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Petition urges recognition of Bergson

More than 100 scholars and Jewish leaders are calling on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to acknowledge the work of U.S. activists in its permanent exhibition.

A petition delivered to the museum’s chairman, Fred Zeidman, urges greater recognition of the Bergson Group, a collection of American activists whose rallies and newspaper advertisements calling attention to the plight of European Jews earned them the scorn of Jewish leaders at the time. The petition notes that the Bergson Group is mentioned on the museum’s Web site, but calls for its inclusion in museum’s permanent exhibition.

“Doing so is important for the sake of historical accuracy,” the petition reads. “It is also important because the Bergson Group’s work demonstrates the possibility of ordinary citizens taking action, through the democratic process, to bring about humanitarian action by the government.”

Among the signatories are former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, leaders of rabbinical seminaries from the three main Jewish religious denominations, two former Israeli Cabinet members, two members of Congress and a number of prominent Holocaust scholars. The petition was organized by the Washington-based David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.

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