As the Nazi regime perpetrated genocide in Europe, some political leaders in the United States responded with courage and others responded with indifference. The divergent approaches taken by individuals within the government, especially to the Jewish refugee crisis, are an important part of the story of Americans and the Holocaust.
This program, presented by the Museum and The Olga Lengyel Institute (TOLI), explores these divergent approaches and the lessons they can offer us. The program is moderated by author, journalist, historian, and lecturer Adam Hochschild and features Arthur Berger, former Communications Director and Senior Advisor at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, TOLI Board Member, and expert on American diplomacy during the Holocaust; Dr. Rebecca Erbelding, historian, archivist, and curator at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and author of Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America’s Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe; and Dr. Blanche Wiesen Cook, Distinguished Professor of History and Women’s Studies at the John Jay College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and author of the definitive biography of Eleanor Roosevelt.
Watch the program below.
This program’s original recording transcript is below. This transcription was created automatically during a live program so may contain inaccurate transcriptions of some words.
Ari Goldstein: i'm Ari Goldstein Senior Public programs producer at the Museum of Jewish heritage, a living memorial to the Holocaust and it's a pleasure to welcome you today on behalf of.
00:01:06.330 --> 00:01:11.340
Ari Goldstein: And are terrific partners at the old glendale Institute, which is co presenting today's Program.
00:01:11.730 --> 00:01:24.210
Ari Goldstein: We have an excellent group of panelists who you'll meet in a minute to discuss the topic of American political leaders in the Holocaust what Americans did and didn't know and do in response to the Holocaust and hopefully.
00:01:24.930 --> 00:01:28.470
Ari Goldstein: You all walk away drawing some lessons from this history for our world today.
00:01:29.820 --> 00:01:38.400
Ari Goldstein: Each of the three of our panelists will each speak for about 10 minutes each towards the beginning of the program and then we'll open up in a discussion moderated.
00:01:38.730 --> 00:01:52.680
Ari Goldstein: By Adam hope shield Adam is a journalist historian lecture and award winning author of 10 books, some of you may have read his most recent book is rebel Cinderella from rags to riches to radical the epic journey of rose pastor stokes.
00:01:53.460 --> 00:01:58.890
Ari Goldstein: So Adam will be our moderator today and i'll turn it over to him in just a minute.
00:01:59.100 --> 00:02:12.720
Ari Goldstein: Before I do, and you should know that you are encouraged to share as many questions that you have throughout the program and we'll save them for a q&a period at the end, please make sure to put your questions in the zoom Q amp a box, rather than in the zoom chat.
00:02:13.800 --> 00:02:19.620
Ari Goldstein: That further ado Thank you again to our audience for being here, thank you to our panelists are being here and i'll hand things over to Adam.
00:02:20.910 --> 00:02:33.060
Adam Hochschild: Thank you, sorry it's an honor to be part of this program I should say that I am not particularly an expert on this subject, but it's one of great personal interest to me because.
00:02:33.840 --> 00:02:46.440
Adam Hochschild: Some members of my extended family died at Auschwitz, because they were not able to leave Europe and get to safety in the United States and i'm sure that's true for many of you who are listening today as well.
00:02:47.460 --> 00:02:58.710
Adam Hochschild: The subject is also a tremendous interest to all of us, because of course the issue of dealing with refugees from oppression is still very much with this country today.
00:02:59.490 --> 00:03:07.170
Adam Hochschild: So each of our panelists is going to talk for 10 minutes, then they will talk among themselves, some and then we'll have time to hear questions from you.
00:03:08.190 --> 00:03:14.130
Adam Hochschild: Let me without further ado turn things over to the first of them are serious burger.
00:03:14.820 --> 00:03:36.150
Adam Hochschild: Arthur was a senior official with the United States Holocaust Memorial museum for almost 16 years before then he had a 25 year career in the US foreign service serving on the least four different continents, as I look at the list that he's given us here so Arthur over to you.
00:03:37.680 --> 00:03:55.440
Arthur Berger: Thank you very much, Adam and thank you to my co panelists and to the Museum of Jewish heritage and yoga lingle Institute for co sponsoring this discussion, I think, as we begin, we really should take a look at the historical context.
00:03:56.760 --> 00:04:09.330
Arthur Berger: At the end of World War one many people within the United States and many Members of Congress became more isolationist they didn't want to get involved with another war in Europe, they did not want to get involved with.
00:04:09.930 --> 00:04:15.510
Arthur Berger: beyond the borders of the United States, so isolationism became the catchword.
00:04:17.280 --> 00:04:28.230
Arthur Berger: As well as anti immigrant between 1880 and the first end of the First World War, there were many millions of people who came to the United States, primarily from Central and Eastern Europe.
00:04:28.890 --> 00:04:38.160
Arthur Berger: And the reaction among members of Congress was such that they wanted to restrict it to certain quotas so in 1924.
00:04:38.820 --> 00:05:06.180
Arthur Berger: Congress of the United States passed the immigration and nationality act which limited quotas to 150 3740 4000 immigrants permitted world wide one half though we're from the UK and Ireland now not long after that period of time, so the world confronted isms of really difficult.
00:05:08.820 --> 00:05:20.190
Arthur Berger: categories for well, it will take a look at Nazi ISM, of course, spread in Germany but and its main character was against the other.
00:05:20.730 --> 00:05:37.560
Arthur Berger: On Nazi ISM, though, was an Anti Jewish feelings were not only prevalent in Germany they were throughout Europe and what we find in American history is that anti semitism was widely prevalent in the United States as well.
00:05:38.970 --> 00:05:50.070
Arthur Berger: In the United States, there was a German American boom, which had even summer camps for kids are Henry Ford, the great industrialist who also own the.
00:05:51.270 --> 00:06:01.200
Arthur Berger: dearborn independent weekly newspaper which spread anti Jewish sentiment around the United States and the international juice, which he distributed.
00:06:01.500 --> 00:06:10.080
Arthur Berger: To is based on the protocols of the elders of Zion and which he distributed to for dealers around the United States, so they could spread the word.
00:06:10.920 --> 00:06:13.080
Arthur Berger: Father coughlin many of you may have heard of him.
00:06:14.040 --> 00:06:25.740
Arthur Berger: A fiery Catholic priest who spoke on the radio and railed against Jewish conspiracies and, of course, there was Charles lindbergh who was an American hero, but he was also one of the.
00:06:26.100 --> 00:06:37.290
Arthur Berger: leaders in America first society and then, of course, there were these so called patriotic and nationalist societies that really were geared to stop immigration.
00:06:37.950 --> 00:06:51.210
Arthur Berger: And freight against the now, at the same time, the end of during the depression in 1933 we have two new presidents to the President of the United States came into power.
00:06:52.200 --> 00:07:12.960
Arthur Berger: FDR was sworn in on march 4 1933 and just a little over a month before him as an adult Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany now we're going to take a look at is also the reactions, because once Hitler came into power there were actions and hostility against us, they were.
00:07:14.280 --> 00:07:16.710
Arthur Berger: Lots of episodes of.
00:07:17.970 --> 00:07:31.080
Arthur Berger: People being beat up in the streets and in 1933 in the spring of 1933 cordell Hall, the Secretary of State of the United States gave a press conference, but before he did.
00:07:31.920 --> 00:07:40.050
Arthur Berger: He sent a message to American console's in Germany, asking give a reaction to really give me something that I can speak about.
00:07:41.010 --> 00:07:54.840
Arthur Berger: And one of the things that they did say was the time being, the entire Jewish riot seem to be easing up, but they were going to get worse and Jews at that time were being fired from the civil service from.
00:07:55.890 --> 00:07:59.670
Arthur Berger: From teaching from public hospitals and from a number of other.
00:08:00.720 --> 00:08:12.720
Arthur Berger: Civil society organizations within Germany cornell Hall, and his press conference just talk primarily about how things seem to be getting back to normal, for the time being.
00:08:13.620 --> 00:08:22.920
Arthur Berger: With a less than truthful press conference and it became a big headline on at the same time within the United States Government President Roosevelt had.
00:08:23.730 --> 00:08:32.850
Arthur Berger: One member of his cabinet Frances Perkins the secretary of Labor who served with Roosevelt till the end of his terms 1945.
00:08:33.540 --> 00:08:45.480
Arthur Berger: She was also the first woman cabinet Member in the history of the United States, she was the only one who publicly and in cabinet meetings and to Roosevelt.
00:08:45.960 --> 00:09:03.900
Arthur Berger: fought for the rights of bringing Jewish refugees into the United States, there was no refugee quota within the immigration naturalization service, but there was a Labor on the Labor department, does it say that if someone was getting an immigrant visa whether they would be.
00:09:04.980 --> 00:09:24.270
Arthur Berger: Taking jobs away from Americans now, at the same time in 1933 President Roosevelt appointed a friend of his breckinridge long was probably well known to many of you breckinridge long was appointed US ambassador to Italy at that time.
00:09:25.770 --> 00:09:32.220
Arthur Berger: Italy was controlled by the fascist dictator Mussolini and, as time went on over those.
00:09:32.670 --> 00:09:41.310
Arthur Berger: couple of years when breckenridge long was in that US ambassador he showed more and more of a sympathy towards the fascist leader.
00:09:41.880 --> 00:09:52.470
Arthur Berger: He was pulled out of there and rather than going into oblivion he became the head of these affairs for the United States State Department.
00:09:53.220 --> 00:10:03.390
Arthur Berger: He was very openly anti Jewish and he did what he could and my colleagues will also go into this as well and i'm sure later during our discussion.
00:10:03.630 --> 00:10:14.190
Arthur Berger: we'll talk more about that, but he did what he could to try to make it more and more difficult for not just Jewish immigrants, but any immigrants to come into the United States.
00:10:14.760 --> 00:10:22.950
Arthur Berger: At the same time, as I said, there was this isolation is trend within the United States members of Congress were railing against.
00:10:23.250 --> 00:10:34.590
Arthur Berger: The hordes that could come in and take away jobs from America, the real Americans and there was a very difficult period, both in the American economy, as well as an American society.
00:10:36.120 --> 00:10:41.130
Arthur Berger: There were, at the same time they were American diplomats overseas in Europe.
00:10:41.940 --> 00:10:57.570
Arthur Berger: who try to do what they could within the confines of the law within the confines of the immigration and nationality act to show some sympathy towards immigrants, and especially to those who are seeking we're desperately seeking refuge, especially Jewish.
00:10:58.890 --> 00:10:59.970
Arthur Berger: Jewish refugees.
00:11:01.770 --> 00:11:12.270
Arthur Berger: Some of them, for example, john wiley, who was a console in Vienna ramin guys, who was in Berlin try what they could, but there were others, though.
00:11:12.660 --> 00:11:22.170
Arthur Berger: Who did not want to do anything to try to help us come into the United States and the United States had console's, not only in Germany.
00:11:22.770 --> 00:11:44.640
Arthur Berger: And in greater Germany, once the loss of the absorption of Austria and Germany 1938 took place, but have console's in many of the other cities in major cities throughout Europe until December 11th 1941 on Japan, as we know, bombed Pearl harbor.
00:11:45.930 --> 00:11:53.490
Arthur Berger: December 7 1941 December 8 President Roosevelt goes to Congress and asked for a declaration of war which Congress gives him.
00:11:55.200 --> 00:12:07.830
Arthur Berger: However, he does not ask for a declaration of war against Germany, the feeling was within Congress and United States let's stay out of that war that's not our business, however, three days later.
00:12:09.030 --> 00:12:16.950
Arthur Berger: Germany declares war on the United States and the United States has no option but to have a war on two fronts.
00:12:18.180 --> 00:12:23.760
Arthur Berger: I will now turn back to Adam to introduce the next person.
00:12:28.860 --> 00:12:36.120
Adam Hochschild: So, thank you very much Arthur we now go to Blanche reason cook our next speaker.
00:12:37.350 --> 00:12:52.080
Adam Hochschild: Blanche is the author of a wonderful three volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt which i'm sure some of you are familiar with she's also a distinguished professor at the city University of New York so Blanche over to you.
00:12:52.860 --> 00:13:01.140
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Thank you, Adam and thank you, everybody for being here this very sad and tragic moment in the world.
00:13:02.910 --> 00:13:11.820
Blanche Wiesen Cook: I have a chapter in volume two of Eleanor Roosevelt called silence beyond repair and the silence.
00:13:13.110 --> 00:13:27.330
Blanche Wiesen Cook: really is, you know the backbone of complicity and the silence enables atrocities and the silence is really virtually total.
00:13:27.960 --> 00:13:41.910
Blanche Wiesen Cook: And a lot of people, historically, have said, well, maybe Eleanor Roosevelt didn't know what was going on, but the fact is that Eleanor Roosevelt knew everything that was going on.
00:13:43.200 --> 00:13:44.310
Blanche Wiesen Cook: in Europe.
00:13:45.750 --> 00:14:11.160
Blanche Wiesen Cook: The great suffragist leader carrie Chapman cat was very close to suffragists all over the world and very close to suffragist in Germany Rosa manners who was among the first of the activists to leave Germany and be in touch with carrie Chapman cat and.
00:14:13.590 --> 00:14:15.900
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Eleanor Roosevelt receives her.
00:14:17.070 --> 00:14:28.140
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Report through carrie Chapman cat and they launch as early as April 1933 they they launch a petition.
00:14:29.400 --> 00:14:58.710
Blanche Wiesen Cook: A protest of non Jewish women against the persecution of Jews in Germany and throughout this period Eleanor Roosevelt worked closely with carrie carrie Chapman cat and the one person who really protested what was going on, James McDonald of the foreign policy, association and.
00:15:00.480 --> 00:15:04.740
Blanche Wiesen Cook: it's a really kind of extraordinary thing.
00:15:05.910 --> 00:15:24.960
Blanche Wiesen Cook: There are groups of activists, the American friends service Committee, the people around Lillian wall and Jane addams work with Eleanor Roosevelt and her friend ELENA Morgan saw to consider.
00:15:28.230 --> 00:15:43.950
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Refugee support on in August 1933 Eleanor Roosevelt, no, no more moments or though to Lillian worlds home and Connecticut to hear Alice Hamilton.
00:15:44.700 --> 00:16:04.830
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Great professor of medicine at Harvard who's just come back from three months tour of Europe and gives Germany and gives a stunning report about what is going on and how dangerous everything is.
00:16:06.270 --> 00:16:26.970
Blanche Wiesen Cook: But nothing is done and there's this tremendous silence about what is going on and one of the really hideous things is that the State Department went so far as to try to stop a Madison square garden.
00:16:28.230 --> 00:16:35.310
Blanche Wiesen Cook: protest against in 1934 against what was happening in Germany.
00:16:37.230 --> 00:16:43.680
Blanche Wiesen Cook: And Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who also never takes a stand.
00:16:45.510 --> 00:16:52.350
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Actually, sends a letter of support to a Madison square garden.
00:16:54.990 --> 00:17:00.540
Blanche Wiesen Cook: The new friends of the new Germany is a Hitler hit larian rally.
00:17:02.130 --> 00:17:17.430
Blanche Wiesen Cook: So we look for what are Eleanor Roosevelt, who are her Alex in this period it's really a great tragedy to know that people like Bernard Baruch who are very close to Eleanor Roosevelt.
00:17:17.850 --> 00:17:29.370
Blanche Wiesen Cook: And ELENA morgan's or did not want to be public, did not want to publicly protest what was going on in Germany because they feared, it would.
00:17:29.910 --> 00:17:46.710
Blanche Wiesen Cook: create more anti Jewish hatred in the United States and what no no roseville does is she begins to support more and more public protest for against bigotry in the United States.
00:17:48.660 --> 00:18:06.960
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Against Racism and against anti Jewish hatred and so she becomes very involved with Clarence pickett and the American friends service committee and it's a really quite stunning and hideous history.
00:18:09.090 --> 00:18:22.320
Blanche Wiesen Cook: which remains the silence beyond repair continues until 1944 when Henry Morgan soars.
00:18:23.790 --> 00:18:29.730
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Extraordinary group of researchers issue.
00:18:33.210 --> 00:18:56.730
Blanche Wiesen Cook: i'm sorry i'm looking for the Henry Morgan source wonderful report in January 1944, which is very powerful and which results, finally, in the war refugee board and haven, and I think that for for heartening.
00:18:58.290 --> 00:19:20.640
Blanche Wiesen Cook: there's breckinridge long who his goal was delay delay delay and the Henry Morgan saul's team picks him out he is the really the enemy of riffraff D support and, finally, after that January 1944 report.
00:19:22.980 --> 00:19:24.870
Blanche Wiesen Cook: He is finally removed.
00:19:28.320 --> 00:19:48.300
Blanche Wiesen Cook: And the war refugee committee in it, you know functions and raw Wallenberg in Hungary saved many Jews and the war refuge and then there is finally haven, and we, I recommend that everybody read Ruth Luba the great journalist.
00:19:49.650 --> 00:20:07.920
Blanche Wiesen Cook: who wrote about haven, and this one Community for refugees that was created in the United States, but basically it is, it is a totally horrible story and.
00:20:10.440 --> 00:20:13.650
Blanche Wiesen Cook: i'm not sure how much time I have, but.
00:20:15.900 --> 00:20:16.920
Blanche Wiesen Cook: There are a couple of.
00:20:18.390 --> 00:20:19.350
Adam Hochschild: Other two minutes.
00:20:21.360 --> 00:20:21.960
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Okay.
00:20:23.520 --> 00:20:26.400
Blanche Wiesen Cook: So the aclu and.
00:20:27.750 --> 00:20:40.740
Blanche Wiesen Cook: The aclu promotes the activities with the League of Nations International Commission on refugees, but one of the really great tragedies here is that FDR.
00:20:42.360 --> 00:20:58.980
Blanche Wiesen Cook: wants to be silent about what is going on in Germany, and he maintains that silence really until the war goes on, and you know really until World War Two is ablaze and it's quite a hideous.
00:21:00.300 --> 00:21:01.800
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Quite a hideous story.
00:21:04.500 --> 00:21:04.890
00:21:06.750 --> 00:21:12.600
Adam Hochschild: Okay, well, thank you very much blanche, we will now go to Rebecca are building.
00:21:13.140 --> 00:21:33.330
Adam Hochschild: rebecca's historian of American responses to the Holocaust she's written a book called rescue board the untold story of Americans efforts save the Jews of Europe, she also works as a historian archivist and curator at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington so Rebecca.
00:21:34.350 --> 00:21:39.090
Rebecca Erbelding: yeah Thank you so much, and thank you to the Museum of Jewish heritage for having me.
00:21:39.660 --> 00:21:47.250
Rebecca Erbelding: First, I need to say that my views are my own and my research at my own and i'm not representing the Museum in this capacity today.
00:21:48.060 --> 00:21:53.400
Rebecca Erbelding: I think a lot of people have a lot of questions about FDR particularly, this is a program about political leaders.
00:21:53.760 --> 00:22:00.420
Rebecca Erbelding: And so we ignore FDR at our peril and you all will come up with us in the Q amp a if we don't talk about him.
00:22:00.870 --> 00:22:10.650
Rebecca Erbelding: So I think it's important to say that of his in his terms, he had two major goals recovery from the Great Depression and victory in war.
00:22:11.160 --> 00:22:17.310
Rebecca Erbelding: victory in World War Two and we can criticize FDR because sometimes.
00:22:17.700 --> 00:22:30.810
Rebecca Erbelding: leaders are leading and sometimes they're following public opinion and at various points in roosevelt's presidency he's leading public opinion he is pushing America in in 1939 1940 1941.
00:22:31.350 --> 00:22:40.650
Rebecca Erbelding: To get prepared for what he sees as an eventual war, but he is not pushing American public opinion to allow and more refugees or to do really anything.
00:22:41.040 --> 00:22:55.950
Rebecca Erbelding: To change how they are looking at the refugee crisis in Europe that then turns into a genocide, he has two main goals like I said depression and war and the issue of the Holocaust never rises above those two things.
00:22:57.090 --> 00:23:02.490
Rebecca Erbelding: In terms of the American people, they actually have quite a lot of information about what's happening in Europe.
00:23:03.090 --> 00:23:11.760
Rebecca Erbelding: Blanche mentioned Eleanor Roosevelt information, but in local newspapers, they know about the Holocaust, or they know about the persecution of.
00:23:12.180 --> 00:23:18.090
Rebecca Erbelding: Jews in Germany as early as 1933 some of the events that Arthur described your headline news.
00:23:18.510 --> 00:23:29.730
Rebecca Erbelding: But in terms of mass murder of Jews, that really doesn't reach American newspapers as a plan as a plan that the Nazis had until November 1942.
00:23:30.420 --> 00:23:37.320
Rebecca Erbelding: At that point, information had come out of Switzerland, it had reached Stephen wise, the most famous rabbi in America.
00:23:37.650 --> 00:23:47.310
Rebecca Erbelding: The State Department confirmed a message and, at the end of November 1942 American newspapers were reporting that at least 2 million Jews had been killed in Europe already.
00:23:47.610 --> 00:24:00.240
Rebecca Erbelding: And that the Nazis had a plan to murder, the rest of the Jews of Europe so from 1942 on that is treated as factual information not everybody believed it, but it was treated as factual.
00:24:00.630 --> 00:24:12.720
Rebecca Erbelding: And for more than a year after that for pretty much the entirety of 1943 more and more information is coming out of Europe in and it's treated as factual Americans are reading about.
00:24:14.040 --> 00:24:23.640
Rebecca Erbelding: People being murdered by gas, they are reading about mass murder sites they are reading testimonies from people who managed to escape in some way.
00:24:24.240 --> 00:24:32.520
Rebecca Erbelding: There are protests in the United States largely led by Peter bergson and the bergson group the Emergency Committee to save the Jews of Europe.
00:24:33.330 --> 00:24:39.900
Rebecca Erbelding: They have pageants in New York in Hollywood bowl in Boston garden in Constitution hall here in DC where I am.
00:24:40.710 --> 00:24:50.940
Rebecca Erbelding: At there's even an Orthodox rabbis march on the US Capitol in 1943 in October, demanding some sort of rescue response so there's public interest in public support.
00:24:51.270 --> 00:25:08.340
Rebecca Erbelding: For the US to finally do something about this, and at that point, the Treasury Department gets involved Blanche mentioned Henry morgenthau FDR his close friend and the Secretary of the Treasury his staff is in charge of US economic sanctions and they are.
00:25:09.900 --> 00:25:15.180
Rebecca Erbelding: Finally, willing, in the summer of 1943 to allow some relief agencies.
00:25:15.930 --> 00:25:28.920
Rebecca Erbelding: Like the World Jewish Congress, like the American Jewish joint distribution committee to send relief money to reach Jews in in Nazi occupied Europe there are lots of rules about this, but they're willing to let that happen.
00:25:29.580 --> 00:25:39.600
Rebecca Erbelding: But the State Department through in the fall of 1943 consistently delays sending this approval to Switzerland to the people who need it and.
00:25:40.140 --> 00:25:50.220
Rebecca Erbelding: At one point in December 1943 one of morgenthau staff at the Treasury Department sneaks into the State Department file room on a Sunday morning or i'm sorry a Saturday morning.
00:25:50.820 --> 00:26:02.280
Rebecca Erbelding: And discovers that not only have all of these delays been deliberate has this the state department's been deliberately delaying the issuance of the licenses that relief agencies needed to get money.
00:26:02.850 --> 00:26:13.830
Rebecca Erbelding: But that Assistant Secretary of State breckenridge long who Blanche and Arthur both mentioned had personally instructed us diplomats in Switzerland to stop sending information about the Holocaust, to the United States.
00:26:14.250 --> 00:26:21.780
Rebecca Erbelding: That that information was getting out to activists and those activists were demanding a government reaction and some sort of government effort.
00:26:22.080 --> 00:26:29.100
Rebecca Erbelding: So the State Department long in particular thought if the American people don't know what's going on, then they won't protest.
00:26:30.000 --> 00:26:40.410
Rebecca Erbelding: So the Treasury Department gets together and they write a memo the original title of the memo is the acquiescence of this government in the murder of the Jewish population in Europe.
00:26:41.730 --> 00:26:54.000
Rebecca Erbelding: Not a typical government memo this gets then watered down and gets to Roosevelt morgenthau and to members of his staff meet with the President on January 16 1944.
00:26:54.330 --> 00:27:04.260
Rebecca Erbelding: and convince Roosevelt, to create the war refugee board announcing for the first time, US policy, about the Holocaust, a policy of relief and rescue.
00:27:04.680 --> 00:27:10.170
Rebecca Erbelding: And Roosevelt tasks this agency to do whatever it can to try to save Jesus in Europe.
00:27:10.800 --> 00:27:23.730
Rebecca Erbelding: Sufficient or consistent with the successful prosecution of the war, so they can't do anything that gets in gets in the way of the war effort, but they should do everything they can to try to rescue the Jews that remain.
00:27:24.270 --> 00:27:31.380
Rebecca Erbelding: And so, for the rest of the year and really until September 1945 when the Agency shuts down so about 21 months.
00:27:32.100 --> 00:27:43.920
Rebecca Erbelding: This group of people try as best they can, and everything they can think of, to save lives, so in 1944 US policy completely changes to being one of relief and rescue.
00:27:44.640 --> 00:27:59.610
Rebecca Erbelding: They streamline the licenses that relief organizations use to make it much easier to send relief money into Europe eventually approving about $11 million in 1944 money so 160 million or so today.
00:28:00.900 --> 00:28:06.840
Rebecca Erbelding: To a whole host of purposes to create false papers food for children and hiding.
00:28:07.320 --> 00:28:15.210
Rebecca Erbelding: paying off border guards to help Jews escape into neutral areas and they really use the fact that the Allies are likely going to win the war.
00:28:15.960 --> 00:28:22.170
Rebecca Erbelding: to their advantage, so convincing the governments of Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.
00:28:22.560 --> 00:28:31.290
Rebecca Erbelding: To allow more Jews over their borders to protest what the Nazis, are doing and to pass on intelligence about what their diplomats are seeing inside Nazi territory.
00:28:31.830 --> 00:28:39.960
Rebecca Erbelding: They launched a propaganda warfare campaign sending radio broadcasts and leaflets warning would be perpetrators, particularly in Hungary.
00:28:40.650 --> 00:28:55.950
Rebecca Erbelding: Against participating in these atrocities they send as Blanche mentioned they send raw Wallenberg the now famous Swedish businessman to Budapest, particularly to to do whatever he could to rescue Jews there and we know that he.
00:28:57.660 --> 00:29:05.430
Rebecca Erbelding: almost certainly save the lives of 10s of thousands of people in Budapest, they start ransom negotiations with the Nazis.
00:29:06.120 --> 00:29:12.060
Rebecca Erbelding: The Nazis are looking around and seeing the same landscape, as everybody else that that the Allies are likely going to win.
00:29:12.480 --> 00:29:18.090
Rebecca Erbelding: And so, some high ranking Nazis, including Adolf Eichmann think well, maybe we can get something for them.
00:29:18.420 --> 00:29:24.990
Rebecca Erbelding: And so the war refugee board participates in these negotiations and really tries to string the Nazis along saying you cannot.
00:29:25.530 --> 00:29:31.980
Rebecca Erbelding: Murder, this group of people, because we will pay for them, of course, the US is never going to pay ransom.
00:29:32.640 --> 00:29:37.500
Rebecca Erbelding: But they managed to string a group of high ranking Nazis along for about seven months.
00:29:38.130 --> 00:29:47.580
Rebecca Erbelding: Including getting about 2000 Jews out 1600 or so Jews out of Bergen belsen and into Switzerland is a good faith gesture on the part of the Nazis.
00:29:48.300 --> 00:29:57.210
Rebecca Erbelding: They open the word Fiji board opens the fort Ontario emergency refugee shelter, which is the subject of the book haven that Blanche mentioned.
00:29:57.780 --> 00:30:07.830
Rebecca Erbelding: This is a about 1000 mostly Jewish refugees who arrived in the small town of us we go New York in August 1944 is the only group of refugees.
00:30:08.160 --> 00:30:15.120
Rebecca Erbelding: brought outside of the US immigration process during the war, they are housed in this small town, the kids go to public school.
00:30:15.720 --> 00:30:27.390
Rebecca Erbelding: But the adults are not permitted to work in the town, and they are kept behind barbed wire until the winter of 1946 because the US Government once they're here can't figure out what to do with them.
00:30:28.020 --> 00:30:35.280
Rebecca Erbelding: And the work you do board sends food packages about 300,000 food packages into Europe, in the final weeks of the war.
00:30:35.640 --> 00:30:46.440
Rebecca Erbelding: So disguise them as Red Cross packages and gets them into Doc how and robin's brooke and sachsenhausen and all of these camps, so if you've ever heard a.
00:30:47.100 --> 00:30:53.310
Rebecca Erbelding: survivor give testimony about receiving a food package, towards the end of the war that package was almost certainly.
00:30:53.820 --> 00:31:06.930
Rebecca Erbelding: packaged on long island shipped across the ocean to either southern France or to Sweden disguised there as a Red Cross package and then delivered in the final weeks of the war to 10s of thousands of Holocaust survivors.
00:31:08.010 --> 00:31:10.860
Rebecca Erbelding: At the end of the war, the war, if you do board wanted to continue.
00:31:11.280 --> 00:31:23.790
Rebecca Erbelding: They said they tried to convince Harry Truman that they were not done that the the refugee problem was not solved that now there are thousands 10s of thousands, hundreds of thousands of displaced persons in Europe.
00:31:24.150 --> 00:31:31.560
Rebecca Erbelding: And that they with all of their connections and governments in Europe and within the US Government were the best people to try to do something to help.
00:31:32.460 --> 00:31:41.250
Rebecca Erbelding: And Truman said no, you are a wartime agency, we are going to shut this down so in September 1945 the word refugee board shuts down.
00:31:41.640 --> 00:31:47.040
Rebecca Erbelding: And they estimate that they had saved the lives of 10s of thousands of people.
00:31:47.610 --> 00:32:01.470
Rebecca Erbelding: And and assisted hundreds of thousands of people in the final year of the war, so it is a very different history than the histories that Blanche and Arthur described, but I think that that change is really instructive as we look at how.
00:32:01.920 --> 00:32:18.240
Rebecca Erbelding: Consistent activism how interested government officials how Congress how all of these agencies actually can work together that changes slow, but it is possible, even after years and years of as Blanche said complicity or.
00:32:19.470 --> 00:32:25.680
Rebecca Erbelding: Neglect at the very least, so i'm going to go so because I think we're going to have a really interesting discussion.
00:32:31.680 --> 00:32:33.360
Adam Hochschild: Thank you very much Rebecca.
00:32:34.530 --> 00:32:42.000
Adam Hochschild: So now we have a few minutes for talk among the speakers and I guess, I would like to ask the three of you first.
00:32:43.290 --> 00:32:48.990
Adam Hochschild: Do you have questions for each other, did anything that one of you said prompt a question for another.
00:32:49.800 --> 00:32:51.600
Arthur Berger: I do, and i'd like to.
00:32:52.020 --> 00:33:00.240
Arthur Berger: Our address Rebecca becky you know when you talk about the United States going with well morgenthau.
00:33:01.530 --> 00:33:13.110
Arthur Berger: Having this report on the complicity of the US Government, the murder of your stews toned down a little bit I think he was shocked by the title and not just the 17 pages of.
00:33:14.370 --> 00:33:23.760
Arthur Berger: chapter and verse of what the State Department was doing to stop treasury from getting this money and aid to refugees in Europe.
00:33:24.390 --> 00:33:38.850
Arthur Berger: But at the same time, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was holding some hearings, because there was pressure within a small group in Congress to try to force the administration to set up a refugee assistance agent.
00:33:39.660 --> 00:33:44.520
Arthur Berger: And one of the people who testified and closed hearing for them was breckinridge long.
00:33:45.630 --> 00:34:00.150
Arthur Berger: And he testified that through his goodwill and through the work of the State Department many hundreds of thousands, I think over 500,000 Jews were saved and brought to the United States, which was a lie, yes.
00:34:00.810 --> 00:34:12.540
Arthur Berger: He was exposed when it became public or he was exposed and that's when he was fired Finally I think he went to rate when you're raising race horses after that but.
00:34:13.740 --> 00:34:25.680
Arthur Berger: The one question I have for you, the key is that over the previous several years you take a look at the at the unconference in July 1938.
00:34:26.730 --> 00:34:35.280
Arthur Berger: The Bermuda skipping a few years ahead, the Bermuda conference April 1943, in fact, on the day that the Warsaw ghetto uprising began.
00:34:35.820 --> 00:34:56.640
Arthur Berger: There were great appeals to Roosevelt to either change American quota policy or allow some special way of allowing refuge Jewish refugees to come into the United States, and there was one example where he did allow 12,000 or so German Jews to stay in the United States, and that was.
00:34:57.870 --> 00:35:08.910
Arthur Berger: Right after crystal na the night of broken glass when it when hundreds of synagogues and Jewish owned shops were destroyed throughout Germany and Austria and.
00:35:09.750 --> 00:35:19.230
Arthur Berger: He took five days before he had a press conference I just can't imagine today any American president waiting five days after a major international event.
00:35:19.620 --> 00:35:32.700
Arthur Berger: To hold a press conference, but there was some pressure on him to do something about the 12,000 resell tuition Germans were in the United States on tourist visas to extend that for six months, and he did.
00:35:34.410 --> 00:35:52.590
Arthur Berger: Why don't you think he signed other executive orders that's one another, of course, January 1944 establishing the war refugee board but In between there were so many opportunities for him to use a pen in either in a.
00:35:53.880 --> 00:35:59.040
Arthur Berger: An executive order which we don't Presidents use all the time now, but they didn't then to.
00:36:00.390 --> 00:36:01.560
Rebecca Erbelding: OK OK.
00:36:03.240 --> 00:36:16.050
Rebecca Erbelding: You were your history was spot on except for one unfortunate thing, which is that breckinridge long is not fired, you would think he wouldn't be right, everything that you said was right he goes to Congress, he testifies.
00:36:17.190 --> 00:36:25.170
Rebecca Erbelding: This this moment of November, December 1943 really sets up the creation of the World Refugee board because there's pressure on Congress.
00:36:25.860 --> 00:36:34.710
Rebecca Erbelding: Congress is being pressured by the burbs and group that I mentioned the activists that I mentioned, and so their supporters in Congress introduced identical bills in the House and the Senate.
00:36:35.250 --> 00:36:43.080
Rebecca Erbelding: To create this refugee Commission it passes the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is scheduled for a vote at the end of January so there's pressure there.
00:36:44.010 --> 00:36:52.650
Rebecca Erbelding: So there's this public pressure this Congressional pressure and now pressure within his own administration and Roosevelt like to create agencies to fix problems and so.
00:36:52.950 --> 00:37:01.050
Rebecca Erbelding: I don't know whether he really thought this was going to be an agency that had teeth, or if he really cared or if he's really just solving a problem for himself.
00:37:01.620 --> 00:37:11.940
Rebecca Erbelding: In a lot of ways by creating a refugee board, I think there is a sense from Roosevelt that he can't distract from the war effort.
00:37:12.360 --> 00:37:16.830
Rebecca Erbelding: I people have asked why he didn't create the war, if you do board earlier.
00:37:17.580 --> 00:37:28.860
Rebecca Erbelding: And I do think that he needs all of these things lining up all of the public pressure the Congressional pressure the pressure within his administration remove any one of those and I don't know that you have a refugee board.
00:37:29.250 --> 00:37:41.130
Rebecca Erbelding: But I also think that the war matters so often Holocaust historians don't pay attention to the war and war historians don't pay attention to the Holocaust and in terms of lived experience through the same thing.
00:37:42.210 --> 00:37:48.690
Rebecca Erbelding: And I really do think that Roosevelt thinks at this point that the Allies are going to win.
00:37:49.710 --> 00:38:04.170
Rebecca Erbelding: And so he can get away with creating something like the war fpga board where you know, not everybody may be fine with it, but nobody is going to argue that this is taking resources away from the war, we are still going to win the war.
00:38:05.280 --> 00:38:14.220
Rebecca Erbelding: I think it would have been great had it happened earlier, even if we didn't have the same leverage over the neutral nations, as we did in 1944.
00:38:14.580 --> 00:38:20.280
Rebecca Erbelding: Because there are certain psychological things that happened when the country announces that it is our policy.
00:38:20.640 --> 00:38:28.650
Rebecca Erbelding: to rescue and provide relief, there are things that get beer bureaucracy that gets aimed in a certain direction red tape that gets cut in a certain way.
00:38:29.010 --> 00:38:41.880
Rebecca Erbelding: And that doesn't take a huge amount of government effort to do, but just stating we prioritize this would have been a really good move in 1938 in 1940 1942 all along the way.
00:38:42.780 --> 00:38:49.830
Rebecca Erbelding: But it is unfortunate that it takes them until 1944 to do it, and that there are so many factors that really influenced that.
00:38:51.000 --> 00:39:00.810
Adam Hochschild: pledge, you know roosevelt's Franklin and Oliver Eleanor better than any of us any thoughts on what was going on in their hearts and minds during this period.
00:39:01.560 --> 00:39:15.600
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Well, you know it's really it's so bitter and I don't actually understand FDR his refusal to act don't understand his letter of support.
00:39:16.080 --> 00:39:45.060
Blanche Wiesen Cook: To the Nazi rally as late as 19 what 38 in Madison square garden and I don't understand you know breckinridge he keeps keeps promoting or I can read blog from 1938 to the very end, I can read long is in charge of the entire State Department operation, so people like God, who was.
00:39:46.530 --> 00:39:55.860
Blanche Wiesen Cook: For a little while and Ambassador to Germany he's protesting what's going on and ever and breckinridge long wants him silent.
00:39:57.390 --> 00:40:11.040
Blanche Wiesen Cook: it's it's you know it's really a big puzzle and Eleanor Roosevelt works around the he tells her to be silent and she is, and this is one of the few.
00:40:12.540 --> 00:40:32.400
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Areas where her silence is just terrific it's it's long lasting on the question of Dudes he asked her to be silent about as well, she doesn't she refuses to do that she's not so she works with the naacp and she protests.
00:40:33.420 --> 00:40:49.920
Blanche Wiesen Cook: The segregation of military troops when she goes to England, he sees that there's no segregation among the British troops and she protests and we know how long segregation last.
00:40:51.720 --> 00:41:01.320
Blanche Wiesen Cook: But Eleanor Roosevelt does protest she protest different things and hear the silence is is truly amazing.
00:41:03.300 --> 00:41:21.390
Blanche Wiesen Cook: He works with hadassah she works with various Jewish groups to build a spirit of harmony and love, as she puts it, so that you know the world as it goes forward, but the more civil arms.
00:41:22.650 --> 00:41:34.500
Blanche Wiesen Cook: So that's what she does, but his silence and his activities are really frankly horrible and bitter.
00:41:35.790 --> 00:41:35.970
Blanche Wiesen Cook: and
00:41:36.270 --> 00:41:36.840
Rebecca Erbelding: I did.
00:41:37.590 --> 00:41:50.400
Rebecca Erbelding: I do find it I find l&r fascinating in this period because of her work with some of the refugee aid organizations, you mentioned the American friends service Committee, which, of course, was was operating in Europe.
00:41:50.700 --> 00:42:04.170
Rebecca Erbelding: And she was the honorary chairwoman of the US committee for the care of European children which which brought children to the United States from southern France in 19 4041 and 42 and I found a letter.
00:42:04.560 --> 00:42:05.760
Blanche Wiesen Cook: where she killed it.
00:42:07.260 --> 00:42:11.580
Rebecca Erbelding: right kind of yeah it was kind of a proto kindertransport for us.
00:42:11.820 --> 00:42:13.260
Blanche Wiesen Cook: really need to mention.
00:42:13.440 --> 00:42:17.490
Blanche Wiesen Cook: very dry in the state department's war against varian fraud.
00:42:17.910 --> 00:42:18.990
Rebecca Erbelding: And also true.
00:42:19.590 --> 00:42:19.980
Blanche Wiesen Cook: yeah.
00:42:20.250 --> 00:42:20.790
00:42:22.650 --> 00:42:34.050
Rebecca Erbelding: I found a letter and you i'm sure you've seen it to where she writes to Franklin and she says, I want to sponsor some kids and he said, you can, and you can pay for them, but you can't keep them at Hyde Park.
00:42:34.650 --> 00:42:50.340
Rebecca Erbelding: They cannot come and live at Hyde Park with us because he was he was up for election and and those things, I mean, I think we, we tend to judge Roosevelt as a as a humanitarian and he was a politician.
00:42:50.880 --> 00:42:53.940
Rebecca Erbelding: And when you forget that you're going to be disappointed.
00:42:54.270 --> 00:42:56.070
Blanche Wiesen Cook: This one, I think we do need.
00:42:56.100 --> 00:43:05.130
Blanche Wiesen Cook: To factor in a level of anti semitism and race bigotry in the United States, there was one poll done in.
00:43:06.150 --> 00:43:12.120
Blanche Wiesen Cook: very late 30s another poll as late as 40 before.
00:43:13.410 --> 00:43:23.010
Blanche Wiesen Cook: US is in the war 83% of the American people did not want to support refuse g.
00:43:24.270 --> 00:43:26.850
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Diversity 83%.
00:43:27.210 --> 00:43:39.030
Arthur Berger: that's a very interesting for but also let me get to a diplomat that you mentioned in passing Blanche and that's James grover McDonald, who was a very close friend of the Roosevelt, especially Eleanor.
00:43:40.170 --> 00:43:50.490
Arthur Berger: He was he's practically unknown by any Americans, but he in 1933 he was appointed League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
00:43:51.120 --> 00:44:00.570
Arthur Berger: And he went to Germany he negotiated with Hitler he negotiated with the Pope he went to Britain he went to Roosevelt he tried to get.
00:44:01.170 --> 00:44:16.290
Arthur Berger: Every possible way of getting Jewish refugees out of Europe and away from harm's way and yeah he was standing so at the end of 1935 he goes to Geneva and gives a blistering speech to the.
00:44:16.830 --> 00:44:30.690
Arthur Berger: League of Nations, in which the United States never joined really and he tells them i'm quitting because nobody cares about these people being killed and i'll skip to the end of his time because in 1946.
00:44:31.230 --> 00:44:45.930
Arthur Berger: Harry Truman appoint him to the Anglo American committee on Palestine and he is trying to convince all of the British Members and American Members to vote for in their final report to allow 100,000.
00:44:46.560 --> 00:44:59.610
Arthur Berger: Jewish refugee from dp camps to go into Palestine and they all agree on this and Roosevelt and Truman agrees, as well, but the British Government refuses to allow that to happen now.
00:45:00.630 --> 00:45:10.290
Arthur Berger: James grover McDonald was then appointed by Harry Truman to be the first US ambassador to the State of Israel and skipping ahead three years when he left.
00:45:10.800 --> 00:45:32.520
Arthur Berger: Israel in 1951 and the Holocaust Museum has this Bible that Haim weitzman the President of Israel gave to McDonald when he left inscribed in the front piece was to James grover McDonald, the one other person who understood in 1933 that Hitler meant to kill all the Jews.
00:45:33.360 --> 00:45:41.040
Adam Hochschild: wow we're getting some interesting questions come in from the audience through the chat so i'd like to turn to some of those.
00:45:41.940 --> 00:45:53.850
Adam Hochschild: Lisa asks i'm curious about the food packages when they arrive disguised as red pepper Red Cross packages to the camps to the Nazis open them to see that they were food, why would they have allowed.
00:45:54.330 --> 00:45:57.840
Rebecca Erbelding: wants to add to that, I mean they stole the cigarettes.
00:45:58.050 --> 00:46:06.780
Rebecca Erbelding: For sure definitely no they stole the cigarettes, what happens is so I mentioned that the word refugee Board was engaged in ransom negotiations.
00:46:07.200 --> 00:46:18.150
Rebecca Erbelding: Those negotiations by February 1945 get turned over to the Red Cross, because the Red Cross is looking for permission to go into camps and provide aid.
00:46:18.510 --> 00:46:26.220
Rebecca Erbelding: They know that they're typhoid epidemics and that there's disease rampant in some of these camps and that mass killing has largely ended.
00:46:27.150 --> 00:46:32.310
Rebecca Erbelding: And so they are the Red Cross is pressuring the Nazis, to allow aid in those camps.
00:46:33.270 --> 00:46:41.760
Rebecca Erbelding: Eventually, by the spring of 1945 The Red Cross has convinced the Nazis, to allow Red Cross workers in the camps to distribute aid.
00:46:42.420 --> 00:46:51.390
Rebecca Erbelding: So many of the distribution of those boxes were actually done by Red Cross, workers and the packages did not necessarily leave.
00:46:51.900 --> 00:47:02.790
Rebecca Erbelding: The hands of the Red Cross between getting from the war refugee board to the survivor to the the prisoner the times that they were merely shipping them into camps.
00:47:03.930 --> 00:47:10.470
Rebecca Erbelding: survivors who are newly liberated found boxes and boxes in in storage rooms, that the Nazis had just not.
00:47:12.180 --> 00:47:15.240
Rebecca Erbelding: not distributed, but had stolen the cigarettes and the soap out of.
00:47:15.780 --> 00:47:20.100
Rebecca Erbelding: Well, we know that they stole the cigarettes in this up, because we know what was supposed to be in the package.
00:47:21.450 --> 00:47:23.340
Adam Hochschild: Well Helen.
00:47:24.390 --> 00:47:31.710
Adam Hochschild: Can you discuss the decision not to balance, not to bomb Auschwitz or the rail lines meeting to her wants to take that one out.
00:47:32.490 --> 00:47:34.800
Arthur Berger: Well, I can start with it and then my colleagues.
00:47:34.830 --> 00:47:35.940
Arthur Berger: In a touring in.
00:47:37.350 --> 00:47:38.790
Arthur Berger: Well, at that point.
00:47:39.810 --> 00:47:45.090
Arthur Berger: towards really towards the end of the war we're talking about June, July 1944.
00:47:45.600 --> 00:47:53.460
Arthur Berger: On United States has a capacity to bomb Auschwitz, and if you go in the Holocaust Museum you'll see blown up photographs that were taken.
00:47:53.820 --> 00:48:09.120
Arthur Berger: From bombers at that time over Auschwitz and i've talked to survivors, and I know that becky has as well, who have said that they heard these planes going overhead you know why didn't they do something, why didn't they bomb the the.
00:48:10.170 --> 00:48:21.330
Arthur Berger: crematory of a gas chambers well there's an exchange of letters between the World Jewish Congress and the Assistant Secretary award that time john mccloy.
00:48:22.170 --> 00:48:29.490
Arthur Berger: And there was an appeal to something tried to stop this you know, even though I think most people who understood.
00:48:29.790 --> 00:48:43.170
Arthur Berger: War and construction during the war and destruction and construction that even if the real links were bombed, they could be repaired fairly quickly and that the killing of Jews would probably continue, however.
00:48:44.550 --> 00:49:00.990
Arthur Berger: mcquaid lied in that letter and you can read that online, he said it would divert us from our war effort and he knew full well, and when he was in fact interviewed on his deathbed about that he refused to answer.
00:49:02.340 --> 00:49:13.560
Arthur Berger: He said that it would divert us from our war effort, and it would not have because these planes were bombing, I was with three model with the rubber plant.
00:49:15.930 --> 00:49:20.880
Arthur Berger: There was a possibility of doing it now, would it have really made a difference in the war.
00:49:21.960 --> 00:49:25.110
Arthur Berger: I have no idea historians are debating that still today.
00:49:27.180 --> 00:49:46.440
Adam Hochschild: Another question comes from David What about Jews around Roosevelt, other than Martin, such as Felix Frankfurter Sam rosen etc where where their voices and I guess, I would add, where were the voices of non Jews who were horrified as so many people were by what was going on in.
00:49:48.030 --> 00:49:55.380
Adam Hochschild: Europe at that time was there a lot of controversy within the administration, what do we know about that.
00:49:56.460 --> 00:50:01.560
Blanche Wiesen Cook: One one thing that's really very interesting is that feel it Frankfurter was.
00:50:04.020 --> 00:50:19.890
Blanche Wiesen Cook: at Oxford in 1933 and 1934 and there's a series and had relatives in Vienna, and so there are a series of letters that FDR answers everything in the letters, except.
00:50:20.490 --> 00:50:46.140
Blanche Wiesen Cook: What Frankfurter wrote about the hideous things happening in hitler's Germany and though that exchange is really fascinating he just FDR just doesn't deal with it, he ignores his mentor completely and then Sam rosenman is very outspoken and FDR ignores his suggestions for activity.
00:50:47.400 --> 00:50:51.990
Blanche Wiesen Cook: And FDR ignores everybody who is suggesting.
00:50:53.370 --> 00:50:54.870
Blanche Wiesen Cook: activity against Germany.
00:50:55.710 --> 00:51:06.930
Rebecca Erbelding: it's interesting, you say that about rosenman because rosamond actually puts barriers up in front of the refugee bored when they're trying to get to Roosevelt to do things roseman will say no, we need to water that down no you can't do that.
00:51:07.380 --> 00:51:25.710
Rebecca Erbelding: It I mean it really is very situational and I think it it changes over time it changes, based on the situation it changes and and the voices that Roosevelt is listening to changes in the history that I look at in 1944 1945.
00:51:26.220 --> 00:51:33.750
Rebecca Erbelding: Roosevelt after he creates the word future board is really not active because he's dying, I mean he's spending so much time.
00:51:34.290 --> 00:51:45.450
Rebecca Erbelding: in bed, he is not well for almost the entirety of 1944 and so his his involvement is minor at best in what the word refugee board is doing.
00:51:46.140 --> 00:51:59.010
Rebecca Erbelding: So I do think that it's hard to give one answer to who is he listening to what are they saying, because even people who are sympathetic, in one minute or in one year or less that later.
00:51:59.460 --> 00:52:22.230
Blanche Wiesen Cook: But that's why the early period, in my opinion, tells us so much more because that's when he was active about many, many things and he's getting a lot of input and the State Department is is is not divided the State Department wants to silence everybody who is supporting refugee.
00:52:23.820 --> 00:52:34.650
Blanche Wiesen Cook: And then and it's really interesting to see who FDR keeps promoting in the State Department, and you know you get into it in the 40s and.
00:52:36.030 --> 00:52:37.950
Blanche Wiesen Cook: there's the war and but.
00:52:39.150 --> 00:52:45.720
Blanche Wiesen Cook: The the refusal to deal with what's happening is day by day, ongoing from 33.
00:52:46.830 --> 00:52:48.060
Blanche Wiesen Cook: To the end of his life.
00:52:48.210 --> 00:52:55.440
Arthur Berger: Well, I think you're correct Blanche because the and it has a former State Department foreign service officer.
00:52:56.670 --> 00:53:02.370
Arthur Berger: The history, at that time, the State Department was outrageous and even in.
00:53:03.540 --> 00:53:14.670
Arthur Berger: Ambassador Dodds book and garden the beast you know when he when he talks about how and when license rights, about how the.
00:53:15.420 --> 00:53:24.270
Arthur Berger: People who worked for him at the embassy, as well as in the State Department in the in the Bureau of European affairs, how they made fun of Don and dogs.
00:53:24.900 --> 00:53:31.800
Arthur Berger: Okay, he wasn't the first choice of roosevelt's, of course, to go to Germany, but when he came back and he spoke to Roosevelt and.
00:53:32.220 --> 00:53:40.500
Arthur Berger: He didn't know if there was going to be any kind of change at all, he was not the right person for the job that's another story, but there was another diplomat that I think.
00:53:40.920 --> 00:53:49.800
Arthur Berger: We neglect and we should talk about more in that is young Kirsten he was not an American he was a young Polish diplomat.
00:53:50.220 --> 00:53:59.760
Arthur Berger: who escaped to England, with a Polish Government and having self smuggled into the Warsaw ghetto in 1942 and then to one of the transit camps.
00:54:00.210 --> 00:54:18.960
Arthur Berger: Where they was shipping Jews from deporting Jews from the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka to their deaths and he was an eyewitness he goes back to England, he meets with the British government he tells them what he had seen the year later he's the following year he is in Washington.
00:54:20.040 --> 00:54:21.930
Arthur Berger: He meets with President Roosevelt.
00:54:22.950 --> 00:54:27.540
Arthur Berger: He meets with Felix Frankfurter and he talks to them about his eyewitness.
00:54:28.050 --> 00:54:38.760
Arthur Berger: on seeing what was happening that he said they're killing all of the Jews, men, women, children, do something he pleased with them, and when it comes out of there's a an oral history.
00:54:39.150 --> 00:54:48.840
Arthur Berger: And when he comes out of the meeting with Roosevelt, and he mimics Roosevelt with this cigarette holder and he says, I felt that he was going to do something, but of course he did nothing.
00:54:49.530 --> 00:54:49.830
00:54:50.880 --> 00:54:52.680
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Here is his name again Arthur.
00:54:52.890 --> 00:54:53.580
Arthur Berger: Yes, every.
00:54:54.570 --> 00:54:57.090
Arthur Berger: Young kirsty K R SK.
00:54:58.200 --> 00:55:07.350
Arthur Berger: II eventual Lee came to the United States and became a professor at georgetown I was honored to be in his class for a couple of them when he didn't speak about this at all.
00:55:07.800 --> 00:55:18.630
Arthur Berger: And many years later I asked them I said, Professor posting why didn't you tell us about all of these things in the late 60s were in graduate school and he said, nobody wanted to listen to me.
00:55:20.160 --> 00:55:21.870
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Nobody wanted to hear it no he was.
00:55:22.950 --> 00:55:23.100
00:55:26.250 --> 00:55:38.100
Blanche Wiesen Cook: influenced that I that on Eleanor Roosevelt and that's ELENA rathbone there was a Member of Parliament in England who was chair of the committee in the British Parliament.
00:55:38.610 --> 00:55:50.670
Blanche Wiesen Cook: The committee to save the perishing and Eleanor Roosevelt was very close to a whole group of women in England and so she gets all these reports and.
00:55:51.240 --> 00:56:03.750
Blanche Wiesen Cook: there's a good biography of ELENA rathbone So you can see, this pressure to do something and nothing is done, the British do nothing, and the US does nothing.
00:56:06.060 --> 00:56:15.120
Adam Hochschild: Rebecca you mentioned that there were these public protest, which i've not been aware of you know orthodox rabbis marching on Capitol Hill and so on.
00:56:15.570 --> 00:56:28.860
Adam Hochschild: Was there push back when things like that happened were there over the counter protests or was it a matter of people in the government just quietly shaking their heads and totaling it's.
00:56:28.950 --> 00:56:38.760
Rebecca Erbelding: it's largely the ladder, there are no counter protests that I know of of you know, when people are protesting for the US to do something, it will just be quiet letters.
00:56:39.150 --> 00:56:46.440
Rebecca Erbelding: And meetings in the State Department and in the government saying you're not going to listen to them right like this is not, this is not who we are.
00:56:47.040 --> 00:56:56.910
Rebecca Erbelding: But it's not just it's not so black and white anti Semites are against action and there's a split within the Jewish community to as.
00:56:57.780 --> 00:57:10.020
Rebecca Erbelding: As the Orthodox rabbis are marching in October 1943 two members of the World Jewish Congress are in breckenridge long's office saying you're not going to listen to these guys right.
00:57:10.710 --> 00:57:21.780
Rebecca Erbelding: There is a split within even the Jewish community over whether people should be out in the streets or whether they should be working behind the scenes in the government and so all of these factors, I think.
00:57:22.380 --> 00:57:29.370
Rebecca Erbelding: And i'm glad Arthur started out with the context of the 1930s, because all of this is so important.
00:57:30.270 --> 00:57:37.920
Rebecca Erbelding: When we talk about the State Department, and when we talk about us response in general I think there's a tendency to give simple answers to a complex question.
00:57:38.130 --> 00:57:45.660
Rebecca Erbelding: To say it was breckenridge long, he was just saying no, it was the State Department they were just terrible and those things can be true, but it's also the the.
00:57:46.110 --> 00:57:53.730
Rebecca Erbelding: whole world in which they inhabited the structures, the laws that they were told to uphold that were racist and anti Semitic and native his laws.
00:57:54.420 --> 00:58:09.030
Rebecca Erbelding: All of these factors really have an influence on political leaders, which, which is why I think it's so important to study the Treasury Department and what enabled them to finally change the dynamic and Washington.
00:58:09.960 --> 00:58:17.580
Arthur Berger: So we can mention one thing, though, in the 1930s, in February banking 39 there was a thing, called the night at the garden there's.
00:58:17.790 --> 00:58:20.310
Rebecca Erbelding: A film that yeah that's what Clinton had been mentioning yeah.
00:58:20.430 --> 00:58:27.750
Arthur Berger: on YouTube I 20,000 Americans supporting the Nazis.
00:58:29.040 --> 00:58:30.270
Rebecca Erbelding: When the counter protesters.
00:58:30.270 --> 00:58:34.470
Rebecca Erbelding: Outside protesting them more more than the ones inside the garden.
00:58:34.500 --> 00:58:35.280
Rebecca Erbelding: There were more.
00:58:35.670 --> 00:58:37.740
Rebecca Erbelding: People attacking the Nazis, then.
00:58:37.800 --> 00:58:39.240
Rebecca Erbelding: we're Nazis yeah.
00:58:39.330 --> 00:58:43.050
Blanche Wiesen Cook: and thankfully i've never seen a figure that suggested doing more.
00:58:43.320 --> 00:58:47.130
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Protests then in the garden i've never seen that.
00:58:47.220 --> 00:58:48.000
Rebecca Erbelding: Oh i'll email you.
00:58:48.750 --> 00:58:49.500
Blanche Wiesen Cook: like to see that.
00:58:49.590 --> 00:58:51.720
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Yes, yes, very hearts heartening.
00:58:52.110 --> 00:58:56.400
Arthur Berger: No gas protest outside, but the film is worth watching because.
00:58:56.400 --> 00:58:57.630
Rebecca Erbelding: film is incredible yeah.
00:58:57.900 --> 00:59:00.120
Rebecca Erbelding: night at the garden calm people.
00:59:00.720 --> 00:59:02.580
Adam Hochschild: randomly we're coming up on the.
00:59:02.610 --> 00:59:17.910
Adam Hochschild: End of our assigned hour so i'm going to have to thank all three of you very, very much just say how much a pleasure and how lightning it was for me to participate in this program and i'm going to turn things back to our.
00:59:19.830 --> 00:59:33.510
Ari Goldstein: Our yeah I wish we could just add another hour right now, because there's a lot more to get into but huge thanks to each of you becky Arthur and blanche for sharing your expertise with us and Adam for facilitating this fascinating Program.
00:59:35.310 --> 00:59:37.890
Ari Goldstein: A couple things I want to leave everyone with um.
00:59:38.460 --> 00:59:41.580
Ari Goldstein: One is that we so young cars can you mentioned.
00:59:41.850 --> 00:59:54.060
Ari Goldstein: Was featured in depth in cloud lens bins seminal 1985 films shela we just announced today that we are going to be hosting the first in person screening of show up in a decade here at the Museum of Jewish heritage this June it's.
00:59:54.240 --> 01:00:00.420
Ari Goldstein: Over the course of two weeks because it's a nine and a half hour film, but we hope, some of you who are in New York will come join us for part or all of the film.
01:00:00.750 --> 01:00:05.820
Ari Goldstein: Learn Carson you story and more and a little bit of detail and I also want to mention that.
01:00:06.420 --> 01:00:10.230
Ari Goldstein: The old glendale Institute and the music Jewish heritage and our co sponsoring.
01:00:10.620 --> 01:00:22.230
Ari Goldstein: Both host rich array of programs and everything we both do is made possible through donor support so those of you who are watching and in our supporters of our work Thank you so much, and if you're not and you're able, we hope, will consider it.
01:00:23.460 --> 01:00:34.470
Ari Goldstein: We will we did record today's program so we'll send out a link to the recording tomorrow and an email and we'll also include links to some of our panelists books and a bunch of the other resources that were mentioned.
01:00:34.890 --> 01:00:41.850
Ari Goldstein: Including the film and the garden at the end so i'm sorry to cut this off, but great things to all of you, and we wish everyone a.
01:00:42.870 --> 01:00:44.310
Ari Goldstein: Healthy and well.
01:00:45.420 --> 01:00:46.620
Arthur Berger: Thank you, great.
01:00:46.650 --> 01:00:47.310
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Thank you.
01:00:47.550 --> 01:00:48.000
Adam Hochschild: Thank you.
01:00:48.210 --> 01:00:49.500
Blanche Wiesen Cook: there's also the chat.
01:00:50.100 --> 01:00:50.340
01:00:51.450 --> 01:00:52.890
Blanche Wiesen Cook: Great Thank you.
01:00:53.370 --> 01:00:54.750
Ari Goldstein: thanks again take care.
01:00:55.020 --> 01:00:55.590