The Abandonment of the Jews

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The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust, published in 1984, is a book by David S. Wyman, former Josiah DuBois professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Wyman is currently the chairman of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.


Wyman's Argument

The Abandonment of the Jews argues that American (and British) political leaders during the Holocaust, including President Roosevelt, turned down proposals that could have saved hundreds of thousands of European Jews from death in German concentration camps; for example, by refusing asylum to Jewish refugees and by failing to order the bombing of railway lines leading to Auschwitz. In the same time, most Jewish leaders in America and in Palestine did almost nothing to pressure these governments to change their policy. Some American newspapers, including the New York Times, are said to have under-reported or buried reports off their front pages, and not just for reasons of anti-Semitism, as the Times was owned by Jews, who may have wanted to not appear as Jewish advocates in their coverage.[1]

Wyman examines the documents suggesting that the U.S. and British governments turned down numerous proposals to accept European Jews. The issue was raised at a White House conference on March 27, 1943 of top American and British wartime leaders, including President Roosevelt, U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, presidential advisor Harry Hopkins, and the British Ambassador to Washington, Lord Halifax. Hull raised the question of having the Allies offer to accept 60,000 to 70,000 Jews from Bulgaria, a German ally.

Wyman writes that, because of a combination of anti-Semitism and an unwillingness to act on any proposal not of direct strategic value, thousands and possibly million of Jews died who might otherwise have been saved.


Wyman's arguments have been challenged by other researchers, most notably by James H. Kitchens III, and by William D. Rubinstein, whose book The Myth of Rescue: Why the Democracies Could Not Have Saved More Jews from the Nazis argues that the Western powers had a creditable record of accepting immigrants and that effective allied action against the Extermination Camps was not possible. The Auschwitz bombing debate remains unresolved.

Examples where Jews were saved from the Axis countries

On the other hand, many historians (e.g. Dr. David Kranzler) note that large number of Jews were saved and argue that even more could have been saved.

Impossibility of greater effective rescue

There are noted Holocaust historians who have a different view, and state that rescue was not possible. Gerhard Weinberg and William D. Rubinstein represent this school of thought.

See also




  1. ^ pp. 26, 38, 76, 299n, 321 & n, etc.