America and the Survivors of the Holocaust

America and the Survivors of the Holocaust

America and the Survivors of the Holocaust

America and the Survivors of the Holocaust

Excerpt

The slaughter of 6 million Jews by the Nazis during World War II is the tragedy of modern Jewish history. Many Jews were dismayed that the world, and especially Great Britain and the United States, stood by while Hitler proceeded with his ruthless scheme to rid Europe of all its Jews. Histories such as Bernard Wasserstein Britain and the Jews of Europe, Henry Feingold's The Politics of Rescue, Saul Friedman No Haven For The Oppressed, Arthur Morse While Six Million Died, Barbara McDonald Stewart's , United States Government Policy on Refugees, 1933-1940, and David Wyman Paper Walls, described the unresponsiveness of British and American government officials who did little to stop the annihilation. Sadly, a similar indifference to the welfare of European Jewry persisted even after the war. In 1946, Judge Simon Rifkind, the Jewish adviser to the American Army in Europe, noted that survivors of the German concentration camps:

expected the miracle of liberation to be followed by worldwide welcome extended by a repentant mankind which had permitted them to suffer such barbarism. There was no such welcome. Instead they awoke to find themselves in the chilly atmosphere of a displaced persons center with every avenue of escape to a land of freedom and dignity closed to them.

Until now, and aside from contemporary analyses, there have been few investigations of American attitudes towards the displaced persons. Robert Divine devoted two chapters to the Displaced Persons Acts of 1948 and 1950 in his book, American Immigration Policy, and two graduate students have done theses on the subject. But these scholars did not have access to documents and manuscript collections that have opened within . . .

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