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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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Echoes of the Shoah: The 1951 Resettlement of Budapest’s Jews (David S. Frey)

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David S. Frey

Echoes of the Shoah: The 1951 Resettlement of Budapest’s Jews

Abstract: A series of large-scale expropriations and evictions of the heavily Jewish Budapest middle-class in 1951 revealed that the fragility of the implementation of the human rights provisions in the Hungarian constitution. The American Legation and the State Department collected evidence of human rights violations, which stirred a debate that was the opposite of a “Holocaust silence.”

When Hungary promulgated the basic law that transformed it into a republic in 1946, the transitional constitution’s preamble guaranteed “natural and inalienable human rights for all citizens.”1 It specifically enumerated natural rights as personal freedom; the right to life without oppression, fear or want; the right to private property; the right to personal security and work; freedoms of thought, expression, religion and assembly; and more.2 Hungary’s commitment to individual human rights was theoretically bolstered in September 1947, when the series of peace treaties between the Allied and Associated Powers and the former Axis satellites of Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria all came into force. As part of these treaties, the defeated countries became legally obliged to provide fundamental human rights and freedoms to the populations over which they presided. Article one of the political clauses segment of the Hungarian treaty obliged the state to guarantee to all persons under Hungarian jurisdiction, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom...

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