Bostons Catholics and Jews, 1929-1965
Chapter 2 Notes
1. Some scholars have changed the word anti-Semitism to antisemitism. According to Padraic OHares book The Enduring Covenant, "the argument for this new usage is that the prior usage subtly grants the existence of something called Semitism, in response to which one might well assume a posture of opposition. There is, however, no such ideology or entity as Semitism." I used both in this chapter and usually chose the form according to how my source wrote the word. Padraic OHare, The Enduring Covenant: The Education of Christians and the End of Antisemitism (Valley Forge, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International, 1997), 5.
2. This anti-Semitic attack was just one of many chronicled in the Hecht Neighborhood House papers during the years 1942 through 1944. Descriptions of incidents are vague for confidentiality purposes. Box 6, folder: anti-Semitism, Incidents in the Community, The Hecht House Papers, the American Jewish Historical Society (from henceforth will be AJHS), Waltham, Mass.
3. Charles H. Trout, Boston, the Great Depression, and the New Deal (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), 305.
4. James M. OToole, Militant and Triumphant: William OConnell and the Catholic Church in Boston, 1859-1944, (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992), 121.
5. Thomas OConnor, Boston Catholics (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1998), 208.
6. This mixture of Catholic culture, lifestyle and religion was an important force because it made Catholicism a uniting force that "made religion a vital and all-embracing influence throughout the archdiocese for at least half a century." Thomas H. OConnor, Boston Catholics, 208.
7. James Carroll also wrote about Bostons religious identity from his own perspective as a Catholic priest and now writer. "For myself, I know that my Irish identity has thrived here in a way that it would not have in Chicago (where I was born), Washington (where I was raised) or even in New York (where I worked and was ordained as a priest). I love Boston for making me Irish again, and I hope it is possible for Jews to feel that way about it too." James Carroll, "Bostons Jews and Bostons Irish." Boston Globe, 12 January 1992.
8. Thomas H. OConnor, Boston Catholics, 235.
9. OConnell saw the world in religious terms first and Curley defined Boston Catholicism with ethnicity and politics first. Interview with Professor James M. OToole, Associate Professor of History at Boston College, 20 March 2001. According to the film Of Stars and Shamrocks, Curley galvanized the Irish identity. Seen as a sort of "Irish Robin Hood," he took revenge against the Protestant ascendancy. Film produced by Professor John Michalczyk, chairman of the Fine Arts Department and Professor of Film at Boston College. Of Stars and Shamrocks is a movie about Bostons Irish and Jews. When Cardinal OConnell encouraged Boston Catholics to separate from the Protestant, Anglo-Saxon traditions, he unintentionally contributed to the socio-religious dimension that the political bosses formed. Curley was one of these politicians, who split Boston into two distinctive units. Thomas H. OConnor, Boston Catholics, 235.
10. John F. Stack, International Conflict in an American City: Bostons Irish, Italians and Jews 1935-1944. (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1979), 148.
11. Charles Morris, American Catholic: The Saints and Sinners Who Built Americas Most Powerful Church, (New York: Random House, 1997), 119.
12. Jack Beatty, The Rascal King: The Life and Times of James Michael Curley, 1874-1958 (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1992), 451.
13. Excerpt from Katherine Loughlins article, "Bostons Political Morals" in Jack Beatty, The Rascal King, 451. The article focused on Mayor Curley and how public expression of Catholic views regarding Curley was rare. The article attacked the complacency of Boston Catholics. Curley served four terms as mayor. Although he was immensely popular in Boston, his reputation as a corrupt politician followed him for years and he remained a controversial figure. Also see Louis M. Lyons, "Boston: Study in Inertia" in Our Fair City, ed. Robert S. Allen (New York: The Vanguard Press, 1947), 25.
14. James M. OToole, Militant and Triumphant, 116.
15. These unwavering beliefs were the only antidote the Catholic Church offered during this era of political upheaval both in American and abroad. Catholicism remained firm in its beliefs, which offered Catholics a sense of stability in their world. James M. OToole, Militant and Triumphant, 245.
16. Leonard Dinnerstein, Antisemitism in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 108.
17. Other important Jews in Roosevelts government included Sam Rosenman, Ben Cohen and David Niles.
18. Leonard Dinnerstein, Antisemitism, 108.
19. Leonard Dinnerstein, Antisemitism, 108.
20. Arthur Hertzberg, The Jews in America: Four Centuries of an Uneasy Encounter: A History (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989), 257.
21. Leonard Dinnerstein, Antisemitism,105.
22. Charles Morris, American Catholic, 147.
23. Leonard Dinnerstein, Antisemitism, 105.24. Of Stars and Shamrocks, film produced by Professor John Michalczyk.
25. James M. OToole, Militant and Triumphant, 137.
26. Alan Brinkley in Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin and the Great Depression as noted in Nat Hentoff, Boston Boy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1986), 18.
27. Nat Hentoff was a Jewish youth growing up in Roxbury during the 1930s. This reference to forgetting about Father Coughlin until just before bedtime alluded to the antisemitic attacks he, like many other Jews, experienced during the era. Nat Hentoff, Boston Boy, 19.
28. Charles Morris, American Catholic, 146.
29. Leonard Dinnerstein, Antisemitism, 115.30. Kristallnacht, occurred on the night of November 9-10, 1938. On this tragic night, Germans burned many synagogues, invaded Jewish homes and attacked thousands of Jews.
31. Coughlin used counterfeit documents disseminated by the Nazis to spread lies about Jewish involvement in the Communist Party in Russia.
32. Leonard Dinnerstein, Antisemitism in America, 115.
33. John F. Stack, Jr. International Conflict, 53.
34. Arthur Hertzberg, The Jews in America: Four Centuries of an Uneasy Encounter: A History (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989), 241.
35. Arthur Hertzberg, The Jews in America, 265.
36. Leonard Dinnerstein, Antisemitism, 112.
37. Leonard Dinnerstein, Anti-Semitism, 113.
38. Leonard Dinnerstein, Anti-Semitism, 121.
39. Found different figures in Nat Hentoffs Boston Boy, 18 and Leonard Dinnerstein, Anti-Semitism, 118.
40. Leonard Dinnerstein, Anti-Semitism, 118.
41. Coughlins mail provided one example of his widespread influence in America. His office received an average of 80,000 letters a week. Leonard Dinnerstein, Anti-Semitism, 118.
42. James M. OToole, Militant and Triumphant, 137,
43. Leonard Dinnerstein, Antisemitism,115; John F. Stack, Jr., International Conflict , 54.
44. John F. Stack, Jr., International Conflict , 55.
45. Jonathan D. Sarna, "The Jews of Boston in Historical Perspective" in The Jews of Boston, ed. Jonathan D. Sarna and Ellen Smith (Boston: Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, 1995), 12.
46. Interview with James OToole, Associate Professor of History at Boston College, 20 March 2001.
47. James M. OToole, Militant and Triumphant,138 and Thomas H. OConnor, Boston Catholics, 230.
48. OConnell has also been sharply criticized for his lavish lifestyle and how he observed Catholicism. According to Charles Morris, with his immense power, OConnell epitomized the danger of ecclesiastical power. Morris also claimed that OConnell "was an irreligious hypocrite, lacking honesty or integrity, nakedly ambitious and endlessly self-aggrandizing...Much more so than his fellow bishops, OConnell was a man of the boardroom and the country club rather than of the Church. He showed little interest in religion, rarely said daily Mass, and rushed through services at a pace that sometimes scandalized onlookers." Charles Morris, American Catholic, 120-21. John F. Stack, Jr., International Conflict, 54.
49. There are not many sources that allude to how Cardinal OConnell responded to Father Coughlin. After his rebukes in 1932 through 1934, Cardinal OConnell remained silent about the radio priest.
50. Leonard Dinnerstein, Antisemitism in America, 113.
51. William V. Shannon, The American Irish: A Political and Social Portrait (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1966), 404
52. Charles Morris, American Catholic, 233.
53. Interview with Professor James OToole. 20 March 2001.
54. Charles H. Trout, Boston During the Great Depression, 261.
55. Charles H. Trout, Boston During the Great Depression, 261.
56. John F. Stack, Jr, International Conflict, 60.
57. John F. Stack, International Conflict, 62.
58. John F. Stack, Jr, International Conflict, 60.59. Lina and Jacob Hecht founded the Hecht Neighborhood House in 1890 to help Russian Jews acclimate to their new life and prepare them for work in America. As the Jewish population in Boston shifted, it also moved several times. It moved from the North End to the West End in 1920. In 1936, it moved to Dorchester. It offered a variety of programs for both children and adults. Open to all Bostonians, it chiefly served the Roxbury-Dorchester-Mattapan area. Within a 1.5 mile radius of the house, lived about 70,000 Jews, Bostons most concentrated Jewish area. The Hecht House also served both Jews and non-Jews. Memo written on 3 May 1953 about the Hecht House, Box 1, folder: history and purpose of the Hecht House, Hecht House Papers, AJHS, Waltham, Mass.
60. Report from Executive Director Helen Saftel about the period between June 1935 and June 1937. Box 1, folder: reports 1936-41, Hecht Neighborhood House Papers, AJHS, Waltham, Mass.
61. Leonard Dinnerstein, Antisemitism, 128.
62. Theodore White, In Search of History (New York: Harper and Row, 1978), 28.
63. Box 45, folder: Coughlin Reports, Jewish Community Council of Metropolitan Boston Records, AJHS, Waltham, Mass.
64. Leonard Dinnerstein, Antisemitism, 129.
65. John F. Stack, Jr., International Conflict, 62.
66. John F. Stack, Jr., International Conflict, 62.67. A Tale of Ten Cities: The Triple Ghetto in American Religious Life, ed. Eugene J. Lipman and Albert Vorspan (New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1962), 13.
68. Box 44, folder: reports of Boston Meetings, 1939-42 file antisemitism, Jewish Community Council of Metropolitan Boston Records, AJHS, Waltham, Mass. I found the quotations in John Stacks book, International Conflict in an American City, 130, which Stack found in ADL files.
69. Lindbergh was a member of the isolationist-led organization, American First, formed in July 1940. In addition to try to keep America out of the war, America First had the support of antisemitic men like Father Coughlin, Henry Ford and Lindbergh himself. Jack Beatty, The Rascal King, 450.
70. Jack Beatty, The Rascal King, 450.
71. Even after the war ended, in 1947, about 400 Bostonians gathered in Horticultural Hall in Boston to honor Coughlins birthday again. Box 45, folder: Antisemitism, Coughlin, Fr. Charles, Correspondence, Jewish Community Council of Metropolitan Boston Records, AJHS, Waltham, Mass.
72. Box 44, folder: Christian Front, 1939-47, Jewish Community Council of Metropolitan Boston Records, AJHS, Waltham, Mass.
73. John F. Stack, International Conflict, 130.
74. John F. Stack, International Conflict, 130.
75. Jack Beatty, The Rascal King, 451.
76. John F. Stack, International Conflict,131.
77. Jack Beatty, The Rascal King, 452.
78. John F. Stack, International Conflict in an American City, 130. Stack received some of this information from Lawrence J. McCaffreys, The Irish Diaspora in America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976).
79. Jack Beatty, The Rascal King, 452.
80. Jack Beatty, The Rascal King, 452.
81. Jack Beatty, The Rascal King 452.
82. When a reporter from the liberal New York newspaper, P.M. asked Governor Saltonstall to comment on the reports about anti-Semitism, the governor "shouted him down and had him physically ejected from his office." Jack Beatty, The Rascal King, 452.
83. Nat Hentoff, a Jewish youth growing up in Roxbury, worked as a reporter for Sweeney. He described Sweeney as the "small-waisted savior of my people. Nat Hentoff, Boston Boy, 69.
84. Recalled by Nat Hentoff in his memoir. Although Frances Sweeney never heard from OConnell again, she continued to remind the priests of Boston and the Cardinal about their duty as Christians. However, Frances Sweeneys efforts were short-lived; she died in June 1944 at the age of thirty-six. Sweeney had a rheumatic heart condition since childhood and her doctors warned her that running the Boston City Reporter would be the end of her. She refused to quit, until she had an attack in April 1944 walking home after finishing an edition. However, her work did not end with her death; the Frances Sweeney Committee, named in honor of her, played an important role in combating Father Feeney, a Boston priest in the 1950s who stirred up antisemitic feelings in Boston (see chapter 3). Nat Hentoff, Boston Boy, 69.
85. Not only was Social Justice sold in Irish neighborhoods, but in Italian ones as well. Jack Beatty, The Rascal King, 450.
86. Anthony J. Lukas, Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985), 378.
87. The William OConnell archives contain only a few letters between OConnell and Boston Jews. Similarly, the Jewish Community Council of Metropolitan Boston records, housed at the American Jewish Historical Society, contains little documentation about OConnells relationship with Jews. This suggests a lack of substantial communication between the Boston archdiocese and the Jewish community.
88. James Carrolls new book chronicles the entrenched tradition of anti-Judaism in Catholic theology. Carroll argues the Churchs failure to protest the Holocaust was the culmination of 2,000 years of Church conflict with Jews. James Carroll, Constantines Sword: The Church and the Jews (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001).
89. John F. Stack, International Conflict, 153.
90. John F. Stack, Jr., International Conflict, 135.
91. John F. Stack, International Conflict in an American City, 135.
92. From a report by Robert E. Segal, Executive Director, 1944-72, about "The Early Years of the Jewish Community Council of Metropolitan Boston." Box 1, folder: Central Advisory Committee and Founding of Boston Jewish Community Council (BJCC), Jewish Community Council of Metropolitan Boston Records, AJHS, Waltham, Mass.
93. John F. Stack, International Conflict, 139.
94. Louis M. Lyons, "Boston" in Our Fair City, ed. Robert S. Allen, 23.
95. Robert H. Lord, John E. Sexton, and Edward T. Harrington, History of the Archdiocese of Boston. Volume III, (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1944), 677. One interesting observation I found in this book written in 1944, the subject "Jews" was not included in the 27-page index. This was characteristic of the little contact Catholics and Jews had in the 1940s in Boston.
96. Letter from Norman M. Littell to OConnell, January 1944; OConnell Papers: General Correspondence [Archives, Archdiocese of Boston, Brighton, Mass] Box 6: folder 12.
97. The committee hoped to mobilize public opinion when public officials failed to condemn Hitlers efforts to kill European Jewry. The proposal to organize the committee said there had never been "more shocking violation of the human conscience than the persecution and threatened extermination of the Jews." At the same time, Nazi propaganda was "breeding the germs of hatred against the Jews at home." Murphy told Justice Felix Frankfurter that he had confided in Justice Louis Brandeis about his boy-hood ambition to thrust his lance at intolerance. Justice Murphy saw his chance to do so with the committee. The new organization confined membership to non-Jews "lest the organization be viewed as a Gentile Front for Jewish propaganda." Some American Jews objected to the phrase "extermination of the Jews" so in January 1945, the executive committee changed its name to "American Anti-Bigotry Committee: A National Committee of Non-Jewish American Citizens to Combat Anti-Semitism." Murphy appealed to President Roosevelt in May 1944 to help save the lives of eight hundred thousand Jews who had escaped to Hungary. He also advocated that free ports should serve as temporary havens for refugees. Despite limited success, the National Committee never enjoyed much popular support. It lacked the necessary funds and received many requests to enlarge its scope to include intolerance against Catholics. The organization dissolved in 1947. Although there are no measures of "what if anything it accomplished" Murphys efforts in its behalf drew praise from the United Jewish Appeal. Sidney Fine, Frank Murphy: The Washington Years (Ann Arbor: the University of Michigan Press, 1984), 233.
98. Edward S. Shapiro, A Time for Healing: American Jewry since World War II. The Jewish People in America, vol. 5 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1992), 7.
99. Box 74, folder: Antisemitism, Incidents in the Community, Hecht House Papers, AJHS, Waltham, Mass.
100. This alleged incident was recorded in the Hecht House Papers. The parents of the boys had Irish last names and were known in the community for being anti-Semitic. Box 74, folder: Antisemitism, Incidents in the Community, Hecht House Papers, AJHS, Waltham, Mass.
101. Box 74, folder: Antisemitism, Incidents in the Community, Hecht House Papers, AJHS, Waltham, Mass.
102. Box 74, folder: Antisemitism, Incidents in the Community, Hecht House Papers, AJHS, Waltham, Mass.
103. In addition to being a prestigious secondary school, Boston Latin School taught an important lesson in acculturation for its diverse group of students. According to the film, Of Stars and Shamrocks, Boston Latin School was the best resource for young people to rise above other ethnic groups. Film produced by John Michalczyk. Nat Hentoff Boston Boy, 37.
104. Dorothy G. Wayman , "Journalist Refutes Charges of Anti-Semitism Laid to Boston," America. Reprint in The Pilot. 14 October 1944, box 73, folder Pilot clippings, Jewish Community Council of Metropolitan Boston Records, AJHS, Waltham, Mass.
105. John F. Stack, International Conflict, 58.