Saturday, 2 November 2013

Jean Shuster Peavy: Judenhass

Judenhass (2008)
Art by Dave Sim 
(Click image to enlarge)
(from a letter to Dave Sim dated 9 February 9 2008)
Your book reminded me of how Jews were hated over the centuries. I never could figure out why until I read history. My memories of the Jewish people from the early part of the Twentieth Century are of the contributions they have made. As your splendid illustration of the early comic book creators pointed out, there would not have been the great comic book industry as we know it today had the likes of them perished. 

Having been born in 1921 I have memories of the wonderful Jewish entertainers who were on the vaudeville stage and then into movies, the first talking picture with Al Jolson. I think of Irving Berlin who wrote over 1,000 songs including "White Christmas" and songwriters of Broadway musical comedies and then into movies. Their songs will live forever. I remember the great comedy writers, Neil Simon, Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, and the actors who they wrote for, Sid Caesar, Danny Kaye, Jerry Lewis of Martin and Lewis and countless others who made us laugh including a friend of Joe and mine Milton Berle and personal friend Morey Amsterdam. And how about my cousin Frank of Wayne and Shuster? Without his daughter Rosie and her then husband Lorne Micheals, there would not have been a SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and all the actors who had their first showcases in the bigtime on that program. There would not have been of science like Albert Einstein or Carl Sagan.

We can imagine the losses of the Jews had not started the movie industry. We cannot typecast all the Jews to be the same when among them are the quiet, gentle, or funny artistic, musical creative Jews and the sharp, aggressive, greedy ones who take advantage of others. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "A man should not be judged by their skin color, race or religion but by their character."
Judenhass (2008)
Art by Dave Sim
Reading your book JUDENHASS and looking at the illustrations it set me to thinking about where did all this hatred come from. As a student of history I recall reading that about 2,000 years ago the Jew Saul had an illumination that the Rabbi Jesus was the Messiah the Jews had been waiting for. Saul became St. Paul and set about enlarging his cult group by converting everyone to become a Christian. Many Jews converted. Some did not. The Jews that did not convert gave their reason that their scrolls and books promised that their Messiah would free them from Roman tyranny. They could not accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. That made the new Christians angry. They called them names and said terrible things about them. The hatred of the non-converters was passed down from generation to generation with exaggerated stories and distortions. Your book even pointed out that the Jews were accused of kidnapping Christian children and drinking their blood at their Sedar. No wonder the Jews became so hated. They were made to sound like evil devils. It is easy to believe a lie when it is repeated over and over again over the centuries. Anti-Semitism became the custom as generations of people believed the lies that had been written about them. Molly Goldberg in her early radio show said, "We don't want to rule the world. We just want to be allowed to live in it."

A 1994 book gives a good history of global hate of the Jews. It is called THE SECRET WAR AGAINST THE JEWS by John Loftus and Mark Aarons. Very important to understanding what led to the Holocaust.

The Holocaust was a demonstration of what hate could do. I would hope that Christians would take heed of the Messiah's messages as written in The New Testament. His loving words are spread throughout the Bible. He said, "Love thine enemies. Do good to them that hate you. Love one another as I have loved you. Love thy neighbor. Turn the other cheek. Judge not that ye be not judged. As ye do unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Jesus was a peacemaker, not as we find today in public office in the U.S.A.

Let's hope our world going into the 21st century is moving into a higher consciousness. Just as Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were searching for truth and justice through their hero SUPERMAN as do other artists and writers expressing themselves through their heroes, so I hope mankind will become more Christ-like and do good for the sake of goodness as some of our comic book heroes are portrayed. Let's all be good for God's sake.

Love from the Joe Shuster family,
Jean, Dawn, & Warren

Jean Shuster Peavy is the youngest sister of Joe Shuster, the co-creator of Superman.

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