George Vida (b.1906), Papers.

  • Dates: 1938-1987; n.d.
  • Size: .4 linear ft.
  • Number of Boxes: 1
  • Languages:
    • English
    • German
  • Location: Special Collections Reading Room, Jewish Theological Seminary Library.
  • Restrictions: Reproduction of fragile items is not permitted; consult the archivist about literary rights.
  • Gift Of: George Vida
  • Date: 1987

NRW, 7/26/94

Table of Contents:

A Note on Folder Headings

Individual folders are identified in the following way on the left side of each folder: Name of Collection, box #/folder#, as in Ben Zion Bokser Papers, 4/22. Please use this format in citations and when referring to files for any other reason.

Biographical Note

Rabbi George Vida was born in Csongrad, Hungary. While in school in Szeged he started a Zionist debate circle. In 1929 he received his doctorate from the University of Breslau, and in 1931 was ordained by Breslau's Jewish Theological Seminary. From 1930-1938 Rabbi Vida served as a rabbi in Gablonz, Czechoslovakia. In June, 1939 Rabbi Vida and his family emigrated to the United States. In September, 1940, after attending classes for refugee rabbis at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, Vida became the rabbi of Temple Beth Shalom in Haddon Heights, New Jersey.

After his years at Haddon Heights, Rabbi Vida became a chaplain in the United States Army, working with displaced persons in Europe. He was the Jewish chaplain at Eisenhower's headquarters in Frankfurt. He was also an interpreter and liasion officer to the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry on Palestine. He worked in Munich, and travelled through the displaced persons camps in Germany and Austria.

When the war was over Rabbi Vida returned to the United States and from 1947-1950 served as rabbi at Temple Beth El in Troy, New York. He remained in the military reserves, then was recalled to active duty in 1950 for the Korean War. After serving in Korea, Vida returned to Germany to serve as chaplain in Munich, 1952-1955, working with displaced persons. He also went with troops to Lebanon, Tunisia, and Israel.

On his return to the United States Rabbi Vida founded Congregation Beth Tikva in Rockville, Maryland, and subsequently retired to Berkeley, California where he served as Scholar in Residence at Congregation Beth El.

Collection Description

Approximately half of this small collection of Rabbi George Vida's papers consists of correspondence, certificates, reports, clippings, a biographical essay, and other material (originals and photocopies), while the rest consists of photographs. Much of this material documents Rabbi Vida's experiences working with displaced persons in Europe after World War Two.

Of note is a biographical essay in which Rabbi Vida describes his early life and education, his wartime experiences, and his careers in the rabbinate and the chaplaincy. Also included are certificates and military papers documenting his career in the United States Army's chaplaincy; correspondence about chaplaincy, rabbinical, and personal matters - including letters and documents concerning his departure from Czechoslovakia in 1938; the jacket from his book, From Doom to Dawn and two letters, 1967, concerning it; correspondence and documents, 1940- 1941, concerning his installation as rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom, Haddon Heights, New Jersey; and clippings, 1940s-1960s, of newspaper articles about Rabbi Vida.

The photographs, ca.1942-1982, mainly document Rabbi Vida's career in the chaplaincy.

Series List

  • I. Papers, 1938-1987; n.d.
  • II. Photographs, 1942-1982; n.d.

Box List

Box  Folder(s)  Description 
  I. Papers, 1938-1987; n.d.
1 1 Biographical essay, August, 1987
 2 Chaplaincy, 1945-1965
 3 Correspondence, military; congragulatory messages, 1941-1969
 4 Correspondence concerning Rabbi Vida's departure from Czechoslovakia, 1938
 5 Correspondence personal, 1945-1946
 6 From Doom to Dawn, letters and jacket, 1967
 7 Haddon Heights, N.J., Temple Beth Shalom, correspondence, 1940-1941
 8 Israel-related materials, Jackson Amendment, Congressional Record, September 23, 1971
 9-10  Newspaper clippings, 1942-1960s
 11 Programs and printed material, 1952-1976; n.d.
 (There is no folder 12)
  II. Photographs, 1942-1982; n.d.
 13 Berchtesgarden, 1953; 1955; 1958-1959; n.d.
 14 Chaplaincy in the military, 1943-1944; 1953-1954; 1957-1958; 1960
 15 Congregation Beth Sholom, Congregation Beth Tikva, and R.A. Western Region, 1942; 1962; 1982
 16 Dachau (ruins), 1945?
 17 Heidelberg, 1952-1959
 18 Japan and Korea, 1951; n.d.
 19 Miscellaneous photos, 1946; n.d.
 20 Munich, 1953-1955
 20a  United States Army Headquarters, Frankfurt?, 1943; 1945; n.d.
 21 Vienna (post World War II), n.d.