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Holocaust Historian to Speak at Ithaca College

ITHACA, NY — Nearly 75 years after World War II, a contentious debate still lingers over whether U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt turned his back on the Jews of Hitler’s Europe. An expert will give his take on the topic in the annual Holocaust Lecture at Ithaca College on Wednesday, Oct. 30.

Historian Richard Breitman will present “FDR and the Jews: Before the War and the Holocaust” at 7:30 p.m. in Emerson Suites, Phillips Hall. His talk is free and open to the public.

Breitman will focus on President Roosevelt’s initiatives to get Jews out of Germany and Austria in the 18 months before war broke out in Europe in 1939.

In their recent book, “FDR and the Jews,” Breitman and coauthor Allan Lichtman argue that the president was neither savior nor bystander. Using new primary sources, they offer a portrait of a consummate politician — compassionate but also pragmatic — struggling with opposing priorities under perilous conditions.

The Distinguished Professor in History at American University, Breitman is also the author of “The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution” and “Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and Americans Knew.” He served as director of historical research for the Nazi War Criminal Records and Imperial Japanese Records Interagency Working Group, which helped to bring about declassification of more than eight million pages of U.S. government records. He is editor of the scholarly journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

The annual Holocaust Lecture is sponsored by the Jewish studies program at Ithaca College and is supported by the Golberstein Jewish Studies Fund. For more information, contact Rebecca Lesses, coordinator of Jewish studies, at or (607) 274-3556.