Bernard Baruch, Southerner
January 28, 2018, 09:15 AM
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A common bit of 21st Century retconning is that white Southerners and Jews were always ideological foes. But the history of Jews in the United States suggests that Jews in the South were long just as loyal to the Southern way as other whites.

For example, perhaps the most widely respected Jewish American of the first half of the 20th Century was Bernard Baruch, who was also a proud Southerner.

Bernard Baruch (1870-1965) was a Wall Street financier who became a remarkably popular advisor to presidents from Wilson at least through Truman. For example, he was in charge of the War Industries Board during WWI and in 1946 presented to the UN the United States’ Baruch Plan to ban nuclear weapons and internationalize nuclear power. (The Soviets vetoed it.)

I have no idea whether the Baruch Plan was a good idea. It was popular with the Anglo-American center-left, such as philosopher Bertrand Russell and sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein. (Heinlein, who had been writing about the world-historical dangers posed by nuclear weapons since 1940 implied that its rejection by Moscow pushed him to the right.)

But my point is that Baruch was so prestigious by the later 1940s that he was agreed upon within the Truman Administration as the appropriate trusted Elder Wise Man to pitch the idea to the world.

One interesting thing about the Jewish Baruch is that, although he lived in New York since age 11 always identified as a proud Southerner. He was born in Camden, South Carolina during Reconstruction and was proud of his Rebel roots. His mother came from a Jewish family that had been in North America since the 1600s. The family plantation house was burned by Sherman’s troops. From Wikipedia:

In 1925 [Bernard] endowed the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) Mrs. Simon Baruch University Award in memory of his mother, to support scholars who have written unpublished monographs for full-length books on Confederate history. His mother had been an early member of the organization and supported their activities.
His German-speaking father Simon Baruch had emigrated to South Carolina in 1855 and served as a captain-surgeon in the Confederate Army, being captured by the Union Army while tending to Rebel wounded at both Antietam and Gettysburg. He appears to have joined the KKK during Reconstruction.

Simon Baruch was hugely respected in South Carolina, being made head of the state board of health and state medical association at young ages. He took part as an attending surgeon in one of the last high-tone duels fought in the U.S. in 1880.

The Baruches remained staunch Southrons even after moving to New York:

Mrs. Baruch became a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the couple raised their children with pro-Southern views. If a band struck up “Dixie,” Dr. Baruch would jump up and give the Rebel yell, much to the chagrin of the family. A man of usual reserve and dignity, Dr. Baruch nevertheless would let loose with the piercing yell even in the Metropolitan Opera House …
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