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Maurice Sands papers

 Collection — Box: 1-5, 1+
Identifier: MS 200.21
The papers of Maurice Sands consist of his personal materials while involved in two Jewish War Veterans organizations in NYC and Buffalo where he held leadership positions, including that of Commander. The collection includes inherited materials and materials created while Maurice Sands served in both posts, and much of the materials were created by Sands himself.

Organized into four series, the vast bulk of the material consists of materials relating to Jewish War Veterans #25 in Buffalo, with a smaller amount of materials relating to Jackson Heights-Elmhurst Post 209. Other materials relate to research conducted by Maurice Sands that ranged from military cemeteries in the US and overseas (folders 4.11-4.12), Jews and the Civil War (folder 4.14), and the history of Jewish War Veterans in the United States (folders 2.19, 5.1-5.3, 6.10).

The bulk of the collection includes photographs of events (folders 1.11.1-1.11.16, 2.3, 3.1 and 1.10), and articles written by Maurice Sands (2.14-2.16 and 4.7-4.8). Both posts organizations sponsored several essay contests in local public schools on various subjects, including “What the Bill of Rights Means to You.” (Folder 2.10, scrapbook 3.3).

Research includes historical studies of activity by post members in Buffalo and Queens, as well as Post history. These materials were utilized by Sands to celebrate milestones and will help future researchers (folders 1.3, 1.5, 3.2, 2.7).

One specific area of research conducted by Sands includes materials of national significance and relates to the controversy surrounding a speech, “The Purest Democracy”, that was to be delivered at the dedication of the 5th Marine Division Cemetery at Iowa Jima in 1945. However, Catholic and some Protestant chaplains threatened to boycott the ceremony were the eulogy to be given by a Jewish chaplain. On hearing of the proposed boycott, Rabbi Gittelsohn proceeded with the sermon, but to avoid an incident, read it to Jewish marines only. Two Protestant chaplains attended Gittelsohn’s speech in protest at the actions of their colleagues, and obtained a copy of his speech, which they copied and distributed it to all marine servicemen. Many marines sent copies home and the sermon subsequently became one of the most famous Marine battlefield eulogies of WWII. The speech spread as it was read on the radio and television by announcers, yet for many years, the background to his speech was unknown as there was no record of the controversy in the military record. In correspondence, Maurice Sands writes to Rabbi Ronald Gittelsohn in 1985, to ascertain the context of his speech. Rabbi Gittelsohn in his reply to Maurice Sands concludes, “Paradoxically, my sermon would most probably not have attained the notoriety it later received had it not been for the prejudice which prevented me from delivering it as originally intended.” (Letter to Maurice Sands from Rabbi Ronald B. Gittelsohn, 31 May 1985 – folder 4.11).

This collection compliments a Jewish War Veterans collection that was deposited at the Buffalo History Museum (formerly Buffalo Erie County Historical Society) in 1999 by Maurice Sands.

Dates

  • 1945-2013

Creator

Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

The Maurice Sands Papers, 1945-2013 are open for research.

Copyright

Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Extent

3 Linear Feet (3 manuscript boxes, 2 flat boxes, 1 oversize box)

Overview

Personal papers documenting the volunteer activities of Maurice Sands within two Jewish veterans organizations in Buffalo and Queens, NY. Includes newspaper clippings, newsletters, flyers, research and authored articles relating to Jewish War Veterans. Also contains information relating to membership of the Forum Club, a Jewish Men’s Club.

Biographical Note

Maurice Sands is a retired vice president and military sales administrator for Kayser-Roth Intimate Apparel, a military history researcher and author and a former commander and active member of the Jewish War Veterans, Buffalo Post #25. Prior to Buffalo, he was also an active member of Jackson Heights- Elmhurst Post 209 in New York City. Born in Romania on January 17, 1922, to parents Rachel and Samuel Strigewsky, Maurice emigrated with his family to New York City in 1930, after a circuitous journey from Eastern Europe to Montreal where the family lived for seven years. In America, they settled initially in Yorkville and then moved to the East Bronx. His father was trained as a dental mechanic and his mother did “piece work” and was a member of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Both of his parents were members of the Workmen’s Circle. Attending public schools in the East Bronx, Sands’ high school average was high enough to qualify for a free place at City College. After his third year, however, he was drafted into the military and was sent to Camp Upton, Long Island and USAF in Atlantic City, NJ. He then entered an Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) at Syracuse University studying civil engineering. Completing infantry training at Camp Shelby, MS, he joined the 1262nd Combat Engineer Battalion overseas, serving in England, France, Belgium, and Germany from October 1944 to March 1946 disarming anti-tank mines. He was the only Jewish member of his unit. After discharge, Sands finished school at City College gaining a Bachelor’s degree in statistics and subsequently received a Master’s in Business Administration at New York University. Before marriage, Sands changed his name from Strigewsky to Sands. He married Florence Landy and they have raised two daughters.

Sands first joined the Jewish War Veterans (JWV) in 1987 following his retirement and quickly became involved in researching the history of American Jewish military service and the organizational history of the JWV. In the early 1990s Maurice Sands worked for the Queens County Council which was an oversight body for all the Posts in Queens County, New York City. He wrote articles for national and local newspapers and journals including The Beacon and more recently the Buffalo Jewish Review. Maurice Sands was the Commander of Jewish War Veterans Buffalo Frontier Post 25 from 2000 to 2006. He also organized the Buffalo observation of the Jewish War Veterans National 100th Anniversary in 1996. He complied an 80th Anniversary booklet on Buffalo Frontier Post 25. Maurice Sands received the Four Chaplains Award in 2002. In his spare time, Sands paints oils and collages, many of which have military themes or explore the Holocaust.

Biographical Note

As much of the material included in this personal collection relates to a local Jewish War Veterans group: Buffalo Frontier Post #25 (JWVBF#25), an historical note for this group is included for the benefit of researchers. In 1927, Sol Feldman organized a Jewish War Veterans Post with a different name: JWV Louis Marshall Post. As this name was already in use by another group, National JWV issued a charter in the name of Buffalo Frontier Post #25 in 1929.

With this two-year delay, Buffalo Frontier Post #25, dates its official beginnings from 1929, and celebrated its 80th Anniversary in 2009. Although this post has a continual history from this time, it was not the only JWV post in Buffalo. At one time another post: JWV Post 259 was active, however this post eventually merged with Post 25. Post 259 was formed immediately after WWII when the ranks of the JWV swelled and there was a need for two posts.

In 1935, the Post, with the assistance of Erie County, JWVBF#25 acquired its own cemetery plot in a section of Temple Beth El Cemetery located on Pine Hill, in Cheektowaga, New York. The plaque was dedicated on May 30, 1935 for the Jewish War Veterans of Erie County who served their country through seven wars (folder 1.10). In 1941, the 46th National Encampment of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States, met in Buffalo, in August (Oversize: Box3). Benjamin Kaufman (a Buffalo native) and a national commander of the organization during the encampment in 1941, presented a checked for $50,000 to Bell Aircraft for the purchase of P-39 fighter plane for the war effort.

During the 1930s to 1940s maintained a post office and meeting place at a building located at Herkimer and Grant. During the 1950s the Post moved to various locations including 277 Linwood Avenue and rented a smaller facility at 576 Taunton Place. This building on Taunton was destroyed by fire in the late 1950s and meetings subsequently took place at Temple Sinai at 50 Alberta Drive, Amherst, NY.

In 1961, JWV purchased 1460 Hertel Avenue and continued to meet at the building for over twenty years. This site was eventually sold on September 4, 1998. From 1998, JWV Post 25 began to meet at the veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) 416 building at 18 E. Spring Street in Williamsville. From the 2000s, the post began to meet at the former Temple Beth Am (now Congregation Shir Shalom) on Sheridan Drive in Williamsville.

A high point in the Post history was a dinner dance at the Hotel Statler Ballroom in honor of the post’s 25th anniversary with guest speaker, Eleanor Roosevelt. In November 1995, the Post organized a special program for the 50th anniversary of WWII and in 1996 another significant program for the hundredth anniversary of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States. In 2009, the Buffalo Frontier Post celebrated its 80th Anniversary.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in four series:
  1. Jewish War Veterans, Buffalo Frontier Post #25
  2. Jewish War Veterans, Jackson Heights –Elmhurst Post #209
  3. Research Materials
  4. Personal Materials

Acquisition Information

Maurice Sands donated materials in December 2009 and added 7 accruals: September 13 and 25, 2013; October 11, 2013; November 13, 2013; December 4, 24,and 30, 2013. The collection was initially arranged in January 2014 and deposited at the University Archives, Special Collections by the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project in February 2014. The Jewish Buffalo Archives Project was founded in late 2007 under the auspices of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Buffalo with a seed grant from the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies. The Archives Project collects mainly twentieth century documentation relating to the diverse histories, religious traditions and cultures of Jewish communities within the Greater Buffalo area of Western New York, encompassing the geographic areas of Erie and Niagara Counties and partners with the University Archives at the University at Buffalo to make these records accessible.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Related Materials

Processing Information

Processed by Chana Revell Kotzin, January 2014.

Creator

Source

Title
Finding Aid for the Maurice Sands papers
Status
completed
Author
Finding aid prepared by Chana Revell Kotzin, February 2014.
Date
2014
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
und
Sponsor
The arrangement and description of the Maurice Sands papers was made possible by funding obtained through the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies and the Bureau of Jewish Education.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

Contact:
420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-2916
716-645-3714 (Fax)