Contesting Histories

Contesting Histories

German and Jewish Americans and the Legacy of the Holocaust

Michael Schuldiner 

  • 9/9/2011
  • 9780896726987
  • 978-0-896-72698-7
  • Cloth
  • 336
  • 1 lbs.6 oz.
$ 34.95


Starting with popular objections to America's entry into World War I and ending with recent academic debates between Christopher Browning and Daniel Goldhagen over the legacy and meaning of the Holocaust, Schuldiner provides readers with a longer historical context and a deeper study of the Holocaust's reception and place in American historiography.

He examines how events from World War I, the 1920s and 1930s, and World War II came to color America's understanding (or lack thereof) of the Holocaust in the U.S. in both the German American and Jewish American communities. He looks at the anti-German sentiment in the U.S. during World War I; confrontations between German American isolationists and Jewish American interventionists in the 1930s and 1940s; boycotts of German goods in the U.S. and counterboycotts of Jewish American businesses in Nazi Germany; pressure on Hollywood movie studios from appeasement-oriented members of Congress to avoid antagonizing Hitler; and the U.S. State Department's resistance to allowing sanctuary for Jews seeking to immigrate.

Regarding events after 1945, Schuldiner studies the debates over the erection of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., "The Battle of Bitburg" (President Reagan's visit to a German military cemetery), and the recent bitter discussions on the questions, "Were all Germans willing executioners of their Jewish countrymen, or were the German people historically and culturally predisposed to support the final solution?" This longitudinal approach provides a needed corrective to the evolving American understanding about the sources and legacies of the Holocaust.

The definitive text on the pas de deux of German and Jewish Americans in the twentieth century. --Sanford Sternlicht, author of The Tenement Saga: The Lower East Side and Early Jewish American Writers

[Schuldiner] not only makes an excellent case for this somewhat surprising angle on the Holocaust, but ultimately adds what turns out to be an invaluable dimension to Holocaust studies in America. --James E. Young, author of Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust: Narrative and the Consequences of Interpretation

Michael Schuldiner was born in 1948 in a displaced persons camp in Wetzlar, Germany, the son of Polish Jews who had fled eastward into Russia after the Nazi invasion. He is chair of the department of English at the University of Akrom, where he teaches Holocaust literature and American literature and is the author of Gifts and Works: Spiritual Controversy in Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts and editor of The Tailoring Shop: Essays on the Poetry of Edward Taylor and The Selected Writings of Mordecai Noah. 

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