Cataclysms: Responses to the Holocaust and Zionism

Fred Rosenbaum

in Cosmopolitans

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780520259133
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520945029 | DOI:
Cataclysms: Responses to the Holocaust and Zionism

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World War II affected California more than any other state. Bay Area Jews adjusted to war time conditions like everyone else, and almost every Jewish institution did its part for civil defense. But while local Jews were preoccupied by the American war effort, they were also confronted by two cataclysmic Jewish events—the Holocaust and the struggle for Palestine—and bitterly divided in their responses to both. Already in the late 1930s, the Jewish aristocracy in Northern California was being attacked as timid and apologetic by a stirred-up group of rabbis and laymen of East European origin who made their own bid for leadership based on an assertive reaction to Adolf Hitler and a ringing endorsement of Zionism. San Francisco Jews reacted to the abuses of their brethren in Nazi Germany with little sense of urgency. Aside from the Holocaust, the Jewish community was also plagued by the merits of Jewish nationalism. For all of the dissension of the 1940s, the decade witnessed a broad Jewish consensus on civil rights issues.

Keywords: World War II; Jews; Holocaust; Palestine; Zionism; nationalism; civil rights; San Francisco; aristocracy; Nazi Germany

Chapter.  14825 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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