by Lewis Regenstein by Lewis Regenstein
Dear CNS News:
Julian Bond’s comparison of the Confederate flag or symbol to the swastika is highly offensive, especially to those of us who are Jewish, and shows he knows little about either the Confederacy or the Nazis.
Some 3,500 to 5,000 Jews fought honorably and loyally for the Confederacy, including its Secretary of War and later State, Judah Benjamin. My great grandfather also served, as did his four brothers, their uncle, his three sons, and some two dozen other members of my Mother’s extended family (the Moses' of South Carolina and Georgia). Half a dozen of them fell in battle, largely teenagers, including the first and last Confederate Jews to die in battle.
We know first hand, from their letters, diaries, and memoirs, that they were not fighting for slavery or bigotry, but rather to defend themselves and their comrades, their families, homes, and country from an invading army that was trying to kill them, burn their homes and cities, and destroy everything they had.
It was a Union General, Ulysses.S. Grant, who issued the infamous General Order # 11 expelling all Jews “as a class” from his conquered territories. It was this same Union Army (led by many of the same Civil War generals) that engaged in virtual genocide against the Native Americans in what we euphemistically call “the Indian Wars,” often massacring harmless, defenseless old men, women, and children in their villages.
It was not the South but rather our enemies that engaged in genocide. While our ancestors may have lost the War, they never lost their honor, or engaged in anything that could justify their being compared to Nazis. It was the other side that did that.
Sincerely yours, Lewis Regenstein Atlanta, Georgia
Lewis Regenstein [send him mail], a Native Atlantan, is a writer and author.