A Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust

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9781565847613: A Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust
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In his landmark bestseller, The Abandonment of the Jews, David Wyman exhaustively detailed America’s failure to help rescue the victims of Nazi genocide. But one man, Peter Bergson, led a tireless battle against that tide of indifference, making it impossible for American leaders to plead ignorance of the German atrocities. Now, Wyman, along with Rafael Medoff, tells for the first time the story of the man who led America’s most effective campaign to rescue victims of the Holocaust.

A Race Against Death utilizes extensive firsthand interviews to present Peter Bergson’s own account of his remarkable life and struggles. Facing deportation from America and threats on his life, Bergson employed every conceivable method to influence policy and public opinion: he personally hounded Congressmen to support a rescue; placed controversial full-page ads in major newspapers demanding action; and drew a record crowd of 40,000 to a rally and memorial pageant at Madison Square Garden.

Award-winning historian David Wyman is the definitive authority on America’s action and inaction during the Holocaust. In A Race Against Death, he and Rafael Medoff return to this tragic era in American history and chronicle one of its few heroes.

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About the Author:

Author of the bestselling Abandonment of the Jews, David Wyman is a special adviser to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council and professor emeritus of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Rafael Medoff is a visiting scholar in the Jewish Studies program at the State University of New York at Purchase and author of The Deafening Silence: American Jewish Leaders and the Holocaust.

From Publishers Weekly:

This is a chilling account of U.S. indifference to the plight of European Jews during WWII, of how government officials not only failed to act but thwarted the efforts of those who tried. Had Peter Bergson, representing Ze'ev Jabotinsky's Revisionist Zionists in America, received government support for his plans to rescue Hitler's Jewish victims, many more might have been saved and his name might have been as well known as those of Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg. But as Wyman (The Destruction of the Jews) and Medoff (The Deafening Silence: American Jewish Leaders and the Holocaust) make clear in this simple but potent volume, Bergson's dogged efforts-advertisements in the New York Times, lobbying in Washington, a star-studded pageant called "We Will Never Die" that toured the country-were crippled in large part not only by Roosevelt's administration but by the leaders of the established American Jewish community. The latter were threatened by the Lithuanian-born, Palestine-raised Bergson's tactics and by his ties to what was considered a radical wing of the Zionist movement. What makes this book an ideal companion to Wyman's seminal Abandonment of the Jews (1984) is a transcript of a 12-hour interview he conducted with Bergson as part of his research for that volume. Much-needed context is added by interviews with other players, as well as fascinating letters and papers, including a scathing indictment of the Roosevelt administration's inaction by a Treasury Department official.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9781565848566: A Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust

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Publisher: The New Press, 2004
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