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Wyman, David S. 1929-

WYMAN, David S. 1929-

PERSONAL: Born March 6, 1929, in Weymouth, MA; son of Hollis J. (a teacher) and Ruth (Sword) Wyman; married Mildred Smith (a teacher), September 13, 1950; children: James N., Teresa C. Education: Boston University, A.B., 1951; Plymouth State College (Plymouth, NH), M.Ed., 1961; Harvard University, A.M., 1962, Ph.D., 1966. Religion: Society of Friends (Quaker). Hobbies and other interests: Part-time agriculture.

ADDRESSES: Home—61 Columbia Dr., Amherst, MA 01002. Office—Department of History, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01002; David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, 7605 Old York Rd., Melrose Park, PA 19027.

CAREER: Elementary teacher in Tilton, NH, 1957-60; high school teacher of social studies in Penacook, NH, 1960-61; Clark University, Worcester, MA, history lecturer, summer, 1964; Northeastern University, Boston, MA, history lecturer, spring, 1966; University of Massachusetts, Amherst, assistant professor, 1966-69, associate professor, 1969-75, professor of history, 1975-1986, chairman of the Judaic studies program, 1977-78, Josiah DuBois professor of history, 1986-91, professor emeritus, 1991—. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, special advisor, 1981—; Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles, CA, academic advisor, 1983; served on national council of the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel, 1986; David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, Melrose Park, PA, chair. Also made numerous television and radio appearances and has served as the historical advisor to films.

MEMBER: American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Association for Asian Studies, American Association of University Professors, New Hampshire Historical Society, Society for American Baseball Research, Friends Historical Association, Phi Beta Kappa.

AWARDS, HONORS: Woodrow Wilson fellowship, 1961-62, 1965-66; Social Science Research Council grant, 1969-70; research fellowship, Charles Warren Center, Harvard University, 1969-70; grant-in-aid, American Council of Learned Societies, 1969-70; Anisfield-Wolf Award, Stuart Bernath Award, Theodore Saloutos Award, and Present Tense Literature Award, all 1984, Hadassah Myrtle Wreath Award, and National Jewish Book Award, both 1985, all for The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust, 1941-1945; Chancellor's Medal, University of Massachusetts, 1986; Achievement Award, Isaac M. Wise Temple, Cincinnati, OH, 1986; Humanitarian Award, Brooklyn Holocaust Memorial Committee, 1986; Herbert Katzki Award, American Jewish Joint Distribution Commission, 1999; recipient of honorary degrees from Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion, and Yeshiva University.

WRITINGS:

Paper Walls: America and the Refugee Crisis, 1938-1941, University of Massachusetts Press (Amherst, MA), 1968, republished, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 1985.

The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust, 1941-1945, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 1984.

(Editor) America and the Holocaust: A Thirteen Volume Set Documenting the Editor's Book "The Abandonment of the Jews," Garland (New York, NY), 1989–91.

(Editor) The World Reacts to the Holocaust, Charles H. Rosenzveig, project director, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1996.

(Author of foreword) Tom Shachtman, I Seek My Brethren: Ralph Goldman and "The Joint": The Work of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, introduction by Mikhail Gorbachev, Newmarket Press (New York, NY), 2001.

(With Rafael Medoff) A Race against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust, New Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Contributor of articles and essays to numerous professional journals and periodicals, and chapters to books.

SIDELIGHTS: In the New York Times Biographical Service, Colin Campbell once labeled David S. Wyman as "an unusual historian," because, though he is a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers), Wyman devoted his life's work to the "fate of Europe's Jews during World War II." As a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Wyman served for a time as the chairman of the Judaic studies program. Wyman's written works have focused on the Jewish Holocaust of World War II, when hundreds of thousands of Jews were placed in concentration camps and executed by Nazis. Wyman has written about the period before the Holocaust, the inaction of the United States during the Holocaust, and the aftermath of the Holocaust on the world. Wyman also shares his name with the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, which carries on his work and research. Though it may be unusual for a Christian professor to be an expert on an event so closely linked to the Jewish faith, Wyman undoubtedly remains one of the leading historians on the Holocaust.

Wyman began his study of the plight of Jews with his doctoral dissertation, Paper Walls: America and the Refugee Crisis, 1938-1941. In Paper Walls, Wyman looks at America's resistance to Jewish immigration in the years preceding U.S. involvement in World War II. His next major work, Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust, 1941-1945, a critically acclaimed study of the United States' inaction during the Holocaust of World War II, took Wyman deeper into what would become his life's work. In the book, Wyman asserts that the United States shared in the responsibility of what happened during the Holocaust. Wyman points out that the Roosevelt administration, the American public, the media, churches, and even certain Jewish organizations all could have reacted in a more effective manner to put a stop to the Holocaust. But, as Wyman argues, the response was not there, resulting in the genocide of millions of European Jews.

In a review for the Nation, Aryeh Neier outlined the three factors Wyman blames for America's inaction during the Holocaust: "anti-Semitism, a sense of helplessness, … and fear of being branded as pro-Jewish." Neier commented, "Wyman systematically demolishes the worn excuses for our failure to rescue the Jews of Europe…. He makes it plain that wherever there was a genuine will to save the Jews, Jews were saved." According to Neier, "David Wyman has written a first-rate history. He has provided a small measure of redress to the Jews of Europe by making clear why they were abandoned and who abandoned them." He continued, "And he has helped us to think about our responsibilities in responding to catastrophes to come."

Since Abandonment of the Jews was published, Wyman has continued studying the Holocaust. In The World Reacts to the Holocaust, Wyman created a compilation examining how the horrors of the Holocaust affected the world. The book provides essays about twenty-two countries and the United Nations, written by prominent scholars. Each section is organized in a similar manner, documenting the Jewish history, the Holocaust, and the aftermath of the Holocaust in each country, including how Holocaust survivors were treated upon release from concentration camps.

A Race against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust is Wyman's and coauthor Rafael Medoff's book about one of the few people in America during World War II who stood up for the Jews. Practically upon his arrival in America in 1940, Peter Bergson lobbied for the United States to intervene on behalf of European Jews. A Kirkus Reviews critic noted, Wyman and Medoff "offer a thoughtful essay discussing Bergson's work and its fruition in turning an indifferent government's attention toward Jewish affairs." Based primarily on interviews Wyman conducted with Bergson while researching his Abandonment of the Jews, the book documents Bergson's efforts to rescue the Jews from the Nazis. A Publishers Weekly contributor called A Race against Death "a chilling account of U.S. indifference to the plight of European Jews during WWII, of how government officials not only failed to act, but thwarted the efforts of those who tried."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

periodicals

AB Bookman's Weekly, April 29, 1985, review of The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust, 1941-1945, p. 3238; April 1, 1991, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 1273.

America, August 3, 1985, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 73.

American Historical Review, December, 1985, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 1294.

Best Sellers, January, 1984, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 396.

Bloomsbury Review, July, 1998, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 17.

Book World, November 18, 1984, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 5.

Choice, April, 1985, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 1220; July, 1992, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 1641, review of America and the Holocaust (Volumes 1-13), p. 1641; May, 1997, review of The World Reacts to the Holocaust, p. 1567.

Christian Science Monitor, January 15, 1985, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 23.

Commentary, April, 1985, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 70.

Foreign Affairs, April, 1985, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 920.

Jewish Social Studies, winter, 1986, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 83.

Journal of American History, June, 1985, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 186.

Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 1984, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 1050; September 15, 2002, review of A Race against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust, p. 1375.

Kliatt, winter, 1986, review of Paper Walls: America and the Refugee Crisis, 1938-1941, p. 58.

Library Journal, October 1, 1984, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 1848; February 15, 1998, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 175.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, November 18, 1984, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 18; March 16, 1986, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 10.

Nation, December 15, 1984, Aryeh Neier, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 656.

New Republic, February 15, 1969.

New York Times, November 23, 1984, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 24.

New York Times Biographical Service, December, 1984, Colin Campbell, "David S. Wyman: Uncommon Scholar Studies Fate of Jews," pp. 1722-1723.

New York Times Book Review, December 16, 1984, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 1; October 20, 1985, review of Paper Walls, p. 60; February 16, 1986, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 32.

Political Science Quarterly, April, 1986, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 685.

Publishers Weekly, September 28, 1984, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 103; September 16, 2002, review of A Race against Death, p. 57.

Reference and Research Book News, August, 1997, review of The World Reacts to the Holocaust, p. 18.

San Francisco Review of Books, January, 1985, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 17.

Time, April 18, 1994, John Elson, "America and the Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference," p. 83.

Times Literary Supplement, March 7, 1997, review of The World Reacts to the Holocaust, p. 4.

Wall Street Journal, February 15, 1985, review of The Abandonment of the Jews, p. 20.*

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