Antisemitism -- History -- United States -- 1945-, Jews -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States, and American Jewish Congress
The victory over the Nazi regime in 1945 caused many Americans to turn their attention to the elimination of racism and prejudice at home. The Holocaust united the American Jewish community to fight against antisemitism with the goal of eliminating it forever. Changes in the Jewish leadership moved national Jewish organizations to join the Blacks' struggle for civil rights. Between 1945-50 the American Jewish Congress designed a legal attack on discrimination that was founded on the assumption that law and social science could be merged. The ideological basis of this campaign was put forward by two emigre scholars, Kurt Lewin and Alexander Pekelis. Two commissions were established in the framework of the AJC to this end, with different conceptions of how to merge science and law. The AJC was resolved to focus on all forms of discrimination rather than only on antisemitism. The AJC's scientific approach contributed to the dismantling of legalized segregation and reduction in antisemitism after 1950.
Rabbis -- Attitudes, Rabbis -- United States, Jews -- History -- United States -- 19th century, Jews -- History -- United States -- 20th century, Jews -- Political activity -- History, and Judaism and state -- Congresses
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945), World War, 1939-1945 -- Diplomatic history, and Jews -- History -- United States -- 1939-1945
Documents the failure of the American Jewish community, especially influential groups like the American Jewish Congress and leaders like Rabbi Stephen Wise, to exert political pressure on the White House to bomb Auschwitz or otherwise force the Nazis to halt the genocide of the Jews. There were those who, from the fall of 1942, did urge American action, and who were not worried about arousing antisemitism in America or insecure about their own positions, but they were marginal - new immigrants like A. Leon Kubowitzki and Revisionist Zionists, like the Bergson group. However, the more Americanized leaders, with stature and clout, were reluctant to take a stand that might have changed American policy. Thus, President Roosevelt could let the War Department have its way in rejecting requests to bomb the death camps or the railways leading to them.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945), World War, 1939-1945 -- Diplomatic history, Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Rescue, and United States. War Refugee Board
In 1944-45, Iver Olsen, special representative of the U.S. War Refugee Board in Sweden, received a series of Nazi proposals to exchange Jews being held in camps in the Baltics, and some places in Germany, for cash or materiel. The WRB took the ransom plans, first suggested by Hillel Storch of the World Jewish Congress, into consideration because other rescue plans were unreliable and involved human losses. However, the Nazis' proposals, which were supposedly extended for humanitarian reasons, represented an attempt by high-ranking officials, notably Himmler, to open a dialogue with the Americans on a separate peace, or, at a later stage, on more lenient conditions of surrender. Constrained by limits of the Allied policy of unconditional surrender, Olsen and U.S. Minister to Sweden Herschel Johnson attempted to aid Jews, but the political ramifications of concluding a deal prevented the exchange. Only in April 1945, negotiations between Norbert Masur of the World Jewish Congress and SS leaders succeeded in the liberation of 1,000 Jewish women from Ravensbrück, who were transported to Sweden.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Influence -- United States, Jewish refugees -- United States, and Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
Discusses the case which arose in 1950, in New York, of a Jew (Benjamin Krieger) who accused another Jew (Majer Mittelman) of having killed his brother in the Mühldorf concentration camp in April 1945, and of having collaborated with the Nazis. Fearing that the newspaper coverage might spread and unleash a wave of antisemitism, the American Jewish Congress convened a "beit din" (a Jewish arbitration board consisting of three rabbis) to hear the two sides. Mittelman conceded that he had been in Mühldorf, but denied that he had been the "Blockschreiber" (block clerk) who had killed Krieger's brother. The "beit din" absolved Mittelman of any guilt in the death of Zalman Krieger, citing a lack of conclusive evidence. A verdict of guilt might have had serious consequences for Jewish immigrants or potential immigrants to the U.S.
Antisemitism in the press, Antisemitism -- History -- United States -- 1500-, Jews -- United States -- Periodicals, and Dearborn independent
Reveals how, in 1927, the head of the American Jewish Congress, Louis Marshall, went behind the backs of two Jews (Aaron Sapiro and Herman Bernstein) who were trying to sue Henry Ford for libel, and wrote a document that Ford signed apologizing for the serialization of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" in the "Dearborn Independent". However, Ford denied responsibility, blaming his employees. Marshall's elitist approach was adopted in order to avoid confrontation. Ford's apology did not halt the spread of the "Protocols" or of "The International Jew", which was derived from it. Nor did it remove obstacles to a more secure equality for American Jews. Marshall's devotion to an individual conception of equal rights left unchallenged the problem of group defamation that only anti-hate speech legislation could address.