Skip to comments.1939 letter found, plea to FDR to save Jewish kids
Posted on 05/18/2014 10:06:43 PM PDT by Nachum
Last month, 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon told the remarkable story of Sir Nicholas Winton, a stockbroker in London who saved 669 Czech children-- most of them Jewish--from the Nazis during WWII. England took in almost all of the 669 children. Winton, now 104 years old, told 60 Minutes he had made a desperate plea for help to the United States back in 1939. He said he had written a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, describing the plight of the Czech children and asking that America grant refuge to a number of them. "But the Americans wouldn´t take any,
(Excerpt) Read more at cbsnews.com ...
Langbart also found another memo from the Department of State that instructed the U.S. Embassy in London to acknowledge receipt of Mr. Wintons letter and advise him that the United States Government is unable, in the absence of specific legislation, to permit immigration in excess of that provided for by existing immigration laws.Wrong kind of immigrants for the Democrats even back then. Incredible. Of course, the Dems in a turn of hypocrisy may now use this to push for their amnesty, even though this is all on them.
That was in 1939, as was the St. Louis, FDR won 82% of the Jewish vote in 1932, 85% in 1936, 90% in 1940, and 90% in 1944.
Catholics voted for FDR 85% in 1932, 81% in 1936, 73% in 1940, and 73% in 1944.
Protestants barely voted for him in 1932 and 1936 and voted against him in 1940 and 1944.
The were certainly warnings. And pleas. But the horror of it all was just too great to be understood by any rational person.
Jews that understood what was coming got out before it was impossible to do so.
FDR was a Jew-hating bastard, yet so many Jews who are liberal idiots worship him for his Socialism.
That's right, but it wasn't all that many. I wish I could remember where I read it, but awhile back I read the story of a German Jewish Holocaust survivor.
He didn't get out when he could have. And that's because he just couldn't accept that Germany - the land of Luther and Beethoven - had turned into a society of monsters.
Henry Morgenthau, Jr. (18911967) served as United States Secretary of the Treasury in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations from January 1, 1934, until July 22, 1945. Morgenthau was born into a prominent Jewish family in New York City; his father, Henry Morgenthau Sr., was a prominent real estate investor and diplomat who served as ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.
Morgenthau was the only Jew in Roosevelt’s cabinet. While showing some concern for the plight of Germany’s Jews, he did not become actively involved in the issue until the late 1930s. In 1938, aware that the US immigration quota system was insufficient to accommodate the number of immigrants who wanted to come to the United States, he proposed to Roosevelt that the United States acquire British and French Guiana in order to use these territories as a place of refuge for immigrants from Nazi Germany. Roosevelt did not favor that particular proposal; but Morgenthau continued to bring various rescue plans to his attention.
In 1943, months after the US State Department confirmed the existence of a German policy and practice aimed at annihilating the Jews of Europe, Morgenthau became involved in the debate over rescue at the urging of some of his staff at Treasury. Disappointed with the lack of tangible results of the Bermuda Conference in the spring of 1943, and suspecting that US State Department officials had delayed issuance of a license to finance the attempt to provide for the relief and evacuation of Jews in France and Romania, Treasury officials John Pehle, Randolph Paul, and Josiah DuBois presented Morgenthau with an 18-page memorandum entitled Report to the Secretary on the Acquiescence of This Government in the Murder of Jews” on January 13, 1944. Three days later, Morgenthau, Pehle, and Paul met with President Roosevelt. Warning of future negative assessments of the will and actions of Roosevelt administration with respect to trying to rescue European Jews, they urged the President to agree to a more focused effort by the US government to provide relief and, if possible, rescue Jews and non-Jews threatened with death in German-occupied and German-influenced Europe. The president issued an executive order establishing the War Refugee Board (WRB) on January 22, 1944.
I must say, your defense of FDR is absolutely absurd.
He was the president. He knew exactly what was happening to the Jews.
That's true. I'm no historian, but I wonder how much of that intelligence was incomplete and contradictory. The "fog of war", and all that.
Kindly see my post #12. But if you are correct (which I doubt), then FDR really was a monster.
There is a rule of thumb. Do not to ascribe to evil that which is better explained by incompetence. I think that rule applies here.
In FDR you have an extreme leftist with access to the highest levels of intelligence, back when intelligence worked.
It’s about as hard to believe he didn’t know what was going on in Germany as it is easy to believe he was anti-Semitic.
It will get better. That’s what they believed. Rather than leave penniless and turn their assets over to the Nazis, they bet their lives on optimism and paid in blood.
But here’s another point. Many who left Nazi rule ended up in German hands anyway. Jews thought they were smart going to France. Yet France was conquered and the French became rabid Jew haters, making the term “Juif” all the rage. There was almost nowhere to go to. Austria and Poland hated them. Czechoslovakia dissolved and was occupied. The Balkans were a basket case and Hungary had the Soros family betraying their own. Nearly all of Europe was conquered or influenced by the Nazis at one point in the war.
England was the only place in Europe that a Jewish refugee could be safe, and that’s if they weren’t killed in the bombings. Switzerland guarded their borders and Sweden took in some Danish Jews in 1940, but that’s about it.
FDR should have let them in. That was an abominable decision, but no one knew the extent of what the Nazis would do to the Jews. Even the Nazis themselves hadn’t decided. The gassing methods of the Final Solution weren’t formally arrived upon until early 1942 at Wannsee. Himmler and Heydrich unleashed the first true brutality during the Russian campaign with mass shootings and graves a few months earlier in 1941.
So this all arrives back at America bashing. We dropped the bomb, interned the Japanese Americans, and didn’t take in the world’s Jews while our country was in a depression. Bad America. Terrible America. Know who believes all that? Oliver Stone.
It seems to me that “FDR didn’t know the extent of what the Nazis would do to the Jews” is one of those lines that gets repeated so much people believe it without really thinking.
I find it very hard to believe FDR didn’t know what was going on.
FDR was no friend of Jews
That letter from the article was sent in 1939. The Nazis to that point in time had instituted the Nuremberg Laws, the early concentration camps, and the Kristallnacht pogrom, which the people here apparently thought to be just another European pogrom. It was far more.
If your point is that those actions by the Nazis were enough to influence an FDR decision to increase Jewish immigration, I would agree with you. It was certainly the moral thing to do.
But if your point is that through intelligence or otherwise, FDR knew the full fury of the Holocaust to come, that simply isn’t true. No one, not even the Nazis themselves, had yet decided on their full methods of systematic cruelty, death, and killing in 1939, even as the war began. They were still actually considering banishing German Jews to the island of Madagascar, as incredible as it seems.
I assume you mean the ocean liner St. Louis full of refugee Jews, which were turned away, reportedly back to Nazi Germany.
The RATs are always SAYING that it’s all about the children.
DOING is what they don’t do.
The bureaucracy works with lightening speed.
Sir Winston should have told FDR the children were Mexicans. Maybe then FDR would have accept them.
Try to get hold of a video called 'America and the Holocaust' which was produced for PBS. FDR knew about the dangers to Jews. He didn't seem to care. His personal friend Breckinridge Long, who was assistant Sec. Of State was an anti-semite who did all in his power to prevent the immigration of Jews.
Don’t you just love how some people support socialism, then when it comes back and bites them in the ass, they whine.
I have met very few Jews, and they are rare in my neck of the woods. Would an informed FReeper mind explaining why this (dim left leaning) is?
Example on how the newspapers and radio covered up for the democrat socialist way back then. Nevermind that millions died.
FDR as president was a vile socialist.
Many did manage to escape Germany, but not the continent.
At the time, while most felt Germany’s treatment of Jews was harsh, especially after Krystallnacht, it wasn’t that far removed from the treatment they got in many other countries at that time. It just wasn’t the thing to be appalled by back then.
It’s hard to believe FDR wasn’t anti-Semitic.
“Vice President Henry Wallace, who noted the conversation in his diary, said Roosevelt spoke approvingly of a plan (recommended by geographer and Johns Hopkins University President Isaiah Bowman) ‘to spread the Jews thin all over the world.’”
from the article linked in post 17
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
FDR knew, he simply didn't care. If he did, his voice would have been raised in 1933. Related threads
No, the information was out there, but FDR knew conclusively the rumors were true in July, 1943, when he met in the Oval Office with an agent of the Polish Underground. As Felix Frankfurter said to the agent, I could not believe him. Not I didn't, I couldn't.
Well over half the population of Germany fled, most estimates 60% to 70%. Fled to where. France. The low countries. Eastern Europe. And a few of the connected, England and the USA. Options to leave the continent were few.
Was it "I Will Bear Witness" by Victor Klemperer? I was struck by how the guy just refused to see where things were going even as he mentioned friends of his getting out of Germany before 1936.
Interestingly enough, the letter from Mr. Winton to Franklin D. Roosevelt doesn't specifically mention Jewish children. Wonder why? Was Winton thinking that if he mentioned the "J" word, Roosevelt would be less inclined to respond positively? Or was it merely understood, given the geographical and historical context, that the children referred to were predominantly Jewish?
Regardless, Roosevelt's lack of response was very much consistent with his historical record, and that of his administration (especially the State Dept.) of callousness toward the plight of the Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, which is well documented in, e.g., Arthur D. Morse's book, "While 6 Million Died," published c. 1967.
Yet American Jewish Voters gave Roosevelt higher percentages of their vote than any other presidential candidate in modern history. Many American Jews during that period foolishly considered Roosevelt as an icon, a status that has been regrettably passed down through the generations by sheer ignorance. (By contrast, Roosevelt's chief opponent in the 1932 presidential race, Herbert Hoover, had much better record on European Jewish concerns during the periods after WWI and after WWII. Although not a particularly good president, Hoover can truly be considered an outstanding humanitarian before and after his years in the White House.)
By the time the letter referred to in this post was written by Mr. Winton, Kristallnacht had occurred six months before, so you didn't have be president to know that Jews in Germany and Nazi-occupied areas were in deep trouble.
But Nazi atrocities against Jews were in full evidence years before that, with the Hitler regime taking power in January 1933. The US had an embassy in Berlin which would have been relaying Roosevelt information about Nazi antisemitism six years before this letter was written.
Could have been written today.
I wish it were really possible to make our people at home understand how definitely this martial spirit is being developed in Germany. If this government remains in power for another year, and it carries on in the measure in this direction, it will go far toward making Germany a danger to world peace for years to come. With few exceptions, the men who are running the government are of a mentality that you and I cannot understand. Some of them are psychopathic cases and would ordinarily be receiving treatment somewhere."
To get him out of the way, sent him to Uraguay, then to Austria of all places
Ambassador Dodd, father of the wild one Martha, who had relations with prominent Nazis and Communists, raised alarms about the treatment of Jews, and the threat to America. He lasted till 38 or so
Wasn't popular, cost you invites to parties, but some reporters covered what was happening to Jews in the 30s. One Tribune reporter, don't recall the name, left under direct orders from Robert McCormick who had knowledge of his impending detainment or worse for his stories, left the country. Late 30s, posted to Tokyo of all places. Sigrid Schultz, also a Tribune reporter close to Goebbels was one of the first, if not the first, to write about the detention, to become death, camps being built in 1940. The Tribune, courageous, refused to print her articles. Before wars end, she wrote a book, Germany Will Try It Again, arguing against allowing Germany to rearm again, ever.
Obviously no one knew about the death camps in 1939, but FDR knew about the persecution. Just as he knew about the unused visas for residents from eastern Europe. Concluded they were better left unused.
As to your question about identifying the children as Jewish, maybe he thought identification as Jewish would be a negative, maybe he just thought the leader of a nation like the USA would care about the children, without regard to religion
Jewish wasn't popular at the time, even in America. Did you know Cordell Hull, Secretary of State, kept the religious heritage Whitney a secret throughout his career. Berlin brought it out in the late 30s, embarrassing.
BTW, Republicans were no better, they simply weren't in power.
Jews voted for (what Hitler called), “Rosenveldt”, FDR in 1933 and to 1944 because he was a “Progressive”.
Nobody, except in postions of very high power knew what was actually going on with the Jews in Europe and those that were informed could not believe it until the camps were liberated. The “War effort” of destroying Germany's ability to wage war was far more crucial to the Allies than Jews being murdered.
In the 30’s the Nazis told the Jews to get out of Europe and go to Palestine (no, not Arafart’s PLO), now in 2014 they're telling those same Jews to leave Palestine (Israel). Some things never change...
I maybe misreading you, but let's not give Roosevelt and his administration a free pass for flubbing multiple opportunities to save endangered European Jews.
I'd respectfully suggest that you try to obtain a copy of "While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy," by Arthur D. Morse, originally published in 1967. There was also a paperback edition. It's a well-researched history of American government failures to save European Jewish refugees, by not following up on and not supporting rescue plans which could have saved lives without compromising the war effort.
The existence of death camps in Poland was well known to Roosevelt and others in the Administration by August of 1942, based on information supplied by representatives of the Polish government in exile. There was even a German businessman/spy with inside info from top ranking Nazis who courageously leaked the Nazi genocide strategy to the World Jewish Congress in neutral Switzerland, from which it was transmitted to the US.
I've heard of Hull. IIRC, he's part of the story of the foot-dragging by the Roosevelt administration in rescuing European Jews during the Nazi era. But please explain who "Whitney" was and his religious heritage.
Sorry, Whitney was his wife, Jewish. Four years as an elected judge, 22 years in the House, DNC Chairman, pal of Al Gore Sr, 3 in the Senate before embarking on over a decade as Secretary of State. Whitney’s cultural background was a secret known to a few, but not voters.
I don't think those officials doubted it, they did have a war on their hands, and killing the Jews of Europe wasn't a priority. But they knew. Probably knew more than most of the citizens of Europe outside the smell of the chimneys, though most must have wondered where the Jews went. Hutton Gibson was wrong, it wasn't NY, Miami, London and Sydney.
And if they didn't believe it, the escape of Witold Pilecki, another Polish officer who volunteered to enter Auschwitz, and two associates should have settled the issue. Though a few million dead later. He brought not just first person testimony, but documents from Auschwitz. In 1943. Those in positions of power knew everything.
I've no interest, but one can argue what could or could not have been done, but that the knowledge wasn't there is nonsense.
For what it's worth, Karski stayed in the US, received multiple honors over the years, was a professor of Bill Clinton who clearly learned nothing about Genocide from him, has streets named after him in the US, honorary Israeli citizen, lived a long life.
Pilecki returned to Poland, fought in the Warsaw uprising (1944), served in the anti-communist underground post war, and was executed by the communists.
They knew, yes, they knew but they were not about to divert “War Effort” resources to save millions of Jews, besides FDR are and many centers of power in Washington, London and Paris didn't really care for the Jews anyway.
...by not following up on and not supporting rescue plans which could have saved lives without compromising the war effort.
The FDR administration felt the exact opposite. Diverting resources to bomb concentration camps meant US/British bombers being shot down NOT on a mission to knock out the Schwienfurt Ball bearing factories but for “Humanitarian” purposes? Sorry to be so cynical but even today after the Holocaust nations follow their interests even if that means millions die.
No, even the British who could have opened Palestine for the flood of Jews appeased the Arabs (yes, Arabs, long before they decided to call themselves "Palestinians", read PLO).
Nobody wanted the Jews and the case is still the same only now, nobody wants the State of Israel to exist and flourish, which she does.
The Israelis take a good long look at what is happening all around them and they know, for not the Israel Defense Forces and American aid (which Obama gives reluctantly) they would be slaughtered in a way that is happening in Syria today.
You don't seem to grasp the fact that many of the proposed schemes to save some European Jews during the Holocaust period might not have involved Allied military resources at all, or not to any great extent. Some of them could have been implemented even before the start of WWII, like the admitting the St. Louis refugees or admitting some of the Czech children referred to in this thread. They were largely "private sector" operations, which could have benefited by just a bit of American government cooperation.
Again, I'd strongly recommend the book "While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy," written by Arthur D. Morse and published c. 1967 which delves into a sad history that few are aware of.
When the transcripts of the February 1945 Yalta conference between FDR, Churchill, and Stalin were made public ten years later, an interesting passage was initially redacted, but then released as a result of protests:
Three days later, the text of FDRs censored statement was published, by U.S. News and World Report. It reported that when Roosevelt mentioned he would soon be seeing Saudi Arabian leader Ibn Saud, Stalin asked if he intended to make any concessions to the king; The President replied that there was only one concession he thought he might offer and that was to give him the six million Jews in the United States.
George S. Messersmith. Granted a visa to Einstein in 1932.