Wyman Institute Update – May 28, 2006

I. Recent & Forthcoming Wyman Institute Activities


Sixty-three years ago, a young Treasury Department attorney uncovered one of the most shocking secrets of the Holocaust. Now, at last, his story will be told. This year’s national conference of the Wyman Institute will focus on the extraordinary and little-known story of Josiah E. DuBois, Jr., the man who blew the whistle on the State Department’s attempts to obstruct the rescue of Jewish refugees from the Holocaust.

The conference will take place on Sunday, June 11, 2006, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, Levy Conference Center, 3400 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, from 10 am to 5 pm.

It will feature personal recollections, new scholarship, and a rare film clip of DuBois, a Treasury Department official whose brave actions changed the course of history, and who later also distinguished himself as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials. Speakers will include his son, Robert DuBois; Henry Morgenthau III, son of Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr.; and Prof. David S. Wyman. A special session, the Yitshaq Ben-Ami Memorial Colloquium on Rescue from the Holocaust, will focus on the role of the Bergson Group in the struggle to change U.S. policy on rescue. In addition, Mark Hanis of the Genocide Intervention Network and former U.S.Congressman Stephen Solarz, of the International Crisis Group, will speak about the campaign against genocide in Sudan. Richard Goodwin will chair the conference; Prof. Harry Reicher of Penn will serve as m.c. Registration: $25 for the entire day ($15 for students); includes a kosher box lunch. To register, call 202-434-8994 or visit www.WymanInstitute.org



A standing-room-only audience attended the May 24 Capitol Hill event honoring Holocaust rescuer Hiram Bingham IV and celebrating the new Bingham postage stamp. The event was sponsored by the Wyman Institute and Wally Findlay Galleries International, in cooperation with U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos. Dr. Kay King of the House International Relations Committee and Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff organized the event. James Borynack, chairman and CEO of Wally Findlay Galleries –and a Wyman Institute board member– served as Master of Ceremonies.

In his remarks, Borynack pointed out that while Bingham helped rescue “many of the most important and influential artists of the Twentieth Century,” he also helped many other Jewish refugees, and was willing to “bend and break the rules because he was obeying a higher law–the law of morality, of humanity, of decency.”

Featured speakers included Congressman Lantos, who is the only Holocaust survivor in Congress (and a member of the Wyman Institute’s Advisory Committee); U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Bingham’s home state; Congressman Rob Simmons of Connecticut, a key supporter of the stamp drive; Bingham’s son Robert, who led the campaign to persuade the Postal Service to issue the stamp; former New York State Senator Franz Leichter and Prof. Marianne Pennekamp of UC-Berkeley, who escaped from Europe thanks to Bingham; Dr. Bella Meyer, art historian and granddaughter of Marc Chagall, who spoke about Bingham’s role in rescuing her grandfather; and Sara Bloomfield, director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Bingham’s son Bill showed rare videotape footage of his father in Vichy France, and Bingham’s daughter Abigail played a previously unreleased audio interview with Bingham in which he recalled how his boss Hugh Fullerton, the U.S. Consul General in Marseilles, ordered him to refrain from helping Jewish refugees of British POWs in France because
“the Germans are going to win the war–why should we do anything to offend them?”

Special thanks to James Borynack and Wally Findlay Galleries International for sponsoring the event; Eric Saul, for bringing panels from his acclaimed “Visas for Life” exhibit; and Dr. Nathan Moskowitz and Dr. Burton Appleton for their generous assistance in the publicity for the event.



In response to a Wyman Institute petition signed by more than eighty leading journalists and journalism professors, the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) has publicly expressed “regret” at the failure of U.S. newspaper publishers to aid Jewish refugee journalists fleeing Nazi Germany.

The petition, organized by the Wyman Institute and former New York Times reporter Laurence Zuckerman, was based on new research by Prof. Laurel Leff revealing that U.S. journalism schools refused all requests to take in German Jewish journalists fleeing HItler, and that the American Newspaper Publishers Association (precursor to the Newspaper Association of America) rejected a request by Harvard Prof. Carl Friedrich to discuss the issue for ten minutes at its 1939 convention.

In response, the NAA invited Prof. Leff, and Prof. Friedrich’s son, Paul Friedrich, to address the NAA Board of DIrectors meeting in Chicago in April; NAA chairman Jay Smith spoke about the issue in his address to the recent NAA annual convention; and the NAA asked Prof. Leff to write an article about the topic for the NAA’s flagship publication, Presstime Magazine.

The signatories on the Wyman petition included Marvin Kalb and Alex Jones of Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy; Martin Peretz, editor in chief, and Leon Wieseltier, literary editor, of The New Republic; Victor Navasky, Publisher Emeritus of The Nation; and Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Columbia University School of Journalism.


Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff spoke at the Yom HaShoah commemoration of Congregation Kehilat Jeshurun in New York City, and showed excerpts from the Wyman Institute’s interview with former U.S. Senator George McGovern about his World War II bombing missions near Auschwitz. Stuart Erdheim, director of the film “They Looked Away” (about the failure to bomb Auschwitz), who helped conduct the interview with McGovern, also took part. Kehilat Jeshurun’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Dr. Haskel Lookstein (who is also a member of the Wyman Institute’s Academic Council) moderated the event.


After Nation editor Katrina van den Heuvel authored an op-ed in the Washington Post urging writers and public figures to stop comparing their opponents to the Nazis, the Wyman Institute organized a letter of support signed by eleven of the world’s most prominent Holocaust scholars. The letter was published in the Washington Post on March 30.


II. The Wyman Institute in the News

The Wyman Institute’s event honoring Hiram Bingham IV was reported on CNN on May 24 and featured in a lengthy article in the Washington Post on May 25; as a result, a segment about Bingham is scheduled to air on the CBS Evening News on May 30 … The Wyman Institute’s petition concerning the abandonment of German Jewish refugee journalists in the 1930s was the subject of major articles in the New York Times on February 20 and March 13. It was also featured in articles in Editor & Publisher and the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Prof. Leff was interviewed on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” and National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”

A number of newspapers printed the recent op-ed by Rafael Medoff and Wyman Institute associate director Benyamin Korn, concerning the publication, in the New York Times, of an advertising supplement sponsored by the government of Sudan … A letter by Academic Council member Dr. Harold Brackman, concerning the religious roots of antisemitism, was published in the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles … Dr. Medoff and former New York City Mayor Ed Koch recently authored an op-ed about the late Fiorello La Guardia’s support for the 1930s boycott of German goods, which was published in various newspapers … also, Midstream magazine recently published the text of the speeches Medoff and Koch made about La Guardia at the Wyman Institute’s September 2005 conference.

Other recent articles and letters by Wyman Institute officials include “The Day the Rebbe Marched” (about the Bostoner Rebbe’s participation in the 1943 rabbis’ march in Washington), in HaModia … Letters about Betty Friedan’s support for Jewish refugee immigration in the 1930s, in The Nation and the Washington Times … A letter about Holocaust-deniers, in the Chronicle of Higher Education … and op-eds about the late A. M. Rosenthal and Arthur Szyk’s anti-Hitler haggadah, in various Jewish newspapers.


III. News About Wyman Institute Council and Committee Members

Welcome to the newest member of the Wyman Institute’s Academic Council:

Eunice G. Pollack is a professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of North Texas. She received her PhD in History from Columbia University. Before coming to the University of North Texas, she was a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch (Galveston). Eunice was the originator and architect of the American Historical Association’s important Resolution and Statement on Jews and Slavery (1995), which received worldwide press coverage, and which was a response to the pernicious charges of the Nation of Islam regarding Jews and the Atlantic slave trade. She is coeditor (with Prof. Stephen H. Norwood, also a member of the Wyman Institute’s Academic Council) of the two-volume Encyclopedia of American Jewish History, which will be published by ABC-CLIO in May 2007.

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Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City is hosting an exhibit (through June 30) on “The Jewish Graphic Novel,” featuring, among others, “Yossel,” the novel about the Warsaw Ghetto revolt by Wyman Institute Arts & Letters Council member Joe Kubert; and “The Plot,” the graphic novel debunking The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, by the late Will Eisner, who was also a member of our Council. Mad Magazine writer Arie Kaplan moderated a recent panel discussion at HUC-JIR with Kubert and the other artists in the exhibit.

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Academic Council member Dr. Efraim Zuroff (Simon Wiesenthal Center) was interviewed recently by The Bulletin, Australia’s leading news weekly, by Jana Wendt, one of the top TV personalities in Australia and one of its most popular journalists.

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Academic Council member Prof. Zsuzsanna Ozsvath (University of Texas) spoke recently at Memphis University on “Hungary and the Holocaust” at Indiana University’s conference on “Writers Uprooted: Contemporary Jewish Exile Literature,” and at The Dallas Institute on art and German society during the Third Reich.

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Prof. Thane Rosenbaum, a member of the Wyman Institute’s Arts & Letters Council, recently moderated a panel on Orthodox Judaism at the 92nd Street Y, in New York City. Participants included Emmy Award-winning television producer Allan Leicht, novelist Pearl Abraham and journalist Alana Newhouse.

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Academic Council member David Weinberg (Wayne State University) authored “Issues in Postwar European Jewish Revival,” which will be published in the proceedings of the second international “Beyond Camps and Labour”
conference by Secolo Verlag (Osnabrueck, Germany) in a combined book/CD version. He also spoke on
“The Cold War Comes to the French Jewish Community” at Bar-Ilan University’s conference on French Jewry.