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Jewish Baseball Players And Their Impact On The Lessening Of Anti-Semitism In Sports In The 1930s – Post World War II Era

For my project, I needed to further my research for my history capstone thesis on whether Jewish baseball players of the 1930s and 1940s contributed to Jews integrating into American culture. In my thesis, my goal was to explore the role of Jewish baseball players in challenging negative stereotypes of the Jewish community in the 1930s to post-War era. I mainly wanted to investigate whether leisure activities such as watching baseball was able to lessen antisemitism and allow Jews to become perceived as secular figures instead of racially different. Jewish players such as Hank Greenberg became popular figures through their play, so I wanted to see if these players became perceived as secular and helped lessen antisemitism in America.

My approach to the project was to investigate primary sources such as newspaper articles, interviews, and memoirs to learn if there was a change in attitudes towards Jewish Americans and Jewish players from the 1930s to the post-War era. In my findings, I discovered that Jewish players began to become treated as secular and became perceived as American instead of racially different after World War II. While a lot of this can be attributed to Americans understanding the dangers of antisemitism from the rise of Nazi Germany and Jews making a name for themselves through their work in the clothing and garment industries, I also discovered that baseball played a role in antisemitism lessening. This was due to players such as Hank Greenberg becoming popular and secular figures instead racially different figures whose worth was based on their religion. The proof can be seen in the media slowly ending their racialization of Jewish players. The implication of the project is I was able to exemplify the importance of baseball in lessening antisemitism America.