new wing for the Jewish home, which was dedicated and named in her honor.
It is also important and right to point out that Pickford was a conservative – she was far from being a Hollywood liberal and radical – yet she unabashedly threw her support behind the Jewish people and the antifascist cause at this Chanukah luncheon in 1940.
The turn out of Los Angeles and Hollywood society to the Jewish Home for the Ages in Boyle Heights on this special holiday was certainly impressive… and also really bold.
Actually, it was more bold that you might imagine.
There is one shocking fact that was kept secret from the public until it was recently revealed by scholars, how from the Nazis headquarter in downtown Los Angeles there where American fascists who were even planning terrorist attacks on the Jewish public. They were plotting to kidnap 20 Jewish Hollywood studio heads and their allies, and execute them in order to kick off an American pogrom. While also planning on going on a terrorist rampage with machine guns, to kill as many people as possible in the densely populated Jewish community of Boyle Heights.
These types of threats were being thwarted by Jewish anti-fascists and their supporters in Hollywood, and yet somehow remained a closely guarded secret by these leaders, many of them sitting in that very room.
And that is what really strikes me. That what these people were doing was not just politically bold to take this position regarding American’s disgraceful foreign policy of isolationism in the pre-war years… they were actually resisting fascism… fascism which was not just a threat to Jews in Europe, for indeed they were also showing resistance to the normalization of fascism that could be seen on the streets of Los Angeles.
It amazes and inspires me that against this backdrop, they boldly choose to come out and face the darkness with light!
Special thanks to Alicia Mayer, great-grand-daughter of Ida Mayer Cummings who was the oldest sister of Louis B. Mayer’s family; for opening up the family photo albums and scrapbook archives, and sharing this information to help me make this storytelling possible. Thank you to Alicia, for sharing your family stories, pictures and articles; even though you are far away. Alicia is a Chicana Jewish women who today lives in Australia.
Note: The Emil Brown Auditorium where these historic events were held is the only original building of the old Jewish Home, today the Japanese Home, to remain standing. Today the site is threatened with re-development by the new owners; locals are in a rush to try to landmark and preserve the 1933 building if possible:
Southern Californians Counter-Protest against the so-called “Alt-Right”
Shmuel Gonzales, activist historian, arrested at Counter-Protest of Alt-Right in Laguna Beach, Calif. Being extracted military-style by five police officers in riot gear after he was himself attacked by fascists.
My name is Samuel “Shmuel” Gonzales, I am an activist historian and community organizer from Southern California; many of you might know me as the author of the Barrio Boychik blog, which is dedicated to presenting our local heritage of civil rights activism, with special focus on the historical and present inter-section of Jewish and Latino civil rights organizing. As a Mexican American of the Jewish faith, I also proudly serve as teacher of Jewish education and leader in sacred Hebrew ritual, serving Southeast Los Angeles and North Orange County.
Today I will be presenting to you some unique archival footage I took at a counter-protest of the America First Rally – an anti-immigrant and anti-refugee rally organized by the so-called “alt-Right” – at Main Beach in Laguna Beach, California on Sunday, August 20, 2017.
Where I was ultimately arrested.
On this day I was in attendance to stand with local friends and business people as they stand against hate. Among them my good friend and a father figure to me, Irv Weiser; whose family came to this country as refugees following the holocaust. I came to stand shoulder to shoulder with him as he protested against this nationalist hate rhetoric.
There were just a few dozen anti-immigrant/refugee protesters that day, a mixed race group of far right extremists that noticeably even had neo-Nazis and white supremacists participating in the event; while there were several hundred counter-protesters in attendance.
After the right-wing protesters group dwindled they started making incursions into the counter-protest, to get in people’s’ face and to agitate the crowd; they caused some minor scuffles and were shooed back by the police.
While documenting the event on video, I followed the right-wing group back. By this time the right-wing protesters on the other end were encircled and engaging a crowd.
I engaged the right-wing protesters in their rhetoric angering them several times with just verbal rebuttals, while also taking video of the protest.
In this video you will see the presentation in which they call illegal immigrants and refugees drug dealers, rapists and murderers. I will be present standing with Irv Weiser behind me, and to my right shoulder would be the local news media; including Fox and Latino news outlet Estrella TV.
After the further dwindled group begins to repeat their presentation, I again begin to engage their rhetoric. Speaking truth in to hate. Engaging these extremists to the point of agitation.
As I was still documenting this event on video with the camera running, I went in for a close-up shot as we argued, and one of them quickly approached and hit my hand, sending my camera flying.
At that point I was immediately arrested by five officers in riot gear from the Laguna Beach Police department. I was arrested, instead of these nationalist extremists who wanted to assault me.
And that was just the begin of a long ordeal. I would be arrested, taken to central jail – where I would be subjected to racist and anti-semitic treatment by the jailer. We are going to talk more after presenting the video from the protest.
What is most important to note is that I have an upcoming court date set for next week: Monday, September 18, 2017 at 8:30am, atHarbor Justice Center in Newport Beach, California.
At that time I will be arraigned for the false charges of resisting arrest.
For these reason, I am now releasing this video at this time.
First, in order to prove my innocence.
Second, to start an honest conversation about the realities being faced today by progressives in the front lines of our current anti-fascist resistance.
So without further ado…. The protest video….
[Video Notes: Protest Footage, begins at 4:05. Arrest takes place at 35:00. ]
So now we’re back to talk about what transpired from the moment my video footage ends.
As you can see from video and pictures presented from media sources, I was taken into custody by five Laguna Beach Police officers in riot gear. It is immediately after my camera is struck – even before I have a chance to respond or react – that I am taken into custody by these officers.
Me, the Mexican American kid in the yarmulke that got attacked, was arrested by the police and was sent to jail instead of my attacker.
Now, before we go on I want to make this point clear. These so-called “alt-right” Trump supporters are confederates of white supremacists and fascist; period.
These people’s goal is incitement, under the guise of legitimate political protest and the protection that is granted.
Oh yeah, they were there to just engage is healthy political discourse, so that why they just brought out these fine gentlemen they know from their local white supremacist prison gangs!
Look how they love to push forward their token minorities, like this wannabe white supremacist here; Colombian born fascist Juan Cadavid – who goes by the fake name Johnny Benitez, who organized these protests.
Alt-Right leader, Juan Cadavid a.k.a. Johnny Benitez; wanna-be white supremacist
These groups scream with indignation at being equated to white supremacists while holding banners alongside people with iron cross tattoos and swastikas. Guys that you can smell the whiskey and the effects of the meth amphetamines on their breath as they spew their vitriol; these are just everyday white thugs.
Like these idiots here… who insist that they aren’t white supremacist, that the racist prison gang created tattoos they are sporting are just symbols of their individualism.
Trump supporting spewing racial bullshit to the media. Claims he’s not a Nazi – despite the SS tattoo on his face and the Swastika on his neck – he claims that the tattoos are just signs of his individualism.
Claims to not be a white supremacist, excuses away his racial tats as just tokens from his stay in jail
Racist skinhead with white supremacist created jail tattoo of an Iron Cross, holds the American First! official protest banner.
And that is what pisses them off more than anything… not just that I destroy them when it comes to policy. It’s that I destroy their claim that all the drugs, gangs and violence is brought in the neighborhood by immigrants and refugees. Instead I point the finger right back at them.
And that… that is really what set them off the most. I pointed out their dishonesty and hypocrisy, and that is what instigated them to try to shut me up and shut me down.
They hit at my camera… and I was immediately arrested.
Though it should be noted that according to observers, five police officers in riot gear, were already heading my direction in a single line when this incident took place, then extracted me, military style, from the crowd.
I’m still stunned by the pictures of my small little frame being hauled away from the crowd with such overwhelming force. Like I’m somehow such a fierce threat.
As I was being dragged from the crowd, the media began to ask me questions.
Such as Estrella TV who asked me , “We got it on camera! Why did they hit you?”
My response being: “They attacked me for speaking truth to hate. They hit me because they couldn’t handle my responses!”
The media began to ask me more questions about my motivation for counter-protesting. At which time I begin to passionately speak about the history of American Jews fighting fascism here in California; how we have historically had to fight against the Ku Klux Klan, American Nazism and all forms of nationalism… here in our very own communities.
The media began to ask me more questions about my motivation for counter-protesting. At which time I begin to passionately speak about the history of American Jews fighting fascism here in California; how we have historically had to fight against the Ku Klux Klan, American Nazism and all forms of nationalism… here in our very own communities.
Again, I’m still stunned by the pictures of me being taken away from the protest with such display of force.
Shmuel Gonzales, activist historian, arrested at Counter-Protest of Alt-Right in Laguna Beach, Calif. Being extracted military-style by five police officers in riot gear after he was himself attacked by fascists.
Being taken into custody by five police in riot gear.
For some time no one knew why I was even being arrested. In the end it became clear, I was arrested simply for exercising my First Amendment rights – for speaking truth to hate.
The arresting officer, officer Bammer of the Laguna Beach police department, informed me that I was being cited and released. He said I was being charged with CPC 148(a)(1) / resisting arrest – for not following police instructions. Loosely interpreted to mean that I was doing something he didn’t want me to do. I informed him that I did not hear any order to disperse or receive any verbal instructions. I also insisted that I did not in way threaten anyone but had been struck at, myself, though the officer contended that the right-wing protester had only pointed in my direction when the camera went flying
When I was taken into custody sometime around 7:30 PM I was informed I would be ticketed and released within a couple of hours. I was then taken to another site where I was held for some time.
While in custody, I was repeatedly asked throughout the night whether I was the leader of the counter-protest, to which I responded that I was not.
The police went through my wallet and identified me as a Jewish religious figure – an “assistant rabbi” for my area – and kept asking berating questions about my fitness of character as a religious leader. They also went through my professional business contacts, whose cards were found in my wallet, asking accusatory questions about them.
I was then held in an Orange County Sheriff’s bus – in a small cage and in handcuffs – for the next four to five hours, joined by only one other person after the first few hours. We were ultimately transported sometime after midnight to the Orange County Sheriff’s Central Jail in Santa Ana.
The condition of the jail cells was pretty gross. There were several people passed out on the floor, and there was even bloody gauze left on the floor. There were 8 people, including myself, being kept in the holding cell.
Though nothing that night was as grotesque as the racism and antisemitism I was subjected to while in custody at the jail.
After several hours I was taken to be fingerprinted by a middle-aged white jailer, at which time the following verbal incident took place.
OFFICER: “So you are the leader of the protest out there? You fucking minorities, all having a temper tantrum because you can’t have Hillary as president. You guys are just out there to hate at white people.”
ME: “No, I was just in attendance, to stand with some families of holocaust survivors as they protest. Why would I hate white people? Do you believe that Jews somehow hate white people?”
OFFICER: “Oh, I’m sure many do. You minorities hate America so damn much…”
ME: “Why would we hate America? This is the freest country we have ever been in.”
OFFICER: “It’s not free anymore.”
ME: “Really? I don’t know about that. Because my ancestors suffered terribly in so many other places in the world, this is the most free and safe we have ever been. That is why this country and our values are worth defending.”
OFFICER: “So that’s what it comes down to, some white people killed your Jew family members somewhere and now you hate all white people. You are the leader of a hate organization; standing with Antifa and Black Lives Matter. You’re standing and defending cop killers, you’re just as bad as them…”
I declined to engage this officer in unnecessary direct conversation after that.
Though other sheriffs in the jail continued to try to engage me in similar conversation – not always as racially charged, but still accusatory of me being the leader of the protest and of a hate organization, standing shoulder to shoulder with anarchists and “cop killers.”
The other sheriffs in the jail continued to try to engage me in such conversations up until the very last-minute that I was released, some 14 hours after being taken into custody.
After a long night, I was released around 9:30 AM from the Central Jail, without bail.
I was given my citation and a court date scheduled for arraignment at Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach on Monday, September 18, 2017, at 8:30am.
I have retained an attorney who will be defending me in court on that day.
And as so many of you dear friends and allies have asked…. Yes, I would be honored for you to come out to support me on my court date!
It is our hope that the charges will not be pursued by the district attorney, and that charges for resisting arrest be completely dismissed.
Now at this time I want to thank everyone who has been supporting me through this ordeal.
First, Robert Robertson and Irv Weiser, for being there through this all.
I must especially thank my friend David Herrera, who not only was up all night drumming up the “FREE Shmuel Gonzales” campaign online while I was in jail, he has also helped me get the best legal representation in town. You’re a total mensch!
And I also want to thank all of you who have been lending me your strength and inspiration.
Now I want to dedicate my resistance to the inspiration of one of my dearest friends.
As many of you know, I am not only an activist. I am a Los Angeles community historian, dedicated to preserving and maintaining our local social justice tradition and anti-fascist heritage. My inspiration has come from the oral histories of those who have come before me, from much older friends who have handed down their experiences in protest and their know-how in organizing.
Today I want to dedicate my resistance to my 87 tear old friend Don Hodes who grew up in my neighborhood of Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who came to the United States as illegal immigrants, by way of Canada before the start of World War II. While much of the rest of his extended family remained stuck behind in Europe.
The Anti-Nazi Protest of November 22, 1938
On November 22, 1938 – when he was just 8 years old at the time – he marched in the Anti-Nazi Parade in Boyle Heights, protesting the savage treatment of Jews by the Nazi German government, and also the threatening rise of American Nazism that was spreading hate and plotting violence from its downtown Los Angeles headquarters.
Don Hodes marched with candles and signs, demanding the admittance of Jews fleeing the Nazi savagery in Europe, which had been barred entrance to the US and every other country in the world prior to the holocaust. Under the guise of them being racially undesirable, and even dangerous and murderous villains, they were being denied entrance as refugees by our government.
Residents of Boyle Heights protesting Nazi persecution of Jews of a the plight of the refugees fleeing the Nazis, Nov. 1938,
As he marched with people carrying signs declaring that Nazism and fascism have no place in civilization, he also recalls singing a song: “A tisket, a tasket… we’ll bury Hitler in a basket!”
Yes. That is the type of example I am proud to take after!
I am the person I am today because I was privileged to learn about our local heritage from people like Don Hodes and Irv Weiser, people who are like this who are father figures to me. I am proud to take their charge to hold the line of our local anti-fascist heritage in my generation!
Don Hodes (left) and myself Shmuel Gonzales (right): This is my friend Don, he marched in the Anti-Nazi Parade of 1938 here in Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles. He was about 8 or 9 years old when he marched with his family carrying a picket sign. He remembers singing protest songs like, “A-tisket, a-tasket… we’ll bury Hitler in a basket!”
In closing, I want to give a word of warning to my fellow activists, be careful out there. It is very important that people make sure to be careful to not be targeted to become the victim of protest related violence. The sad reality is this, that when push comes to shove, the authorities are prone to seeing the liberals and the minorities as the aggressor, as my arrest so sadly demonstrates.
We will talk more about this in the near future.
For now, most of my energies are focused on my upcoming court date.
“It should not surprise us that in these pictures capturing the Anti-Nazi protest of November 1938, we also see the faces of black and brown people protesting alongside their Jewish eastside neighbors.”
On the night of Tuesday, November 22nd, 1938 the Jewish public was backed by their multi-ethnic community in Boyle Heights in protesting the Nazi savagery being inflicted on the Jews of Germany and Austria in the days following the eruptions of Kristallnacht.
The protest parade was backed by the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC), and organized by a more diverse coalition known as the United Anti-Nazi Conference (UANC). Also supporting this event, was the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League (HANL) and the Los Angeles Jewish Community Relations Committee. (CRC).
The history surrounding this notorious night is best described by historical scholar Caroline Elizabeth Luce:
“The collaboration between the UANC and the JLC in their fight against fascism reached its peak in November 1938 when members of both organizations staged a massive protest in Boyle Heights to honor of the victims of Kristallnacht. Under the aegis of the UANC, some 10,000 to 15,000 people marched down Brooklyn Avenue, gathering on the steps of the Breed Street Shul for a massive rally, at which both Rabbi Osher Silberstein and Chaim Shapiro denounced the “savage terrorism,” “inhuman atrocities,” and “massacres of the Nazis.” The crowd primarily consisted of the neighborhood’s Jewish residents, who carried signs with Yiddish slogans and performed skits in Yiddish and English reenacting acts of Nazi persecution. But non- Jews, or “sympathizers” as the Los Angeles Times described them, joined the protest as well and both Rev. Floyd J. Seaman and Democratic Congressman Charles Kramer spoke about the threat Nazism posed to American peace and democracy at the rally. The attendees signed a pledge calling on President Roosevelt to sever all economic and political relations with Germany, and vowed not only to work to fight the “horrible savagery against the Jews in Nazi Germany” but also to work to create a “secure haven” for refugees in America.”
“Footnote by Luce: ‘The details on the protest come primarily from two sources: a front page article in the Los Angeles Times from Nov. 23rd, 1938, who characterized the attendants as “Jewish citizens and sympathizers” and these photographs of the event that appear in the Collection of Los Angeles Daily News Negatives, UCLA Library Department of Special Collections’”
The Los Angeles public in Boyle Heights was on that night responding to the wave of anti-Jewish violence in Germany which had begun less than two-weeks before on the night of November 9th, 1938. And which for two days ripped through the entire German Reich with brutal, coordinated attacks against its Jewish population.
The event became known as Kristallnacht – the night of broken glass, so named because every Jewish community in the German territories were left covered in shards of broken glass in the end. The shattered remains of the countries synagogues which were damaged, and in many cases destroyed. And the broken storefronts and display cases of Jewish businesses, which were also smashed and looted.
During this wave of violence some Jews were beaten to death by Nazi brown-shirts and police, while others were sadistically forced to watch. Even a few non-Jewish Germans – who were mistaken for Jews – were beaten to death. The violence of this pogrom directly resulted in the deaths of 91. Though hundreds more were believed to have also died as a result of panicked suicide amidst the violence.
Also during this operation the world would get a startling preview of the holocaust, as more than 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and taken to concentration camps; primarily Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen. The treatment of prisoners in these camps was brutal, resulting in the deaths of some 2,000 to 2,500 men. Though, most would eventually be released during the following three months, on the condition that they leave Germany.
The problem was, there was no place for these people to go. In nearly every place in the world the conditions were such were Jews were being expelled from their home countries, while other countries restricted immigration to the resulting unwanted refugees.
It needs to be stressed to this generations – which is so far removed from the realities and the context of the humanitarian crisis of the time – that this event was not the start of the refugee crisis. It was the mid-stream result of one!
And it also needs to recognized that while these pictures here may arouse a communal sense of pride – in that the diverse people of our local community responded to such violence and inhumanity by loudly demonstrating for the United States government to accept more refugees – we ought to soberly reflect upon the fact that the American public did not want these refugees.
Looking back at this event, I am struck by the realization that these protesters were here pleading the case of Jewish refugees a year prior the start of World War II – three years before the US would enter the war – and before start of the holocaust. In these photos we are looking upon a pivotal moment prior to these tragedies, when many Jews could have been saved from the coming calamity.
I cannot help but be grieved by this realization, that our community’s activism and protest which we see in these pictures went largely unheeded. That these cries to save our Jewish brothers from one of the most brutal regimes in history, they fell on the deaf ears of an isolationist and racist American public of that era.
However, we will see that these early organizing efforts to unify the community for civil rights gains were not entirely fruitless!
The Anti-Nazi Protest of November 22, 1938
Skits were perfored in Yiddish and English reenacting acts of Nazi persecution.
Residents of Boyle Heights protesting Nazi persecution of Jews, Nov. 1938,
When the Nazi party came to power in 1933, their well-announced aim was to make Germany judenrein – cleansed of Jews, who were being scapegoated for the societal and economic issues of the country. This they tried to achieve by making life so difficult for Jews that they would be forced to leave the country. Including baring them from most trades, professions and educational institutions; as well as limiting their rights of full-citizenship.
Then in 1935 with the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws, the Nazi Germans government began stripping the citizenship and residency of Jewish people of foreign ancestry; including persons who themselves were actually born in Germany. This resulted in leaving many Jewish people not just jobless, but also stateless.
By the start of 1938, a quarter of the German Jewish population – some 150,000 people – had already left the country. Though this crisis went from bad to worse when Germany invaded and annexed Austria in March 1938, bringing another 185,000 Jews under Nazi rule. This left hundreds of thousands of Jews waiting in desperation for any country in the world to open their gates to them.
As described by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
“Many German and Austrian Jews tried to go to the United States but could not obtain the visas needed to enter… Americans remained reluctant to welcome Jewish refugees. In the midst of the Great Depression, many Americans believed that refugees would compete with them for jobs and overburden social programs set up to assist the needy.
“Congress had set up immigration quotas in 1924 that limited the number of immigrants and discriminated against groups considered racially and ethnically undesirable…. Widespread racial prejudices among Americans – including antisemitic attitudes held by the US State Department officials – played a part in the failure to admit more refugees.”
As we see, even in the United States the feeling was that we did not have the resources to help these people. And even in this country, there was still the widely held sentiment at the time that Jews were racially undesirable as well.
With nowhere to go, the Jewish refugees of Germany and Austria were being pushed from one place to another. Which was an issue of great concern to the world powers.
Under great political pressure, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had called for an international conference which took place in Paris in July of 1938, to address the refugee crisis.
Again citing the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
“In the summer of 1938, delegates from thirty-two countries met at the French resort of Evian. Roosevelt chose not to send a high-level official, such as the secretary of state, to Evian; instead, Myron C. Taylor, a businessman and close friend of Roosevelt’s, represented the US at the conference. During the nine-day meeting, delegate after delegate rose to express sympathy for the refugees. But most countries, including the United States and Britain, offered excuses for not letting in more refugees.
“Responding to Evian, the German government was able to state with great pleasure how ‘astounding’ it was that foreign countries criticized Germany for their treatment of the Jews, but none of them wanted to open the doors to them when ‘the opportunity offer[ed].’”
It is my strong belief that this disregardance given by the international community to the plight of these Jewish refugees emboldened these next and further sufferingsto be inflicted upon Jews.
The next month in August 1938 the German government began the process of canceling and demanding renewal of all residency permits for Jews of foreign origins. This included German-born Jews of Polish descent who had lived in Germany for generations and yet who were not considered German citizens by legal birthright; due to their Polish Jewish ancestry they were deemed Polish by the Germans. While at the same time, Poland began announcing that it would not accept any more migrant Jews of Polish origins past October 1938.
“A group of Jewish people expelled from Germany by the German Nazi authorities and living in Zbaszyn on the Polish-German border, 3rd November 1938. More than a thousand are staying in a stable and others are in huts provided by the authorities. The German action is in response to the Polish government’s removal of the Polish citizenship of Jews living outside the country. A total of 17,000 German Jews were expelled from Germany over this issue.” (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
So on October 28, 1938 the Germans acted on Hitler’s order to round-up some 12,000 Polish Jews for “repatriation” and forcibly sent them over the Polish border, over 8,000 of which were immediately refused entry. Leaving thousands of refugees trapped without entrance to Germany or Poland, in the most dire of straights.
Among the refugees was the family of one Herschel Grynszpan, who himself was born in Germany but was illegally living in France at the time. Who upon receiving news of his family’s suffering at the German-Polish border he worked himself up into such a frenzy that he decided to buy a handgun and in protest assassinate a Nazi diplomat in Paris, ultimately mortally wounding a third-level embassy secretary.
It would be the news of the killing of a low ranking Nazi diplomatic staffer in Paris by a Jewish refugee on November 9th, 1938 which would be eagerly seized upon by the Nazis in order to erupt into and justify a much expected, large-scale attack against all Jews under the shadow of the German Reich.
Indeed, there is evidence which suggests that the Nazis began planning for such a coordinated attack already a year prior. [Friedländer, Saul. Nazi Germany and The Jews, volume 1: The Years of Persecution 1933–1939, London: Phoenix, 1997, p. 270]
The Nazis were not really able to use this assassination as an example of an international Jewish conspiracy in the end, as they had hoped for in a potential catalyst. As Grynszpan clearly acted alone and could not be tied to a larger plot, furthermore his act was loudly decried by the Jewish establishment.
Though this act did tragically present itself as the provocation needed in order to hold all Jews responsible for the crime of one desperate Jewish refugee, and to somehow vilify all Jews as dangerous illegal aliens as well.
It was just the incident needed to seemingly justify the brutality and terrors of Kristallnacht, and to turn the corner towards a more intense form of violence against Jews under the German Reich.
Considering all this, when we look back at the Anti-Nazi parade of 1938 we can now understand what these people were protesting against. Now we can appreciate the peril of the people they were demonstrating for. They were organizing to try to help unwanted Jewish refugees, whose lives desperately hung in the balance.
Local Civil Rights Activism born out of the Jewish Refugee Crisis
The persecutions and difficulties of the Jews in Europe had not gone unnoticed by the American Jewish public and their allies here in the United States. As they had actually begun to organize protest against the Nazi fascists soon after they came to power and began enacting discriminatory laws against Jews.
The Jewish Labor Committee (JLC) was formed in 1934, in response to the rise of Nazi persecution in Europe. Bringing together several Jewish labor factions for their cause. Fighting for better treatment of laborers, and raising awareness regarding the dangers of European fascism.
And then in 1935 the United Anti-Nazi Conference (UANC) was formed, bringing together a much more ethnically diverse coalition for a broader cause. Luce wrote of them:
“The UANC defined their fight against fascism on much broader terms than the JLC. Their goal was not simply to raise awareness about the Nazi threat in Europe but to encourage the public to see that the same fascist attitudes that propelled Hitler to power in Germany also maintained the Jim Crow system and perpetuated racial and economic inequality in America.
“The UANC’s understanding of fascism was best articulated in the pamphlet, ‘It Can Happen Here,’ that the UANC commissioned local lawyer, writer and activist Carey McWilliams to write in 1935. In it, McWilliams described how fascist leaders like Hitler, Mussolini and their American supporters used ‘demagogic slogans and fancy proclamations’ to convince the public that prosperity could be achieved by ‘eliminating’ political, racial and social minorities. Rather than enact real changes, these leaders simply fulfilled the ‘will of monopoly capitalism,’ ginning up hate and fear ‘to conceal its ghastly failures.’
United Anti-Nazi Conference protesting, with the police restraining them.
“Los Angeles was particularly susceptible to fascist influence because of its tradition of ‘fascist jurisprudence’ – the LAPD’s arrests of those seeking to distribute literature, protest or otherwise exercise their first amendment rights – and because Hollywood was a ‘fertile field’ for anti-Semitism because of Jewish executives’ ‘ruthless management’ of their studios.
“The only way to resist the insidious influence of fascism in the city and in America at large was to unite in common struggle against all ‘phobias,’ including anti-Semitism and racism and defend the civil rights of all Americans.”
To this end the UANC was organized and began addressing the underlying causes of fascism – manifest in racism, segregation, persecution of immigrants, and antisemitism – which was also present in our own society. And to counter the demagoguery which was seen not just in Nazi Germany, but also mirrored in our own country.
Though I believe one of the most important characteristics of the UANC was that they understood the need for addressing the very real issues which were being seized upon by anti-Semites and racists in our very own city of Los Angeles. Instead of dismissing and deflecting, they engaged both the rhetoric and also the uncomfortable truths head-on. They took much more than a nuanced approach, they fiercely took-up addressing the fears and phobias; even when this came with harsh criticism of the Jewish establishment in Hollywood.
Yet while Jews had a presence in the Hollywood film industry, we need to understand that they were still outsiders in much of the larger society. And even Hollywood itself was no haven from antisemitism. This is actually most horrifically displayed in the bigoted reactions which were already elicited to the protest against Nazism and fascism in America.
As described by Thomas Doherty, professor of American studies at Brandeis University, in this article here:
“On October 1, 1938, ‘Box Office,’ a glossy trade weekly, reprinted a crude antisemitic leaflet circulating around theaters in the Midwest and, closer to home, along the streets of downtown Los Angeles. ‘Hollywood is the Sodom and Gomorrah where International Jewry controls Vice-Dope-Gambling,’ the leaflets read. ‘Where Young Gentile Girls are raped by Jewish producers, directors and casting directors who go unpunished.’ A caricature depicted a hook-nosed Jew despoiling a vessel of lily-white Aryan womanhood.”
On October 1, 1938, ‘Box Office,’ a glossy trade weekly, reprinted a crude antisemitic leaflet circulating around theaters in the Midwest and, closer to home, along the streets of downtown Los Angeles.
This was how antisemites responded to the public rallying calls against fascism by the studio funded Hollywood Anti-Nazi League. (HANL) Similar antisemitic leaflets would also be inserted into 50,000 copies of the Los Angeles Timesby antisemitic employees.
What we do need to remember is that in those days Jews in America were still considered a form of ethnic minority in many ways; othered in society, and even at times racialized. And therefore were still subjected to many of the harsh realities of discrimination and segregation.
In fact the prejudices against Jews seemed to be peaking at this time, as some Jewish families were actually starting to successfully assimilate into middle-America; which came with alarm and repulse for many white Americans. As they saw some Jews begin to make inroads to where they were traditionally not welcomed.
When we look at this era we see that the Jewish people were actually facing much discrimination on both ends of our society. Jews as a people were being vilified as Hollywood moguls, while also being despised as needy immigrants. They were being hated for being ruthless capitalists, while also being demonized as communists. They were scorned for wanting to be like white Americans, and detested for being too foreign.
And during this point in history antisemitism had a particular appeal to many people, amid the Great Depression. In some of the same ways as how Jews were being scapegoated for the depression in Germany, antisemitism also surfaced here. Though what is also important to understand about this moment in history is that the Jewish people were not just fighting ambient racism.
As in fact over in downtown Los Angeles on Broadway was located the western headquarters for the German American Bund, founded in 1933 as the “Friends of New Germany” – the American manifestation of the Nazi party and a pro-Nazi Germany advocacy group.
Los Angeles and Hollywood itself was particular susceptible to this type of fascists ideology, in an atmosphere in which nationalism was still fashionable and Nazism was even romanticized. And in an age when it was common for people of society to attend controversial political meetings, national socialism was also to be found in the mix.
As early as 1933 Los Angeles Jewish leaders responded to this threat by founding the Community Relations Committee (CRC) – initially created to monitor groups and report activities which were seen as a threat to Jews and to democracy in general. Monitoring groups such as the Bund, the Friends of New Germany, the Silver Shirts, as well as other antisemitic and racist groups like the Klu Klux Klan (KKK).
Adolf Hitler Geburtstagfeier (birthday celebration), being celebrated in Los Angeles, April 20, 1935. Deutsches Haus Auditorium.
The CRC was quite successful in infiltrating these organizations and exposing their realm of influence within the city. Which resulted in a dramatic decrease in the membership of the Friends of New Germany.
Lesser know is the fact that they were also successful in uncovering and preventing a terrorist plot planned by the Bund from their downtown Deutsche Haus, to publicly execute Jewish Hollywood studio heads and to with machine-guns murder Jews at random in the densely Jewish populated neighborhood of Boyle Heights; all in the aims of sparking an American pogrom. (Professor Steven Ross, of University of Southern California; this topic be featured in his upcoming book “Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America.“)
Their successes in their fight against organized racism and in preventing violence positioned them as the leading organization within the Jewish community for years to come.
“The CRC became a main organization occupied with the defense, protection and civil rights of the Los Angeles Jewish community in the 1930s.
“During the 1930s, through the first decades of its existence the CRC spoke for the many constituent organizations in the greater Jewish community of Los Angeles, which all represented a relatively small but growing community.”
The CRC would eventually change their name, later becoming known as the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles.
As a small minority, the Los Angeles Jewish community at this time came to recognize that they had to partner with other minority groups in order for their voice to be heard. And their draw needed to be broad, as Los Angeles was such an ethnically diverse city that there was not any one nationality with which they could secure a powerful alliance.
Organizations such as the CRC were among the first to realized that their goals were best achieved through broader partnerships with their non-Jewish fellows. For in practice they found that their fight for civil rights as Jews was very much similar to the civil right struggle of various ethnic minorities and immigrants, including African-Americans and Mexican-Americans.
When Kristallnacht erupted in November of 1938, the Los Angeles Jewish community and their allies organizing the Anti-Nazi parade did not even attempt to hold the event in Hollywood or even downtown, but rather in Boyle Heights. And this was for a couple of reasons.
First, because the Jewish public knew that they did not have the backing and clout to really hold a successfully anti-Nazi protest in Hollywood itself – let alone one which would attract broad and diverse support they were seeking.
Which leads to the most importantly reason yet, to remind the public of the fact that what Jews were experiencing both in Europe and America was a struggle against racism. Holding the protest here in Boyle Heights reinforced the reality of this, tying this event to the struggle they were facing alongside their various immigrant neighbors and with people of color in this very community as well.
For this reason, it should not surprise us that in these pictures capturing the Anti-Nazi protest of November 1938, we also see the faces of black, brown and Asian people protesting alongside their Jewish eastside neighbors.
Don Hodes (left) and myself Shmuel Gonzales (right): This is my friend Don, he marched in the Anti-Nazi Parade of 1938 here in Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles. He was about 8 or 9 years old when he marched with his family carrying a picket sign. He remembers singing protest songs like, “A-tisket, a-tasket… we’ll bury Hitler in a basket!“ His parents had come to the county as illegal immigrants through Canada, and then later settled in Boyle Heights. Troubled by the situation of the Jews trapped in Europe, they marched to demand the admittance of the refugees and were joined by their comrades of all the various nationalities of the community; some 15,000 marched for the admittance of Jewish refugees, three years before the United States entered World War II.
This partnership between Jews and with other minority groups beginning with their fight against fascism and their public education campaigns against racist ideologies in those pre-war years constituted one of the first major joint effort in civil rights activism between the communities. And the lessons learned at that time would provide a working model for inter-racial cooperation which would be followed for years to come.
After the US entered World War II – when it was no longer necessary to convince the American public of the Nazi threat – the focus of Jewish organized civil rights clearinghouses such as the CRC would be redirected to the then most poignant issues at hand. While still maintaining their founding principles to addressing the causes of antisemitism and race related violence, as the nature of ethnic tensions would shift.
And in the post-war years the CRC would continue to back and support civil rights work, with specific focus on the Los Angeles eastside. When after the war it seemed that Jews and the local ethnic minorities appeared to have less in common with each other, revealing many fears and racial tensions which then needed to be addressed. At a time when antisemitism and race-based scapegoating came with different challenges for the community.
In our continued exploration of this history, we will later see how in the post-war years the CRC addressed inter-community tensions and racial inequality, though supporting the empowerment of our local ethnic minorities. Ultimately providing essential backing and funding for groups such as the Community Service Organization (CSO); which would become our first major Mexican-American civil rights training ground in the area, out of which leaders such as Cesar Chavez would eventually emerge.