America and the Holocaust A Documentary History

About the Book

2023 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

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The first comprehensive volume to teach about America’s response to the Holocaust through visual media, America and the Holocaust: A Documentary History explores the complex subject through the lens of one hundred important documents that help illuminate and amplify key episodes and issues.

Each chapter pivots on five key documents: two in image form and three in text form. Individual introductions that contextualize the documents are followed by explanatory text, analysis of historical implications, and suggestions for further reading. A concluding state-of-the-field essay documents how scholars have arrived at the presented information. A complementary teacher’s guide with questions for discussion is available online.

The twenty chapters address a broad range of subjects and events, among them America’s response to Hitler’s rise, U.S. public opinion about Jews, immigration policy, the Wagner-Rogers bill to save children, American rescuers, news coverage of atrocities, American Jewish and Christian responses to the Holocaust, the campaign for U.S. rescue action, the question of bombing Auschwitz, and liberation.

Viewing real documents as a means to understanding core issues will deepen reader involvement with this material. High school and college students as well as general readers of all levels of knowledge will be engaged in understanding this crucial chapter in American history and weighing questions regarding mass atrocities in our own era.

“The division of the Medoff book into 20 chapters makes it an ideal choice for a semester-long high school, college or adult-education class on the Holocaust.”Greater Houston Jewish News

“This is an important and long-overdue book—exactly the material students need to understand this crucial chapter in American history and inform them as they consider issues related to genocide in our own time.”—Bat-Ami Zucker, professor of American history at Bar Ilan University

“Replacing slogans with facts, uninformed opinions with information, and hyperbole with solid historical documents, this documentary history will go a long way toward helping students and interested lay readers become better informed about the relationship between America and the Holocaust.”—Alan Berger, Raddock Family Eminent Scholar Chair in Holocaust Studies, Florida Atlantic University

“Highly impressive. This expertly constructed documentary history is a major contribution to understanding America’s response to the Holocaust.”—Steven T. Katz, Slater Chair in Jewish Holocaust Studies, Boston University

“Provides a vital context by which to approach the American perspective and the American response to the Holocaust. America and the Holocaust will be of direct benefit to educators and students engaged in Holocaust Studies, U.S. immigration history, the history of Jews in the United States, and those undertaking studies of human rights in the twentieth century.”—Paul Bartrop, former professor and director, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Research, Florida Gulf Coast University

“America and the Holocaust is a must for anyone, but especially students and educators, who wish to learn how the U.S. responded to the growing avalanche of anti-Jewish measures culminating in the horrific extermination of millions of European Jews. Appropriate documents highlight the topics under discussion. Medoff’s well-written book will apprise the reader of everything one needs to know on the response or lack of response of American officialdom and public figures to the danger posed by Nazi Germany, not only to the Jews, who constituted the principal target, but to civilization as a whole.”—Mordecai Paldiel, former director, Department of the Righteous, Yad Vashem

“Rafael Medoff, one of the foremost authorities on American responses to the Holocaust, presents an excellent overview of the subject, drawing on cutting-edge scholarship in the field and providing an in-depth analysis of primary sources.” Holocaust and Genocide Studies

“Well written and well argued, Medoff’s indictment makes for a compelling read.” American Jewish Archives Journal

Rafael Medoff

Rafael Medoff is founding director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies and the coeditor of the institute’s online Encyclopedia of America’s Response to the Holocaust. He has written more than twenty books about American Jewish history, the Holocaust, and related topics, including The Jews Should Keep Quiet: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Stephen S. Wise, and the Holocaust (JPS, 2019).

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