Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This Isn't The Army Mr. Negrin

Ok, ok, I said no more WW2 songs but then I forgot that I didn't tap the great Glenn Miller Army Air Corps Band library. The context of this posting: The folks at the Kehila Kedosha Janina Museum are planning a Veteran's Day Exhibit:
"We are now collecting memorabilia and photos for a new exhibit scheduled to open on November 9, 2008. In anticipation of Veteran’s Day, we will be honoring our community who served their country during the Second World War. We have already collected photos of patriotic parades and speeches on the Lower East Side, some taken in front of Kehila Kedosha Janina. Please share with me any photos you have of yourself or family members [in uniform] and information about there service during WWII. We would also appreciate the loan of war medals."
I thought I would contribute (my father, a Janinite, was 4F due to rheumatic fever in WW2) images of WW2 draft cards for this exhibit. I searched for typical Greek Romaniote names like Negrin, Eskenazi, Matsil, Coffina, etc with the idea of printing them out, high resolution for a display. The images available online (at are only the supplemental "old men" draft cards:
"The U.S. officially entered World War II on 8 December 1941 following an attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Just about a year before that, in October 1940, President Roosevelt had signed into law the first peacetime selective service draft in U.S. history, due to rising world conflicts. After the U.S. entered WWII a new selective service act required that all men between ages 18 and 65 register for the draft. Between November 1940 and October 1946, over 10 million American men were registered.

This database is an indexed collection of the draft cards from the Fourth Registration, the only registration currently available to the public (the other registrations are not available due to privacy laws). The Fourth Registration, often referred to as the "old man's registration", was conducted on 27 April 1942 and registered men who born on or between 28 April 1877 and 16 February 1897 - men who were between 45 and 64 years old - and who were not already in the military."

Information available on the draft cards includes:
• Name of registrant
• Age
• Birth date
• Birthplace
• Residence
• Employer information
• Name and address of person who would always know the registrants whereabouts
• Physical description of registrant (race, height, weight, eye and hair colors, complexion)

Anyway, I tried my best to get the resolution good enough to view in the 320 X 240 google video screen. What's interesting to me is to see where this group of Sephardic elders, who never were called upon thankfully in WW2 (I stuck in a few yids and others) moved to from their original Lower East Side immigrant locations. Mostly to the Bronx it appears and to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Looks like a Google Map project for me. Oh yes, the song lyrics:
We all have been selected from city and from farm
They asked us lots of questions, they jabbed us in the arm
We stood there at attention, our faces turning red
The sergeant looked us over and this is what he said:
This is the Army, Mister Jones
No private rooms or telephones
You had your breakfast in bed before
But you won't have it there any more
This is the Army, Mister Green
We like the barracks nice and clean
You had a housemaid to clean your floor
But she won't help you out any more
Do what the buglers command
They're in the Army and not in a band
This is the Army, Mister Brown
You and your baby went to town
She had you worried but this is war
And she won't worry you anymore

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