Unlike the other cultural groups covered in the People of Wisconsin series, the Jews who have made their home in Wisconsin are united not by a single country of origin, but by a shared history and set of religious beliefs. This diverse group found their way to America’s heartland over several centuries from Germany, Russia, and beyond, some fleeing violence and persecution, others searching for new opportunities, but all making important contributions to the fabric of this state’s history. Through detailed historical information and personal accounts, Sheila Terman Cohen brings to life the stories of their various trials and triumphs. Jews in Wisconsin details their battles against anti-Semitism, their efforts to participate in the communities they joined, and their successes at holding onto their own cultural identities.
In addition to excerpts of Cohen’s many interviews with Wisconsin Jews, Jews in Wisconsin also features the compelling journals of German immigrant Louis Heller, a tradesman who established himself in Milwaukee, and Russian immigrant Azriel Kanter, who details the perilous journey his family embarked on to escape anti-Semitism in his home country and make a new life in Wisconsin.