tv Abraham Lincoln and the Jewish Community CSPAN July 9, 2016 10:32pm-12:01am EDT
felt gratified that an agreement had been reached. but the machinists' union rejected the settlement and the engines of five major airlines across the country remained old. > next on american history tv, abbi gary zola talks about his book, "we called him rabbi abraham -- lincoln and american jewry, a documentary history". zola explores lincoln's relationship with prominent jews and the jewish community's involvement with civil war politics. the national archives hosted his 90-minute event. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] >> a document in our record of
rights exhibit which you would have passed on your way in tonight, marks an episode when president abraham lincoln directly independent -- interseeded for american jews. the document is general grant's to ber 1862 general order expel jews from the department of tennessee. grant blamed jews for smuggling and demanded their immediate removal. jewish citizens of paducah, kentucky, appealed to lincoln, expressing their outrage and lincoln counter manneded grant's order. history cannot be written without the primary sources that tell us august. incident rik lir -- auth incidentically what -- authentically what happened at a particular time.
grant's order to expel jews and lincoln's later order testify to a moment in history that many in the wider public are not aware of, yet it cannot be forgotten, because the records exist to tell us so. by brathing together and publishing the documents in his volume, dr. zola has given access to a large number of primary source documents that present and future scholars can mine in the course of their research. david winefield, writing a review in the journell of illinois state historical society called zola's annotated collection of primary sources a highly accessible narrative and historian erik thorner declared "everyone interested in lincoln and the civil war, students, scholars, and lovers of history alike owe gary zola a debt of thanks for compiling this
fascinating book." o lead us into tonight's we called about him rabbi abraham, we aurn -- turn to laura apelbaum, executive director of the jewish historical society of greater washington. the useum is a steward for synagogue on eighth street and under laura's leadership has played an important role in presenting the history of the importance of the jewish community in metropolitan washington, d.c. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome laura cohen apelbaum. [applause] >> thank you, jim, for that terrific introduction and for
talking so much about dr. zola's book, which is a fantastic read. on the pageds of the book that brings us here tonight, you will encounter several jewish communal lead ears that walked the streets just outside of what is now the national archives. zachary, solomon and simon wolf each had interactions with president lynch -- lincoln detailed in dr. zola's new book. they were among the 2,000 jewish residents of the nation's capital during the civil war. a burgeoning community of immigrants whose experiences were very similar to the jews ack limbcating to their new country. podis.n sent his chiro t to judah benjamin secretly to discuss peace negotiations. this is documented with the
primary source material in dr. zola's research for the first time and david mckenzie, on our staff at the time, went into the confederate states of america papers at gary's dress - request to find the document you will see in the book. adolveo solomon's book shop served as the salon for inteleight count ulse in the city. among the open issues was whether a rabbi could serve as a military chaplain. young lawyer, simon wolf, successfully pleaded clemency to president lincoln for a jewish soldier who had gone awol to visit his mother's death bed. terwards, they invited grant to attend the synagogue.
perhaps in atonement for general orders number 11 that jim talked about. our organization proudly preserveds this special schul, which will be moveded twice efore we build a new people -- museum. on behalf -- behalf of the directors i want to thank the arc i'vists and staff here at the national archives, especially susan clifton, our fifth year of partnering for jewish heritage month. i want to thank the donors who make the visit possible. and i also want top acknowledge the presence of our president, russell smith. dr. zola is also -- also an ordained rabbi and his presence has led to a roomful of esteemed clergy. pezner of g, rabbi
the religious action century -- enter and rabbi donald berlin, rabbi emeritus of the temple in baltimore. gary zola is executive director of the jacob rader marcus center of the american jewish archives and is the edward m. ackerman family distinguished professor of the american jewish experience and reform at hebrew union college in senate. it is the largest free standing center dedicated solely to the study of the american jewish experience the dr. zola has written and electricured on a vast array of topics on the american jewish experience and just reverend -- returned from teaching in israel.
he has served on commissions, he has been a force behind the national steering committee for jewish-american heritage month. internationally he serves on the u.s. commission for the preservation of american heritage abroad. dr. zola will be joined in conversation by erin carlson mast. erin is the executive director of president lincoln's cottage where her work includes everything from historical research tosite development to caur -- cureation. for those who haven't been, it's a great site where lincoln had his summer retreat and drafted the emancination proclamation. 's a not-to-be mf -- not-to-be-missed site. and the book is incredibly timely. it is now my pleasure to invite
dr. gary zola and erin carlson mast to the stage. [applause] erin: thank you, laura. thank you all for joining us here tonight and thank you especially, dr. zola for being ere the garay: pleasure. erin: it was the primary resource documents that led to the title of your book. can you tell us about that? gary: well, i can. let me see if this works. if we turn on power point it will be a prosecutor. omen for my answer to your question.
>> ♪ we are coming father abe ram, 300,000 more, from mississippi and from the new england shore. we leave our wives and children dear we dare not look behind us, we are coming father abraham with 300,000 more! we are come, coming our union to restore, we are coming father abraham with 300,000 more ♪ gary: so the title of this sbook, as you can see, we called him rabbi abraham. the purpose of the book in a broad sense it -- is to try to answer the question of how exactly did that happen? the song you just heard is a very famous civil war song. it was apparently written by a prominent abolitionist by the name of gibbons and became well
known after lincoln called for additional recruits to help defeat the rebels in 1862. and lincoln became known by this terminology, father abraham. so the whole military or many in the military were prefer -- referring to him as father abraham and my question was, how did he become known as rabbi abraham? that came from really this really remarkable document, and i usually use this as the sock doll, you know, as the dramatic conclusion, but we'll start right off with it. the person you are looking at is actually the uncle of supreme court justice brandeis and in fact, some of you know that brandeis, his middle
initial was louis, d. brandeis and that's because he took his unchle's name to honor him. so when i was looking at eulogies i went to louisville and i saw in the secular press he spirity of brandeis -- of dembitz -- he was a delegate at the 1860 presidential convention and they let him give the eulogy in 1865 and it was pro -- reproduced in the newspaper and when i rode -- read the opening lines i couldn't believe my eyes. this is what it said. he opens his eulogy with the words, "friends, you often jocosely, a $25 word
for humorously, rabbi, as if he were one of our nation, one of the seed of our nation but in truth you might have called him abraham the child of our father abraham for indeed of all the israelites throughout the united states there was none who was more thoroughly fitted to the idea aling of what a a scent -- ideal of what descendant of abraham ought to be than lincoln. " this taught me that the jews at least in louisville, kentucky, and i suspect elsewhere, were already referring to him as rabbi. my question was why? erin: to you -- so you had that question. there are so many volumes win written on abraham lincoln.
he is by far one of the most written-about people in human history and you have found the unicorn, the new material to bring to light. what inspired you to write the book? and what were sove the stories you found and what was maybe the most surprising? gary: i i'll tell you, what brought me to write the book is not quite as noble. but i'll tell you and then i'll get to some of the good documents i found. i was involved in helping the nation to celebrate the 350th anniversary of jewish life in this country and i had just become the director of the american jewish archives and i was motivated to do this because my predecessor, the distinguished scholar and historian jacob rader marcus, was very involved in the centenary n of the ter
50 years earlier, so i was just following up in a small way what he did. i had an opportunity to meet many wonderful people here at the national archives, at the library of congress. i enjoyed the experience and i was involved in a commission related to this experience rand not? on the commission said "are you going to be on the lincoln commission?" and i said, "i don't know a thing -- thing about it." they said, "well, you should be on it, zola, there's a whole story about lincoln and the jews." i asked how do you get involved in it. and they said just ask -- ask your did, write to your governor and ask to be appointed. and i happened to know the governor of ohio and i asked and i was appointed, lo and behold, there i was. i found myself in a room of
eople like doris kearns good winn and many of the people who were writing books on lincoln and finally it comes to me and i'm thinking oh, my gosh, what am i going to say, because i don't know a thing, really, about lincoln? and i had not planned to write anything at all. i mean i did come from illinois but i didn't think that was going to impress them. [laughter] so i just mustered every bit of courage i could and i said my name is gary zola. i direct the american jewish archives. i told them what it was and i said i plan to do everything i can to teach the american jewish community about the story of abraham lincoln and the jews, which was all sincere and true. but in the teaching, erin, once i got involved and had to prepare, that's when i discovered there was a whole
story that i wasn't aware of even though i did know a little bit about lincoln and the jews, some of 9 more famous -- the more famous episodes, and i wanted to retell that story. i realized it had been 60 years really since anybody had written seriously on lincoln and the jews. so let me tell you if i can, about one of the famous documents. you already heard i think, jim, maybe laura talked about this fellow. this is abraham lincoln's cyron 0 divet. his - chiropodist, podiatrist. but don't mock him! this man was not just trimming lincoln's toenails. he was a remarkable human being. came here in england and probably was able to meet lincoln because he was a very apable podiatrist and table to give some of the high military
echelon some comfort in their feed and they kept recommending him higher and higher. in fact, here he finally gets to treat lincoln's feet and there you have a real document from the collection where you see dr. zacharie has operated on my feet with great success considerable addition to my comfort. by the way, the important thing is the date on that. september 22, i make mention of that in the book, that's the date the preliminary emancipation proclamation was issued. so you wonder, you know, what was lincoln's day like? amazing. [laughter] but nevertheless, now, to go on, i think laura did mention is and that is that zacharie
was really a person of some caliber and there are many documents which will demonstrate and prove, i've reproduced many of them in the book, that lincoln took him seriously. he was a thoughtful person and he had ideas and lincoln and seward and stanton all had regard for this man. he wads not a buffoon. >> right. gary: he was ambition. -- am bishs and he could be a little bit of a sycophant, but he was an intelligent man. as some know, throughout the course of the war there was an ongoing discussion of whether or not they -- we should try negotiate a peace with the south and bring the bloodshed to on -- an end or whether there should be unconditional victory. as some people who study lincoln know, this is snag he seemed -- he dabbled with this and every time the opportunity
came to negotiate he would eventually back away from it, but apparently, i can't tell the whole pair because i'll, we'll get to only a small area if i get too involved in every zacharie he, actually arranges for a meeting with the brains of the south, judah p. benjamin. and although we have always known that there was a desire for these two people to meet, there was never any concrete evidence, any documentary evidence that the two had actually met and discussed the peace plan, a peace plan. and you're looking at right now an image from the library of congress. this is the actual document which dividend mckenzie -- i don't know. is david in the room? if he's not, david introduced minimum -- him to me and i tried to offer suggestions and
of course the secret is the letter is where buried some place where it shouldn't have been and probably because i was a bad researcher, i sent him to the wrong area and ended up finding this letter. as you can see, i will blow up this one area, i can't read it from where i am sitting but in the context of the letter he said, "i shall go to waushtd and i shall meet with lincoln and i shall tell lincoln that there will be no petition for peace by the south." then he goes on to say i'm going to try to talk sense into lincoln on your behalf and tell him to negotiate peace. at the last little area i've blown up he says, i cannot explain, i don't know what brought us together ult mayely but maybe it will be some are fog good. it's all reproduced in the book. a remarkable document.
there are two examples of wonderful documents i found. by the way, i want to give credit to the southern illinois university press for publishing the book the way it appears. if people enjoy it, then it's their credit, not mine. because when i submitted the manuscript, erin, originally i submitted it as a narrative history with just some documents in the back in an appendix, which was standard. and they said to me, we will consider publishing your work. there's a lot of new material. but we want to recommend that you do it in a different way. every chapter, write about a 10 to 15-page narrative, followed by documents that are illuminated, meaning, by that i mean that this headnotes. and to tell you 9 truth -- the truth, that was a lot more work than i had anticipated. i thought i was down continued -- done and now i had to go back and really reorganize it.
i probably, to tell you the truth, probably wouldn't have done it had i known how much work it was ultimately going to be but in my mind i thought ok, this isn't going so hard. i'll just separate what i was doing and bring the documents to the back of the chapters, blah, blah. anyway, it took a lot longer, but if you like it it is to their credit because it was their idea to say make it very broad in its usage. motorcycle -- make it so that people who just want to readed -- the narrative can just read the first 15, 10 pages of every go ter can learn it but ahead and put the documents at the bask each chapter. that's how that happened. erin: it's so much more satisfying than just footnote because you actually can dive into the source documents. i'm glad they talked you into
doing it that way. you gave a couple of examples of lincoln's interaxes with jewish americans. he was the first to regularly interact with jews prior to arriving to the white house. there was hay major shift in demographickeds that made that possible, right? gary: that's right. laura: -- erane -- erin: so what made that possible? gary: it's been generally agreed by scolards that abraham lincoln probably when he was getting ready to run for senate or to be, he wanted to be chosen to be senator and, by the legislate eyre and ultimately when he ran for president probably knew more jews than all of his 15 predecessors put together. but as my teacher and colleague , dr. jonathan sarna says, when he was a boy probably 9 only
jews he knew were those in the bible. so the question is, what happened between those 50 years? and dr. sarna's book, i'm steaming a page just to show you what a generous scholar i am as i'm promoting his book, too, there's a whole page in which you have a description of all the different jews that lincoln knew, including those who were distant connections and those who were really in a -- an inner circle. and the answer to your question, erin, has to do with immigration. you are looking at the good old midwest, what was called in those days the northwest territory or in the early part of the 19th century and in is -- this is a period if you stop and think about it in 1809, there were no major urban areas in any of this part of the world. think about cincinnati, think about st. louis, think about
chicago, these places were either nonexistent or barely existent. by mid century, cincinnati, ohio, as an example, becomes the fifth largest urban area in the united states of america. so this is a part of the nation which explodes. and what scholars, not myself but others, have shown is that huge numbers of immigrants came. many from central europe. from german extraction or what would be the german states, austria and the alsace region and these immigrants who came and settled here, at some point 70 to 80% of all those who were moving at some point in the 19 ssh 1840's to 1860579s were from abroad. in that crowd were german jews. or from what ultimately would
become germany, the german states. both non-jews and jews together, many of them who came here had been very involved in the liberal revolutions in europe and had been disappointed by the reactionary responses and the failures of these revolutions. when they calm -- come over here, they're already primed, many of them, for these new and liberal ideas of the north. that isn't to say, we have to remember that some of those same people went down into the south and some settled down there and some became slave holders. but be that as it may, that's ue, many of these people who settled in this part of the country become very tive in politics, in community affairs. very concerned about the welfare of society and abolition, even though they may
not have been formally abolitionists. but the disdain for slavery was important to them. and the last thing i'll say and then we can go on is that no american politician who in that part of the world who hoped to have broad communal support, national support, not little regional support, would be able to do so by offending these foreigners because there was no one else who would vote for you. this was a huge part of the population. so lincoln, among others, he wasn't the only one but lincoln was probably very much shaped, no doubt about it, by the fact that he was used to hearing people who didn't speak english perfectly. he was used to seeing people who had different customs and i believe it's logical that he would be -- become accustomed to that and he would adjust to that kind of a reality and that played a role in his
experience, the kind of man he was, among many other things that shaped him erin: we know also that he bought a german language newspaper so we know he was trying to speak directly to them in their language and he had a very different response fought immigrants than hose in the no-nothings party. gary: i'll show you a slide of his buddy abraham jonas but there's an exchange in the book that i reproduced where jonas tells him in the 1840's, i believe, maybe the early 1850's that he's been acudse -- accused, somebody accused him of being a member of president no-nothing party, that is, anti-foreign initiative and lincoln is appalled by this. there is a back and forth with them. so yes, i think that, i think that -- i don't want to make lincoln sound in this instance
utilitarian uniquely, meaning that's the only reason he took these positions, because he had presidential ambitions or something. i think that was the kind of human being he was. but i'm trying to say that i like to think that as a young man and you grow up and you are used to -- i'll give you other examples of this in a minute, but as you are used to seeing people who don't speak like you do, who are not accustomed to the way things are done in that part of the country, who are obviously different, they have different background, different cultural norms, this i think to incline some people being more open, as opposed to others who want to close down. eroin: littles -- erin: let's talk about the jonas family because they in many ways illustrate what was happening during the civil war. they were a divided family once
the war cargese right? and that unique relationship he with jonas. gary: yes. lincoln, as he lived in springfield, it's coincidental that as he arrived at quite a distinguished point in his career, this is the point when jews begin to move into sprinlfield and become pizz people in the community of springfield and lincoln becomes friends with many of them. we know this from the documents, that here is a man who was one of the founders of he hebrew congress regation in d congregation in springfield, a man by the nalm. ugh.us hammersla he was a haberdasher. and he was a friend of the family, he escorts mary todd
lincoln to the inauguration in 1860. lincoln also met a lot of people while he was traveling around on the eighth circuit. one much the stores he would visit belonged to a man named henry rice. so apparently president lincoln liked henry rice at least enough to endorse general mcclellan's wish that rice be appointed a sutler. for those who don't know what that is, that's an important position, a patronage position that gives a person the opportunity to provide the military with goods and services and if you had those sutler buttons or coins that enabled you to do that, that's in a way like being the government press or something. in other words, you have a special in to selling to quite a large captive audience. and here i took this picture
myself. this is the grave -- i was so happy to meet him, even though was so quiet -- mr. solvenstein. there is a lot of material on him. e had a shop in a place called athens, illinois. those of you from the east coast, i would like to educate you. i don't want you to make fools of yourself by mispronouncing he word a-t-h-e-n-s as "athens," because then everybody in illinois will laugh at you. yt thmplet -- ay -- aythens.
but here's is the building, the store. he -- lincoln had been there many times and if you go on the internet, i think if you look up athens, saltenstein, whose nickname was olt saled -- salty and rogers building ug -- you will see that apparently there is still a little area in that building, a historical building, dedicated to lincoln's memory because lincoln apparently liked him so much that whenever he came through he would sleep in olt salty's store. so if you want to see where washington or jefferson slept you have to go to the east coast. but if you want to see where lincoln slept, you go to athens, illinois now the jonas brothers -- oh, my goodness, these are not the real scombroneas brothers! [laughter] these are the real jonas brothers. joseph and abraham joanas.
joseph jonas, he is a very famous and important person in cincinnati, ohio because he's known to be, he argued that he was the first jew in cincinnati, ohio. we know today from documentary evidence he wasn't the first jew in ohio. however, he lived to be very old and wrote his memoirs, so all of us involved in the preservation of documents, this is an important lesson because if you preserve your own record and you outlive everyone else, it allows you to perhaps say whatever you like. you can shape him. [laughter] . he brought his brother over here from plymouth, england. that was probably a stopping point they learned english and learned to be watchmakers. p and for those of you who are erudite in american history, these two boys married the
mendacas of gershon cious of new york. and theen these two girls came to cincinnati. i don't want anybody to generalize about this, because it's very unkind, but they all died in cincinnati. but they died very young and joseph and abraham both remarried but abraham was unmap -- happy -- unhappy, evidently in cincinnati so he left his brother. he went first to kentucky and then to a city in illinois called quincy. and in quincy he ran into a young man who had also just become a lawyer and that young man was another abraham, and this is probably how lincoln looked when he met abraham jonas back in that day. these two men become very good
friends, and i think the story you are leading up to, erin, is that abraham jonas, who had about five or six children, some of theme -- them did fight for the south and some of them did fight for the north or were supporters of the north and one of his sons was in jail, had been captured. and just to show you the kind of loyalty that lincoln had to his friend, who i don't -- i have pretty much a whole chapter on this, but it's impossible to do this briefly. all i can tell you is that abraham jonas was not simply a peripheral friend of lincoln. these two people, abraham lincoln and rabe -- abraham jonas were not only very good friends, they were political allies and clearly jonas played a role in getting his career started. the two of these fellows both lead the whig party at the same time.
they're involved in starting the republican party in the early 1850's. jonas clearly played a role in maneuvering the nam -- nomination so that lincoln could be considered. and abraham lincoln did not forget his friend. jonas is dying of cancer in 18 4. lincoln had appointed -- 1864. lincoln had appointed him postmaster general of quincy, which is a patronage position, in payment of the friend ship and when he is dying, the family appeals to lincoln and asks lincoln if he will ask the son who fought for the con federacy, charles, to go up and visit his father. his son makes it there a day and a half or so right before the father pass as way and 9 family -- the family never, never forgot what lincoln did. and then if that wasn't enough, lincoln appoints the wife, the
-- the widow to take over her husband's position. so this is of course, you don't need to see this but this is a letter lincoln writes to him long before this incident i described. and i've underlined the line where lincoln says to him in a letter, "you are one of my most valued friends." and anyone who has studied lincoln knows lincoln weighed his words very wear -- carefully. pardon the latin, he was not a schmoozer. [laughter] in that way. so lincoln really, i think this was probably of all his friends, probably his closest friend who was jewish. i always wanted to know, why were the lincoln-douglas debates in quincy. it wasn't until i studied this episode i realizes that it was really because of jonas. jonas lived there and jonas brought the debates there, among other places.
erin: right. gary: let's see if i have anything else to tell you about -- erin: you have -- gary: oh, yeah, you will like this story. one of the things i try to explain in the book is i try to explain that in addition to everything else, lincoln had remarkable human qualities. we know that from so many things we read and obviously he just had a way of -- he knew how to deal with people and part of that was learning how to deal with people who were not like him. o this man at schuler -- altschuler is a bavarian jew who imgrates in the late 1840's, decides he wants -- wants to be a photographer and he hears in 1857 that abraham lincoln, the famous lawyer, is coming to town so m -- when
lincoln shows up, atschuler has walk he and to say, mr. lincoln, i would like to you come ofe to my shop so i can take a tick -- picture of you." now, lincoln didn't know this man at all. i imagine he spoke with an accent. if all you have in those days were these few pictures that might appear in a press or some place, the last thing you would want is someone to take a godawful picture of i and have that used. erin: although lincoln would have a sense of humor about that too! gary: you are right. but he brings a colleague named cunningham with him and that person would later write about the incident and this picture i'm showing is you a recreation of the incident. what apparently happened is he
shows up at the shop wearing his famous white top coat, lincoln and this upsets, you know, at -- alted and schuler, who is going to miss his opportunity to have a great picture and he said, would you go back and change to the dark coat? lincoln says i didn't bring it. altschuler says would you be willing to wear mine? lincoln says sure. and lincoln is 6'4 -- 6'4". and he looked something like this. but apparently lincoln thinks this is so funny, he cannot stop laughing and every time the man who get under the cover
to take a picture, lincoln would not stop laughing. he had to sit still, brace your head, this is why people don't smile in patrick -- pictures because the movement of your cheeks could blurt picture. he finally says, tell me a joke, if you make me laugh it will get it out of my stim. it -- this goes on for a lightning -- long time. p the doesn't give up and they're there for a long time. this is the famous picture. you look at the corner of lincoln's lips, it looks as if he is pursing his lips to try hard not to laugh. who knows? but it's very famous too because it's without his beard. and last, i love this story. abraham cohen is a well-known figure in american jewish history because he wrote a lot of memoirs about his life and was an active leader in the
jewish community. n fact he was the president of the first hebrew congregation in chicago. but more important to lincoln, when he meets cohen, cohen is the sitting city clerk of the city of chicago. and he's a democrat, he's not a republican. so apparently they're introduced and according to cohen's daughter, lincoln manages somehow to sweep mr. cohen off his feet and evidently according to here -- her, they discuss the hebrew bible. and some of up know lincoln used to always say that he was not highly educated and the few things he knew he only knew limited things but that which he knew he had read again and again and again and of course the hebrew bible was one such thing. apparently he persuaded this past ptd of the congregation
that he had an appreciation for the heebue bible. so according to the daughter, the democrat becomes a supporter of abraham lincoln and when lincoln wins the election and it about to head off to washington, people are sending to springfield presents for the president, wishing him well and mr. cohen draws on silk this colorized version of what i'm about to show you. it's a flag, and on the bars and stripes he writes the hebrew verses from the first chapter of the book of joshua, "be strong and courageous, be not afraid, be not dismayed for the lord your god is with you wherever you go." who knows, maybe this was a wish for lincoln's welfare or what have you. and i actually found a glass negative in the museum in chicago which they didn't even
nope they had and that is how the colorized flag, that's a glass repreux. -- preproduction. that's all that's left of the flag. it hung in the white house according to the secretary who wrote a thank you letter but it disappeared after lincoln's death. but to me it symbolizes again how lincoln had this winning way about his ability to reach out and to communicate to jews, that he had an appreciation and openness to them. :even if es -- erin they were political adversaries. so lincoln certainly knew about them and we've heard about general order 7 which treats jews as a class. can you please tell us what's
behind grant's order and what the public's response was? gary: erin, i have -- here is probably the only time you will ever hear say -- zola say i'm not sure i agree with dr. sarna. because he knows a heck of a lot more than zola about almost everything. if you haven't read it, you should read his wonderful book years d in -- here a few ago, it's called "when grant expelled the jews." let me see if i can move to that document real quick. this is about the chain lain si. i'm going to skip over it. ut with grant we know that other generals were having these problems with, let's refer to them as profiteers.
people who would go into the south, buy up cotton or other products, bring them back totd north, make profits on those, gouging people in the north and of course enriching people in the south or at least putting money into the economy the there is a great story, no doubt it's true, and that is that his father, his grandfather, his -- with two jewish businessmen, the mack brothers from cincinnati, go down to holly springs and go down and try to persuade the general to give them permission to do this. according to what -- dr. sarna, if i understand what he has written, is that grant is so inflamed and angry, he already knows this has bain problem with profiteers and here are these two jewish businessmen who actually enlisted his
father's help to try to persuade him. he can't take it out on the son, so instead he takes it out on his -- these jewish business mern and he ejects the jews. i'm going to show you,, this is the letter we heard about earlier, this is the letter from the national archives. i'm grateful to the archives for giving me a facsimile or scan of this document. it's in parts, i pasted it together and i'm going to show you the key phrases here. as you see in the opening lines it says there, i'll circle it " you, "the jews as a class and there -- "having dial -- violated all the department orders," and so forth are expelled and have 24 hours in which to leave. i think the secret might be, this is my theory, might be in he words "the jews as a class"
because that word, in other words, i wonder, i wonder how nfused the language was with profiteer, peddleer. jew pedestrianler, jew profiteer. if you stop and think about how in the south so many people will say things like, i got a good bargain on this, i'm going to jew you down on it." of course for the jew this is an appalling term to use that but i have personally melt so many people who had no idea that there -- they're using the word j-e-w. they may think they are using c-h-e-w or something else. or to take another example, somebody would say when you ave a little boy, "i've gun --
been gypped" and it's only when you are made aware of the fact that you are making a slur on gypsies, so i'm, i'm theory is i'm wondering how blurred the identity was between jewish profiteers, jewish -- jews as a class -- i -- he doesn't say the jews, the men, women, children, the entire community. he says the jews as a class and i'm wondering, this is my question, in his blurred mind at this time, and he later, grant will say i regret, if i had thought about this for one minute i wouldn't have written that, and if that's true, it seems to me that that's at least as possible as the idea two e was angry at these jews for getting hisss father involved the -- his father
involved. there are so many stories about how to explain it. it's almost inexlickable and so upsetting because it's the only time in all american history that the jews were banished from american trert. and if it weren't for lincoln who immediately -- here's the rest of the story. this man is the great hero of the story. this is cesar j. castle from paducah. again a german immigrant to -- who comes to the country and settles in pad you can ooh, kentucky. i like to tell people if it weren't for the jews of paducah, kentucky, god knows where we would be. kaskel is a businessman. he's not a profiteer at all but it so happened -- hams that the provost marshall decides he's going to act on this and he throws all the jews of paducah
out. men, women, children. he gets off the boat and says he -- i went to see the famous rabbi, who said don't worry, i'm going to take this up and we'll have a national protest. kaskel is not satisfied and he gets on trains, on carriages and two weeks laying -- later he's in washington. two days after the issuance of the emancipation proclaimation and with help he gets in at 8:00 at night to see lincoln. he shows lincoln his expulsion order which he's carried all the way with him. and newspaper orders -- erin: and that's an important thing, right, because people doubted it was true. gary: lincoln looked at him and said i don't believe you. and then the famous exchange, i tried hard to document the
source, if anybody can help me i would be very gratedful. it's such a if story, it goes that kaskel says to lincoln, here's my expulsion orders and lincoln when he sees it in black and white he looks at kaskel and says, "so i'm given to understand that the children of israel have been expelled canaan?" appy land of and kaskel said, that is corrected, plptd, which is why we have come unto father abraham's bosom for protection. and lincoln says that protection you shall have. and he revokes the expulsion order the this is adolphinous lomon's -- i think laura was mentioning this -- solomon sends a telegram to the head of
st. louis and the most important says "i have just seen general halleck --" that's because he turns to the ongressman and kaskel and says "take this to general haskell -- halleck tomorrow, i'm ordering him to revoke the order." so here the document says "just seen general halleck, who revoked general grant's vile order on the 4th. that would be the day after the 3 rrd, if i'm not mistaken. the day it was received here. so it was received at night and the next day it was revoked immediately. it took a while before it was fully revoked but the point is that lincoln's heroism is he immediately sees the injustice of this and revokes the order
and becomes very famous for doing that. erin: let's go back to the chaplain controversy if we can. because this is another -- this is one of the few instances in which the specificity of it being christian causes the problems. so lincoln asks congress for a bill to raise a volunteer army for each state. the proposed bill includes a provision for relationship. al commandeers to appoint chaplains of, quote, some christian denomination." gary: and of course jews had already begun enlisting. this becomes a major to-do. jews are indig nanlt, so in new york there is an organization which had just recently come into existence, called the board of delegates of american israelites and this board decides it will take up the mission and try to persuade. they want lincoln to change the
order i think by executive fiat. they send this man, rabbi arnold fishel, in washington, d.c. in 1861 in the first year of his presidency. this is in december and fishel says, he goes down to washington, they put him up in a hotel and on days when lincoln was seeing patronage citizens who would come in on whatever days of the week he was doing that, he was doing that excessively the he shows up, decides to wait in line and says to the man in front of him, how long have you been here? the man retorts, this is my third day waiting to see the president. so fishel doesn't know ha is going to be. but suddenly somebody says where is the rabbi and they bring him all the way into the office. he said he was unprepared -- unprepared. suddenly he finds himself
sitting in front of lincoln. he pulls himself together. makes his case. all the documents. he asks lincoln to change the order. lincoln says, "i want to think about it. give me an opportunity. come back tomorrow and i'll see i tomorrow and give you my answer." when he comes back the next day, lincoln is not there. he's not available and fishel is worried he's gotten the bum's rush. he goes back to his hotel room. several days pass. two, three, four days pass. he doesn't know what to do. should he go to new york? return home? they're paying for his hotel room 78 then he receives a telegram which elates him. unfortunately he was so elated he wrote the actual wording of the telegram into the telegram he sends to the people in new york who paid his way and if he hadn't, we wouldn't know what
was in the telegram because the telegram itself is apparently 4r0679 just a little section, the most important part is underlined. lincoln says i'm not going to have have -- do this single-handedly. i want to work with congress and get theam -- them to revamp it entirely. this he does succeed in doing in five months. lincoln worked -- i provide the document -- lincoln worked behind the scenes to make sure that this happened. he was not passive. he's very active in making sure that that takes place. so lincoln again sees the a military chaplaincy that only christians are able to serve their people and it's under lincoln that the first jewish chaplain in the history of the united states is appointed. these items that we're talking about, lincoln's presidential accomplishments with the jews,
meaning the rev okation of the order, the chaplaincy law and one other item that i talk with in the book having to do with the trying to christianize america, these archievements, actions that lincoln will take that endear him to the jews and make him a larger than life figure to his contemporaries. erin: right. and that continues on and builds in his legacy. gary: right. erin: on your dedication page you have one of my favorite quotes, "the struggle for today is not all for today, it's for a vast future also." it's for rabbi weiss, i pleervings who reminded america that the way america treated its jews would be a barometer of freedom for the future. could you please speak to lincoln's legacy and how it has grown over time?
gary: well, lincoln's legacy, let me skip ahead to it. lincoln's legacy begins with the jews when he's assassinated, meaning his memorial. how he is memorialized. this was to me overwhelming when i began to read both in the german and the english sermons or eulogies on lincoln. what was so astonishing, everyone knows that he was eulogized all over the country but i couldn't help but see gain and again how lincoln was constantly being judaizid. in other words they prosecute -- were transforming him into a jew. benefit jam rinl zole, you may know that name because his daughter henrietta was the
founder of hadassah, the women's organization. he says even while he, lincoln, was not flesh of our flesh, he was spirit of our spirit and essence of our essence. his soul and heart, his entire nature, his burning love for all which is good for his country, for freedom and humanity, and the ways in which he explained the lofty ideas and tried to bring them close to everyone's understanding are ll truly judeache and -- judaic and in truly jewish spirit. hen in cincinnati, ohio, rabbi lilienthal cried when they handed him the notice on shabbat dworning morning on passover that lincoln's been murdered. he cries on the pulpit and he can't go on. that's what he says, he tnt -- can't tnt. and when he time lil pulls
himself strth -- together, he quotes the scripture, "a great man in israel has fallen." i always like to say, and i see some of my distinguished colleagues are here, we say that no one can outcould -- outdo our sainted founder whether it comes to blarny. hat is mayor eyes -- isaac maier wise. the same man who you know, in my book, i pointed out didn't like lincoln and actually literally five moos -- months before this eulogy, he literally refers to lincoln in fingerprint -- print as an idiot. but whether eulogizing him, look what he says. "request, "brethren, the lamented abraham lincoln believed himself to be bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh and he species -- supposed himself to be a descendant of hebrew parentage.
he said so in my presence. [laughter] and in -- indeed he possessed many of the features of the hebrew race, both in countenance and character. which of course is ridiculous because dinch everyone knows lincoln did not have red hair. [laughter] erin: i love it! ary: erin is the mother of a redhead so she can appreciate that. nd some say zola, you are only quoting reform rabbimentse that's not true. union esident of the thielological center was in love with lynch -- lincoln. and later he writes a whole
article comparing abraham lincoln to ab bye hillel of the talmud and on lincoln's 00th birthday no less than the founding president and great ledered -- leader of of yeshiva ufertd, the orthodox institution in new york, he gave a whole address honoring lincoln on his birthday. i'm quoting that address. he says if lincoln can justly be called the first typical american, he can more justly be said to represent the summation of all the noblest qualities in judaism. this to me, it goes on and on and continues to the present day. it's to me unbelievable the everybody embraces and wants to, you know, find a piece of lincoln. but i think that what's really remarkable is that there is this tendency among jews to want lincoln to actually be one of them.
erin: right. gary: it's almost as if this remarkable human being, there has to be some jewish thread woven into that fabric. [laughter] it has to be the in other words it's not just we admire him. we want to show how he represents certain ideals. it's almost as if to say he has to have, it's in his fame -- name, his face, his beard. he has to be one of us! [laughter] that's what smcht people -- some of the people have said. if you don't believe me, go home -- there's good reason not to believe me -- but go home and look on the internet and just type in lincoln and jew and you will come across two or three different sites which are trying to prove to you that lincoln literally was, could desentant ave been a
-- descendant of the jewish people. i'm not just mocking that. i knee -- see that as a less n, a demonstration of what i try to argue in this book, which is simply stated that even as lincoln americanizes the jews, zing lincoln. udai erin: great. thank you so much. we're going to move to questions and answers. [applause] there are microphones on either side nch the auditorium. please line up behind them. looks like we're ready right here. let's start with up. >> dr. zola, i'm a college student here in the washington, one rea and your book is of the most interesting books on this topic that i've read,
d for me one of the most meaningful aspects of your book was the story about lincoln pardoning the young jewish soldier who went absent without leave to visit his mother on her eth deathbed. one thing i'm wondering, i wonder what your thoughts are about this, i'm wondering whether part of this -- what motivated lincoln to pardon this young jewish soldier was his own, lincoln's own memories of ms. -- his mother passion away when he was a child. i'm wondering if you think it's possible that lynn len's own childhood experiences of losing his mother as a child inspired or motivated limb in some way to make the decision to pardon this young jewish soldier? gary: well, thank you for your kind words very much about my book and thank you for a good
question like that. i'm -- i'll begin by saying what i'm about to say is really just an opinion and it's not necessarily anchored in great scholarship but i think it's common sense that most of us, beings are shaped by these experienced we have in youth and childhood. there have been many scholars that have written books on lincoln's disposition, on the loss not only of his mother but f a beloved woman he wanted to marry early, anne rutledge, who he loved and lost to death. and others have written about his father as not a very supportive human being. you piece all of this together -- i don't want to get into psycho history, not that there's anything wrong with that. i think that can be very i will umineating -- illuminating, i'm
not an expert in that in any way, except to say this that it makes good sense and one sees in so much of lincoln's documented story, not make-believe but documented, this deeply compassionate heart. even when it's not dealing with jewish deserters in general i mean it's been pointed out that lincoln's generals and -- and others are constantly on him to be stricter in terms of exacting discipline for people who run away and so forth and lincoln is hesitant to do that. incoln is so puncht ileus -- punchilious about examining this story about the native american indians, i'm not an expert in this whole area, but which lincoln is often criticized for but apparently i'm told he goes through all
the records one by one and he seems to have a very caring heart. i 3er7b8ly believe -- and i personally believe the answer to your question, without having studied this in a primary fashion is that it makes common sense that your thoughts are correct. erin: thank you. sir? >> dr. zola, i have two questions. one is a trivial question to which you will probably say no. i'm sitting here thinking were you related to emeem zola and the drafeuse 2k dreyfuss situation and -- i'm, i keep sigh -- saying maybe you have someone in your family. gary: well, that would be han -- an honor. of course you know em aisle zola was not jewish the that doesn't necessarily plane ything, but the best i can offer you is that my name was
clade from a russian name right around the time of the clemency or dreyfus and since zladowicz, one form of my name, or the other form that both appear in documents, neering of which are naturally inclined that zola, i, i theorize ossible hi this was the very jewish tradition of honoring someone nonjewish who was heroic to the jews, just like al exander or cyrus and many other jews were given the name zola during this period, sometimes as a middle name or first "time" -- name. so i can't prove it but it makes a nice wishful thinking the >> now let me ask my deeply serious question. in the 1850's a lot of the german jews came from europe, as you mentioned, and they
invested a lot of their lives in things in the south. cotton industry, shipping. future maybe the republicans, the alolitionists, felt that this is a group that's not located in the north that's not going to allow the country to eliminate slavery and will be bad and maybe that was in the back be grant's -- of grant's father's head or whatever or maybe lincoln understood this, that he had enemies because of economic reasons. so in studying this, how would the jews in new york or in ston or in the east who were against abolition feeling about it? because, you know, there was a
very controversial time in the 1850's, who would go to war and who would not? if your whole career is based on the investments in the south, way -- which a lot of jews were -- gary: well, i'll say this. there were examples of -- let's take isaac maier wise, his newspaper "the israelite," still today the oldest anglo-jewish paper in continuous publication -- that paper's major readers were in the midwest and the south. i think many, many researchers plebe that one of the reasons wise was at the very least disinterested in war breaking out and certainly was not going to which -- write or get himself involved in the topic of slavery was because so many
of his readers were there. so there's an example of something like that. and there i'm sure were businessmen, many who fell into that cat goldberg. there -- cat egg ory. there were also people in the north, as you know, who would have liked to have seen the war brought to an end and settled and there were jews in that group, too, who felt that enough death had taken place. so yes, it's a complicated story. basically i don't know if this is the question you're asking but basically, we often would like to think, i think jews would like to think that in the matter of slavery, in light of our jewish history, the broader context, that we behave in a conscious and self way in opposition to slavery but the facts well -- really
don't bear that out. we, there were jews who fought slavery. there were jews who had slaves. and it more or less breaks down in accordance with the general population. more or less. in this way it's in contra dis tinktion to the civil rights era of the 1950's and 19 0's. in those days the eagerness to belong, the opportunities tho -- that they found wherever they came in this country, whether the south or the north, jofrlse almost everything and they wanted to be a part of the community in which they found themselves and which accepted them so readily. i hope that answers your question. >> yes, thank you. erin: actually one of your primary source documents i found most starting -- startling was the diary of
eleanor cohen. the language is shocking especially in the wake of lincoln's assassination the gary: yeah, i tried to bring a few of those. again, the press deserved -- zeshes credit for this. and for those uven who write books, if there are people in the room doing research, i am just say it's always very difficult to receive criticism from your peers and have them come back after you have worked hard on something and say why don't you do this and why don't you do that? you want to they will them, why don't you do something, right? [laughter] but here's a case where i thought they maybe were being a little hard on me and they wanted me to work harder in an area and i weant back and i think it was helpful and they wanted me to show more about jews who didn't like lincoln during this period. i've brought a number of documents but one of the most startling is of a young woman
whose diary has survived. her name was eleanor cohen and she's from the south. i believe from charleston. and maybe columbia. she's -- but she's from the deep south and her diary is largely filled with a romance, stories about her boyfriend and so yans -- fiance and forth. a young girl. but she writes on april 30, her entry is that she's heard that lincoln and johnson and seward have all been assassinated. and of course there was, that was part of what was intended. and then she writes something i'm going to just paraphrase. she says "good. i hope they all rot in hell" or something like that. she expresses real disdain for lincoln and that he deserved
what he got and he's ruined our country land. then she goes on blithely to speak about her boyfriend again and so forth. but it does show you that there were surely jews, and i point out there were jews in, on the west coast in california who have been documented for, you know, cheering when they hear that lincoln was assassinated. so there were these examples. but -- but largely lincoln quickly becomes a hero, even in the south it doesn't take all that long before, you know, lincoln becomes lionized there as well. erin: all right. we have time for one more question. >> hi, i would like to point out that not only was president lincoln assassinated on good frid -- friday >> he was assassinated on passover and in the peterson house there were 16 doctors in
attendance, one was charles lieberman, who cut of a lock of his hair and presented it through the surgeon general to mary lincoln. so there's a jewish connection there be in the peterson house. gary: yes. i make note of that in the book. i mention dr. lieberman, absolutely. >> a funny story, robert rose one, who wrote this book -- gary: yeah, i just saw robert rosen last week. >> book about jewish con red -- confederates. he's excoriating the mack brothers and i person gets up in the audience, says "i'm a december end antd of the mack brothers." gary: that's true. that's how jonathan sarna begins his book, with that funny incident. the macks are still in cincinnati. no doubted about it. erin: do you have one more story you would like to share with us? gary: i thought i would share,
this last -- you'll forgive me on all my -- [laughter] gary: two goats that i wanted to end with -- quotes that i wanted to end with. one i loved. this is from portnoy's complaint. in there the lead character is musing about two statues that he sees, one of washington and one of lincoln and he describes them both and he says "washington, i must confess, leaves me cold. maybe it's the horse that he's leaning on a horse. at any rate, he is obviously -- he is so obviously a goy. but lincoln! i could cry. ook at him sitting there, so exhausted. how he labored for the downtrodden, as will i." you know? but the --
[laughter] >> but the most touching story that i've come across in a contemporary sense and i will end with this, i wish i could tell you that i dug this up myself, but it's a story that was retold in a book, i showed the cover, by andrew ferguson, the author of -- he contributes to the review, i believe. he wrote a book in 2006 called "land of lincoln." it's not a history of lynn will not d lincoln. what he does is he goes around america and he visits sites related to lincoln, he meets interesting people who have interesting lincoln memorabilia. it's all about the cultural impact of lincoln and he tells a story that he went to see the museum, the new museum in springfield and there in springfield he's staying at the
hilton hotel, and he says that while he's in the lobby, he's discussing with the general manager why he's there, and the general manager says, "i have to tell -- tell you this story that just happened a few weeks ago." and he says that he, a man came to stay at the hilton, and this man was very elderly, and the man clearly had parkinson's disease and he was walking with a walker and the general manager and others in the hotel know -- in thed that he was unstable on his feet and they were concerned and he seemed to be by himself. they tell the general manager that this man is asking about how to take a cab from the hotel to the lincoln memorial. to lincoln's tomb. he wants to go to lincoln's tomb.
so the general manager decides i'm going to take you. so he puts him in his car, takes him to the tomb. he says he goes into the tomb and there by lincoln's grave, he cries. and he comes out of the tomb and they get back in the car and as he's going back to the hotel he finally, the manager has apparently the fortitude to say, "i couldn't help but notice how emotional you were. i heard you crying. could you explain, would you tell me what that was about?" and the man proceeds to tell him that when he was a little boy, he was in the concentration camp, and that he was frightened for his life and that he says that, he tells the manager that he had a dream. he had learned approximate
lincoln in school in europe, and he had a dream and in this dream lincoln came to him and this is what he says. when he was in the concentration camp and he was all alone in his cell, it was the worst time of his life, and he didn't think he could go on any more and he said, mr. lincoln came to him, mr. lincoln stood right in front of him, just like i'm standing in front of you, and mr. lincoln said to him, you never forget, all men are created equal. this is true for all men, for all time. and these men who would do this thing to you, who put you here, they are no better than you. you are their equal because all men are created equal. you keep remembering this and
you persevere, you will be all right. " and he goes on to tell the general manager that his whole life he had made up his mind he was going to to and pay homage to the president, and now at this particular time in his life he made up his mind he was going to do it and i always feel that of all the examples that one could give of how lincoln's memory, that's what partially my book is about, not just lincoln back then but how judaize ecade, jews, lincoln and make him a useful support for the american p experience or for their own experience. i don't see there could be much more of a touching story than this one and a good pun -- one i think on which to end and i wanted to thank all of you for
coming. [applause] erin: : "we called him rabbi abraham." the book is right outside. i hope you buy it and join us for the book signing the this was a pleasure, thank you so much, gary. gary: a pleasure. wonderful, wonderful. >> you're watching american history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span 3. ollow us on twitter at c-spanhistory for our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. >> could 5 g mobile connectivity be right around the corner? nday on "the communicators,"
kathleen abernathy talks about 5g and what it means for the u.s. she's -- she'll also discuss why 5 sfmplet needed for the internet of things, self-driving cars and communications reality. >> the goal is to say we've got the spectrum, we've got vision thing going about where we want to go with wireless and we're going to push ahead to ensure that the u.s. maintains its global leadership in the ireless arena. and i think that's essential because it's an area watch the communicators monday night at 8:00. on lectures in