Culture, Identity, Justice

Anti-Nazi Activist Babe Ruth Needs Our Help!

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!

3 thoughts on “Anti-Nazi Activist Babe Ruth Needs Our Help!

  1. Rav Shmuel:
    While it’s good that Medoff shared this aspect of Babe Ruth with the Jewish community-at-large via the article, with all due respect, the petition yuou direct people to says nothing about this matter. It says:
    “To: Commissioner’s Office : Major League Baseball
    “For his contributions to our national pastime, for his contributions to children all over the world and for his humanitarian works: Babe Ruth single-handedly saved the game of baseball with his mighty bat, his charismatic personality and his inherent sense of fair play. He made it possible for baseball to become the international game it is today.
    When it was not possible for minorities to participate in Major League baseball, Babe was not deterred. He spoke up on behalf of these fine men, he barnstormed with them and his actions and words on their behalf has not gone unnoticed by baseball historians.
    Please help to achieve this tribute for an American icon, George Herman `Babe’ Ruth.
    Thank You!
    Rather than ask people to sign this petition – which undoubtedly has a backstory that we know nothing about – a modest suggestion: let me suggest that people copy Medoff’s article and share it with a few baseball fans, and people who would be surprised to learn of this episiode in American Jewish – American German relations during the Holocaust years.
    As you put it, “it’s the least we can do!”

  2. I have agreed with Mr. Lebowitz, and I have proudly posted the story by Mr Medoff on my grandfathers web site 3 days ago. If I had known of such a deed, I would have made it part of the petition. I am still learning about this wonderful man and I have far to go because of all his humanity for his fellow man. He never forgot where he came from, and would help whatever was asked of him. He even tried to save lives. He continued this his whole life until he ‘went over the valley” to his great reward.
    My grandfather had no boundaries when it came to friends and fans. He counted, Cab Calaway,Bojangles,Al Jolson as just a few of his best friends.In fact He and Al Jolson would talk about St Mary’s and how it had changed since Mr Jolson was there before Babe.
    I also would like to thank the Jew School for supporting my grandfather’s number being retired through out MLB! It is very much appreciated!
    I hope your readers can find it in their heart to help Babe. He truly, above all deserves this honour. It puts no gains in my pocket, I just think, my grandfather deserves this honour.
    All my ruthian best wished,
    Linda Ruth Tosetti
    Babe Ruth’s direct descendant granddaughter

  3. In all my reading about George Herman “Babe” Ruth, in all my research about this man, there is several things that stand out about him: First, he absolutely loved children of every race, culture, religion and background and he would do anything to bring a smile to a child’s face. Babe spent his money and his time not just when it was convenient to him but every day of his life, right to the end, being the champion of children. Second, Babe Ruth loved and accepted all peoples all over the world. He never thought of himself as being better than anyone else and he was always available. His vehicle was the game of baseball but his fuel was the beautiful, energetic and charismatic personality that he developed with the grace of God during his life. Third, As much as any player and more than any player, Babe Ruth deserves to have his number retired to restore his rightful place as the man who revolutionized and saved the game of baseball. Fourth, wherever Linda Ruth Tosetti goes people line up to receive an autograph from the blood descendant of Babe Ruth. Men, women and children are still beside themselves to have a small word with her. I have personally seen children from the wealthy suburbs to the inner cities of America express their admiration of the Babe to Ms. Tosetti. People of all races and creeds are drawn to Babe Ruth STILL.

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