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Watch preview highlights of the Teachers Union members we've interviewed for the documentary, Dreamers and Fighters:  The NYC Teacher Purges.  See their testimony and then read their biographies to fill in their stories -- pre- and post- Teachers Union membership.

Samuel Wallach
Former NYC Teachers Union President

Addressing a House Sub-committee investigating Communism in the Teachers Union in 1948, Sam said:  

I've been a teacher for 15 years—a proud American teacher. I've tried to inspire my youngsters with a deep devotion for the American way of life, our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Hundreds of my youngsters fought in WWII and I know their understanding of the need to fight for their country was inspired by my teaching and the Bill of Rights. As a teacher and believer in those fundamental principles, it would be a betrayal of everything I have been teaching to cooperate with the committee investigating a man's opinions, political beliefs and private views.

Read more about Sam Wallach

Ann Matlin

 I remember teaching a fifth grade class with a textbook written by the same Mr. Jansen who questioned me before he tried to get me fired (for my political affiliations).

There was a picture of slaves dancing in front of their cabins with the notation below stating that you could see that the slaves were very well off. "Look how happy they are. They are dancing."

I had a box of scissors, Board of Education scissors, and I gave them to every child in the room ...

Read more about Ann Matlin

Irving Mauer

Irving Mauer's first involvement in the labor movement came before he was born. In 1914, his father, a house painter, was on strike and a scab was working near his family's Bronx apartment. His mother, heavily pregnant, went downstairs to remonstrate with him: "You're taking food away from my unborn baby." As his mother later recounted, "The scab took ff his overalls and joined the union."

Read more about Irving Mauer

Henry Foner

Henry Foner was a member of the Teachers Union from 1940 to 1948,including his four years of military service in Italy and Austria in World War II, during which he was awarded the Legion of Merit, the military's fourth highest award and the Italian Military Valor Cross.

Read more about Henry Foner

Irving Adler

Upon turning 96, Irving Adler, former Stuyvesant HS math teacher said, “I'm now entering my 97th year. Ninety-seven is a prime number, so you could say, I'm now in my prime.” It's more likely that Mr. Adler's entire life was lived in prime performance.

I entered high school at the age of eleven. I was sent to Townsend Harris Hall, the preparatory school for City College. In 1927 I was admitted to City College at the age of fourteen.

1931 I began my graduate studies, taking mathematics and physics courses in the daytime at Columbia University and pedagogy courses at City College at night.

Read more about Irving Adler


Morris Schappes

Born in the Ukraine, but raised in Brazil, Morris Schappes and his family were en route back to his birthplace when WWI broke out and they were stranded in New York where they remained.

When Morris got to the City College of New York, he began his writing career—which would span a lifetime...

Read more about Morris Schappes  

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