Victims: The Abandonment
of Americans in Hitler's Camps
were in concentration camps, including
Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Dachau?
were in the Warsaw Ghetto?
of Americans were placed in internment
Jewish soldiers were sometimes segregated
from their comrades in POW camps?
Jewish POWs were sent to a slave labor
camp that had the highest fatality
rate of any POW camp?
common explanation for the world's
failure to prevent the Holocaust is
that the information about the Nazi
extermination program seemed too incredible
to believe. Fifty years later, Americans
may now also find it difficult to believe
that their fellow citizens were among
the 12 million people murdered by the
Nazis, abandoned to this fate by their
outbreak of war in Europe put tens
of thousands of American civilians,
especially Jews, in deadly peril, but
the State Department failed to help
them. As a consequence of this callous
policy many suffered — and some died.
when the United States joined the war
against Hitler, many brave young Americans
were captured and imprisoned. Jewish
soldiers were at a special risk — they
were sent into battle with a telltale
“H” (for “Hebrew”) on their dog tags,
which helped the Nazis single them
out for mistreatment. One group of
Jewish GIs was sent to the brutal Berga
concentration camp, which had the highest
fatality rate of any camp where American
POWs were held. Other POWs were sent
to other notorious concentration camps,
like Buchenwald and Mauthausen, where
they became victims of the machinery
of the “Final Solution.”
is it that none of the hundreds of
books about the Holocaust has examined
the fate of Americans who fell into
Nazi hands? Perhaps it is because the
number of American victims was small
compared to the total that perished.
Perhaps it is due to the perception
of the Holocaust as a European phenomenon;
most people assumed that Americans
could not have become victims. But
the main reason this story has gone
untold for a half century is that much
of the evidence has been concealed
by our own government.
U.S. government had good reasons to
cover up the story. The revelation
that Americans were mistreated and
their government knew and failed to
do anything about it would certainly
raise uncomfortable questions about
this country's failure to offer safe
haven to the Nazis' main target: European
VICTIMS provides documentary evidence
proving that American officials knew
that U.S. civilians and soldiers (Jews
and non-Jews) were in danger, that
they were being mistreated (including
being placed in concentration camps)
and that they were even being murdered
by the Nazis. The story of how European
Jewry was forsaken by the Western Allies
is by now familiar, but this book exposes
for the first time the abandonment
of American Jews.
What Reviewers and Experts Say About
"I read Mitchell
Bard's revelations about the `Forgotten
Victims' with a feeling of deep frustration
and pain. Not enough was known about
the fate of American Jews in Hitler's
death camps. Why were they abandoned?
Why were they forgotten? The answers
are as painful as the questions."
Director of the ADL:
compelling account of American GIs
and citizens who were herded into Nazi
concentration camps and abandoned by
their government exposes yet another
outrage in the dark history of the
Holocaust. Bard shatters the belief
that American citizenship guarantees
safe passage abroad. We are all indebted
to him for his lust for truth and his
tenacity in uncovering it."
Hier, Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal
brings home the tragedy of Americans
caught in the Nazi web. Mr. Bard's
extensively researched book brings
to light a hitherto unknown chapter
of the Holocaust and gives much needed
recognition to Americans forgotten
by their own government."
Director of Archives, U.S. Holocaust
"Dr. Bard's book
is the only comprehensive account of
the subject based on thorough archival
research and is a much welcome addition
to the literature on the war and the
camps in particular."
Book Review in the Jerusalem Post:
"Dr. Bard's book
is the only authoritative account of
what happened to some Jewish and Gentile
GIs who were sent to concentration
camps and who were effectively abandoned
by their country."
"Based on original
documents and interviews with survivors,
this shocking study reveals that Washington
officials knew that U.S. citizens were
brutalized and murdered in Nazi concentration
camps, and failed to take steps to
save hundreds, perhaps thousands, of
Book Review in the London Times:
"Even the names
of certain camps where Jews died do
not appear in most Holocaust literature.
This is true, for example, of the camp
at Berga, a German village on the old
Czechoslovakian border. Thanks to the
researches of Mitchell G. Bard, this
camp has at least been placed on the
map of locations where Jews were murdered."
"[A] valuable and
needed study.... Bard's account of the
horrors which these individuals and others
encountered is moving and his criticism
of the American government constitutes
an indictment of FDR's administration."
"Bard's work is
a well-researched analysis of the histories
of U.S. citizens held in German captivity
during the Nazi era.... These tragic
data contribute to the long-neglected
historiography of American war captives."
and heretofore untold story of American
soldiers caught up in the machinery of
the Final Solution, imprisoned and murdered
in Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Bergen-Belsen
and other Nazi concentration camps."
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Victims: The Abandonment of Americans
in Hitler's Camps