Holocaust and Georgia

The Holocaust was a systematic approach to eliminating Jews in Europe by Adolf Hitler, the Nazi’s leader. It’s estimated that 6 million Jews were murdered during the war. The impact of the Holocaust on Georgians during WWII was minimal. The Jewish community has been a part of Georgia history since its founding in 1733. Jews continued to settle throughout Georgia over the next two centuries.[1]

The Jewish population would grow and thrive tremendously in Atlanta. Steered away from farming by historical circumstances (for example, many of the governments in Europe imposed restrictions on their owning land), Jews across Georgia tended to gravitate toward nonagricultural work. Thus the history of Georgia’s Jews finds most of them clustered in the more urban areas, especially Savannah and Atlanta; the latter has become the center of Georgia’s largest Jewish population although there were lots of small stores across the state.  One of the most historical buildings in Atlanta is the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Synagogue which began construction in 1875.

There were many Jewish leaders from Georgia during WWII are; Jacob Rothschild and Harold Hirsch. Rothschild served as rabbi for the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation, Atlanta’s oldest and most prominent Jewish synagogue, also known as “the Temple.” Throughout his rabbinate, Rothschild forged close relationships with members of the city’s Christian clergy, helped to engineer Atlanta’s moderate political consensus, and distinguished himself as a charismatic spokesperson for civil rights.[2] In 1936 the Coca-Cola Company attorney Harold Hirsch helped reorganize Atlanta’s Jewish social service agencies. Nowadays, the Georgia Legislature acknowledges the Holocaust annually with a ceremony; many prominent figures attend throughout the state including the Governor. Also, located in Atlanta are The William Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum, Celebrating Jewish culture, embracing diversity, and promoting social justice.[3] During WWII the Holocausts impact on Georgians was minimal however, it has left a lasting impact on Georgia and the Jewish heritage is celebrated throughout the state.

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[1] http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-3169&hl=y

A brief overview of Jewish history throughout Georgia. Jews have been a part of Georgia history since its founding. During WWII many prominent Jews lived in Atlanta. Highlights main characters in Jewish Georgian history.

[2] http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Multimedia.jsp?id=m-2854

Picture of The Hebrew Benevolent Synagogue

[3] http://www.thebreman.org/

Holocaust museum in Atlanta, The Breman celebrates and commemorates the Jewish experience and the universal themes of diversity and human dignity. This is accomplished by collecting, preserving, interpreting and teaching Jewish values, culture and history. All of this is inspired by the dedication and courage of the Jewish people. As such, the museum desires to have an impact on behavior and promote mutual respect and understanding.