American Jews and the Holocaust : history, memory and identity / by Eliana Ginsburg.
Formation of American Jewish identity in the 1930s and 1940s was a multi-dimensional process. The Jewish American experience in the United States is unique because they faced a moral dilemma of loyalties and ties. They felt an obligation and responsibility to save their European brethren but were prevented from presenting a cohesive voice to protest the annihilation of Europe’s Jews in the Holocaust. Examining American Jews’ struggles with anti-Semitism, assimilation and ultimately the Holocaust, makes evident the complex process of immigrant identity formation in the United States and illuminates the specific ways in which the Jewish immigrant experience is unique. This thesis project will interpret oral history interviews from Jewish Americans who dealt with conflicting identities as Jews and as Americans. By creating a website that integrates oral history interviews with photographs and themes drawn from relevant scholarship, this project will be an opportunity for high school history teachers to begin a dialogue with students discussing issues around the Holocaust and the moral dilemma Jewish Americans faced being Americans yet wanting to aid their European religious brethren. The collection of these oral histories is crucial because they can help students discuss more openly the contradictions and conflicts underlying American Jewish identity. The website will ask thought provoking questions to lead students to a better understanding of the historical limitations that shaped American Jewish identity during the interwar years. The questions will be based on Jewish identity, anti-Semitism and Holocaust awareness. Creating a website to begin this dialogue will encourage a broader range of viewers to access the information. The website is a pilot, designed to encourage educators and other institutions to add additional and relevant information that can further the discussion. More broadly, this overall project can provide a first step in a larger dialogue to foster understanding of how global and domestic misconceptions can deter a population from aiding victims of a religious genocide.
Record last modified: 2018-04-24 16:01:00
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