The Confederacy Compared to Nazi Germany

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To the Greenville,
(NC) East Carolinian

To the editor:

Kalajian’s article
comparing the Confederacy to Nazi Germany
and its battle flag to the swastika is highly offensive, especially
to those of us who are Jewish, & 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 & later State, Judah Benjamin
(“See Robert Rosen’s The
Jewish Confederates
and Mel Young’s Last
Order of the Lost Cause
). 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.

know first hand, from their letters, diaries, and memoirs, that
they were not fighting for slavery, 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.

If you want
to talk about Nazi-like behavior, consider the actions of the
leading Union commander, General Ulysses S. Grant, whose war crimes
included the following actions:

  • Ordering
    the expulsion on 24 hours notice of all Jews "as a class"
    from the territory under his control (General Order # 11, 17
    December, 1862), and forbidding Jews to travel on trains (November,
  • Ordering
    the destruction of an entire agricultural area to deny the enemy
    support (the Shenandoah Valley, 5 August, 1864).
  • Leading
    the mass murder, a virtual genocide, of Native People, mainly
    helpless old men, women, and children in their villages, to
    make land available for the western railroads (the eradication
    of the Plains Indians, 1865–66). What we euphemistically
    call “the Indian Wars” was carried out by many of the same Union
    officers who led the war against the South – Sherman, Grant,
    Sheridan, Custer, and other leading commanders.
  • Overseeing
    the complete destruction of defenseless Southern cities, and
    conducting such warfare against unarmed women and children (e.g.,
    the razing of Meridien, and other cities in Mississippi, spring,

these well-documented atrocities (and many others too numerous
to list) with the gentlemanly policies and behavior of the Confederate
forces. My ancestor Major Raphael Moses, General James Longstreet's
chief commissary officer, was forbidden by General Robert E. Lee
from even entering private homes in their raids into the North,
such as the famous incursion into Pennsylvania. Moses was forced
to obtain his supplies from businesses and farms, and he always
paid for what he requisitioned, albeit in Confederate tender.

Moses always
endured in good humor the harsh verbal abuse he received from
the local women, who, he noted, always insisted on receiving in
the end the exact amount owed.

Moses and
his Confederate colleagues never engaged in the type of warfare
waged by the Union forces, especially that of General William
T. Sherman on his infamous “March to the Sea” through Georgia
and the Carolinas, in which his troops routinely burned, looted,
and destroyed libraries, courthouses, churches, homes, and cities
full of defenseless civilians, including my hometown of Atlanta.

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 Nazi's. It was the other side that did that.

Lewis Regenstein
Atlanta, GA

15, 2004

Regenstein [send him
, a Native Atlantan, is a writer and author.

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