Lucy S. Dawidowicz
To the Editor:
Neal Kozodoy’s “In Memoriam: Lucy S. Dawidowicz” [May] raises some troubling questions. Mr. Kozodoy states that Lucy Dawidowicz categorically repudiated the charge of collective passivity and collusion on the part of European Jewry during the Holocaust. Surely, there is a world of difference between passivity and treachery. If we are not to distinguish between victimization and collaboration, what do we have left of morality?
More puzzling is Mrs. Dawidowicz’s exculpation of American Jews during the Holocaust. Mr. Kozodoy writes, “. . . the point, for someone like her, had been to commit every . . . resource to defeat the fury. . . .” This failed to take into account the real situation facing the Jews of Europe. While the Germans were trying to kill every Jew, the British were determined that Jews not leave Europe for Palestine. The Roosevelt administration acquiesced in this policy. The best hope for changing British policy was to pressure Roosevelt to prevail upon the British to stop blocking rescue efforts. This did not happen. David Wyman, the author of The Abandonment of the Jews, has estimated that as many as a million Jews could have been saved had the allies pursued a vigorous effort. In practical terms, the initiative for such an effort had to come from American Jews. It did not.
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