100 Holocaust Scholars Urge Obama: Relaase White House Emails on Rwanda

Historians in the News
tags: Rwanda

One hundred leading Holocaust and genocide scholars from around the world have sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to release internal White House emails from 1994 concerning the U.S. response to the genocide in Rwanda.

The New York Times reported on June 4 that nine months have passed since Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, requested access to the approximately 100 emails, but they still remain under lock and key at the Clinton Presidential Library, because "the White House has not signed off on" the request.

The letter of protest by Holocaust scholars was organized by The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, based in Washington, D.C. 

"Understanding the factors that shaped America's response to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda is crucial to efforts to prevent genocide in the future," the letter contends. "We respectfully urge you to approve the request to declassify the 100 emails about Rwanda, so that scholars and the public may learn all the facts about what happened."

The 100 signatories on the letter, who come from the United States, Canada, Israel, India, England, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, and Chile, include many of the most distinguished figures in the field of Holocaust and genocide studies, including:

*  Prof. David S. Wyman, author of the best-selling The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust 1941-1945.

*  Prof. Yehuda Bauer, senior historian at Israel's Yad Vashem’s Holocaust center.

*  Prof. Walter Reich, former executive director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

*  Prof. Henry L. Feingold, author of The Politics of Rescue, one of the earliest books about America's response to the Holocaust.

The complete text of the petition, with all the signatories, follows below.

* * * * *

The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

June 9, 2014

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC  20500

Dear Mr. President,

As scholars who have written or taught about the Holocaust or other genocides, we are deeply troubled by the news that your administration has failed to approve the declassification of 100 internal White House emails about the Rwanda genocide that are held at the Clinton Presidential Library.

According to the New York Times (June 4, 2014), the declassification request was made nine months ago by Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, but the emails still remain under lock and key, because "the White House has not signed off on" the request.

Understanding the factors that shaped America's response to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda is crucial to efforts to prevent genocide in the future. We respectfully urge you to approve the request to declassify the 100 emails about Rwanda, so that scholars and the public may learn all the facts about what happened.


Dr. Navras Jaat Aafreedi
Gautam Buddha University, India

Prof. Irving Abella
York University, Toronto

Dr. Mehnaz M. Afridi
Director - Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center
Manhattan College

Dr. Avril Alba
University of Sydney

Dr. Meir Amor
Concordia University, Canada

Prof. Elizabeth Baer
Gustavus Adolphus College

Prof. Marie Baird
Duquesne University

Prof. Karyn Ball
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Prof. Paul R. Bartrop
Director, Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies
Florida Gulf Coast University

Prof. Yehuda Bauer
Yad Vashem and Hebrew University (emer.)

Prof. Alessandra Benedicty
The City College of New York

Prof. Michael Berenbaum
American Jewish University

Prof. Alan L. Berger
Director, Center for the Study of Values and Violence after Auschwitz
Florida Atlantic University

Prof. Paul Bookbinder
University of Massachusetts - Boston 

Dr. Harold Brackman
Simon Wiesenthal Center

Rabbi Shalom Bronstein

Prof. Darcy Buerkle
Smith College

Dr. Daniel Burston
Duquesne University

Prof. Frank Chalk
Director, Montreal Institute for Genocide & Human Rights Studies
Concordia University, Canada

Prof. Israel Charny
Executive Director, Institute on the Holocaust & Genocide, Jerusalem

Eric Cohen
Co-founder and Chairperson, Investors Against Genocide

Dr. Menachem Daum
Documentary Filmmaker, Brooklyn NY

Dr. Gemma Del Duca, S.C.
National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education
Seton Hall University

Prof. Deborah Dwork
Director, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Clark University

Prof. Marcia Esparza
Director, Historical Memory Project
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Dr. Helen Fein
Institute for the Study of Genocide/BCSIA
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Prof. Henry L. Feingold
CUNY Graduate Center and Baruch College (emer.)

Prof. Lawrence Frizzell
Seton Hall University

Prof. Allon Gal
Ben-Gurion University (emer.)

Prof. Zev Garber
Los Angeles Valley College (emer.); Editor, Shofar

Dr. Edyta Gawron
Jagiellonian University - Krakow, Poland

Prof. Jay Geller
Vanderbilt Divinity School

Dr. Myrna Goldenberg 
Bethesda, MD 

Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin
Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies

Prof. Gershon Greenberg
American University

Prof. Bernard Harrison
University of Utah (emer.) & University of Sussex, UK (emer.)

Naama Haviv
Assistant Director, Jewish World Watch

Prof. Michael Hayse
Director, M.A. Program in Holocaust & Genocide Studies
Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Prof. Robert K. Hitchcock
University of New Mexico

Dr. Steven Leonard Jacobs
The University of Alabama

Prof. Aristotle Kallis
Lancaster University, UK

Prof. Katharina von Kellenbach
St. Mary's College of Maryland

Prof. Ben Kiernan
Yale University

Dr. Rebecca Kook
Ben-Gurion University

Dr. Neil J. Kressel
William Patterson University

Prof. Konrad Kwiet
University of Sydney

Prof. Fred Lazin
Ben Gurion University (emer.)  / New York University

Prof. Laurel Leff
Northeastern University

Prof. Marcia Sachs Littell
Richard Stockton College of New Jersey (emer.)

Dr. Rafael Medoff
The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

Prof. Rochelle L. Millen
Wittenberg University

Prof. A. Dirk Moses
European University Institute, Florence, Italy

Tali Nates
Director, Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre

Prof. Stephen H. Norwood
University of Oklahoma

Prof. Michael Novak
Ave Maria University

Prof. David Patterson
University of Texas at Dallas

Natalie Pavlik
Director, Foundation Nunca Olvidar

Dr. John T. Pawlikowski, OSM
Catholic Theological Union, Chicago

Prof. Anton Pelinka
Central European University, Budapest

Prof. Monty Noam Penkower
Machon Lander Graduate School of Jewish Studies (emer.)

Prof. Allen Podet
SUNY Buffalo State

Prof. Eunice G. Pollack
University of North Texas

Dr. Elena Procario-Foley
Iona College

Prof. Ronald Radosh
CUNY (emer.); Adjunct Fellow, The Hudson Institute

Prof. Walter Reich
George Washington University
Former executive director, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Dr. Carol Rittner, RSM
Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Prof. Paul Rose
Pennsylvania State University

Prof. Thane Rosenbaum
New York University School of Law

Prof. John K. Roth
Claremont McKenna College (emer.)

Prof. Michael Rothberg
Director, Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory STudies
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Per Anders Rudling
Lund University, Sweden

Prof. Richard L. Rubenstein
President (emer.), University of Bridgeport

Prof. Suzanne D. Rutland, OAM
University of Sydney

Prof. Victoria Sanford
Director, Center for Human Rights & Peace Studies
Lehman College of the City University of New York

Prof. Robert Moses Shapiro
Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

Prof. Baila R. Shargel
Manhattanville College

Dr. Karen Shawn
Yeshiva University

Caroline Slifkin
Holocaust educator, UK

Prof. Melvin Small
Wayne State University

Prof. Roger W. Smith
College of William and Mary (emer.)

Prof. Kevin P. Spicer, C.S.C.
Stonehill College

Dr. Katerina Stefatos
Columbia University

Dr. Oren Baruch Stier
Director, Holocaust Studies Initiative
Florida International University

Prof. Abram de Swaan
University of Amsterdam

Prof. Norton Taichman
University of Pennsylvania (emer.)

Prof. Ana Maria Tapia-Adler
Director, Centro de Estudios Judaicos
Universidad de Chile

Prof. Peter Tarjan
University of Miami (emer.)

Prof. Henry Theriault
Worcester State University

Prof. Gil Troy
McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Prof. Dirk Verhofstadt
University Ghent, Belgium

Prof. Kenneth Waltzer
Director, Jewish Studies
Michigan State University

Dr. Racelle Weiman
Director, Dialogue Institute - Temple University

Prof. Robert  G. Weisbord
University of Rhode Island

Laurie Weisman
Executive Director, The Memory Project Productions

Dr. Ann Weiss
Executive Director, Eyes from the Ashes Educational Foundation

Prof. Sonja Schoepf Wentling
Concordia College

Prof. Thierry De Win
College du Sacre-Coeur de Ganshoren, Belgium

Prof. Linda M. Woolf
Webster University

Prof. David S. Wyman
University of Massachusetts - Amherst (emer.)

Prof. Randall C. Zachman
University of Notre Dame

Prof. John C. Zimmerman
University of Nevada - Las Vegas

Prof. Bat-Ami Zucker
Bar Ilan University

Dr. Efraim Zuroff
Simon Wiesenthal Center, Jerusalem

(Institutions listed for identification purposes only.) 

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