42. September 3, 2010 – March 5, 2011

Fighting from the Sidelines: The WWII Home-front

Guest Curator: Marlene D’Orazio Adler

Selections from the Silver Family World War II Home-Front Ephemera Collection

A Visual Response by Members of the museum's Artists’ Collaborative & Students of the KI Confirmation Academy

A Photographic Tapestry

Selections from The Temple Judea Museum permanent collection

DESCRIPTION: Sixty-Five years ago the World War II conflict ended in Europe. The armed struggle that led to the defeat of Nazi Germany was fought on foreign shores but that struggle was also experienced, albeit from a distance, by Americans who were left at home. Almost every family had a loved one serving in harm’s way far from home, and the extraordinary military effort that defeated the Nazis and liberated the death camps, was supported by a massive civil effort that became known as “The Home-front”. This exhibition remembers that fateful time in our history.


“One front and one battle where everyone in the United States – every man, woman and child – is in action. That front is right here at home, in our daily lives.” 

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Address to the nation, April 1942

In 2008 local resident Gene Silver walked into the Elkins Park office of Temple Judea Museum director and curator, Rita Rosen Poley with a strange box in his hands. Gene was searching for a safe home for a family treasure. That treasure, which overflowed the box, was the record of his family’s passage through WWII. Living in Philadelphia, the Silvers were not on the front lines in Europe but they did experience the conditions of what has become known as The WWII Home-Front. Much of the tangible record of that sobering time does not exist anymore. Known as ephemera, the documents, ration books, posters, letters and newspapers that guided families through those perilous days were largely discarded at the end of the war.

Somehow the Silver family knew that, that ephemera, which could tell the story of the Home-front effort, needed to be preserved for future generations. In September, 2010, after two years of curatorial research and preparation, the museum’s new special collection, The Silver Family WWII Home-Front Ephemera Collection will debut to the public as Fighting from the Sidelines, the fall/winter exhibition of The Temple Judea Museum as an effort of guest curator, Marlene D’Orazio Adler. Curator Adler notes that “In particular the letters, posters and projects directed towards children, explaining the ways they could help the war effort I found extremely moving.”