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America and the Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference 1994
Description: As the campaign to force Jews out of Germany ramps up, the American government blocks efforts to support rescue many of these displaced persons, and Americans' antisemitism only seems to receive worse.
Released: 06 Apr 1994 Director: Marty Ostrow Writers: Marty Ostrow Actors: Hal Linden Genres: Documentary, Biography, History
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America and the Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference Reviews:

The authors of this documentary could be applauded for bringing this sad history to light. Through active obstruction, hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees were denied visas by the US Dept. of State, making the US a silent partner in the Nazi's "final solution."The evidence presented here will shock you. The difficult won triumph of the activists who fought for the eventual Fight Refugee Council will uplift you. If you have faith in our country and humanity, you will feel ashamed of our leaders who allowed us to collaborate, indirectly, with the Nazi regime.By the end, there is a surprise that will transport you to tears -- tears of admiration for the love and courage of one boy who, despite the deceit of his government, risked his life for his adopted country to support conquer the Nazi's and liberate their victims.


Words cannot start to express how sad and depressed I am after watching this documentary. But, then, I am Jewish. I should not support but feel that most Gentiles even today might feel the actions by the State Department and many America first organizations in opposing the admission of Jewish refugees from the Nazi Holocaust were reasonable -- that is, if they should be bothered to watch this.Several necessary facts could be noted: American Jews and Jews around the globe were virtually powerless in pressuring governments to help the admission of Jewish refugees; America did tiny and Canada did next to nothing. This puts the lie to that fiction, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" (which was disseminated in America by Henry Ford). Yet in my travels I have found educated, middle class folks in Asia who trust the Protocols are an absolutely real description of how Jews secretly control the world. This is not just Muslims, but Hindus in India, as well as teachers in Korea, and elsewhere. Hitler is, I am told, presented as a role model of a nice globe leader in schools in China today.Although Jewish refugees were turned away during WWII, in the decades after, America established a generous privacy of admitting refugees from around the world. This provides true solace that those millions of deaths were not entirely in vane. There is a nice deal of notification in this documentary, backed up by strong imagery, such as the footage of American Nazi rallies. Eric Sevareid talked about seeing this, and visiting the living rooms of home- grown Nazis in the Midwest before Pearl Harbor. We see footage of Kristallnacht, and descriptions by Kurt Klein of his parents' home being destroyed by his classmates and neighbors. Without the complicity of the German people, the Nazi Holocaust should not have taken place. Yet I cannot hate the Nazis nor the Germans for this because I know that the same seeds of hate existed in America, in the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazis, the anti-semites, the racists, and this hate continues on in the contemporary American political scene. It is probable that this, and this documentary, are reasons that Republicans test repeatedly to eliminate all government help for public broadcasting in America. However, most Americans are decent people, and most would have supported the admission of Jewish refugees had it not been for pressure groups, politics, and WASP domination of the State Department. The America first attitude stated by a member of the Patriotic Order Son's of America sounds reasonable, except when you consider that America was settled and built by immigrants (who largely stole land from the Indians) and refugees, and that by refusing admission of Jewish refugees, they were complicit in their extermination. I recently watched and reviewed Hitler's Kids - 2011. That was hard to watch, but this was far, far more painful; I had difficulty finishing it. I doubt many Americans will watch it. America has done much in its history we can be proud of. But it is also necessary that we face our collective guilt and shame honestly.


Very tiny in this installment of "The American Experience" took me by surprise, as I am a retired history teacher and know a lot about WWII and the American government's reaction to the holocaust. However, most will probably not know that our president and many others in power KNEW about the German liquidation of the Jews and simply didn't care. Even when powerful evidence was brought to America (at nice risk to the carriers of the information), the country only did the bare minimum to save the lives of Jews--presumably because they were 'just Jews' and didn't serve any military purpose. Sad...very sad. And, there is more than ample evidence to help the show's claims. Because of this, I cannot imagine anyone watching this and not having a reaction--depression, anger or confusion. Because the present provokes such a reaction and because it's well-constructed, it's a must-see edition of this exceptional documentary series from PBS.By the way, to me the greatest part of the movie was the final storyline about the American soldier who came into the death camp and met a remarkable but seemingly dying inmate. Have some Kleenex handy for this one.



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