American, Its Jews, And The Rise Of Nazism

Overview

"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 ...

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Overview

"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.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"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

From the Publisher
"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

Indiana University Press

"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

Indiana University Press

Choice

"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

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Israeli historian Arad explores a thorny issue--could the American Jewish community have done more during WWII to save Europe's Jews from genocide? Arad's scholarship is beyond reproach, but her writing style shows why the best researchers aren't always the best authors. Her style is too dry to be savored by anyone other than professional peers, which is a shame, because she presents a powerful, albeit pessimistic, argument. By the time the Nazis came to power in Germany, Arad contends, many American Jews had risen to positions of power and prominence in U.S. politics; nevertheless, she avers, these same Jews realized that retaining their status was contingent on being perceived as neutral when Jewish and American values clashed--as they inevitably would, according to Arad: "In a society that claimed to uphold universalist ethics and insisted that we treat the whole world as our brothers and sisters, loyalty to the nation and loyalty to a separate tribe were seen as incompatible. In the end, Arad maintains that America's Jewish leaders didn't have the clout to affect the fate of European Jewry; however, the ambivalence of those leaders, who refused to take a clear public stand against what was happening in Germany, should not, she makes clear, go unnoticed. (Jan.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253338099
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2000
  • Series: Jewish Literature and Culture Series
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Preliminary Table of Contents:

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

Indiana University Press

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