Course DescriptionUnderstanding how the United States responded to The Holocaust begins with attitudes to the first Jews who arrived under Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant in 1654. This course examines America’s history of tolerance and anti-Judaism, and how engrained prejudice influenced the response to The Holocaust. We consider the influence of the original white supremacy radio voice, Catholic Father Charles Coughlin, and how America’s newspapers reported Nazi atrocities. We explore the role of President Roosevelt, the effective ban of Jewish immigration, and the struggle to create a War Relief Board. Finally, we ask why the great mass of (Christian) Americans turned a blind eye, and whether America’s Jews could have done more. Of all our meditations on The Holocaust, the American response may be the most startling and disturbing.
Mary Ann Wilson