Babe Ruth was a quintessential American. Somewhat larger than life, the Babe represented the kind of freedom that drives those who believe in despotic regimes mad. During World War II, when Japanese soldiers charged American troops, they would sometimes scream, “To hell with Babe Ruth.” Not “to hell with FDR” or “to hell with Douglas MacArthur,” but “to hell with Babe Ruth.”
And now he needs our help.
OK, OK, so why write about that on Jewschool?
Because we owe him one.
Dr. Rafael Medoff wrote in the Jewish Ledger a few weeks ago that during the last week of December 1942 Babe Ruth helped to keep public attention focused on Hitler’s atrocities. Although the U.S. and Britain had finally publicly acknowledged and condemned the mass murder of Jews by Nazi Germany, there was no talk of any steps being taken to rescue the Jews and the issue was fading from the public eye.
So, Babe Ruth and other prominent Americans of German descent, stepped up to the plate and signed the “Christmas Declaration by men and women of German ancestry” which appeared as a full-page ad in the New York Times and nine other major daily newspapers.
It read in part:
“[W]e Americans of German descent raise our voices in denunciation of the Hitler policy of cold-blooded extermination of the Jews of Europe and against the barbarities committed by the Nazis against all other innocent peoples under their sway. These horrors … are, in particular, a challenge to those who, like ourselves are descendants of the Germany that once stood in the foremost ranks of civilization.”
The ad went on to “utterly repudiate every thought and deed of Hitler and his Nazis,” and urged the people of Germany “to overthrow a regime which is in in the infamy of German history.”
Dr. Medoff’s article drew the attention of the Babe’s granddaughter, Linda Ruth Tosetti, who wrote a comment on the article expressing delight in reading about how her grandfather took a public stand against Hitler. She also asked for help in getting Babe’s number retired from all of baseball by signing the petition that can be found here.
So sign the petition folks – it’s the least we can do!