US Treatment of Holocaust Survivors

The more that I understand how deeply the Jews were betrayed by the US government… well, the more that I struggle to find the words that communicate the absolute fury that I have for what was and what is.

What FDR and the US State Department did to Holocaust survivors is beyond description and is a damning indictment of the foundations of the government of the United States of America. What my government has done in my name, and in the name of my parents and grandparents truly an abomination. And, the US State Department continues to be governed by the same philosophy for the same abominably vile reasons.

Worse, I know that these are but a few examples of how my values and your values have been so thoroughly betrayed. How can any American be proud of his or her country.

The good thing is that the US government isn’t America, and the average American isn’t as vile and evil as their leaders. And, it is clear to me that when you show Americans what their government has done, they seek to redress the wrongs done in their name.

And, they have.

United States Antisemitism after the Holocaust: Survivors and their American guards, 1945–57

David Turner, Friday Apr 20, 2012 | JPost

As matters now stand, we [US Army guarding DP camps] appear to be treating the Jews as the Nazis treated them except that we do not exterminate them.”

“The popular perception about the horrors of the Holocaust is that they ended with the surrender of Germany. In reality, the passive neglect of the victorious Allies, while not as devastating as the active persecution at the hands of the Nazis, proved a prolongation of many of the same inhumane conditions.”

Introduction: Survivors and the American DP camps, 1945–57

Three days after the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, Josef Rosensaft was elected head of the first Jewish DP committee. Similar committees were set up in other DP camps. However, relations between the Jewish DPs and the Allied military authorities soon became strained. Curfews were imposed and the DPs were given limited rations. Many had to wear concentration camp uniforms and they were often housed in camps… sometimes even with Nazi collaborators.” While the Jews were forced to live in concentration camps German’s displaced by the war, America’s defeated enemy, were favored for housing. Antisemitism by the U.S. military was a reality of the occupation that extended also to profiteering in food and medicine stolen from the refugees and sold on the black market. The result was death by starvation and sickness for DP-inmates under their supervision.

Föhrenwald was one of the largest DP camps in Europe. Opened in June, 1945 it was the last DP camp to close, twelve years later, in 1957. During the war it housed slave laborers.

In 1945 Professor Robert Hilliard was a 19 year Jewish private serving in Eisenhower’s occupation forces in Germany. American forces occupying the defeated country were far friendlier and accommodating towards the defeated, but clean and cultured enemy than they were with the victims of the defeated nation. Destitute, starved and possessing only the rags they wore upon liberation, to the Americans the Jews were loud, demanding and dirty, stealing food in town to replace that sold by the GI’s guarding them. Displaced Germans were favored with housing in town while the survivors would be forced to remain for years rotting in those over-crowded concentration camps renamed Displaced Person (DP) centers. Outraged Hilliard and another soldier, 25 year-old Edward Herman, complained up the chain of command. And when their complaint was disregarded, took their protest to the press. Public disclosure reached the White House and President Truman dispatched Earl G. Harrison, U.S. representative on the Intergovernmental Committee for Refugees, to Europe to investigate.

Harrison confirmed the abuses and in his report to the president recommended changes to improve the lot of the Jews. One such involved the policy of the military forcing the survivors to remain in the liberated extermination camps: “…so long as we continued to keep Jews, for example, in camps under our guard instead of S.S. troops as formerly, we would appear to be treating the Jews as the Nazis treated them except that we do not exterminate them.”

Read the rest of the article here.