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144 SHOFAR Winter 1996 Vol. 14, No.2 rate at which Jews appear in a locality may do more to inspire antisemitism than does their ultimatepercentage of the population; and Charleston Jewry's sociocultural character did not change appreciably at the time. Between 1830 and 1860, however, the rate ofJewish population growth in the United States outdistanced the national rate by some 1300 percent, Jews spread far outside the few eastern, urban enclaves they had traditionally inhabited, and recent immigrants altered community profiles, all of which madejews more conspicuous, but to what affect Jaher does not say. Moreover, even ifone accepts his argument about Christianity's paramount role in generating antisemitism, Jaher cannot explain the panicular incidence of bias because he treats Christian faith and activity as constants. Levels ofcongregational membership, spiritual styles, interest in proselytizing , and evangelical methods have always fluctuated, affecting how churches dealt with each other, let alone religious outsiders. Not all Americans ever imagined they lived in a Christian nation-indeed, ministers habitually bemoaned the existence of people who had hardly even heard of Christ-and those who did varied their behavior towards Jews. Ifpious animosity begets intolerance, then explanations for American antisemitism must take into account the historical dynamics of American Christianity. Charles 1. Cohen Depanment of History University of Wisconsin-Madison America's Fair Share: The Admission and Resettlement of Displaced Persons, by Haim GenizL Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1993. 284 pp. $39.95. The nature of the Allies' response to what we now call the Holocaust has been a burning issue among scholars for over twenty-five years. It has inspired extraordinarily detailed research and raised a variety ofprofoundly disturbing questions. Most scholars have painted a bleak picture of American and British neglect and sometimes outright hostility to the plight of Europe's Jews. Some students of these questions stress antisemitism as the chief catalyst of inaction. Indeed, "the abandonment of the Jews," David S. Wyman's angry phrase which became the title for his 1984 book, sums up the prevailing scholarly and popular onhodoxy. Other scholars have interpreted the meaning ofwhat occurred in more complicated but no less Book Reviews 145 depressing fashion. In the latest and most complete consideration of immigration policy, and, by extension, the entire range of issues raised by Wyman and others, Richard Breitman and Alan Kraut's American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, 1933-1945 (1987) attributed immigration restriction more to the State Department's self-image as a gatekeeper for America than to antisemitism, and in any case pointed out that significant numbers ofJews were admitted in the late 1930s. Haim Genizi's scholarship has added new angles of vision to these questions, and especially concerning antisemitism and immigration restriction. His work is innovative in two basic ways. More than any other scholar, he closely compares attitudes towards and treatment ofJewish and Christian refugees. In addition, rather than concentrating mostly on government policy-makers and the popular press, he combs the papers of church-related and other private relief agencies. In American Apathy: Tbe Plight of Christian Refugees from Nazism (1983), he argued that neither the American government nor the relief agencies worked very hard to rescue anti-Nazi Christians. Now, in his latest book, he tak~s the story from the end of the war to 1952. Genizi chronicles a changing climate as Americans attempted to meet the challenge of both Jewish and Christian displaced persons. His findings are not all that surprising, especially considering the work of Leonard Dinnerstein and others who have trod this path using a different array ofsources. Yet Genizi's research remains valuable in its own right, as it concentrates on the changing tactics and fortunes ofJewish and church relief agencies as they sought aid and immigration preference for their special constituencies. It effectively reconstructs the evolution of policy and tactics within the ranks of the Church World Service, the Lutheran Resettlement Service, the National Catholic Resettlement Council, and the United Service for New Americans (which championed Jewish refugees). Genizi highlights both the accomplishments and limits of interfaith cooperation. He contrasts the vigor of postwar efforts to the prewar and wartime tentativeness of both Jewish and Christian organizations. All...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 144-146
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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