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February 04, 1983 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-02-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, February 4, 1983 19

U.S. State Department Stymied Immigration Process

(Continued from Page 18)
Jews would be Palestine
and it would disturb the
Arabs.
The British jailed Brand
in Syria as an enemy alien
and the United States
yielded to the British deci-
sion.
As the war neared its cli-
max and the Nazis speeded
up the transport and
slaughter of Jews, Jewish
leaders appealed to the
American and British gov-
ernments for some deter-
rent action. One proposal
was to bomb the Auschwitz
death camp to destroy its
machinery of destruction.
Both the British and
Americans refused.
Alan Brinkley, the
Harvard historian, has
described how the task of
informing the Jewish
leaders of the negative
response was the duty of
John J. McCloy, then
Secretary Stimson's civil
affairs officer in the War
Department, later U.S.
High Commissioner in
Germany.
McCloy advanced a
number of reasons for the
American refusal and told
the petitioners that the
"positive solution to this
problem is the earliest
possible victory over Ger-
many." He also replied
negatively to the sub-
sequent proposal that the
railroad lines leading to
Auschwitz be bombed.
McCloy and Stimson later
also argued against a pro-
posal to increase the
number of Jewish refugees
to be admitted to the U.S.
"Any such policy, they
claimed," Brinkley reports,
"would erode the quota sys-
tem and weaken the immi-
gration laws."
Even today, Brinkley
says, McCloy reacts "with
extraordinary sensitivity"
whenever his role in the
Auschwitz bombing matter
is raised, stressing that the
decision was by Roosevelt
and Churchill and that he
was only the messenger.
Every plan to rescue or
help persecuted Jews
"seemed to involve aiding
the enemy or hindering the
Allied war effort," Lord
Nicholas Bethell, the
British historian, noted. He
quoted Richard Law, head
of the British delegation to
the 1942 Bermuda refugee
conference, as insisting that
victory offered the only
solution and that the Jews
and other persecuted
peoples should not be led
into a fool's paradise. "In
fact," he insisted, "we are
not able to give them im-
mediate succor."

* * *

Jewish Leaders
Were Frustrated

The Jewish leadership
recognized that the Al-
lied war leaders would
not take any action to
save the Jewish rem-
nants in Europe and
reacted in frustration
and despair.
"Let us not rely on others
to defend our interests," Dr.
Joseph Tenenbaum of the
American Jewish Congress

counseled the second ple-
nary of the American
Jewish Conference in De-
cember 1944.
"When Japan was ac-
cused of using gas against
the Chinese, there was a
solemn warning by the
President of the United
States who threatened to re-
taliate with gas warfare on
the Japanese. Millions of
Jews were suffocated in the
lethal gas chambers, but
nobody even threatened the
Germans with retaliation
— there was no threat to gas
their cities. Jews must stop
being the expendables
among the nations."
And at another meeting
of the conference, Prof.
Hayim Fineman of the
Labor Zionists bitterly
complained, "Many of those
who are dead might have
been alive were it not for the
refusal and delays by our
own State Department, by
the International Red
Cross, by the War Refugee
Board and other agencies to
take immediate measures."
Perhaps the most con-
vincing indication of the
powerlessnesS of Ameri-
can Jewry during the
Nazi era is provided by
Barbara Tuchman in
writing about her uncle,
Henry Morgenthau Jr.,
Secretary of the Treasury
under Roosevelt to make
the President take some
affective action to save
Jews from Hitler's final
solution.
This observation is all the
more significant in the light
of a remark by Eleanor
Roosevelt, perhaps the
staunchest friend and advo-
cate the Jews had in the
American governmental es-
tablishment, who once de-
scribed Morgenthau and
Louis Howe, the president's
first political mentor, as
"the only two people who
stood up to Franklin."
Nahum Goldmann who
played a major role in the
Jewish rescue effort,
thought that American
Jewish leaders and organ-
izations had not done
enough.
The Jewish leaders and
organizations, he wrote
in his autobiography,
"lacked the courage,
vision and resolution to
risk a radical and drastic
move ... All of us 'vho
spoke for the Jewish
people in those days —
and I emphatically in-
clude myself — bear a
share of the guilt, some of
us a heavy share, some a
lighter one."
The extent of American
Jewish liability, he said,
was brought home to him in
1943 by a desperate call for
help from the Warsaw
Ghetto leaders who asked
why a dozen or so Jewish
leaders did not sit on the
steps of the White House or
the State Department until
the American government
declared itself ready to take
action to save Polish Jewry.
"This may sound naive

The truest wisdom, in
general, is a resolute de-
termination.
—Napoleon

today," he commented, "but
I still believe, as I did then,
that a desperate, unconven-
tional gesture might have
achieved something. Be-
sides, in certain situations,
leaders have a moral duty to
make quixotic gestures,"
Goldmann said.
But would such actions or
anything else the Jews
could have done changed
the course of events? Lord
Bethell, who spent consid-
erable time studying the
struggle for Palestine from
1935 to 1948, during which
he reviewed thousands of
British Foreign Office
documents, thinks not.
"The humanitarian
need of the Jews in
Europe did not enter the

argument, except in as
much as it aroused pub-

lic, mainly Jewish, pres-
sure," he wrote. "The
simple fact was that the
doomed Jews, while they
had powerful friends and
brothers in Britain and
America, were them-
selves of no politcal or
strategic significance.
The British and
American goVernments

saw no military advan-
tage in frying to rescue

A

N

.

Caricatures

memorable exceptions —
would fundamentally have
felt relieved by the final
solution."

the Jews or send them
food, rather the contrary.
They therefore aban-
doned them."
According to Barbara
Tuchman, "The accumula-
tion of these things (the re-
fusal of the Americans and
British to aid the Jews)
slowly brought to light what
had long lurked in the
shadows of ancient memory:
a bitter recognition that the
Gentile world — with all
due respect to notable and

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