Joe DiMaggio in WWII

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” Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio, Our Nation turns its lonely eyes to you”  lyrics from Simon and Garfunkel’s Mrs Robinson. When I first heard the song as a kid I had no idea who this Joe DiMaggio was.

Now I know of course,he was a great baseball player but by all accounts he was not much of a soldier. Something I didn’t know though was the treatment of his parents during WWII.

Giuseppe and Rosalia DiMaggio, both from Isola delle Femmine, were among the thousands of German, Japanese, and Italian immigrants classified as “enemy aliens” by the government after the Attack on Pearl Harbor.

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Each was required to carry photo ID booklets at all times and were not allowed to travel outside a five-mile radius from their home without a permit. Giuseppe was barred from the San Francisco Bay, where he had fished for decades, and his boat was seized. Rosalia became an American citizen in 1944, followed by Giuseppe in 1945.

Joe DiMaggio traded a $43,750 Yankees salary for a payment of $50 each month when he chose to enlist in the army on February 17th, 1943. It was reported that Joe requested he receive no special treatment, yet he spent most of his time in the Army playing baseball, as did many other big league stars.

Joe was assigned to Special Services and stationed at California’s Santa Ana Air Base. The only major league player on his military team, he and his teammates played against semipro clubs, local college teams and Pacific Coast League teams. Joe reached sergeant rank in August 1943.

In order to ensure the professional players had some time overseas, Joe and other major league players were transferred to Hawaii in Spring 1944. In time, the best military baseball players were stationed in Hawaii.Big names like Johnny Beazley, Joe Gordon, Pee Wee Reese and Red Ruffing, along with Joe, were split into different teams. Joe joined the Seventh Army Air Force team, which played a nearly full major league schedule.

Although Joe had developed stomach ulcers and was often in a lot of pain, he continued to serve in the military and play for the Seventh Army Air Force team until he was given a medical release from the Army on September 14, 1945. He suited up again for the Yankees the following spring.

Some army records revealed  that DiMaggio, 30 at the time of his discharge and having just gone through a divorce, struck the officers as someone whose “personal problems appeared to be of more consequence to him than his obligations to adjust to the demands of the service”.

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DiMaggio ate so well from an athlete-only diet that he gained 10 pounds, and while in Hawaii he and other players mostly tanned on the beach and drank, embarrassed by that lifestyle, DiMaggio requested that he be given a combat assignment but was turned down.

 

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Sources

Baseball in Wartime

The Telegraph

JoeDiMaggio.com Armed Forces.

WWII Internment camps in Britain

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“Collar the lot,” is what Churchill said about the citizens of enemy nations living in the UK, it didn’t matter if they were friend or foe,.

During the Second World War (1939 – 1945) a number of internment camps for civilians from enemy countries were established on the Isle of Man. These were based at Peveril Camp, Peel (on the west coast of the island) and Mooragh Camp, Ramsey (on the NE coast of the island). Some civilians lived in the pre-war guest houses at Douglas and other Manx towns. Prisoner of War camps were established at Base Camp, Douglas and one nearby at Onchan.

During the war, thousands of people were held in internment camps on the Isle of Man.

Some were political detainees or suspected spies, but many were innocent refugees who had nowhere else to go.

Throughout the UK citizens from Germany,Italy and Austria,including Jews who had escaped these countries from Nazi perscuion, were rounded up and transferred to the Isle of Man.

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At the outbreak of World War Two there were around 80,000 people in Britain who were considered potential “enemy aliens”.

It was feared there might be people acting as spies, or people willing to assist Britain’s enemies in the event of an invasion.The UK government asked the Isle of Man to accommodate people at camps in Douglas, Ramsey and Peel.

Political prisoners were detained in high security camps, but most internees – including many Jewish refugees – were free to go shopping, swim in the sea and attend classes.

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One of the internees was Rabbi Werner van der ZylRabbi_Werner_van_der_Zyl. a rabbi in Berlin and in London.He was a founder and President of Leo Baeck College, London; President of the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain (now known as the Movement for Reform Judaism); and Life Vice President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.Van der Zyl came to Britain in 1939. During World War II the British Government interned him at Kitchener Camp in Sandwich, Kent and then at Mooragh Internment Camp  on the Isle of Manas an “enemy alien”. He was released from internment in 1943.

Fred Uhlman was born in Stuttgart, Germany, into a prosperous middle-class Jewish family. He studied at the Universities of Freiburg, Munich and Tübingen from where, in 1923, he graduated with a degree in Law followed by a Doctorate in Canon and Civil Law.uhlman

On 4 November 1936, he married Diana Croft, daughter of Henry Page Croft (later Lord Croft), against her parents’ strongest wishes, and they remained close and happy for nearly fifty years.

They set up home on Downshire Hill, in London’s Hampstead and it became a favourite cultural and artistic meeting place for the large group of refugees and exiles who, like Uhlman, had been forced to flee their homeland. He founded the Free German League of Culture, whose members included Oskar Kokoschka and Stefan Zweig, though he parted company with it when he felt it coming under communist domination.

Nine months after the outbreak of the Second World War, Uhlman, with thousands of other enemy aliens, was, in June 1940, interned by the British Government, in Hutchinson Camp on the Isle of Man.  He was released six months later and reunited with his wife and with his daughter, born while he was interned.

Photograph of internees in a yard at Hutchinson Internment Camp [c.1940-1] by Major H. O. Daniels

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

BBC

The Telegraph