Monday, October 11, 2021
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The suffering of the Holocaust survivors did not end with the cessation of hostilities in Europe in May of 1945, as documents, correspondence, and reports from Germany in the JDC Archives make abundantly clear. A quarter of a million who had survived the death, concentration, and labor camps or spent the war years in hiding or in the Soviet Union would after the Nazi defeat be forced to spend another three to five years in quasi-incarceration in displaced persons camps in Germany. While other eastern European displaced persons would eventually be resettled in lands suffering from postwar labor shortages, no nation, including the United States, was willing to accept more than a handful of Jewish survivors. When in June, 1948, the United States Congress passed legislation permitting the immigration of displaced persons, the law was written in such a way as to deny visas to 90% of the Jewish displaced persons. Making full use of the voluminous and invaluable resources in the JDC Archives, David Nasaw, the author of The Last Million: Europe's Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War, will tell the story of this tragic and too often overlooked chapter in Jewish history.
David Nasaw is the author of The Last Million: Europe’s Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War, published by Penguin Press in 2020; The Patriarch, selected by the New York Times as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year and a 2013 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Biography; Andrew Carnegie, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, the recipient of the New-York Historical Society's American History Book Prize and a 2007 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Biography; and The Chief, which was awarded the Bancroft Prize for History and the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for Nonfiction. He is a past president of the Society of American Historians, and until 2019, he served as the Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Professor of History at the CUNY Graduate Center. Nasaw earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University.