In Vicky’s suitcase I found a newspaper clipping that was fascinating. It stated that Vicky was the only Jewish women pilot in 1931. She took flying lessons after she traveled. The money to fly came from the Durant and Lederer families. But where did the motivation come from. No one in my family flew a plane but it was the era of Lindbergh and Amelia. Everyone wanted to be up in the air. I would think that my grandparents would not have wanted her to fly. To fly in that era was very dangerous and was frowned upon. Remember, women belonged in the kitchen and caring for their husband’s and children. Well, Vicky had no children and her husband had just walked out on her. She had the money and her adventurous spirit probably told her why not learn to fly!
Why was it important for anyone to be the first or only person to achieve something. I guess it is important for the history books to record that first time event. It is an achievement for Jews to excel in unusual fields.
I don’t know if Vicky was a practicing Jew or just on the fringes of her religion. My grandparents were orthodox Jews but my parents were Reform German Jews. This group of Jews were not accepted during this time period. The Reform Jewish Movement was a challenge to the Orthodox Jewish beliefs. Reform Jews usually didn’t keep Kosher, they allowed men and women to sit together, and alot of the service was in English not Hebrew. These changes were very difficult for the Orthodox community to accept. Vicky was a renegade and her believing in the Reform Movement seemed to fit in with her personality.
I don’t know how Vicky became a pilot but in my next post I will show you what I found in her suitcase that document her flying days. So I imagine that Vicky was like her brother, my dad. He was a very liberal reform Jew. Still,it was very unusual for a Jewish women to become a pilot. She was 40 years old when she learned to fly. She was much older than other women who had learned to fly during the 30’s.
This article was in a bulletin from a synagogue called Temple Emanuel in Chicago. The clipping is so old that all I can see is the end of the temple’s name “uel”. I know that my parents belonged to this temple. It is located near Lake Michigan and is still in existence today. Because this is so long ago it is impossible to locate anyone who might have known Vicky.
I have not been able to find any other information about Vicky being the only Jewish woman pilot from that era. There were Jewish men that flew in that era but no other women that I know of. If anyone knows information about any Jewish women pilots in the early 30’s please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org