Iowa Jewish Historical Society

Iowa Jewish Historical Society The Iowa Jewish Historical Society collects, catalogues, houses and preserves the history of the Jewish people of the state of Iowa and to deepen community understanding of Jewish history and culture.
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From the Photo Collection: People gathering clothes for a rummage sale by the Sioux City Jewish Community Center, late 1...
05/22/2020

From the Photo Collection: People gathering clothes for a rummage sale by the Sioux City Jewish Community Center, late 1940’s. Rummage sales were how many charities raised money to support their organizations and programs, starting as far back as the mid 1800’s.

Dean Lettington is interviewed by Jordan Bookey in this second installment of the IJHS series, Iowa Liberators Witness t...
05/15/2020
Virtual Programs | Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines

Dean Lettington is interviewed by Jordan Bookey in this second installment of the IJHS series, Iowa Liberators Witness the Holocaust. Two segments from the original 1995 interview are highlighted and augmented with some biographical information and news articles about him. Mr. Lettington became passionate about sharing his military experiences with school and community groups.
https://www.jewishdesmoines.org/our-pillars/iowa-jewish-historical-society/virtual-programs/

Dean Lettington is interviewed by Jordan Leslie Bookey in this second installment of the IJHS series, Iowa Liberators Witness the Holocaust. Two segments from the original 1995 interview are highlighted and augmented with some biographical information and news articles about him, plus information about the Iowa Jewish Historical Society. Mr. Lettington became passionate about sharing his military experiences with school and community groups.

Iowa Liberators Witness the Holocaust The Iowa Jewish Historical Society (IJHS) is marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe) by introducing a new, six-part series: Iowa Liberators Witness the Holocaust. VE Day commemorates the acceptance by the Allied forces of Nazi Germany’s unco...

The Iowa Jewish Historical Society is marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe) by introducing a new, s...
05/08/2020
Virtual Programs | Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines

The Iowa Jewish Historical Society is marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe) by introducing a new, six-part series: Iowa Liberators Witness the Holocaust https://www.jewishdesmoines.org/our-pillars/iowa-jewish-historical-society/virtual-programs/ VE Day commemorates the acceptance by the Allied forces of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces. The end of the war included the liberation of the concentration camps the Germans operated during the war.
The first segment is on William Barton. Subsequent segments will be posted to the IJHS website in the coming weeks leading up to the 76th anniversary of D-Day, June 6.

Iowa Liberators Witness the Holocaust The Iowa Jewish Historical Society (IJHS) is marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe) by introducing a new, six-part series: Iowa Liberators Witness the Holocaust. VE Day commemorates the acceptance by the Allied forces of Nazi Germany’s unco...

This week IJHS was sad to learn that Ruth David, Holocaust Survivor and former member of the Ames Jewish Congregation pa...
04/24/2020

This week IJHS was sad to learn that Ruth David, Holocaust Survivor and former member of the Ames Jewish Congregation passed away in the UK. In 2011 this article was published in the March-April edition of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines’ Jewish Press. https://tinyurl.com/y967nyno. For more information or to read the full article the Press excerpt was adapted from follow this link: https://tinyurl.com/y9u6ef2h
After returning to Great Britain she continued her work as a Holocaust educator making frequent trips to speak to students in Germany and working with the British National Holocaust Centre. May her memory be a blessing as was her life.

Nearly 40 years ago, Des Moines’ Jewish community began a special effort to document the personal stories of many of the...
04/21/2020
Events and Programs | Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines

Nearly 40 years ago, Des Moines’ Jewish community began a special effort to document the personal stories of many of the Holocaust survivors who immigrated to Central Iowa that continues into the 21st century.
Listen to excerpts from the accounts of seven of those survivors whose personal stories were shared on Yom HaShoah in 2019. This year, as we face uncertain times, we want to ensure that the more than 6 million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust are never forgotten.
https://www.jewishdesmoines.org/our-pillars/iowa-jewish-historical-society/events-programs/

The IJHS builds community understanding of Jewish history and culture through educational programming. Find upcoming events and programs for all ages.

IJHS wants to capture this historic moment in time. Please send us a photo or written description showing how you're cel...
04/07/2020

IJHS wants to capture this historic moment in time. Please send us a photo or written description showing how you're celebrating Passover this year at [email protected] or visit our website for more information on how to share videos https://www.jewishdesmoines.org/our-pillars/iowa-jewish-historical-society/our-collection/documenting-pesach/.”

It's a question we ask every year, but this year it takes on a whole new meaning. Share with us what your Seder looks like this year. Follow the link for guidelines and to upload your submission.
https://www.jewishdesmoines.org/our-pillars/iowa-jewish-historical-society/our-collection/collecting-records-of-remote-seders/

There are still a few days of #WomensHistoryMonth left! This photo is a staff favorite and shows a 1925 Des Moines area ...
03/26/2020

There are still a few days of #WomensHistoryMonth left! This photo is a staff favorite and shows a 1925 Des Moines area girls club called the Bluebirds. While staff is working from home we hope to share more favorites from our collections.

To keep our visitors and staff safe during this public health emergency, the Iowa Jewish Historical Society will be clos...
03/18/2020
Iowa Jewish Historical Society | Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines

To keep our visitors and staff safe during this public health emergency, the Iowa Jewish Historical Society will be closed until further notice.
You may want to use this unexpected time at home to learn about the history of the Jewish people in Iowa through our website www.ijhs.online

• You can browse through thousands of artifacts in our collection at https://ijhs.pastperfectonline.com/
• listen to presentations by Celina Karp Biniaz, one of the last living survivors from Schindler’s list: https://www.jewishdesmoines.org/our-pillars/iowa-jewish-historical-society/our-collection/celina-karp-biniaz/
And our staff is available to help with research questions https://www.jewishdesmoines.org/our-pillars/iowa-jewish-historical-society/research/research-requests/ or questions about possible artifacts that you may wish to donate https://www.jewishdesmoines.org/our-pillars/iowa-jewish-historical-society/our-collection/donate-items/
Stay tuned to this page and our website for further updates.

The Iowa Jewish Historical Society is an award-winning organization that collects, preserves and educates others about the history of Iowa's Jewish people.

Thelma Kardon shovels snow in her Women’s Army Corps uniform at Fort Des Moines. Thelma was born in Massachusetts and ca...
01/17/2020

Thelma Kardon shovels snow in her Women’s Army Corps uniform at Fort Des Moines. Thelma was born in Massachusetts and came to Des Moines during WWII where she served in the WAC as an MP from 1942-1945. She stayed in Des Moines after the war.
The Women's Army Corps (WAC) was the women's branch of the United States Army. It was created on May 15, 1942 as the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and converted to an active duty status in the Army of the United States as the WAC on July 1, 1943. Nearly 150,000 American women served in the Women's Army Corps during World War II.

Happy Hanukkah from the Iowa Jewish Historical Society!
12/22/2019

Happy Hanukkah from the Iowa Jewish Historical Society!

Happy Rosh Hashanah from the Iowa Jewish Historical Society!From the IJHS collections: shofar from B’nai Jacob Synagogue...
09/29/2019

Happy Rosh Hashanah from the Iowa Jewish Historical Society!

From the IJHS collections: shofar from B’nai Jacob Synagogue in Ottumwa. B’nai Jacob was built in 1915 and services continued to be held there until May 2018.

A Shofar is a hollowed-out ram’s horn that is blown like a trumpet during the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Thanks to the Ames Tribune for this follow-up article from our program Monday night!
09/20/2019
The Ames Tribune

Thanks to the Ames Tribune for this follow-up article from our program Monday night!

“Remember the six million killed, including my dad and my brother. Tell your children and your grandchildren and, together, lets make sure that tolerance and empathy will always prevail.”

New Acquisition: Handheld mirror with 1914 calendar, advertising Frankel's of Centerville, Iowa. Owner of Frankel's, Jos...
07/01/2019

New Acquisition:
Handheld mirror with 1914 calendar, advertising Frankel's of Centerville, Iowa. Owner of Frankel's, Joseph J. Frankel, was a native of Poland who came to America in 1900.

Lunchtime at Home Camp at the Jewish Community Center Gymnasium c. 1950. Lou Williams, Director of the JCC, pictured sta...
06/20/2019

Lunchtime at Home Camp at the Jewish Community Center Gymnasium c. 1950. Lou Williams, Director of the JCC, pictured standing in center of photo. Home Camps were day camps started during the Great Depression by Julia B. Mayer, then director of the JCC. From a 1932 report: “Through the cooperation of the community centers and character building agencies of the Public Welfare Bureau and the City Playground Commission efforts will be made to provide supervised play for all children who cannot leave the city for their regular summer vacation…at the day camps regular camping activities are to be carried out, including campcraft, such as building shelter houses, fireplaces and lean-tos, outdoor cooking, nature study and nature trails, and others.”

From the IJHS Collections: Edith and Charlotte Gottlieb pictured on the front porch of the Jewish Community Center in De...
06/14/2019

From the IJHS Collections: Edith and Charlotte Gottlieb pictured on the front porch of the Jewish Community Center in Des Moines during a fundraiser, c.1934.

In honor of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, listen to Manuel “Manny” Soodhalter, a Jewish veteran and longtime owner of Q...
06/06/2019
Honoring Jewish Veterans of Iowa | Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines

In honor of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, listen to Manuel “Manny” Soodhalter, a Jewish veteran and longtime owner of Quad Cities landmark Debs Drive In, who was born in Des Moines, recount his experiences in taking part in D-Day, not only by being in the 2nd wave landing on Omaha Beach but also with pre-planning for the invasion. http://bit.ly/IJHSveterans #DDay75

The Honoring Iowa’s Jewish Veterans project seeks to identify and recognize Jewish men and women of Iowa who have served in all U.S. military branches.

A brief history of Judaism in Iowa | Little Village
04/18/2019
A brief history of Judaism in Iowa | Little Village

A brief history of Judaism in Iowa | Little Village

106SharesThe first Jewish mayor of an American city, by some accounts, was Iowa City’s Moses Bloom. Bloom left his native Alsace, France in 1850 and arrived in Iowa City in 1857, where he soon took over ownership of a clothing store on South Clinton Street (in the space currently occupied by Ewers...

Frankel Building to get historical marker
04/17/2019
Frankel Building to get historical marker

Frankel Building to get historical marker

OSKALOOSA — The unveiling ceremony for the Frankel Building Historical Marker will take place on the Smokey Row stage, 109 S. Market St. at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 18.

03/06/2019
State Historical Society of Iowa

March is #IowaHistory month! The first known Jewish settler in Iowa was Alexander Levi, who settled in Dubuque in 1833.

It's official: March is #IowaHistory Month! Governor Kim Reynolds issued the following proclamation earlier today.

"Whereas, people have called what is now Iowa their homeland for more than 12,000 years; and whereas Iowans have been blessed with a beautiful and productive land; and whereas Iowans from diverse backgrounds have formed strong attachments to each other and to their communities; and whereas Iowans have led the nation in the creation of an inclusive and exemplary system of education; and whereas Iowans produce agricultural and manufacturing products sold world-wide; and whereas Iowans have produced artists and writers of international distinction; and Iowans have championed laws promoting equality and inclusion; and whereas, these stories represent adversity and achievement, tragedy and triumph, and continuity and change; and whereas, what makes Iowa so special is the character of our people, no matter where they come from, whether it's a small town or our state capital; now, therefore, I, Kim Reynolds, Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby proclaim March 2019 as Iowa History Month."

The museum will be open at 1:30 this Sunday. Hope to see you there!
12/14/2018

The museum will be open at 1:30 this Sunday. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 16 2:00 pm – 3: 30 pm
Join Us for a Movie at the Caspe Terrace!

“1945” Winner of Awards at Jewish Film Festivals in San Francisco, Miami, Washington, Berlin, and Jerusalem.

The film concerns two Jewish survivors of the Holocaust who arrive in a Hungarian village in August 1945, and the paranoid reactions of the villagers, some of whom fear that these and other Jews are coming to reclaim Jewish property.

“A fresh, intelligent cinematic approach to a difficult topic that takes on a transitional time in Hungarian history with subtlety and nuance.”
- Berlin Film Review

Refreshments will be served. RSVP to [email protected]

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the Iowa Jewish Historical Society! This Des Moines Register newspaper clipping fro...
11/21/2018

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the Iowa Jewish Historical Society! This Des Moines Register newspaper clipping from 1934 shows the long history of local philanthropy by the Jewish community of Des Moines.

09/10/2017
09/07/2017
Come join the Iowa Jewish Historical Society for two exciting events in September!Hear Celina Karp Biniaz, the daughter ...
08/09/2017

Come join the Iowa Jewish Historical Society for two exciting events in September!

Hear Celina Karp Biniaz, the daughter of Irvin and Phyllis Karp and one of the last living survivors from Schindler's List, tell her personal story-her family's life in the ghetto and the forced labor camp, her family's inclusion on Oskar Schindler's list of workers for his new munitions factory; the "accidental" diversion of the train carrying Celina and Phyllis to Auschwitz instead of Schindler's factory in Czechoslovakia; Celina's terrifying encounter with the "Angel of Death" Dr. Joseph Mengele; liberation and immigration to Des Moines; and building a life in the US.

Sunday, September 10 at 2 p.m.
"Second Chance: My Story"

FREE Admission, First come, first seated

Staplin Performing Arts Center
Valley High School
3650 Woodland Ave.
West Des Moines, IA 50266

Tuesday, September 12 at 11:30 a.m.at Caspe Terrace

"When Memories Unfold: A Luncheon with Celina"

The personal story of a "Schindler Jew" who graduated from North High School and Grinnell College.
The program includes readings from poems Celina has written about her experiences.

Seating for the luncheon is limited, for more information on tickets and to make your reservation by Sept. 1 visit www.ijhs.online

IJHS is excited to announce our next upcoming event!
07/18/2017

IJHS is excited to announce our next upcoming event!

Survivor Celina Biniaz: The youngest of Schindler’s Jews — Jewish Journal
03/31/2017
Survivor Celina Biniaz: The youngest of Schindler’s Jews — Jewish Journal

Survivor Celina Biniaz: The youngest of Schindler’s Jews — Jewish Journal

“Get in rows. March,” the block leader ordered the nearly 300 women in the Auschwitz barracks who had arrived from the Plaszow concentration camp only weeks earlier, in mid-October 1944. Thirteen-year-old Celina Karp dutifully obeyed, though this was the first time in Auschwitz that she had been sep...

In honor of #internationalwomensday: Julia Bloom Mayer was the director of the Jewish Community Center in Des Moines fro...
03/08/2017

In honor of #internationalwomensday:

Julia Bloom Mayer was the director of the Jewish Community Center in Des Moines from 1925-1945. After her death in 1945 this bas relief plaque was commissioned by the JCC and designed and cast by artist Christian Petersen.

The inscription on the plaque, written by Rabbi Eugene Mannheimer, reads:

“Born in Iowa City, a tireless worker in the causes of peace, education, citizenship, and community loyalty who gave a lifetime of finest social service and civic leadership to the people of Iowa. The Jewish Community Center which she loved and brilliantly directed for twenty years stands as a living tribute to her nobility of mind and to her greatness of heart which knew no distinction of race, color, or creed.

Address

33158 Ute Ave
Waukee, IA
50263

General information

The Caspe Heritage Gallery is located on the lower level of The Caspe Terrace in Waukee, Iowa. The Gallery features changing exhibits pertaining to Jewish history and Jewish Iowans.

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Comments

My parents and grandparents had memorial tablets at Beth El Jacob. I have asked but never answered, what happened to the memorial tablets?
Does anyone have photos of the Synagogue K'Hal Adas Yeshurun/ Congregation Adas Jeshurun in Sioux City? My great-granduncle was Rabbi Wolf Seligman there. i have photos of his grave & a picture of the ark, which is in the Jewish Museum in New York. I'd love to obtain a few digital photos of the synagogue &, if possible, my great-granduncle.