web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Eighty Years Ago On Two Sides Of The Atlantic

Hank Greenberg was a hero to Jews and other minorities.

Hank Greenberg was a hero to Jews and other minorities.

Share Button

Rewind eight decades to 1933.

That year marked the rise of the greatest villain of our time and the biggest Jewish sports hero of all time.

On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany. Soon afterward, he employed terror tactics against political opponents to gain complete power. Hitler opened Dachau, outside of Munich, a concentration camp built for political prisoners. Other camps soon followed. Over the course of time it would become the last stop for Jews about to be brutalized and murdered.

Paul Josef Goebbels, head of the Nazi party in Berlin, called for a bloodless pogrom to expel Jews from government employment and the country’s economic life. Soon the pogroms became anything but bloodless. Jews were assaulted and robbed at will and homes and businesses were invaded by Nazi hooligans.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, 22-year-old Hank Greenberg was thinking about spring training with the Detroit Tigers and hoping he would be able to stay in the major leagues for the entire season. The big first baseman had just one previous big league at-bat.

Greenberg made the big leagues. But as the U.S. baseball season was getting underway, Jews in Germany were prohibited from holding civil service positions. Two weeks later, Jewish ritual slaughter was banned.

Four days after Greenberg hit his first major league home run on May 6, books authored by Jews were burned throughout Germany.

The Tigers were on a road trip and playing in Washington a few weeks later in May. Greenberg took in the sights. He saw the White House, where Franklin Delano Roosevelt had moved in as president a few months earlier. The Washington Post’s report on the game between the Tigers and Washington Senators referred to Greenberg as Hank Goldberg.

Reporters around the league quickly got his name right, though, as Greenberg kept his batting average over .300 and showed flashes of power. As Greenberg’s rise to fame and fortune began, the Lone Ranger started his ride from the top floor of a Detroit radio station. The masked rider and his companion Tonto brought outlaws to justice three times a week for the next 21 years from Detroit.

As the legend of the Lone Ranger took off, Prohibition, under which the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcohol and alcoholic beverages had been banned since 1920, came to an end.

Gangsters who’d profited from Prohibition by supplying alcohol found other avenues of racketeering. The most famous gang of the era was Detroit’s Purple Gang, entirely comprised of Jews. Their empire included arson for hire, drugs, extortion, and gambling.

The Purples did perform acts of good deeds in the Jewish community and protected fellow Jews from members of other gangs. They enjoyed talking baseball with younger members of the Jewish community and often went to Tigers games where they were quite vocal in their support of Hank Greenberg.

As the baseball season neared its end in the third week of September, Jews in Germany were barred from holding positions in the fields of journalism, art, music and theater. Meanwhile, under the rubric of “Aryanization,” Jews were forced in stages to surrender their businesses to Germans.

Twelve years after Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize for physics, the Nazis eliminated his positions, took his property and revoked his citizenship. Einstein moved to the United States in 1933 and became a professor at Princeton. In an address at the Sorbonne in Paris that year he said, “If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.”

In 1933 Jews mourned the passing of the famed Chofetz Chaim. Considered the spiritual head of world Jewry, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan died in the small village of Radin, Poland, where he had spent most of his 95 years. “Chofetz Chaim,” the title of Rabbi Kagan’s first book, dealt with the laws of lashon hara (derogatory gossip). Stories of his piety and humility spread throughout the world during his life.

On July 14, 1933, the Nazi Party was declared the only legal party in Germany, and Jewish immigrants from Poland were stripped of their citizenship. Ten weeks later, as Hank Greenberg’s first full season in the major leagues came to an end, the Nazis passed a law prohibiting Jews from owning land.

Share Button

About the Author: The author of 10 books, Irwin Cohen headed a national baseball publication for five years before accepting a major league front office position, becoming the first Orthodox Jew to earn a World Series ring. He can be reached in his Detroit area dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Eighty Years Ago On Two Sides Of The Atlantic”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Irwin Cohen
Richie Scheinblum

Even if a player reaches the big league level, there’s still no guarantee he’ll remain with one team for long. Former Jewish outfielder Richie Scheinblum comes to mind.

Baseball-Insider

The snow has melted in most parts of the country and here in Florida, where I have my winter dugout in the Orthodox enclave of Century Village in West Palm Beach, I had the opportunity to take in several spring training games.

If you’re visiting spring training sites, Arizona has two advantages – fewer games are rained out and the facilities are much closer to each other than is the case in Florida.

There were 15 Jews in the major leagues during the 2013 season, but only a few from a Jewish mother.

Musial told the taunted Jackie Robinson: “I want you to know that I’m not like many of the other guys on my team.”

Brooklyn native Lipman Pike was one of baseball’s earliest paid players.

The World Series was born 110 years ago. So were the New York Yankees, as New York inherited the remnants of the old Baltimore Orioles, a charter member of the new American League that was formed in 1901. A year later the team was headed to last place and bankruptcy. Manager John McGraw jumped to the National League New York Giants to assume the same position and brought some Orioles players with him.

Rewind eight decades to 1933.

That year marked the rise of the greatest villain of our time and the biggest Jewish sports hero of all time.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/baseball-insider/eighty-years-ago-on-two-sides-of-the-atlantic/2013/09/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: