Case Closed: Holocaust Survivors in Postwar America

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Rutgers University Press, Dec 8, 2006 - Social Science - 246 pages
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Following the end of World War II, it was widely reported by the media that Jewish refugees found lives filled with opportunity and happiness in America. However, for most of the 140,000 Jewish Displaced Persons (DPs) who immigrated to the United States from Europe in the years between 1946 and 1954, it was a much more complicated story.

Case Closed challenges the prevailing optimistic perception of the lives of Holocaust survivors in postwar America by scrutinizing their first years through the eyes of those who lived it. The facts brought forth in this book are supported by case files recorded by Jewish social service workers, letters and minutes from agency meetings, oral testimonies, and much more.

Cohen explores how the Truman Directive allowed the American Jewish community to handle the financial and legal responsibility for survivors, and shows what assistance the community offered the refugees and what help was not available. She investigates the particularly difficult issues that orphan children and Orthodox Jews faced, and examines the subtleties of the resettlement process in New York and other locales. Cohen uncovers the truth of survivors' early years in America and reveals the complexity of their lives as "New Americans."

 

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
What to Do with the DPs? The New Jewish Question
8
Welcome to America The Newcomers Arrive
30
Case Closed From Agency Support to SelfSufficiency
50
Bearded Refugees The Reception of Religious Newcomers
72
Unaccompanied Minors The Story of the Displaced Orphans
94
The Bumpy Road Public Perception and the Reality of Survival
115
The Helping Process Mental Health Professionals Postwar Response to Survivors
133
The Myth of Silence A Different Story
155
Conclusion
173
Notes
179
Bibliography
203
Index
213
About the Author
225
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

BETH B. COHEN received her Ph.D. in Holocaust History from Clark University, and recently was a "Life Reborn" Fellow at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. She currently lives and teaches in Los Angeles, California.

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