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November 22, 1985 - Image 35

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-11-22

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS Friday. November 22. 1985

A \

partment obstruction that
Morgenthau became active in
the refugee question. He was
following in the footsteps of
his father, who as ambas-
sador to Turkey had tried to
help save Armenians from
In June 1943, the Treasury
Department sponsored a plan
to evacuate up to '70,000 Jews
from Rumania at a cost of
$170,000. The money would
be held in Switzerland for
Rumanian officials to collect
after the war. The president
was sympathetic, but the
State Department scuttled the
plan on the ground that it
would make foreign ex-
change available to the
Morgenthau was shocked
when, in August, the State
Department announced the
formation of a Commission to
Save European Art and
Monuments, when there was
no commission to save the
Jews. People were getting
killed and months passed and
there was a gang in the State
Department blocking every-
On Nov. 26, Breck Long tes-
tified before the House
Foreign Affairs Committee
that in the ten years since the
start of the Hitler regime
about 580,000 refugees had
been taken in, all under the
quota. Congressman Em-
manuel Celler pointed out
that the majority of the
580,000 were not Jews. "Long
says that the door to the op-
pressed is open but that it
`has been carefully
screened,' " Celler said.
"What he should have said is
(barlocked and bolted.' By
the act of 1924 we are permit-
ted to admit about 150,000
immigrants each year. During
the last fiscal year only 23,725
came as immigrants. Of these
only 4,705 were Jews fleeing
Nazi persecution. If men of
the temperament and philos-
ophy of Long continue in
control of immigration ad-
ministration, we may as well
take down that plaque from
the Statue of Liberty and
black out the lamp beside the
golden door."
At a Dec. 18 meeting at the
Treasury Department, one of
Morgenthau's assistants,
Josiah E. DuBois, said: "The
only question we have in our
minds in dealing with this
Jewish issue is to get this
thing out of the State De-
partment into some agency's
hands that is willing to deal
with it frontally."
Morgenthau worried aloud
that people would say he was
only getting involved because
he was a Jew, adding: "I
would say to Mr. Hull, 'After
all, if you were a member of
the Cabinet in Germany to-
day, you would most likely be
in a prison camp, and your
ife would be God knows
where, because Mrs. Hull is a
Jewess, you know. Did you
people know that ... ? Her
name is Wirtz. And if he were

in Germany today, he
couldn't hold the position he
has because he is married to
a Jewess, even though she
changed her name to Whit-
ney.' "
Two days later Morgenthau
went to see Hull, telling him
that "in simple terms, the
British position is that they
apparently are prepared to
accept the possible — even
probable — death of
thousands of Jews in enemy
territory because of the diffi-
culties of disposing of any
considerable number of Jews
should they be rescued."
Morgenthau urged im-
mediate action. "The trouble
is," Hull said in his bumbling
way, "the fellows down the
line, there are some of them
— I don't get a chance to
know everything that is•going
on." That was the trouble
with Hull — he didn't know
what was happening on his
own doorstep.
Breck Long took Morgen-
thau aside to say he was not
responsible for the delays.
"Well, Breck, as long as you
raise the question," Morgen-
thau said, "we might be a lit-
tle frank. The impression is
all around that you particu-
larly are anti-Semitic!"
"I know that is so," Long
replied. "I hope that you will
use your good offices to cor-
rect that impression, because
I am not."
Back at the Treasury,
Morgenthau complained that
FDR would never get rid of
people like Long. "What does
he want Social Security for,
or old-age pensions?" he
asked. "As long as you work
for the • President, you don't
need it. He never fired any-
The next step was to go to
the President, and Morgen-
thau wanted "the most ter-
rific document of condemna-
tion of these people" to shake
up Roosevelt, whose position,
he said, "is no different from
what the English Foreign
Office says, and what every-
body else has said. The whole
strain is this: 'This whole
thing is a damned nuisance.'
When you get through with it,
the attitude to date is no
different from Hitler's atti-
Randolph Paul, Morgen-
thau's general counsel, pre-
pared the report "On the Ac-
quiescence of This Govern-
ment in the Murder of the
Jews," which charged the
State Department with proc-
rastination and willful failure
to act.
On Jan. 16, 1944, Morgen-
thau saw the President, who
agreed that some action
should be taken, such as the
setting up of a War Refugee
Board. He defended Breckin-
ridge Long, however, saying
that Long had become soured
on the problem when some of
the refugees recommended
by Rabbi Wise had turned
out to be bad people.

Continued on next page




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