America and the Holocaust

I really want to believe that America is good. I really, really do.

Unfortunately, the history of the US is blemished – blemished in ways that are truly horrifying. We massacred the American Indian and drove them onto barren ‘reservations’. We enslaved the African, in ways that horrified even the Europeans. Then, we turned our back on the Jewish people in their most desperate hour, and six million died.

We could have stopped Hitler before a single Jew had died, and we KNEW what was happening.

We knew and did nothing.

No, we did worse than nothing. We turned away Jewish refugees desperate for sanctuary. I shudder to think of how God will judge America and Europe for that.

Unfortunately, we didn’t stop there. We have compounded our sins by how we have treated Israel – and how we are treating Israel now. Yes, there have been those of us who have befriended Israel. And, there have been times when America has been a true friend. But, there have been far too many times when Israel was abandoned in her most desperate hour.

And, I believe that we are doing it yet again. More than six million Jews face yet another holocaust. Are we going to turn our back on Jews in their most desperate hour?

Unfortunately, I believe that we will.


The United States and the Holocaust, 2: Roosevelt before Auschwitz

Friday Mar 16, 2012, by David Turner, JPost

“20,000 charming [Jewish] children would all too soon grow into 20,000 ugly adults.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler took office months apart in 1933. Both died in office days apart in April, 1945. And between them rested the fate of hundreds of millions lives, including those of every Jew alive in the world. Mere chance, the defeat of the Reich in the Second World War, limited the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem to the continent of Europe.

In September, 1935 the Reichstag passed a group of laws depriving German Jews of citizenship and protection under the law. And although the Third Reich’s escalating persecution of the Jews was followed by the US press beginning in 1933 (US campus press also followed the developing persecution) the Nuremburg Laws elicited little response by the White House. Responding to an international call for a conference to address the growing refugee problem the president chose not a government representative, but a businessman friend to represent the US at Evian.

The Evian Conference convened in July, 1938 and continued for nine days with nothing concrete regarding refuge for the Jews. “[D]elegate after delegate rose to express sympathy for the refugees. But most countries, including the United States and Britain, offered excuses for not letting in more refugees. Only the Dominican Republic agreed to accept additional refugees.”

“Responding to Evian, the German government was able to state with great pleasure how ‘astounding’ it was that foreign countries criticized Germany for their treatment of the Jews, but none of them wanted to open the doors to them when ‘the opportunity offer[ed].’”

A more substantive response by Roosevelt would have to wait for a more dramatic escalation in persecution.

And Hitler was only to happy to oblige. Three months later Germany unleashed a pogrom that included Austria, Germany-annexed Czechoslovakia and Germany itself. Over the two days-long Krystallnacht outrage synagogues burned, Jewish store windows were smashed and looted, and nearly 100 Jews were murdered. 30,000 men were beaten and sent to prison camps, and 20,000 children were homeless.

The president responded in a radio interview on November 15, 1938. He announced that he had instructed his ambassador to deliver a protest to Hitler; he was also recalling the ambassador temporarily for “consultations.” And finally, he announced, he had instructed the State Department to renew the visas of German Jews then visiting the United States. Regarding refuge from Germany’s escalating persecution the president felt, “The time is not ripe for that.” Could the immigration quota be relaxed, “That is not in contemplation, we have the quota system.”

Neither was the president alone in opposing refuge for Jews. A 1938 “opinion poll revealed that 82 percent of Americans still opposed admitting large numbers of Jewish refugees into the United States.”

Hitler gleefully rubbed the West’s collective nose in its hypocrisy. “It is a shameful example to observe today how the entire democratic world dissolves in tears of pity but then, in spite of its obvious duty to help, closes its heart to the poor, tortured Jewish people.” The “entire democratic world” was justifying his program for the Jews.

Read the rest of the article here.