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Too many Jews at Nuremberg

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Democratic presidential hopeful U.S. Senator Chris Dodd recently wrote an op-ed for JTA pegged to the release of his new book, “Letter From Nuremberg,” a collection of correspondence from the time his father, Thomas, played a lead role in the prosecution of Nazi war criminals.

In his JTA op-ed, Dodd argues that his father’s letters underscore that the Bush administration has much to learn from the triumph of principal over power at the Nuremberg trials.

Wonder what the senior Dodd would make of Jewish organizations taking a lead role in pushing for a hard line against Iran. Check out this passage from a Sept. 25, 1945, letter:

“You know how I have despised anti-Semitism. You know how strongly I feel toward those who preach intolerance of any kind. With that knowledge — you will understand when I tell you that this staff is about seventy-five percent Jewish. Now my point is that the Jews should stay away from this trial — for their own sake. For — mark this well — the charge ‘a war for the Jews’ is still being made and in the post-war years it will be made again and again. The too large percentage of Jewish men and women here will be cited as proof of this charge. Sometimes it seems that the Jews will never learn about these things. They seem intent on bringing new difficulties down on their own heads. I do not like to write about this matter —it is distasteful to me — but I am disturbed about it. They are pushing and crowding and competing with each other and with everyone else.”

In an interview with Providence Journal columnist M. Charles Bakst, Dodd the son said that when he reads this letter, “I first of all cringe a little bit because I wonder what he’s driving at.”

Bakst added:

As provocative as the passages may seem, [Dodd] suggests it’s also important to note that his father specifically said he deplored anti-Semitism and, in fact, had close Jewish friends. So, the senator says, “I tried to understand it in the context, knowing who he was, knowing what he cared about, what his own history was. And there were those, the [Charles] Lindberghs and others, that made the case that…Roosevelt got us into this war because of Jewish issues.”

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