Seventy years after the Holocaust, the question of why more was not done to save the victims of the Nazi genocide in Europe by the Allied Powers, and by those who knew what was happening in the extermination camps, remains poignant.
While most of the current historical research on the Holocaust focuses on the Nazis and their Jewish victims, the issues of the knowledge, roles and responses of the governments and armies of the Allied Powers, has largely remained a minor research topic.
An international four-day conference addressing these important issues will be held at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem on March 16-19, 2015. A stellar line-up of leading scholars from five nations will come together to addresses issues such as, “Could the Allies have bombed Auschwitz”, “Chinese Reponses to the Holocaust” and “Immigration and Refugee Policy of the US on the eve of WW II.”
The idea for such a Conference grew out of the friendship forged between Alexander Groth, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of California – Davis, Tony J. Tanke, a California attorney and Senior Fellow and Lecturer at the Santa Clara University Law School, and Dr. Laurence Weinbaum, Chief Editor of the Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs. Their discussions on issues like ‘what did the Allies know about the Holocaust as it unfolded?’ and ‘were they somehow complicit in, or at least secondarily responsible for, the great catastrophe?’ led them to put together a meeting of academic minds from all over the globe to examine these troubling questions in an intense and comprehensive manner.
One of the highlights of the Conference will be the screening of the film, ‘The Jan Karski Report’ by renowned French filmmaker, Claude Lanzmann, who will be attending the Conference. Lanzmann, who recently turned 90 years old and is best known for his epic Holocaust film, Shoah, will give an exclusive interview as a precursor to the screening of his famous interview with Jan Karski.
Karski served as a liaison officer of the Polish underground during WW II and infiltrated both the Warsaw Ghetto and a German concentration camp. He was known as the first person to bring eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust to the outside world and his courage and persistence to try and convince the West to act to save the Jews has been widely praised. Among many honors bestowed upon him for his bravery, he has also been recognized as “Righteous Gentile” by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Israel.
The Conference is open to the public and thanks to its generous sponsors, admission will be free of charge. Additionally, the entire Conference will be broadcast live on the Conference website: www.alliedpowersholocaust.org, for those unable to attend the event in Jerusalem.
On the same website, it is possible to register to attend the sessions, see the full Conference schedule and to read more about the participating scholars.