Post-Holocaust Politics: Britain, the United States & Jewish Refugees, 1945-1948

Synopsis

Between 1945 and 1948, more than a quarter of a million Jews fled countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans and began filling hastily erected displaced persons camps in Germany and Austria. As one of the victorious Allies, Britain had to help find a solution for the vast majority of these refugees who refused repatriation. Drawing on extensive research in British, American, and Israeli archives, Arieh Kochavi presents a comprehensive analysis of British policy toward Jewish displaced persons and reveals the crucial role the United States played in undermining that policy.

Kochavi argues that political concerns--not human considerations--determined British policy regarding the refugees. Anxious to secure its interests in the Middle East, Britain feared its relations with Arab nations would suffer if it appeared to be too lax in thwarting Zionist efforts to bring Jewish Holocaust survivors to Palestine. In the United States, however, the American Jewish community was able to influence presidential policy,by making its vote hinge on a solution to the displaced persons problem. Setting his analysis against the backdrop of the escalating Cold War, Kochavi reveals how, ironically, the Kremlin as well as the White House came to support the Zionists' goals, albeit for entirely different reasons.