First And Foremost, An American Congressman: The Holocaust-Era Activities of Rep. Sol Bloom
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Doctoral dissertation, PhD / Open Access
As chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives, Sol Bloom (1870-1949) was arguably the most powerful Jew in Congress during the Holocaust. To the extent that historians discuss him at all, they do so in a mostly negative light, holding him up as a paradigmatic timid Jew who wouldn’t help his brethren at the hour of their greatest need. This portrayal, however, is far too simplistic. Bloom’s early life and pre-Holocaust activities indicate that he was hardly timid in nature and was willing to publicly and boldly fight for a Jewish cause when the hour called for it.¶ This dissertation takes a closer look at Bloom’s activities during the Holocaust – his participation at the Bermuda conference, his opposition to Peter Bergson, and his handling of Zionist lobbying in Congress, among other things – and ultimately concludes that he didn’t challenge Roosevelt’s immigration or rescue policies because he saw himself first and foremost as an American congressman and deemed it his duty to act in what he thought were America’s best interests during a time of world war. He did, however, help many individual Jews during the Holocaust who sought refuge in America by taking advantage of connections and friendships he developed as a result of working with – rather than against – the Roosevelt administration.
Resnick, E. (2022, May). First And Foremost, An American Congressman: The Holocaust-Era Activities of Rep. Sol Bloom (Publication No. 29206748) [Doctoral dissertation, Yeshiva University]. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.
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