GI JEWS: Jewish Americans in World War II

Air date: 04/11/2018

Premieres nationwide on Wednesday, April 11 at 10 p.m. EST on PBS (check local listings)

Streams April 12 on and PBS apps

GI JEWS: Jewish Americans in World War II is a feature-length documentary to spotlight the little-known story of the more than 550,000 Jewish Americans who served their country in all branches of the military during World War II. Filmmaker Lisa Ades brings the struggles of these brave men and women to life through first-hand experiences that reveal their fight against fascism, as well as their more personal war to liberate loved ones in Europe. The film features new interviews with Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Henry Kissinger, the late Bea Cohen and others. After years of battle, these pioneering servicemen and women emerged transformed: more profoundly American, more deeply Jewish, and determined to continue the fight for equality and tolerance at home.

Press release soon to come.


Carl Reiner at the GI JEWS interview in his Los Angeles home, December 2014. He is wearing his army hat and holding up his dog tags, which were marked H for Hebrew Credit: Turquoise Films

Carl Reiner in the U.S.Army., c 1943-1944. Courtesy of Carl Reiner

Max Fuchs (left in prayer shawl) singing in Aachen, Germany during the first Jewish service to be held on German soil since the rise of Hitler, which was broadcast on NBC. Rabbi Chaplain Sidney Lefkowitz is next to him. Oct. 29, 1944. Courtesy Max Fuchs.

Jewish American soldiers in WWII. Courtesy Turquoise Films.

Group around Jewish chaplain's flag, Written on back: "end of war for 104th Inf. 1945." Courtesy National Museum of American Jewish Military History

Mel Brooks, then Melvin Kaminsky, at age 19, in France, c 1944. Credit: Brooksfilms Limited

Men at Rosh Hashana Eve services, 329th Inf. between Beaugency and Orleans, France. 1944. Courtesy National Museum of American Jewish Military History

Rabbi Chaplain David Max Eichhorn holding a torah saved in France and performing a Jewish service in the Zeppelin Stadium in Nuremburg, Germany. April, 1945. Courtesy Mark S. Zaid.

Rabbi Chaplain Robert Marcus with Jewish soldiers. 1944. Credit: Tamara Green and Roberta Marcus Leiner