Contrary to stereotypes that Jews wouldn’t fight, More than 550,000 Jews served in the U.S. military during World War II; about 11,000 were killed and more than 40,000 were wounded. In GI Jews: How World War II Changed A Generation (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004), p. 68, Deborah Dash Moore discusses their experiences with anti-Semitism:
Antisemitism further complicated matters. Jews knew the anti-Jewish stereotypes: they were not reputed to make good soldiers; they were accused of being cowardly and manipulative; they had a nasty reputation for slyness; they supposedly lacked leadership skills. Stereotypes were layered in complex combinations. Rural Protestants tended to locate their opinions about Irish and Italian Catholics as well as Jews along common urban aids. But many Jews had a separate history with Irish guys. In Jerome Minkow’s previous experience, antisemitism “mostly came from one group and that was the Irish kids.” No matter the neighborhood, “there always seemed to be one or two blocks of Irish kids.” Conflict between Jews and Catholics erupted on the streets of Brooklyn and the Bronx in the 1930s. But this basic “part of growing up” mattered less on an individual than a collective level. The Jews were “us” and the others were “them.” Now military service was reconfiguring “us.” Jews had to live with Catholics around the clock, not to mention southern Protestants. Many Jews held their own unpleasant stereotypes about Catholics and rural southerners and would have to learn to suppress or change their attitudes. Jewish recruits would have to posit a sufficient difference between themselves and African Americans to allow them to identify with their barracks mates, finding in a shared white American identity a basis of kinship and friendship with Catholics and southerners.