A 19th Century U.S and Mexico historian I got hooked on the issue of urban renewal (AKA people removal). I got interested in the subject in the late 1970s when I began to microfilming articles on Mexican Americans in the Eastside Sun (Boyle Heights). I was attracted to the Sun because I wanted to piece together the relations between the progressive Mexican and Jewish communities.
Jewish Americans once the dominate group in the Heights did not become a minority there until the 1950s. Mexicans were greatly influenced by left leaning Jews and they joined organizations such as Henry Wallace’s American Independent Party (1948).
Members of both groups graduated from Roosevelt High School where they formed friendships. Two prominent Roosevelt alumni are Judge Harry Pregerson who serves the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and former Ambassador to Mexico Dr. Julian Nava.
The Jewish community left many landmarks. Hollenbeck Park was a replica of German Tiergartens – built by German Jews. Many former synagogues such as la Casa Del Mexicano have become public spaces.