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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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Towards Consensus? American Jewish Organizations in France after the Shoah (Laura Hobson Faure)

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← 78 | 79 →

Laura Hobson Faure

Towards Consensus? American Jewish Organizations in France after the Shoah

Abstract: American Jewish organizations focused their attention on Europe in order to give humanitarian assistance to Jewish communities and they benefited from increased empathy after the Shoah. Philanthropy often bridged the gap between different Jewish factions in America.

Exploring the mobilization of American Jewish organizations in France after World War II provides a concrete example of how American Jews responded to the needs of French Jews in the aftermath of the Shoah. Such an exploration offers insights into the actions, motivations and influence of various organizations. There is much to be learned about the postwar Jewish community inside the United States from analyzing the organizational dynamics and work of American Jewish organizations abroad. Indeed, historians have generally agreed that in the decade following World War II there was unprecedented integration of American Jews into US society. Yet the same historians disagree about the persistence of communal divisions among American Jews.1 The study of American Jewish organizations ← 79 | 80 → in France is a new angle from which to examine the question of postwar communal consensus and division, and thus sheds light on American Jewish identity in a moment of transition. As Jews were gaining greater acceptance in US society in the years following World War II, they were also facing new challenges such as maintaining group cohesion during the Cold War, a time of great geographic and social...

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