The Bergson Group, America, and the Holocaust : A Previously Unpublished Interview with Hillel Kook/Peter Bergson
American Jewish History
Hillel Kook, a Lithuanian Jew, was a member of a nationalist Jewish armed underground. He came to the United States in 1940 where he adopted the name of Peter H. Bergson. In America, he joined an organization called Committee for a Jewish Army which tried to exert pressure on American and British governments to permit the formation of an independent Jewish army, based in Palestine. As the extermination of Jews became known, the Committee began lobbying for government rescue measures. Bergson began trying to lobby senators. He was able to enlist the help of Senator Elbert Thomas of Utah. Bergson said that Thomas was 'a very much admired man in the Senate. He was a professor of political science. He was a very religious man, he was a real Mormon--a real practicing religious man.' He said that Senator Thomas was persuaded to help their cause because 'to Senator Thomas, for instance, this was a religious thing, very much so. I mean he felt a kind of moral-religious duty to do this.'