It can be hard to believe that in a country where freedoms and rights are at the heart of politics, vast proportions of the population were for years persecuted for their political views.
For many involved in the United States entertainment industry, the late 1940s and early 1950s were a time when answering the question “Are you now, or have you ever been, a communist?” could destroy a career.
Orchestrated by the fervent anti-communism of Senator Joe McCarthy, the Red Scare saw men and women called before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)
Born in 1886, the Mexican painter and muralist is perhaps now remembered most for his tempestuous marriage to Frida Kahlo and his passionate support of communism.
A precocious artistic talent, he was sent to a specialist academy in Mexico City at just ten-years-old, and later studied in Madrid and France, where he mixed with an elite circle that included Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Amedeo Modigliani.
Only two American presidents have been impeached – Andrew Johnson in 1868, and 130 years later Bill Clinton.
While the first scandal was largely about political expediency and partisan politics, the second centred around the Jewish daughter of a prominent Los Angeles doctor.
Possibly the most famous intern there has ever been, Monica Lewinsky grew up in Beverly Hills and attended a Conservative synagogue school. She was voted “most likely to have her name in lights” in her high school yearbook.
When Hollywood star Michael Douglas, son of Jewish actor Kirk (whsoe real name is Issur Danielovitch), met the Welsh actress, he told her: “I want to father your children”.
At 25 years her senior, their marriage – his second - surprised many, but they have remained together since and are set to renew their vows to mark their tenth anniversary. The couple have two children and live in New York.
They were there simply to visit one of Egypt’s archaeological treasures, the temple of Hatshepsut in the southern town of Luxor.
But the visit became a nightmare as six men, armed with firearms and knives, fired on them.
For 45 minutes the tourists were trapped inside the temple while their assailants systematically murdered them. They ten hijacked a bus but were stopped by a police shootout, in which three Egyptian tour guides died.
Born in Buenos Aires, his Russian-Jewish parents taught him piano from the age of five and by seven he was performing in public. When he was 11 the family moved to Tel Aviv.
At a young age he attracted the attention of renowned conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler, who described the young musician as “a phenomenon”. By 1957, Barenboim was playing Prokofiev professionally on a New York stage and is now known as one of the most influential conductors in the world.
Ellis Island, sold by New York State to the US government for the princely sum of £5,500 at the beginning of the 19th century, was the main entry point to the US for more than six decades. At its peak some 5,000 people passed through it for inspection each day.
From 1892, when the control centre opened its doors, around 15 million immigrants passed through this island a few miles from Manhattan’s southern tip.
More than two million of them were Jewish, fleeing the pogroms Russia and around Eastern Europe and in search of a better life in the New World.