We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence After the Holocaust, 1945–1962

Hasia R. Diner, Author New York Univ. $29.95 (529p) ISBN 978-0-8147-1993-0

An NYU professor of American Jewish history, Diner (The Jews of the United States, 1654–2000 ) sets out to refute what she contends is an accepted truth: that until the 1960s, American Jewry suffered from a “self-imposed collective amnesia” about the Holocaust. Diner marshals considerable evidence that American Jews were aware of the Holocaust and their culture was influenced by it, from their newspapers to youth movements, to whom speakers repeatedly invoked the Holocaust. They raised $45 million in 1945 alone to succor survivors in Europe. A 1952 commemorative Passover text from the American Jewish Congress was widely distributed and reprinted yearly in Jewish newspapers. Even Adolph Lerner's failed campaign to create a memorial in New York City demonstrates postwar American Jewish engagement with the Holocaust, Diner says. The 1961 publication of Yevtushenko's “Babi Yar” exposed both German barbarities and Soviet anti-Semitism. Diner's worthy, innovative, diligently researched work should spark controversy and meaningful dialogue among Holocaust scholars and in the Jewish community, but her vigorous defense of American Jews would pack more punch if she had devoted more space to the arguments she disputes. Photos. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/23/2009
Release date: 04/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 529 pages - 978-0-8147-2122-3
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