For the Jewish villagers of Kippenheim, no challenge was as urgent or formidable as escaping Nazi Germany, often by acquiring American visas. In his book, The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught in Between, Michael Dobbs painstakingly documents how several members of this small community struggled to find refuge and what obstacles stood in their way.
Deported to unoccupied France in October 1940, the refugees continued their visa quest, even as the Nazis planned further deportations to the East. Interned in grim concentration camps, they became entangled in bureaucratic red tape. Some perished in the camps; others were deported to Auschwitz. Those who survived by reaching the U.S. understood all too well that an American immigration visa often meant the difference between life and death.
This program is presented in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the museum is also a partner on the book’s publishing. The book is part of a groundbreaking educational initiative at the USHMM that includes a new exhibition, Americans and the Holocaust, on display in Washington, D.C.
Michael Dobbs was born and educated in Britain, but is now a U.S. citizen. He was a long-time reporter for The Washington Post, covering the collapse of communism as a foreign correspondent. He has taught at leading American universities, including Princeton, University of Michigan, and Georgetown. He is currently on the staff of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. His previous books include the bestselling One Minute to Midnight, on the Cuban missile crisis, which was part of an acclaimed Cold War trilogy. He lives outside Washington, D.C.
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