Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.
Memory of DuBois’s Heroism Overshadows Futile Defenders of FDR’s Reputation
More than six decades after the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, even the youngest of his contemporaries are now fading from the scene. World War II and the Holocaust are, to most Americans, as distant as the Civil War and the battle of Gettysburg.
And yet, the arguments over his legacy are not going away. That is the only conclusion you can draw from the publication of a new book that modestly describes itself on its dust jacket as a “fearless, outstanding example of historical detective work.”
Saving the Jews: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Holocaust by Robert N. Rosen is a partisan riposte to the decades of serious work on the subject that has depicted the indifference of the American government to the slaughter of European Jewry and the unwillingness of the president to use his power to make a difference on the issue.
This is a difficult piece of history whose examination requires us to discard the godlike image of FDR that has been burnished by his idolaters.
Chipping away at this stained-glass image to the point where his less than praiseworthy record on the Holocaust could be dispassionately examined was not easy. Though there were other important books on the subject, it was not until the publication of the seminal The Abandonment of the Jews by David S. Wyman, which first appeared in 1984, that a change in the way Roosevelt’s record was viewed took hold.
Wyman debunked the widely held belief that no one knew about extermination prior to the liberation of the death camps, and that little could have been done to help. But to those who prefer the myth of FDR to the unvarnished truth, there is Robert Rosen’s new book, published by Thunder Mouth’s Press, a publication house created by the far-left Nation magazine.
Rosen is well-suited to such a task; his last historical work, The Jewish Confederates, was a book whose aim was to portray Jews who supported the effort to preserve slavery as heroes and their abolitionist Yankee opponents as the bad guys. To anyone capable of that astonishing feat, rewriting the history of World War II is mere child’s play.
As was the case with his Confederate book, Saving the Jews is chock-full of footnotes and references to give the impression of scholastic weight. But all it proves is that Rosen has read a great deal of history and understood little of it. As with his rebel heroes, Rosen gives Roosevelt every benefit of the doubt. Every piece of evidence that showed the government’s indifference is credited to others, while all instances of sympathy for rescue are considered his doing.
Even worse, Rosen adopts the despicable attitudes of those Jews and non-Jews who resisted rescue by denigrating those like Hillel Kook and his Emergency Committee to Rescue the Jews of Europe who worked to force the administration to act. He even condescendingly describes the October 1943 pro-rescue march on Washington by 400 rabbis as the work of “bearded, foreign-looking” and “medieval” men.
If, as some assert, Roosevelt refused to meet with those rabbis because his feckless Jewish advisers told him these were not the sort of Jews whom he wanted to associate with, then Rosen seems to follow in their footsteps. In short, the book is a travesty that no serious reader should bother with.
But for those who worry that the study of this important chapter is being left to the likes of Robert Rosen, there is some comfort. Though the brilliant David Wyman has retired, an institute named in his honor is carrying the fight to pursue the historical truth about the American reaction to the Holocaust.
About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this first appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
2 basic aspects of Aristotelian thought remarkably like Jewish thought: “Involvement” & “Purpose”
“Farming still allows some unique opportunities for mitzvah fulfillment that a city dweller never meets.”
It shakes our sense of justice when allegations against a famed role model are covered up or ignored
The silver lining with early elections is the chance to change the current dysfunctional government.
The Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland informed the host he could not say “Israel or Jewish state”
It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.
The West needs to ensure Russia understands that aggression comes at a significant cost.
What benefit is a learning experience that leaves kids confused,disillusioned&harms self confidence?
Girlfriend and double cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley apparently was influenced by Islamic extremism.
We see pictures of mosques, monuments for terrorists, illegal schools, and hundreds of apartments being built on Jewish land without repercussions. We are losing Jewish property, so it is up to us to protect it.
Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.
Also left unsaid was the fact that the menorah and its oil were in the Beit HaMikdash, which of course was located on Har HaBayit – the Temple Mount that present-day Muslims claim as their own.
Despite strong pressure to throw the book at the accused, Mr. Thompson allowed him to plead guilty to assault.
Anti-Semitism has returned to the mainstream of European society and Israel has become its focus.
One of the key talking points by apologists for Hamas in the current conflict is that it isn’t fair that Israelis under fire have bomb shelters while Palestinians in Gaza don’t have any. Among other factors, the lack of shelters accounts in part for the differences in casualty figures between the two peoples. But somehow […]
How will all this end? Hamas seems to think it will be Netanyahu who will blink first.
Nothing short of a stroke that will decapitate the leadership of this group will convince the Arabs that Hamas has made a mistake.
Z STREET will have the ability to compel IRS officials to testify as to their practices and produce all records.
“Death of Klinghoffer” opera frames the issue as Israel’s existence being the real crime.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-man-who-blew-the-whistle/2006/06/21/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: