web analytics
April 1, 2015 / 12 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

FDR Was A Hero, Not A Villian – Why I Wrote “Saving the Jews: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Holocaust”


In April 2001, I visited my daughter Ali, then a fifteen-year-old student at Phillips Academy in Andover, near Boston. We went to the Holocaust Memorial near Quincy Market in downtown Boston, and I was taken aback by a seemingly innocuous but in fact outrageous statement engraved in stone: “By late 1942, the United States and its Allies were aware of the death camps but did nothing to destroy them.”

I knew that, in 1942, the Allies lacked the ability to destroy the Nazi death camps. Over lunch, this Jewish American father explained to his Jewish American daughter that the United States was not even a belligerent in World War II until the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and that our armed forces and citizens, I believed, were woefully unprepared for war at that moment.

I told Ali that in 1942, President Roosevelt began fighting what, for Americans, appeared to be a desperate multifront war against brutal Japanese militarists in the Pacific and a triumphant Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in Europe and North Africa. We strove mightily, I explained, to save Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and all of Europe from the German juggernaut.

“But why didn’t we try to save the Jews?” Ali asked.

“FDR did the best he could,” I told her.

But was I right?

After five years of research, I found the main charges against the Roosevelt Administration – FDR’s alleged “abandonment of the Jews” and “complicity in the Holocaust” – were not true. On close examination, the charges of the Roosevelt decriers fall apart.

For example, take the charge that Jewish refugees onboard the S.S. St. Louis, which sailed from Hamburg to Cuba in May 1939, were returned to Europe to die in the Final Solution. I examined the records of the State Department. Our diplomats tried to convince the Cuban government to allow the passengers to disembark in Havana. When that failed, the Roosevelt administration cooperated with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (“The Joint”) to save the passengers from returning to Germany. One-third of them disembarked in Great Britain, the remainder disembarked in Antwerp. None were returned to Germany.

Yet most American Jews today believe a fairy tale: that the S.S. St. Louis left the shores of Miami and sailed to Hamburg where the passengers were taken off to extermination camps. It was June of 1939. World War II had not begun. The Final Solution had not begun. Auschwitz had not been built. Two-thirds of the S.S. St. Louis passengers survived the Holocaust. No one knew in June 1939 that Hitler would reach into France, Belgium, and the Netherlands three years later in 1942 and deport Jews.

I also examined fairy tale number two: Roosevelt and American Jews were silent about the Holocaust. When the Final Solution began in the Soviet Union in June of 1941, it was not clear at first that the Nazis were bent on the extermination of the Jews. It did become clear by the fall of 1942. Roosevelt publicly denounced these atrocities on numerous occasions. He warned the Germans of “fearful retribution” in August 1942. He warned of war crime trials in October.

On December 17, 1942, in a declaration downplayed by FDR’s critics, the Allies condemned “in the strongest possible terms this bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination” of “the Jewish people in Europe.” This United Nations Declaration on Jewish Massacres was published on the front page of the New York Times.

Those who claimed there was “a conspiracy of silence” were wrong on both counts. There was no conspiracy, and Roosevelt certainly was not silent. Neither were American Jews who protested, held memorial services, and demanded action.

The bombing of Auschwitz turned out to be another red herring. Very few Jewish leaders asked the British and American governments to bomb the camps. Most Jewish groups and leaders opposed the bombing of Auschwitz for the obvious reason that if the camps were bombed, the Jews in the camps would die. On June 1, 1944, the Jewish Agency Executive in Palestine voted 11-1 against asking the Allies to bomb Auschwitz.

“It is forbidden for us to take responsibility for a bombing that could very well cause the death of even one Jew,” one member said. The World Jewish Congress consistently told the Department of War and the War Refugee Board that it was opposed to bombing “as the first victims would be the Jews who are gathered in these camps.”

About the Author: Robert N. Rosen, author of "Saving the Jews: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Holocaust" (Thunder's Mouth press, 2006), is a shareholder in the Rosen Law Firm in Charleston, South Carolina. He received his B.A. degree in history from the University of Virginia in 1969, his M.A. degree in History from Harvard University in 1970 and his J.D. degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1973. Mr. Rosen has served as assistant corporation counsel for the city of Charleston and general counsel for the Charleston County School District. His previous books include "A Short History of Charleston" and "The Jewish Confederates."


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “FDR Was A Hero, Not A Villian – Why I Wrote “Saving the Jews: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Holocaust””

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Obama Stops Punishing Egypt for Dumping Muslim Brotherhood Prez
Latest Indepth Stories
hurva

The rededication of the Hurva caused international hysteria.Arabs called the action a “provocation”

Photo from President Barack Obama's past visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

{Originally posted to author’s website, FirstOne Through} TRUST Trust is the bedrock of a functional relationship. It enables one party to rely on the other. A trust that includes both intention and capability permits a sharing of responsibility and workload. The relationship between US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu started off badly and further […]

jabotinsky with sword

Jabotinsky said “Go To Hell” was a good retort to opponents of the Jewish people; fitting for Obama.

Obama Racine

Obama pulled off one of US history’s greatest cons,twice fooling a gullible electorate and most Jews

While in Auschwitz I felt a tangible intensity. I could sense that I was in a place of sheer evil.

Obama needs to wake up. The real enemy is not Netanyahu but Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad,IS

My beliefs & actions have led to numerous death threats against me; my excommunication by my church

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

More Articles from Robert N. Rosen

In April 2001, I visited my daughter Ali, then a fifteen-year-old student at Phillips Academy in Andover, near Boston. We went to the Holocaust Memorial near Quincy Market in downtown Boston, and I was taken aback by a seemingly innocuous but in fact outrageous statement engraved in stone: “By late 1942, the United States and its Allies were aware of the death camps but did nothing to destroy them.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/fdr-was-a-hero-not-a-villian-why-i-wrote-saving-the-jews-franklin-d-roosevelt-and-the-holocaust/2006/10/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: