Going to the Movies In Wartime? Why not!

Friday, Sept. 18, 1942

Warm and humid – an Indian Summer kind of day when kids dawdle on the way to school and workers take their brown bag lunches outside and relax. The kind of day you want to enjoy yourself. You could turn on the radio and sing along with Glenn Miller’s “I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo.”  Or you could go to a local movie theater to see Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby in “Holiday Inn.”

"Holiday Inn" offered an escape.

“Holiday Inn” offered an escape.

Was it proper to go to the movies in such times.

A year or two earlier* my grandfather had addressed that question in a letter to my mother:

“Mother [my grandmother] seems to have shifted her sympathy from all beings toward our circle. And last night, like two nights before, she stood over my shoulder and had me throw in a few consolating words to your grieved soul before we went to the movies.

 Yes, the movies! Why not?

 We are more and more hunted by every body [than] we have ever been since Hitler’s election…That particular dreadful feeling of being the only hunted ones is completely gone, after many of the unreachable have been, and are thrown, into our orbit. Let them receive the spanking of their lives for listening to the treacherous propaganda, the worst and dirtiest the world has ever heard… And now President F. D. R. has pressed the General Electric clock alarm and woke the whole nation into sanity… The world after this will never look the same, feel the same, be the same.”

 Time to light the Sabbath candles.

* This is one of the very few undated letters in the entire correspondence, possibly written after the March 1941 announcement of the Lend Lease program. Referring to himself as “hunted,” my grandfather is recalling the pogroms and Anti-Semitism he experienced in Eastern Europe.


This entry was posted in Jewish life in America during WW II, Music and Media, WWII, World War II. Bookmark the permalink.

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