Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant bring back on 9/11 Dr. Rafael Medoff, Executive Director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. His latest book, “The Jews should be Quiet”: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and the Holocaust unveils new archival evidence of the relationship between FDR and Rabbi Stephen S Wise, leader of the American Jewish Congress and World Jewish , Congress, a Reform Rabbi and an activist Zionist in his youth. Medoff notes that as Wise grew closer to power, he refrained from criticism of Roosevelt during World War II and was complicit in silencing Jewish criticism of President’s failure to aid in the rescue of European Jews during the Holocaust. One graphic example was the March 1943 protest of 400 Orthodox Rabbis at the White House organized by the five Palestinian Revisionist Jews of the Bergson Group with a petition calling for rescue of Europe’s Jews. President FDR’s private assimilated Jewish advisers suggested ignoring, while the President left via a back entrance avoiding meeting with the Rabbis. The Rabbis were outraged which led to others to express criticism. But not Rabbi Wise. The question of why Roosevelt dismissed Jews, Medoff found in his vision of America as white, Protestant and dismissive of immigrants. That view are evident in columns published in a Georgia newspaper in the early 1920’s opposing Japanese American immigration, intermarriage and inability to assimilate in the US. That view is found is found in FDR’s Executive Order 9066 interning 120,000 American Japanese citizens. Medoff finds parallelism in FDR views of Jews. FDR’s statement following the horrific Nazi Pogrom on November 9, 1938 simply calls it unbelievable, without identifying the perpetrators and victims, Nazis and German Jews. Medoff noted between 1933 and 1938, FDR maintained cordial relations with Germany not issuing one public statement critical of Hitler’s Nazi Regime. Medoff exposes the calumnies of the FDR Administration opposing and undermining the anti-Nazi boycott mounted by Jewish and other groups permitting evasion of labelling of German products to avoid country of origin.
Following, the Kristallnacht pogrom, both the US Virgin Islands Assembly and the Dominican Republic offered safe havens for German Jewish Refugees. The Dominican Republic offered over 100,000 visas. FDR Administration blocked both the Virgin Islands and Dominican Republic offers because they were to close to the US and would provide access to enter the country. The FDR White House followed that with lobbying against a Congressional bill to let in 20,000 German Jewish youths below the age of 15. An act if passed that would have saved both Ann and Margo Frank, who were eligible. The only gesture of FDR was to allow 5,000 German Jews with temporary travel visas in the US to remain here temporarily. Medoff noted that by contrast, the British Government of Munich appeaser, Neville Chamberlain allowed in 10,000 German Jewish children in the famed Kinder Transports and 15,000 young Jewish women as nannies. This contrasts with the 1939 British White Paper denying immigration to Eretz Yisrael. Medoff noted the shift in US public opinion from the 1930’s to the 1940’s during WWII. With growing allied victories at Stalingrad, North Africa, Sicily and the surrender of Italy in 1943, public opinion in the US overwhelmingly favored unlimited numbers of Jews to temporarily reside in the US. In April 1944, the FDR White House commissioned a poll that found that 70 percent this policy. The reality was that FDR admitted less than 982 European and Jewish refugees in 1944 and 1945 housed at an abandoned US Army Camp in Oswego, New York. As late as early 1944, 800,000 Hungarian Jews could have been rescued, before the country was occupied by the Nazis. Medoff suggests that this and other opportunities were squandered by FDR. When the question of why Auschwitz- Birkenau wasn’t bombed by the allies, Medoff points to excuses of critics who said that it would have results in casualties of inmates, German resilience in repairing rails. However, he noted that requests to bomb bridges betrayed that facts that Allied air forces bombed bridges, as they were difficult to repair and denying transit of troops and equipment. Bombing the bridges to Auschwitz might in his opinion have saved tens of thousands of Jews. Medoff is critical of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum exhibit, “Americans and the Holocaust” as it whitewashes with excuses for FDR given prevailing anti-immigration and anti-Semitism and priority of air bombing to destroy Nazi forces. Medoff suggests it skims over the historical record rather than the facts of FDR’s record. Those are documented in David S. Wyman’s 1984 landmark book: FDR and the Abandonment of the Jews and Medoff’s recently published book, “The Jews should be Quiet”: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and the Holocaust, published by The Jewish Publication Society and the University of Nebraska Press, both available on Amazon. For more on the David S. Wyman Institute, see: www.wymaninstitute.org
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