The iconic “Kissing Sailor” photo in Times Square at the end of World War II came back in the news recently upon the death of the sailor at age 95.
The two people involved remained anonymous for many years — but eventually the sailor was identified as George Mendonza, and the woman (a dental technician often mistakenly labeled a nurse) as Greta Zimmer Friedman. She and her family were Jewish immigrants who fled Europe to escape the Nazis. Friedman died in 2016 at age 92.
Side note: The famous photo was taken by renowned Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, himself a Jewish refugee who escaped the Nazi regime.
In 2012, a controversy arose over the fact that the kiss was not voluntary on Friedman’s part; some viewed the image as an act of sexual harassment. That controversy has been reignited by today’s #MeToo movement: An unknown individual spray painted “#MeToo” on of the woman’s left leg in a statue commemorating the kiss.
Quote: “I found out later, he was so happy that he did not have to go back to the Pacific where they already had been through the war. And the reason he grabbed someone dressed like a nurse was that he just felt very grateful to nurses who took care of the wounded.”
Watch “Kissing the War Goodbye” on CBS This Morning [5:29]. >>