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THE MYTH OF RESCUE by William D. Rubinstein

THE MYTH OF RESCUE

Why the Democrats Could Not Have Saved More Jews from the Nazis

By William D. Rubinstein

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1997
ISBN: 0-415-12455-7
Publisher: Routledge

 In this revisionist history Rubinstein (History/Univ. of Wales, Aberystwyth) sets out to debunk as ``illogical and ahistorical'' the work of several established historians who raise the question of Allied culpability during the Holocaust. The key issues involve closed-door immigration policies that turned central and eastern European Jewish refugee movements into one long Voyage of the Damned; discussed but never executed attempts to bomb the railway lines to such concentration camps as Auschwitz; and aborted financial negotiations to ransom Jewish lives. Rubinstein's major thesis is that Hitler was too committed to genocide to be distracted by such efforts, but the author should have presented more documentation to prove that the Allies did what they could once they confirmed the reality of the Final Solution. His thesis is further weakened by many diversionary tactics, such as the presentation of Gallup polls showing that 80 percent of wartime Americans opposed anti-Semitism (but nearly 68 percent opposed immigration). The data in no way relieve the US State Department, Great Britain, and organizations like the Red Cross of culpability in not minimizing the number of Holocaust victims. Such serious charges as those in in Lucy Dawidowicz's work, that German extermination trains and railways were repeatedly spared by Allied bombers, are not addressed. There is too much here on what we already knew, such as that ``the Jews were the central obsession of Hitler's life,'' and too little on the paucity of efforts to save Jews in Europe during the war. Some valuable historical modifications may be lost due to a tone and strategy that make the author sound too much like an apologist for the Allies' inaction.