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War Preempted Holocaust

June 22, 1986

In many of the current recriminations about America's alleged failure to do anything about the Holocaust, little is ever said about the fact that when the horror of it became known we already were engaged in an all-out struggle to smash Hitler.

The latest example I have noted is Gary Libman's story about Deborah Lipstadt and her book "Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust 1933-'45" ("Historian Chronicles U.S. Indifference to Holocaust Reports," June 9). The news reports she cites came at a time when we were at war, but there is no mention of that whatsoever.

There is certainly a bitter contrast between the May 18, 1944 page 1 story in the New York Times about the Republican campaign song and the page 5 story about the probable fate of 1 million Hungarian Jews, but that is not the whole story. On that same page 1 there were undoubtedly stories about Americans fighting in Italy and the Pacific and the great struggle on the Russian front, where millions died. Somewhere near the front of the paper there were the daily American casualty lists.

Less than three weeks after that story appeared the greatest invasion force in all history struck at the continent of Europe and Hitler's days were numbered.

What more were the American people supposed to do? Was the student who thought nothing was being done ever told about the war?

CHARLES R. CHAPPELL

San Marino

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