Objects of the Month

October 2010: World War II Jewish Lions Club banner, 1940s

World War II Jewish Lions Club banner, 1940s
  • Object No.: 2010.21.1
  • Donor: Jewish Lions Club
  • Description:

    Banner, 33 ¼" x 53 ½"

The Jewish Lions Club formed in 1937 as a social club for local teenage boys. Members were 16 to 18 years old and met on Sundays at the Jewish Community Center. The 1941 Certificate of Incorporation describes the business of the club as "social, athletic, and for the promotion of friendship." During World War II, as each club member left to serve in the armed services, a star with his name was embroidered on this club banner. All 25 club members who served eventually returned home safely.

Photograph of Jewish Lions Club reunion, October 1966

October 1996 reunion. Standing, left to right: Dave Gruber, Jack Newman, Charles Futrovsky, Dave Gordin, Alvin Steinberg, Sam Zweig, Sol Gnatt, Louis Kornhauser, Don Balfour, Allan Kamerow, and Harry Kramer. Seated from left to right: Lou Rosenbloom, Phil Shepsle, Herbert Wechsler, and Harold Brill.

The Jewish Lions Club is perhaps the only Jewish social club in the area whose original members continue to meet and host reunions. Club members loaned the banner for public display in two of the Society's exhibitions, Members of the Club: Jewish Teen Life in Washington, 1920s–1960s and Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community.

On September 13, 2010, the Jewish Historical Society hosted a special gathering at which Jewish Lions Club members donated the banner to the Society's archival collections. Society archivist Wendy Turman conducted an oral history interview with the four men present to record their stories about the club, its activities, and each member's military service during World War II.

Photograph of presentation of Jewish Lions Club banner to the Jewish Historical Society, 2010

Seen here presenting the banner are (left to right) Dave Gordin, Louis Kornhauser, Harry Kramer, and Sol Gnatt. 

Do you have Jewish teen life material that you'd like to donate to the archival collection? Contact us at info@jhsgw.org or (202) 789-0900.