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1 CHAPTER ONE An American Hero of the Holocaust For all its villains and victims, the history of the Holocaust also has its share of heroes, although painfully few. There were villagers who risked their lives by sheltering Jewish children. There were individuals such as Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg who protected Jews through an array of ruses. There were a handful of diplomats like Chiune Sugihara of Japan and Feng-Shan Ho of China who defied their superiors by granting visas to Jewish refugees. There were even some Americans among the heroes of the Holocaust, although not many because the United States never came under Nazi occupation. Varian Fry, a young American journalist, traveled to Vichy France in 1940 to organize the escape of some 2,000 refugees with the help of a dissident U.S. consul , Hiram Bingham IV, a Unitarian minister from Massachusetts and his wife, Waitstill and Martha Sharp, and a handful of other courageous activists. This book is about an American who was a different kind of hero of the Holocaust . Josiah E. DuBois, Jr., was not a rescuer or a shelterer. He was a whistleblower . DuBois did not risk his life in doing what he did. But he certainly risked his career. And that takes courage, a special kind of courage that not many people possess. ✳ ✳ ✳ To understand the significance of what DuBois did, it is important first to consider the political and social environment in which he lived and worked during the 1930s and the early years of World War II. DuBois was born and raised in Camden, New Jersey. His upbringing in the 1910s and 1920s offered no clues to the extraordinary courage and humanitarianism he would one day exhibit. He enjoyed a pleasant but nondescript childhood and adolescence, pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania and then went on to its school of law, from which he graduated in 1934. MedoffBOOK.indb 1 MedoffBOOK.indb 1 7/9/2008 3:23:45 PM 7/9/2008 3:23:45 PM CHAPTER ONE 2 DuBois came to adulthood during the tumultuous 1930s, when economic hardship, nativist sentiment , and anti-Semitism were important factors in shaping the U.S. policies that would affect Europe’s Jews under Hitler—policies that DuBois would soon confront. In 1933, at the worst point in the Depression, unemployment in the United States reached 25 percent. Even by 1938 it was still above 15 percent. These conditions stimulated a national mood of insecurity , fear, and anxiety, especially at the prospect that new immigrants would take jobs away from Americans. These fears became so entrenched that even during the 1940s, when war production eliminated unemployment, many Americans remained apprehensive that the Depression would return after the war. Nativist attitudes, which were particularly widespread in the 1920s, persisted during the 1930s and 1940s. Many Americans disliked foreigners of any kind and wanted to end, or at least significantly reduce, the trickle of immigration that still existed. Job competition was only part of the reason; many Americans also harbored fears about the cultural impact foreigners had on the United States. This intense resentment of foreigners was reinforced by an increasingly popular race-based view of human society. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many Americans—like many Europeans—came under the sway of anthropologists and eugenicists on both continents who contended that Anglo-Saxons were biologically superior to other peoples. Antisemitism on the Rise At the same time, anti-Semitism, already on the rise in the 1920s, increased dramatically in the 1930s and reached its peak in American history in the late 1930s and the World War II years. The view that Jews constituted an undesirable race was widely accepted. There was also a substantial level of political anti-Semitism, Josiah E. DuBois, Jr., at approximately the time of his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania Law School (1932). MedoffBOOK.indb 2 MedoffBOOK.indb 2 7/9/2008 3:23:45 PM 7/9/2008 3:23:45 PM An American Hero of the Holocaust 3 that is, the view that a world Jewish conspiracy secretly wielded vast international economic and political power. Jews supposedly manipulated the capitalist system through their stranglehold on international finance and simultaneously controlled the Soviet Union as well as the international Communist movement and aspired to global domination. Although such theories as a whole were too extreme to gain general acceptance, parts of this mythology spread through American society; for instance, it was...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781612490144
Related ISBN
9781557535078
MARC Record
OCLC
794701196
Pages
192
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-21
Language
English
Open Access
No
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