In 1933, the American Jewish Yearbook estimated there were 9.5 million Jews living in Europe. By the end of World War II, two-thirds of them had been extinguished.
Why American Jews did not rise up and demand more action to help their brethren during the Holocaust has remained a sensitive question for decades, especially among Jewish baby boomers.
In 2002, Susan D. Glazer, writing for My Jewish Learning suggested the following reasons:
Recently, American Jewry has been criticized for not continually or strongly pushing for rescue efforts. During the war, however, organized American Jewry did press for rescue in a variety of ways but, in general, rescue was not a high priority for major American Jewish organizations. American Jewry feared that agitation for rescue would exacerbate domestic anti-Semitism or compromise the strong connection that they held with the Roosevelt administration. Moreover, Jewish organizations often placed the creation of a Jewish state above rescue efforts on their list of priorities.
Obviously, group self-preservation, access to political power and future goals were deemed more important by Jewish leaders in the U.S. at the time.
Then, in April of 1945, a month before Germany surrendered, Allied forces liberated the death camps. When the full extent of Holocaust horrors were revealed the world was shocked, and American Jews collectively vowed, “Never again.”
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