It’s only fitting that Moe Berg’s story was a mystery from the very start. Prior to the making of The Spy Behind Home Plate, all records listed his name as being born Morris Berg on March 2, 1902.
During her research for the film, however, Aviva Kempner uncovered a long-lost birth certificate indicating otherwise. The 1902 document revealed Morris “Moe” Berg was in fact born Moses Berg on May 3, two months later than originally thought.
According to his cousin Irwin Berg, the recent discovery is baffling, but not surprising.
“I have no way to explain how he was able to transfer his name and his birthdate on every subsequent record,” Irwin said.
Irwin Berg theorized that his cousin most likely changed his name from Moses to Morris to avoid facing the anti-Semitism and Jewish stereotypes of the time.
“He would not allow his name to be pronounced as Moses Berg. That was too Jewish for him,” Irwin said. “I’m just guessing now, that he changed the birthdate so it couldn’t be traced.”
Irwin Berg was interviewed for The Spy Behind Home Plate, which will have its world premiere on Saturday, May 11 at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, Maryland. The film opens on Friday, May 24 at the Avalon Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Case closed and happy birthday to Moe!