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American Responses to the Holocaust

Transatlantic Perspectives

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Edited By Hans Krabbendam and Derek Rubin

This collection puts the topic of Jewish Studies and Holocaust Studies in a new American Studies perspective. This perspective compares the similarities and differences in responses and their transatlantic interaction. As the Holocaust grew into an important factor in American culture, it also became a subject of American Studies, both as a window on American trends and as a topic to which outsiders responded. When Americans responded to information on the early signs of the Holocaust, they were dependent on European official and informal sources. Some were confirmed, others were contradicted; some were ignored, others provoked a response. This book follows the chronology of this transatlantic exchange, including the alleged abandonment of the Jews in Europe and the post-war attention to the Holocaust victims.

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Allied Governments’ Responses to Reports About the Nazi Extermination Campaign Against the Jews in 1944 (Jan Láníček)

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Jan Láníček

Allied Governments’ Responses to Reports About the Nazi Extermination Campaign Against the Jews in 1944

Abstract: Some historians have suggested a causal link between popular anti-Semitism and failing policies to protect the Jews from the Holoacaust. But the US and the UK governments hesitated because they feared it might reduce broad support for the war. The allied governments were careful of accepting the first reports about the Holocaust because they were concerned for the safety of their POWs.

Contemporary historiography of the Holocaust is one of the most developed historiographies on any historical subject. For decades historians have discussed issues that pertain to the various aspects of the Nazi extermination campaign against the Jews, to Jewish responses to the genocide, and to the behaviour of so-called bystanders—actors who were not directly involved in the mass murder but were in a position to influence events. Since the 1960s, historians have increasingly challenged the prevailing silence about the Allied responses to the Nazi persecution of the Jews throughout the 1930s and 1940s. This sensitive issue of how the powerful Allies—the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union—responded to the Nazi racial policies has polarised historians. Some historians have condemned the alleged Allies’ indifference and passivity, while others have emphasised that the Allies did all that was within their power and thus they cannot be accused of “the abandonment of the Jews,” to borrow David Wyman’s...

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