America, Its Jews, and the Rise of Nazism

America, Its Jews, and the Rise of Nazism

Gulie Neā€™eman Arad
Distribution: World
Publication date: 1/1/2001
Format: cloth 328 pages, 1 bibliog., 1 index
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-33809-9
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Description

"This meticulously researched and brilliantly argued account of American Jewry and the Nazi crisis is an outstanding achievement. . . . This is history at its best, a work of humane and balanced scholarship that unveils the nuances and ambiguities of the human experience. Framed within a compelling narrative, it is beautifully written with lucid restraint, yet deep compassion. . . . an essential corrective to an often misunderstood history." —Saul Friedlander

What did American Jews do to help the threatened Jewish communities of Europe as the Nazi grip tightened in the 1930s? Why didn’t they do more to help Jews leave Europe and bring them to America? Probing these questions, Gulie Ne’eman Arad finds that, more than the events themselves, what was instrumental in dictating and shaping the American Jews’ response to Nazism was the dilemma posed by their desire for acceptance by American society, on the one hand, and their commitment to community solidarity, on the other. When American Jews were faced with the desperate plight of European Jews after Hitler’s accession to power, they were hesitant to press the case for immigration for fear of raising doubts about their own patriotism. In this gripping and thoroughly researched account, Arad contextualizes the American Jewish encounter with Nazism within the overall history of the American Jewish experience from the mid-19th century and offers a persuasive explanation of the ambivalent political response of American Jewish leaders in dealing with the Roosevelt administration.

Author Bio

Gulie Ne’eman Arad teaches American and European history at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She is author of numerous articles and coeditor of the journal History & Memory.

Reviews

"Demonstrating extensive archival research as well as mining a vast amount of memoir and secondary literature, Arad focuses on the American Jewish political elite from the early 19th century to the onset of the Holocaust." —Choice

"The author attempts to understand and explain why the American Jewish community failed to act more aggressively and to speak out more forcefully on behalf of their German Jewish brethren as the Nazi threat grew increasingly real and apparent." —Kirkus Reviews

"This meticulously researched and brilliantly argued account of American Jewry and the Nazi crisis is an outstanding achievement. . . . This is history at its best, a work of humane and balanced scholarship that unveils the nuances and ambiguities of the human experience. Framed within a compelling narrative, it is beautifully written with lucid restraint, yet deep compassion. . . . an essential corrective to an often misunderstood history." —Saul Friedlander

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Table of Contents

Preliminary :

Introduction

Part 1: Incoming
1. "Amerika du hast es besser": The German-Jewish Immigrants in America
2. A Community Transformed: The Influx from the East

Part 2: A Growing Divide—"We" and "They"
3. Hard Times in the "Goldene Medine": The Jewish Question in the American Context
4. A Crisis of Faith: Anti-Semitism in Weimar Germany

Part 3: A Scant Political Voice, 1933-35
5. The Jewish Leaders vs. the Voice of America
6. Cooptation of Protest: Trying to "Break Through"
7. Jewish Power: The Demise of a Myth

Part 4: Crisis and Patriotism, 1936-1942
8. FDR: "The Greatest Friend We Have"
9. "On Being an American": (In Place of a) Conclusion