Why This Section
There is a reason for seeing a need to have a special section in the Minister of Education Reports dedicated to the subject of antisemitism. The reason is that this is something I am specially touched by, and I believe have been conditioned to be responsive to by the Lord guiding my life. I want to tell the story from the beginning, so be patient and I will try to not be too boring.
The journey toward a sensitivity concerning the subject of antisemitism began before I was a teenager. I was fond of Zane Grey books back in those days, and found a friend down in Warner Robins, Georgia, where I lived, who would role play the stories with me. (with variations to suit our young minds.) One day when we were taking a break on the top of his picnic table that had recently served as our fort against an Indian attack, he told me there was something I should see. He went in his house and brought out a bunch of pictures he said his daddy had taken when he was a photographer during the Second World War. (remember this is happening about 1957.) In those pictures there was naked dead people, some of whom were partially burned inside furnaces. He told me about the dead Jews and the concentration camps his daddy had gone in to. I examined those pictures closely, because at first I could not believe it. He also told me to not say anything about it because his daddy was not supposed to have kept any of the pictures. I never forgot that day.
Nothing much happened in the area of sensitizing me concerning this subject during the next ten years except for the discomfort I would feel when someone made a bad remark about Jews. I would always remember those pictures and wonder why it was that people seemed to have such a low opinion of these people? During that time I learned about an organization called the Ku Klux Klan, and their dislike for black people, who were either called negroes (which means black) or coloreds. I also learned about the positive work the clan sometimes did when they straightened up men who beat their wives or wouldn't work and support their families because they were drunk. I had mixed emotions about the clan, because I learned that some of the men in my neighborhood were in the clan, and they were supposed to be good men. I also learned that the clan hated the Jews. I could not figure out what they were so mad at the Jews about, because up to this time I had only met one in my entire life. There did not seem to be very many around. I guess I was pretty naive, but things began to change a lot during 1967. In 1966, I had spent some time in barracks where the majority of the fellows were from the North. They had given us Southern boys a hard time to the point our nerves would get pretty raw, and about the time we were about to get rough they would come back and say, "Were just kidding. Can't you take a joke?" It was not funny, especially when they would say bad things about Southern girls or our mothers. Back then you could get seriously hurt for that kind of humor. It made me the more keenly aware, when the Six Day War took place, and I had a chance to see all the things that happened connected with it from the view-point of being in North Africa, Lybia to be exact. I will not go into a lot of details, but my brain began to get a real wake up call concerning things going on around me.
After the Six Day War, life at Wheelus Air Base, Lybia was not a sedate place either. I used to crawl up on the roof of the barracks across from the Airmen's Club with something to drink, and catch the wind as it changed direction in the evening. I also had a good vantage point to watch the racial fights that took place in the parking lot between the barracks and the Chapel. That is until one night some of the black airmen spotted me on the roof watching and tried to catch me up there. It was amazing how angry people could be simply because I was white and just watching. Until that time I had no feelings about what they were upset about at all, but after that incident I had some definite opinions about their rationality.
Another thing about being in Lybia was I had a chance to see how the tribes in the various parts of the country were played off against one another in order to keep the king in power. Here was a people united as a country only nominally but all committed in their hatred toward the Jews. But although they were supposedly Moslems they were caught up in bitter hatreds between groups. Police from one part of the country were used to keep order in another part because of the depth of these hostilities. The differences in Jewish attitudes towards other Jews from various parts of the world and that of Moslems toward other Moslems was a lesson I never forgot.
When I changed parts of the world, arriving in Japan, the big mission was connected with support for Viet Nam. I tried to learn what I could about that country and the situation that existed there. In the course of learning more about French history in that part of the world, I also discovered the story of Alfred Dryfus, a French Jewish officer who was plainly made the victim of antisemitism. This lead me into discovering more about French history after that event, and I must say, that their record of antisemitism has continued even to this present day. Not only did I learn about the prejudices of Viet Nam, especially against the mountain peoples the French had named Montagnards, (a people I came to have a special fondness for) but I also learned about Japanese prejudice against Jews, even though there are very few in that country.
A few years later I would find myself based in Turkey. The year 1973 was a very interesting year because I learned about Turkish prejudices toward Jews, Kurds, and Greeks, though not necessarily in that order. I especially remember the Yom Kippor War that year when it appeared that Israel would be lost. Military men were walking around looking like a bunch of whipped puppies because we were being hindered from doing anything to help them. Even unsaved men knew something was going on that was very wrong. I had the privilege of working as a Shift Supervisor in the NCMO during that time and part of my job was deciding what would go into the read file for the Commander's attention. He had convened a battle staff, and that operation was actually taking place on the other side of the plexiglass windows where I kept my finger on the pulse of the communications that for one thing was monitoring the Soviet Union. It was interesting times.
Between 1975 and 1979, I was back in the United States and this was a time when I discovered a magazine called Israel My Glory by accident when I was waiting in a service station in Sumter, South Carolina. This became the basis for pursuing a serious line of education related to Israel that has not ended to this very day. From my home unit at Shaw AFB, South Carolina opportunities would open up for me to meet some very helpful people, including members of the Israeli military that were coming to the United States for training. At that time I had thought to go to Israel and enlist in the Israeli army after I made my retirement in the American. Unfortunately, injuries would make that plan impractical, not to mention my wife had gotten pretty tired of having the phone ring to begin another cycle of worry about whether her husband would come home again or not.
During the 80's I would experience even more things that would effect my thought processes. Some of those things happened around the fact that at our duty station in Germany our mail came in and was put in individual slots in a cabinet at the duty station. I received a lot of Messianic literature, including Israel My Glory so the people at the unit decided I must be Jewish. One of the men who worked for me had a particular hatred for Jews and for that reason, not to mention that I was a particular strict taskmaster when it came to training, he had strong feelings against me. I was stubborn enough not to tell him any different. Like I said the whole unit seemed to share his opinion. One Christmas my commanding officer asked me if I would rather have time off for Christmas or Hannukah. I went right along with it and told him I wanted both! Since I made the work schedule for my men, I thought the whole thing was pretty humorous. I could say more about this time, but apart from mentioning I did visit Bergen Belsen, concentration camp, when tens of thousands of Jews are buried in rows of mass graves, I will press on.
After I retired from service I became involved in Messianic Ministries, and it was while attending one of these meetings in conjunction with a Southern Baptist Convention, I happened to become involved in conversation with a former president of the Messianic group. He made the study of names his hobby and knew about mine. What he told me was that my family name originated in a little village in England, and it came into existence during a time Jews were migrating through that part of the world fleeing persecution. Many of these people took place names in order to disguise their Jewishness. I would later confirm this through other resources.
Later I would tell my dad about what I had discovered concerning our possible origins. I will never forget the expression that came across his face. He said not a word, but leaned back in his chair. I had the distinct impression that some puzzle he had long sought to unravel had at last become clear.
While I was working in Law Enforcement I learned that some of my fellow officers were members of the Ku Klux Klan as well as being Masons. There was strong anti-Jewish feeling among this group, even though there were very few openly Jewish people in the area. When I began teaching at Bremen High School, I had one student that informed me the Holocaust never happened. That it was all a lie of the Jews to get money and special treatment from other nations. I told him he did not know what he was talking about. Among other things I told him was that you can still walk among the rows of mass graves in Bergen Belsen where ten thousand is buried on one side of you and maybe fifteen thousand on the other side, and catch the smell of death. I got close to him and told him that I knew the smell of death and that smell is still in that place after all the years have passed. Don't tell me it never happened. I know better. I have made friends over the years who escaped being part of that death only by the skin of their teeth.
One of the great haters of the Jewish people was none other than Henry Ford. My interest in Henry Ford stems from the fact that all people with the Ford name are related in some manner. I knew from my studies in Germany that he had been a supported of Adolph Hitler in the early times. He had also paid to have the Protocols of Zion printed and distributed in English around the United States. Recently I read an article that seems to support the idea that certain Ford established organizations continues with that prejudice. One of the things that I have learned over the years is that some of the greatest enemies of the Jews have been people with Jewish blood in them. I am determined that if a Jewish inheritance is part of my background, I will be known as a lover of Israel, the "apple" of God's eye.