Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

British Jewry and the Holocaust

With a new Introduction
Richard Bolchover
Second edition

'Admirable . . . it works splendidly well . . . [an] impressive, noble, and genuinely important book.'
Andrew Chandler, English Historical Review

'This is absorbing, frightening, upsetting, essential reading. If Anglo-Jewry is to acquire a conviction about its values, this period of history must be re-examined; those institutions which so failed fellow-Jews must be reassessed; routes to influence within the Jewish community must be questioned. Finally, those who still remember those days must be asked, before it is too late, why so little was done.'
Julia Neuberger, The Times

How did British Jewry respond to the Holocaust, how prominent was the Holocaust on the communal agenda, and what does this response tell us about the values, politics, fears, and identity of the Anglo-Jewish community? This book studies the priorities of that community, and thereby seeks to analyse the attitudes and philosophies which informed actions. It paints a picture of Anglo-Jewish life and its reactions to a wide range of matters in the external, non-Jewish world. For this paperback, the author has added a new Introduction summarizing research in the field since the book’s first appearance.

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'Admirable . . . it works splendidly well . . . [an] impressive, noble, and genuinely important book.'
Andrew Chandler, English Historical Review

'This is absorbing, frightening, upsetting, essential reading. If Anglo-Jewry is to acquire a conviction about its values, this period of history must be re-examined; those institutions which so failed fellow-Jews must be reassessed; routes to influence within the Jewish community must be questioned. Finally, those who still remember those days must be asked, before it is too late, why so little was done.'
Julia Neuberger, The Times

'A poignant and important contribution to Holocaust studies . . . Bolchover has held a bright and honest flame to what he sees as the shames of Anglo-Jewry in wartime Britain.'
Ian McIntyre, The Independent

'Not simply a narrative of Jewish and by necessity non-Jewish attitudes and reaction to the Holocaust in Europe, but almost a work in moral ethics. It is a tour de force.'
Harold Steinhof, Jewish Book News & Reviews

How did British Jewry respond to the Holocaust, how prominent was it on the communal agenda, and what does this response tell us about the values, politics, and fears of the Anglo-Jewish community? This book studies the priorities of that community, and thereby seeks to analyse the attitudes and philosophies which informed actions. It paints a picture of Anglo-Jewish life and its reactions to a wide range of matters in the non-Jewish world.

Richard Bolchover charts the transmission of the news of the European catastrophe and discusses the various theories regarding reactions to these exceptional circumstances. He investigates the structures and political philosophies of Anglo-Jewry during the war years and covers the reactions of Jewish political and religious leaders as well as prominent Jews acting outside the community’s institutional framework. Various co-ordinated responses, political and philanthropic, are studied, as are the issues which dominated the community at that time, namely internal conflict and the fear of increased domestic antisemitism: these preoccupations inevitably affected responses to events in Europe. The latter half of the book looks at the ramifications of the community’s socio-political philosophies including, most radically, Zionism, and their influence on communal reactions. This acclaimed study raises major questions about the structures and priorities of the British Jewish community.

For this paperback, the author has added a new Introduction summarizing research in the field since the book’s first appearance.

 

About the author

Richard Bolchover studied at University College London and at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and was a Rotary International Foundation Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was a founder & director of Close Fund Management Ltd and is now a Partner at Nimrod Capital LLP.

Contents

Preface
Introduction
Introduction to the Second Edition

Part I Knowing and Believing

Part II The Institutions
Introduction: the Anglo-Jewish community
1 Communal priorities
2 The institutional response to the Holocaust

Part III The Ideologies
Introduction: social and political philosophies
3 The politics of hope
4 The politics of fear
5 The Jewish fighting model

Conclusion

Notes
Bibliography
Index

 

Reviews

'Classic study'  
Marcia Posner, AJL Newsletter

'Admirable . . . it works splendidly well . . . [an] impressive, noble, and genuinely important book.'
Andrew Chandler, English Historical Review

'This sombre and lucid book is an important contribution to a matter which to this day stirs the conscience of British Jewry.'
Roger Falk, Ham and High

'A poignant and important contribution to Holocaust studies . . . Bolchover has held a bright and honest flame to what he sees as the shames of Anglo-Jewry in wartime Britain.'
Ian McIntyre, The Independent

'Not simply a narrative of Jewish and by necessity non-Jewish attitudes and reaction to the Holocaust in Europe, but almost a work in moral ethics. It is a tour de force.'
Harold Steinhof, Jewish Book News & Reviews

'A act of great courage, for which the author deserves our profound thanks.'
Geoffrey Alderman, Jewish Chronicle

'There is no doubt that Bolchover has completed a vast amount of careful research and documented his findings meticulously . . . The book contains much useful and fascinating information.'
Liz Ramsey, Perspectives: Journal of the Holocaust Centre, Beth Shalom

'This is absorbing, frightening, upsetting, essential reading. If Anglo-Jewry is to acquire a conviction about its values, this period of history must be re-examined; those institutions which so failed fellow-Jews must be reassessed; routes to influence within the Jewish community must be questioned. Finally, those who still remember those days must be asked, before it is too late, why so little was done.'
Julia Neuberger, The Times

'Bolchover's critique opens up this debate and . . . will stimulate British Jews to consider the still current questions of fear and invisibility.'
Julia Pascal, Times Educational Supplement