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ACCESSION DETAIL
Audio/visual
Atlanta, Georgia
May 5 and 6, 1993
Tapes/transcript
96 pages
Geffen Louis OHC.JPG

Louis Geffen is the son of Rabbi Tobias Geffen of Shearith Israel in Atlanta, who was one of the foundational religious influences on the Atlanta Jewish community in the 20th century. Louis was born in New York City but grew up in Atlanta, Georgia after his father assumed the position of rabbi of Shearith Israel. Louis received a strong Jewish education from his father. He attended public schools including Boys' High School and attended Emory University and then Columbia University where he attended law school. When World War II started in 1939, Louis volunteered for the Army reserves. Because of his legal background he was assigned to the Judge Advocate branch (JAG), where he worked in the Atlanta office until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the United States formally entered the war. He was then ordered to active duty in the Army where he remained in the area of military law. At the end of the war he was sent to the Philippines and then on to Japan to help investigate Japanese war crimes and organize war crimes trials. In the Philippines he set up the War Crimes Prosecution group to investigate the cases against two Japanese generals, Tomoyuki Yamashita and Masaharu Homma, who were accused of commiting war crimes in the Philippines area, including the Bataan death march in which thousands of Allied POWS died. Both were convicted and executed for war crimes. He retired from the law in 1985 and died in 2001. Louis discusses his family and childhood, his father's contribution to the Atlanta Jewish community, and his brothers and sisters. Louis comments on the nature of the Atlanta Jewish community in its formative years including the various synagogues and rabbis, the Jewish community organizations and organizing personalities, what it was like being a Jew in the university system and in the military, the challenges of setting up a legal practice, his life in the armed services and role in Japanese war crimes trials in the Philippines.

OHC-Louis Geffen

Louis Geffen (1904 - 2001) - Oral History

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Canton (Ohio)
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Newspapers--Jewish (Yiddish)


Kovno, Lithuania
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Simon, Lottie Geffen (1900 - )


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Glee Clubs


Emory University
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Boys' High School (Atlanta, Ga.)
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Orchestras


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Wilensky, Carl


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Judaism - Liturgy

Jews, Russian


Geffen, David


Israel


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Reform Judaism
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Orthodox Judaism
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Congregation Shearith Israel (Atlanta, Ga.)
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Judge Advocate General's Corps
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World War, 1939-1945


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United States. Army


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Court Martials
Military law

Kosher Food
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Stein's Kosher Market (Atlanta, Ga.)
Grocery Industry and Trade; Delicatessens

Grocery Industry and Trade
Supermarkets; Wholesale Trade

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Judaism - Fasts and Feasts; Yom Kippur; Rosh Ha-Shanah

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