The Holocaust: Its Use and Abuse within the America Public
In 1959 the word ‘Holocaust’ was not linked with the destruction of European Jewry and little was published which dealt with this subject. American Jews also felt guilty about not having done enough to save Jews during the Holocaust years and chose to remain silent. However, they actively supported the newly born State of Israel as a home for Holocaust survivors. By the beginning of the 1980s, however, the reaction to the Holocaust had altered radically, from both the political and scholarly viewpoints. This change was kick-started in the 1960s by the Eichmann Trial and by Eli Wiesel’s and Nellie Sach’s writings, as well as the anxiety concerning the defeat of Israel, in the days before the Six Day War. American Jews began criticizing the US government about its wartime refusal to help European Jewry fleeing Hitler’s hordes. The Yom Kippur War again reminded American Jewry of the precariousness of the Jewish state’s survival and the possibility of another Holocaust. The publications and research of Yad Vashem aroused growing interest in the subject. On the other hand, many so-called “centers” and colleges blatantly abuse or exploit this new interest to raise money for vaguely or non-related subjects. Holocaust deniers are raising their voices.