NEW YORK (Dec. 30)
Most American historians–and consequently, the scholarly works and textbooks they have been writing on the 20th century–lack genuine “historical consciousness” of the Holocaust. This conclusion emerged yesterday from a detailed analysis of “The Holocaust in American Historiography” in a paper by Dr. Gerd Korman, Professor of History at Cornell University. It was presented at a special session on the Holocaust attended by several hundred professors and students participating in the annual conference of the American Historical Association.
The session, the first of its kind for the AHA, was co-sponsored by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and the Conference Group for Social and Administrative History. Dr. Korman indicated in his presentation that with a few exceptions, the only historians dealing seriously and intensively with the Holocaust are those whose “primary professional preoccupation is Jewish history.” The majority of American historians seem to be “unaware” of those writings, he said. Among the many reasons for this phenomenon was the possibility that they consider that the “primary significance of the Holocaust lies in Jewish history and , as such, is parochial in nature,” he said.
Dr. Raul Hilberg of the University of Vermont, presented newly-discovered documentation on the Mobile Murder Squads, which accompanied the German army into Russia in 1941 and were responsible for shooting Jews, Communists and other “undesirables.” The report, dealing with the Squads which operated in Lithuania from July to December, 1941, reveals that the Nazis “counted their victims one by one” and compiled a detailed body-count with break-downs by category and sex. The report reveals that 98 percent of the victims were Jews.
Dr. Randolf L. Braham of the City University of New York, presented a paper. A Reinterpretation of the Holocaust in Hungary, which stated that it was a myth that the destruction of Hungary’s Jews was only caused by the Nazi occupation of that country in 1944. Instead, he said, the fact is that it was the consequence of initiatives of “radical right” elements in the Hungarian government which preceded the occupation by several years and continued under the Nazis.