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HISTORY TOPICS

Anti-Semitism/Jewish Relations

Children standing in front of a Jewish store, Sixth and Lyndale, Minneapolis, 1908. Location no. GT1.2g p48Anti-Semitism may be defined as prejudice against people of the Jewish faith. Jews have lived in Minnesota since it was created as a territory in 1849. As with many immigrants, they came to the United States to escape religious and political persecution. Actions against Jews became increasingly violent in Eastern Europe in the years preceding World War I, and culminated with the Holocaust of World War II. The road to acceptance in the new land, however, was not an easy one. Many American cities discriminated against the Jews by limiting where they could live, work, or attend school. Minneapolis in particular had a nation-wide reputation as being extremely anti-Semitic. How did the Minnesota Jewish community react to these conditions?

GET STARTED WITH SECONDARY SOURCES:

  • "‘And A Sprinkling of Jews’: Work and Faith in Minnesota's Jewish Merchants," by Marilyn Chiat.
    In Ramsey County History, vol. 28, no. 1 (spring 1993).
    MHS call number: Reading Room F 612 .R22 R3 v.28:1.
  • "And Prairie Dogs Weren't Kosher": Jewish Women in the Upper Midwest Since 1855, by Linda Mack Schloff.
    St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1996.
    MHS call number: Reading Room F 358.2 .J5 S35 1996.
  • "Antisemitism," by Hyman Berman.
    In North Country Anvil, no. 46 (winter 1983/84): pp. 31-36.
    MHS call number: Microfilm 686 no. 46.
  • Bridging the Gap Between Metaphor and Reality: Oral History and Written Memoirs as Vehicles for Reexamining the Jewish Immigrant Experience, by Rhoda G. Lewin.
    Typescript, 1979.
    MHS call number: BM 225 .M56 L483 1979.
  • "From Ghettos to Neighborhoods: Jewish Immigration in Minneapolis," by Rhoda G. Lewin.
    In Hennepin History, vol. 50, no. 5 (winter 1992).
    MHS call number: Reading Room F 612 .H52 H42 v.50:5.
  • "‘Gentiles Preferred’: Minneapolis Jews and Employment, 1920-1950," by Laura E. Weber.
    In Minnesota History, vol. 52, no. 5 (spring 1991): pp. 166-182.
    MHS call number: Reading Room F 601.5 .M66 v.52:5, or view an electronic version of the article (PDF).
  • Jews in Minnesota, by Hyman Berman and Linda Mack Schloff.
    St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2002.
    MHS call number: Reading Room BM 223 .M6 B47 2002.
  • The Jews In Minnesota: The First Seventy-Five Years, by W. Gunther Plaut.
    New York: American Jewish Historical Society, 1959.
    MHS call number: Reading Room F 615 .J5 P5.
  • "Overcoming Geography: Jewish Religious Life in Four Market Towns," by Linda Mack Schloff.
    In Minnesota History, vol. 51, no. 1 (spring 1988): pp. 3-14.
    MHS call number: Reading Room F 601.5 .M66 v.51:1, or view an electronic version of the article (PDF).
  • "Political Antisemitism in Minnesota During the Great Depression," by Hyman Berman.
    In Jewish Social Studies, vol. 38, no. 3-4 (1976): pp. 247-264.
    MHS call number: F 615 .J5 B47.
  • "We Rolled up Our Sleeves: A History of the United Jewish Fund and Council and its Beneficiary Agencies," by Marilyn J. Chiat and Chester Proshan.
    St Paul, Minn.: United Jewish Fund and Council of Saint Paul, 1985.
    MHS call number: HV 3192 .S2 C45 1985.
  • Minnesota History index entries that may be useful for this topic:
    • Anit-Semitism
    • a variety of entries beginning with the word Jewish
    • Jews

PRIMARY RESOURCES:

  • Fanny F. Brin Papers.
    This archival collection (1896-1958) contains records of a Minneapolis woman who was involved in social and political movements of the 1920s and 1930s, especially the National Council of Jewish Women, and Jewish welfare and refugee groups in which her husband Arthur was also a leader. There is considerable material on Jewish refugee programs, Palestine, Zionism, and anti-Semitism.
    MHS call number: A/.B858; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 27 boxes and 1 oversize item), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
  • John Bowe and Family Papers.
    This archival collection includes material on Bowe's anti-Semitic activities and writings during the 1930s and 1940s.
    MHS call number: P1473; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for a detailed list of boxes (there are 2 boxes and 2 oversize items).
  • Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota Records.
    This archival collection (1922-1974, bulk from 1945-1970) consists of clippings, reports, publications, and correspondence relating to the investigative activities of this organization created in the 1930s to publicly protest anti-Semitic activity in Minnesota and the United States. Largely organized as subject files (1922-1967), they document organizations, individuals, and publications expressing conservative political, religious, and racial views, as well as a few representing communist organizations. There are also background and reference files on Judaism, Jewish history and culture, and the American Jewish experience; and correspondence, clippings, and other papers relating to Samuel Scheiner's work as the Council's executive director.
    MHS call number: P445; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for a detailed list of boxes (there are 68 boxes), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
  • Miscellaneous Manuscripts Relating to Jews in Minnesota, 1900-1943. Photocopies of typed excerpts from a United States Supreme Court case, Petit v. Minnesota (177 U.S. Reports, p. 164, April 9, 1900) and from a Supreme Court of Minnesota case, State v. Weiss (105 N.W., January 19, 1906), both relating to the observance of Sunday as the day for prohibition of labor, rather than Saturday, as practiced by those of Jewish faith; a list of the names of persons of Jewish faith employed in the Minneapolis public schools (1922); an essay (ca. 1938, 5 pages) entitled "Duluth History" by Harry W. Davis that gives a brief history of the Jewish community of Duluth; and a manuscript (January 1943, 3 pages) by Mrs. H. Y. (Etta Cook) Josephs that gives a history of the Isaac Cook family, which settled in Duluth in 1887.
    MHS call number: P177; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for more details (there are only 4 items).
  • Mount Zion Hebrew Congregation, Congregational Records.
    This archival collection (1853-1958) contains historical data on this St. Paul congregation, including its constitution and bylaws, correspondence and related papers providing information on its routine business and activities, membership and dues, Mount Zion Cemetery affairs, various Jewish religious and social organizations with which the congregation had contact, the new temple constructed at Holly and Avon streets (1900-1910), activity of Jews in World War I, anti-Semitism in Germany and the U.S. in the 1930s, Jewish refugees in the 1930s and 1940s, the military service of congregation members during World War II, and the new temple at Summit and Hamline avenues (1950-1955).
    MHS call number: P758; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for a detailed list of boxes (there are 18 boxes of material).
  • "Questions of Racism," Robert Byrd, producer.
    St. Paul, Minn.: Twin Cities Public Television, [1991?].
    This videotape recording includes a clash between Jewish and Black student groups over anti-Semitic speakers invited to speak at the University of Minnesota.
    MHS call number: Videotape no. 222 (in the A-V Collection; 1 35-minute color videocassette).
  • Gene H. Rosenblum Papers.
    This archival collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, a scrapbook, minutes, legal briefs, and legislative files of Gene Harold Rosenblum, a St. Paul attorney, documenting his involvement in numerous local and national political, civic, and religious organizations. The bulk of the files concern the St. Paul Jewish Council and its later incarnations, the Minnesota Jewish Council, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota, and the Jewish Community Relations Council-Anti-Defamation League of Minnesota and the Dakotas (1953-1977).
    MHS call number: See the green Manuscripts Alpha Notebooks—filed alphabetically under Rosenblum, Gene H.—for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 5 boxes, plus 1 oversize folder of materials), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
  • "We Knew Who We Were: Memories of the Minneapolis Jewish North Side," executive producers, Reva Margolis Rosenbloom and Linda Mack Schloff; producers, Thomas F. Lieberman and Freddie Weisberg; director, Thomas F. Lieberman.
    St. Paul, Minn.: Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, 2000.
    This video recording shows recollections of several generations of North Siders. You will hear how they gained economic security, established an American Jewish way of life in an often-hostile environment, and created the foundation for a better life.
    MHS call number: Videotape no. 869 (in the A-V Collection; 1 70-minute color videocassette).
  • Newspapers that may be useful for this topic:
    • American Jewish World (published in St. Paul, 1915-1927; published in Minneapolis, 1928-present)
    • Saint Paul Jewish News (published 1953-1969)
  • Visual Resources Database subjects that may be useful for this topic:
  • Check the library catalog for other materials.