Petition by Holocaust historians, Jewish leaders, and other public figures


July 22, 2007

Mr. Fred S. Zeidman
Chairman, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW
Washington, DC 20024-2126

Dear Mr. Zeidman:

We agree with Elie Wiesel’s recent statement that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum should include in its Permanent Exhibit the efforts undertaken by the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe (the Bergson Group) to promote the rescue of Jewish refugees.

Historians have documented how the Bergson Group’s pageant, “We Will Never Die,” its hundreds of newspaper advertisements, and its march in Washington by 400 rabbis helped alert the American public to the Holocaust; its Emergency Conference to Save the Jewish People of Europe counteracted the Roosevelt administration’s claim that nothing could be done to rescue the Jews; and its lobbying in Washington played an important role in bringing about the creation of the War Refugee Board.

We note that the Museum’s own web site states that the Bergson Group’s efforts “resulted in a greater public awareness of the Holocaust, and helped create an atmosphere conducive to changes in American rescue policy. Thus, at the least, Bergson's activities contributed to the creation of the War Refugee Board and the Oswego free port in 1944.” (

Having such a statement on the Museum’s web site is no substitute for including that information in its Permanent Exhibit, where it would be viewed by the more than one million people who visit the Museum each year.

We urge the Museum to include the Bergson Group in the Permanent Exhibit. Doing so is important for the sake of historical accuracy. It is also important because the Bergson Group's work demonstrates the possibility of ordinary citizens taking action, through the democratic process, to bring about humanitarian action by the government. The American public, and especially young people, need to hear that message, which fits perfectly with the Museum’s admirable focus on learning the lessons of the Holocaust and applying them today.


Prof. David S. Wyman
University of Massachusetts at Amherst (emer.)
Author, The Abandonment of the Jews

Edward I. Koch
Mayor of New York City, 1978-1989
Member, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council

Seymour D. Reich
President, Israel Policy Forum
Past chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
Past president, B’nai B’rith International, American Zionist Movement

Prof. Henry R. Huttenbach
Editor and founder, Journal of Genocide Research
Department of History
City College of New York

Rabbi Dr. David Ellenson
Hebrew Union College

Rabbi Dr. David Golinkin
Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies

Dr. Norman Lamm
Yeshiva University

Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff
Past president, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Vice president, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Dr. Gregory H. Stanton
President, Genocide Watch
James Farmer Professor of Human Rights
University of Mary Washington

Marvin Kalb
Edward R. Murrow Professor Emeritus
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Hon. Moshe Arens
Israeli Minister of Defense, 1983-1984, 1990-1992; Foreign Minister, 1988-1990;
Ambassador to the U.S., 1982-1983; Member of Knesset, 1973-2003

Hon. Shimon Shetreet
Professor of Law, Hebrew University
Israeli Minister of Economy and Planning, 1992-1995;
Member of Knesset, 1988-1996; Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, 1998-2003

Prof. Thane Rosenbaum
John Whelan Distinguished Lecturer in Law
Director, Forum on Law, Culture, and Society
Fordham University School of Law

Prof . Dalia Ofer
Hebrew University
Author, Escaping the Holocaust

Prof. Debórah Dwork
Director, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Clark University
Author, Holocaust: A History

Dr. Walter Reich
Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Professor, George Washington University
Director, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 1995-1998

Prof. Franklin H. Littell
Emeritus Professor of Religion, Temple University
Member, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, 1979 - 1993

Dr. Hubert G. Locke
Dean Emeritus, University of Washington
Author, Learning from History

Joel S. Kaplan
Honorary International President
B'nai B'rith

Prof. Blanche W. Cook
University Distinguished Professor
John Jay College & CUNY Graduate Center
Author, Eleanor Roosevelt, vol. I and II (vol. III forthcoming)

Hon. Rudy Boschwitz
U.S. Senate (R-MN), 1978-1991

Rabbi Dr. Haskel Lookstein
Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun / Ramaz School
Author, Were We Our Brother’s Keepers?

Hon. Stephen J. Solarz
U.S. House of Representatives (D-NY), 1978-1993

Prof. Michael A. Meyer
Professor of Jewish History
Hebrew Union College

Prof. Marcia Sachs Littell
Founding Director, MA Program in Holocaust & Genocide Studies
Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Prof. Francis R. Nicosia
Department of History, Saint Michael’s College, Vermont
Interim Director, Center for Holocaust Studies, University of Vermont

Rabbi David Wolpe
Rabbi, Sinai Temple of Los Angeles
Adjunct Lecturer in Religion, UCLA

Prof. Dianne C. Ashton
Dept. of Philosophy & Religion and Director of American Studies
Rowan University

Hon. Franz S. Leichter
Member, New York State Senate, 1975-1998

Prof. Fred A. Lazin
Chair, Department of Politics & Government
Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein
President Emeritus, University of Bridgeport
Author, After Auschwitz

Prof. Richard S. Levy
Department of History
University of Illinois-Chicago

Ronald Radosh
Professor Emeritus of History, CUNY
Adjunct Fellow, The Hudson Institute, Washington, DC.

Prof. Diane H. Feigenson
Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies
Fairfield University

Prof. Laurel Leff
Northeastern University
Author, Buried by The Times: The Holocaust & America’s Most Important Newspaper

Dr. Stephen Feinstein
Director, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
University of Minnesota

Prof. Brian Horowitz
Director of Jewish Studies
Tulane University

Prof. Michael J. Cohen
Bar Ilan University
Author, Churchill and the Jews

Prof. Alexandra Korros
Director, University Scholars Program
Department of History
Xavier University

Shraga I. Mekel
Director of Development
American Society for Yad Vashem

Dr. Ruth Gruber
Author of Exodus 1947, Raquela, and Haven

Prof. Gerald Sorin
Distinguished Professor of History and Jewish Studies
State University of New York, New Paltz

Jules Polonetsky
Chief Privacy Officer, America Online
New York City Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, 1998-2000
Member, New York State Assembly, 1994-1997

Dr. Henry Greenspan
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Dr. Jack Nusan Porter
Director, The Spencer Institute for Social Research
Newtonville, Mass.

Prof. Robert Skloot
Program in Jewish Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Prof. Allen H. Podet
Bufffalo State College
Author, The Success and Failure of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry

Prof. Gerd Korman
Cornell University (emer.)

Prof. Greg Robinson
Université du Québec À Montréal
Author, By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans

Dr. Racelle R. Weiman
Executive Director, Institute for Interreligious, Intercultural Dialogue
Temple University

Prof. Mary Todd
Ohio Dominican University
Executive Board, Ohio Council on Holocaust Education

Dr. Kevin P. Spicer, C.S.C.
Department of History
Stonehill College

Prof. Alan S. Zuckerman
Department of Political Science, Brown University
Co-author, The Transformation of the Jews

Micah Naftalin
National Director, Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union
Acting Director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, 1985-1987

Bernard Weinraub
Playwright, “The Accomplices”

Prof. Paul Miller
McDaniel College and University of Sarajevo
Executive producer, They Looked Away

Prof. Paul L. Rose
Pennsylvania State University
Editor, Archives of the Holocaust (vol. XIV)

Prof. Monty N. Penkower
Machon Lander Graduate School for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem
Author, The Jews Were Expendable: Free World Diplomacy and the Holocaust

Prof. Marc Lee Raphael
Chair of Religious Studies and Gumenick Professor of Judaic Studies
College of William and Mary

Dr. Shimon Samuels
Director, European Office
Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

Dr. Efraim Zuroff
Director, Israel Office
Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

Prof. Susan Benedict
Medical University of South Carolina
Fellow in Medical Ethics & the Holocaust, U.S. Holocaust Museum (1997)

Dr. Jay Liebowitz
Associate Professor of Leadership
Duquesne University

John J. Michalczyk
Chair, Fine Arts Dept. & Co-Director, Film Studies Program
Boston College

Prof. Gil Troy
Department of History
McGill University

Prof. Aaron Berman
Dean, Hampshire College
Author, Nazism, the Jews, and American Zionism

Prof. Zev Garber
Los Angeles Valley College
Editor, Studies in the Shoah

Prof. Paul Bookbinder
Department of History
University of Massachusetts Boston

Stuart G. Erdheim
Producer and Director
They Looked Away: The Allies’ Failure to Bomb Auschwitz

Prof. Melvin Small
Department of History
Wayne State University

Alan Jacobs
Co-Editor, H-Genocide,
Editor, Idea: A Journal of Social Issues

Prof. Andrei S. Markovits
Department of Political Science
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Prof. Rochelle L. Millen
Department of Religion
Wittenberg University

Dr. Harold Brackman
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Author, The Holocaust in the Thought of W.E.B. DuBois

Prof. Saul Newman
Department of Political Science
American University

Prof. Nathan Katz
Department of Religious Studies
Florida International University

Dr. Karen Shawn
Azrieli School of Jewish Education
Yeshiva University

Prof. John C. Zimmerman
University of Nevada Las Vegas
Author of Holocaust Denial: Demographics, Testimonies, Ideologies

Prof. Zsuzsanna Ozsvath
Chair, Holocaust Studies
University of Texas at Dallas

Prof. Richard Libowitz
Intellectual Heritage Program
Temple University

Dr. Michael A. Riff, Director
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies
Ramapo College of New Jersey

Pierre Sauvage
Varian Fry Institute / Chambon Foundation
Producer and Director, Weapons of the Spirit

Prof. Peter I. Rose
Smith College
Editor, The Dispossessed: An Anatomy of Exile

Dr. Steven Leonard Jacobs
Department of Religious Studies, The University of Alabama
Author, In Search of Yesterday: The Holocaust and the Quest for Meaning

Prof. Michael Schuldiner
Chair, Department of English
University of Alaska

Prof. Lawrence Baron
San Diego State University
Author, Projecting the Holocaust into the Present

Martin Ostrow
Producer and Director
America and the Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference (PBS)

Prof. Judy Baumel-Schwartz
Bar-Ilan University
Author, The Bergson Boys and the Origins of Zionist Militancy

Prof. Ron Hollander
Montclair State University
Author, Teaching the Holocaust Through Period Press

Judy Weissenberg Cohen
Member of the Executive, Toronto Holocaust Memorial Centre

Dr. Erich H. Loewy
Professor and Founding Chair, Bioethics
University of California, Davis
Author, Forgiveness, the Holocaust and the Evil

Sigmund A. Rolat
Chairman, Museum of the History of Polish Jews, North American Council
Hon. Chairman, The Krakow Jewish Culture Festival
Board of Directors, The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

Debra Murphy
Publisher, Idylls Press
Contributing Editor, Godspy

Prof. Alan L. Berger
Raddock Family Eminent Scholar Chair of Holocaust Studies
Florida Atlantic University
Author, Children of Job: American Second Generation Witnesses to the Holocaust

Dr. Sharon R. Lowenstein
Author, Token Refuge

Prof. Stephen H. Norwood
University of Oklahoma
Co-Editor, Encyclopedia of American Jewish History

Prof. Myron Peretz Glazer
Department of History
Smith College

Prof. Haim Genizi
Bar Ilan University
Author, American Apathy: Christian Refugees from Nazism

Prof. Gershon Greenberg
American University
Co-editor, Wrestling With God: Jewish Responses During and After the Holocaust

Prof. Eunice G. Pollack
University of North Texas
Co-Editor, Encyclopedia of American Jewish History

Prof. Paul Mojzes
Professor of Religious Studies
Rosemont College

Dr. Myrna Goldenberg
Independent Scholar
Co-Editor, Experience and Expression: Women, the Nazis, and the Holocaust

Dr. Joanna Freligh
Department of History
SUNY Ulster College

Prof. Bat-Ami Zucker
Bar Ilan University
Author, In Search of Refuge

Prof. Penina Migdal Glazer
Department of History
Hampshire College

Prof. Douglas Skopp
Distinguished University Teaching Professor of History
State University of New York at Plattsburgh

Prof. Jay Geller
Assistant Professor of Modern Jewish Culture
Vanderbilt University

Dr. Alex Grobman
Founding director, St. Louis Holocaust Museum
Author, Battling For Souls: The Vaad Hatzala Rescue Committee

Prof. Howard M. Lenhoff
University of California at Irvine (Emer.)

Prof. David A. Kranzler (Emer.)
Department of History
City University of New York

Dr. Rafael Medoff
The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

(Institutions listed for identification purposes only.)

(March 2007 | Return to top)

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