New Haven and Waterbury, Connecticut Jewish communities' public response to the Holocaust, 1938-44 : an examination based on accounts in the public printed press and local Jewish organizational documents / by Kenneth Wolk
Includes bibliographical references (p. 270-277)
The "Final Solution" became public knowledge between November 24, 1942, and December 17, 1942, when Rabbi Stephen Wise released news of over two million European Jews' deaths to the Washington Post, on November 24. On December 17, eleven Allied Nations issued a formal declaration confirming Rabbi Wise's announcement. How did the greater American Jewish community learn of these and other Holocaust events? How did American Jews react to this information? What did this news mean to American Jews and how did the leaders of the American Jewish community organize their fellow Jews to respond to these horrifying reports? Two works written in the late eighties, Were We Our Brothers' Keepers? by Rabbi Haskel Lookstein and The Deafening Silence by Rafael Medoff, answered these questions for Jews in New York or Pittsburgh, but not for smaller Jewish communities, like this author's hometown of Waterbury, Connecticut. This researcher wanted to learn what his parents and relatives, and Waterbury's Jewish community knew about the "Final Solution." How and when did Waterbury's Jews learn about these events and how did national Jewish organizations mobilize their local chapters in Waterbury to respond to Holocaust news? Rabbi Lookstein's work offered a model study plan but Waterbury did not have the primary Jewish sources needed to complete this study. However, thirty miles away the New Haven, Connecticut Jewish Historical Society did have the primary sources necessary to begin answering the questions considered. Ultimately, this study combined local newspaper reports and printed primary source materials from Waterbury and New Haven Jewish communities within the framework created by Rabbi Lookstein and evaluated his findings in relationship to the documentary material located in these smaller Connecticut Jewish communities. By adding interviews of wartime Connecticut Jewish residents, we learned that Rabbi Lookstein's observations appeared valid but did not reveal the many personal priorities that prevented everyday Jewish citizens from being more involved in Holocaust affairs.
Record last modified: 2018-05-22 11:46:00
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