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Not Idly By: Peter BergsonNot Idly By: Peter Bergson,

                                       America and the Holocaust

a documentary short by Pierre Sauvage (40 min., Varian Fry Institute, 2009)

Peter Bergson, a militant Jew from Palestine,
led a controversial American effort to fight the Holocaust.

This is his testimony.

Excerpts from Not Idly By: Peter Bergson, America and the Holocaust

I am the last one on earth to condone the passivity of the political leadership of the United States, with President Roosevelt at the head, and of Great Britain, and of the Soviet Union, themselves in a state of occupation by a tyrant.  But the people who should have dramatized, shook up, awakened the... otherwise busy, like Ben Hecht's ballad—the world is busy with other news—the otherwise unrealizing world leadership to what's going on should have been the Jewish leaders.

They knew the Jews were being killed. But the grasp wasn't there.

We cannot resurrect the dead.  Eighty-five or ninety percent of those that Hitler wanted to kill were killed.  What we can do and what we must do is reexamine ourselves.

Jews should begin not by screaming, 'While they're murdering six million Jews, the Gentiles stood idly by.'  They should say, 'We stood idly by.'"

Until 1941, Nazi Germany persecuted and sought to expel the Jews
But the doors of the West remained closed.

The free nations of the world then faced a new Nazi policy:
mass murder of the Jews of Europe.

In two 1978 interviewsmostly never-before seen footage
Peter Bergson comments on the response to the crisis by non-European Jews.

produced, written and edited by Pierre Sauvage

a Varian Fry Institute production

Advertisements taken out in major newspapers by the "Bergson Group":

The upcoming DVD of Not Idly By also contains bonus materials: interviews with Peter Bergson's widow, Nili Kook, his daughter, Dr. Rebecca Kook, a lecture by Dr. David S. Wyman on The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust 1941-1945, as well as additional information, photographs and documents.

On Peter Bergson, America and the Holocaust

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© Copyright 2009. Varian Fry Institute. All rights reserved.                    Revised: January 28, 2009