In addition, FDR and his administration rejected or ignored numerous requests from the War Refugee Board for rescue action, ranging from its request to set up temporary havens in the United States for large numbers of Jewish refugees (Roosevelt admitted just one token group of 982 refugees) to the proposals to bomb Auschwitz or the railway lines leading to it (which U.S. officials falsely claimed Allied planes could not reach).
It was the War Refugee Board, not President Roosevelt, that persuaded Raoul Wallenberg to go to Nazi-occupied Budapest to rescue Jews and that financed Wallenberg’s mission.
Yes, the staff of the War Refugee Board, led by John Pehle and Josiah E. DuBois, Jr. deserve credit for the remarkable life-saving work they undertook. But no, President Roosevelt does not deserve credit for the work they did – especially when, had he had his way, the board would never have been established in the first place.
Dr. Rafael Medoff
The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies
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