OPINIONSrnThe Cost of Holocaustrnby Chilton Williamson, Jr.rn”There is no salvation to he extracted from the Holocaust, no faltering Judaism canrnhe revived hy it, no new reason for the continuation of the Jewish people can hernfound in it. If there is hope after the Holocaust, it is because to those who believe,rnthe voice of the Prophets speaks more loudly than did Hitler, and because the divinernpromise sweeps over the crematoria and silences the voice of Auschwitz.”rn—Michael Wyschogrodrn”Faith and the Holocaust”rn_ ,rn”” • ^ ” ^rnvWrnlurnC ffT^^s,rn^^mniK^^Xrn^ ^ I & i^ B^~4rn/^UMH^drn'””rnt ^rntwLSXfJi^WkrnilXIftOi sKr’^ju^^jffrn1^^^ ^ )M “^rn^ .^.rn11rn1rnThe Holocaust in American Lifernby Peter NovickrnNm’York: Houghton Mifflin Co.;rn373 pp., $27.00rnA most half of all Americans arc unjblernto locate Mexico on the map,rnbut you do not have to know when thernNazi holocaust occurred to notice thatrnthe further that event recedes in time, thernmore overwhelmingly it looms upon diernAmerican scene. Peter Novick’s ThernHolocaust in American Life is an attemptrnat explaining why.rnFrom World War II until the mid-rn1960’s, neither the holocaust nor tliernstate of Israel loomed large in the Americanrnconsciousness, Jewish or gentile. Be-rnChilton Williamson, jr., is the seniorrneditor for hooh at Chronicles.rnfore die war, it escaped no one’s attcnhonrnthat the Third Reich was hostile to Jews,rnbut then there seemed to be a lot of otherrnpeople the regime did not like, too. Asrnthe war progressed, rumors and, later,rndocumented stories of antisemitie atrocitiesrnsurfaced —in the context of a globalrnstruggle that ultimately took between 50rnand 60 million lives. This, Novick stresses,rnwas the perception of many AmericanrnJews, as well as non-Jews. The press, recallingrnhow often it had been duped andrnmanipulated a quarter-century before byrnthe Wliite House and George Creel, wasrnunderstandably .sensihve to the possibilitiesrnfor exaggeration, while governmentrnagencies like the U.S. Office of War Informationrnand the British Ministry of Informationrnhesitated to disseminate suchrnseemingly fantastic stories for fear of forfeitingrncredibility’. By the middle of thernwar, when authenticated accounts ofrnthe mass murder of European Jewr-rnemerged, tiicse also were accepted in therncontext of a full decade of Nazi atrocities.rnTo the extent that the Jews’ special vietimhoodrnwas de-cmphasized bv Alliedrnpropagandists, this was due significantivrnto their governments’ desire to portra’rn”free men everywhere” as the object ofrnthe Nazi assaidt—and to Washington’srncare to aoid the charge of having gone tornwar on behalf of European Jews and atrnthe behest of American ones. The genocidajrnprogram was, of course, all too real.rnAnd yet, Novick says,rn”the Holocaust,” as we speak of itrntodav, v’as largely a retrospectivernconstruction, somctliing that wouldrnnot have been recognizable to mostrnpeople at the time. To speak ofrn”the I lolocaust” as a distinct entitv’,rnwhich Americans responded to (orrnfailed to respond to) in various ways,rnis to introduce an anachronism thatrn26/CHRONICLESrnrnrn