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Monday, July 31, 2000

From: Arieh Lebowitz

Response of Orthodox Jewry in the United States to the Holocaust


The week's end issue of Ha'aretz had a lengthy discussion of Efraim Zuroff's new book. The first paragraph and the web address are reproduced below.

Arieh Lebowitz

Storm in a streimel

By Yair Sheleg

The ultra-Orthodox press has been up in arms for the past two months over a book which has so far been published only in English, which is why Israelis who are not Haredim or English-speakers are probably not familiar with it.

The title sounds innocent enough: The Response of Orthodox Jewry in the United States to the Holocaust: The Activities of the Vaad ha-Hatzala Rescue Committee, 1939-1945. And yet the book has unleashed cries of "blood libel," accusations that the author, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, cares only about publicity, and comparisons between Zuroff and Holocaust-denier David Irving.

Despite the seriousness and absurdity of these charges against a man who has devoted his life to the Holocaust (Zuroff heads the Jerusalem branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and is one of the few Nazi hunters left in the world), it is not hard to understand the motives. Zuroff's book (published by Yeshiva University Press and Ktav) touches on a very sensitive nerve among the Haredim: the conduct of this community during the Holocaust.

His central argument is that Haredi separatism and support of yeshiva students at the expense of rescuing Jews in general was a notable phenomenon -- even in those trying times. [...]


[Website note: for the rest of this article, go to the Haaretz website at this link]



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