Although there is widespread agreement that American authorities knew of Hitler’s plan to annihilate Europe’s Jews by 1942, there is no consensus about the nature and effectiveness of America’s response to the Holocaust. In this seminar, participants will read a number of primary documents (from newspaper ads to political cartoons to speeches) to historicize the question of what Americans knew about the Holocaust and when they knew it. The task will not be to moralize about what America should have done during World War II, but instead to carefully consider these primary sources in historical context. By the seminar’s end, participants will gain a greater appreciation of the fraught questions surrounding America’s response to the Holocaust.
Seminar led by Daniel Greene, Newberry Library