America turns its back on refugees

Monday, Dec 13, 1943

The plight of Jewish refugees could hardly have been worse. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that over 580,000 had perished in Oswiecim camp in Poland and another 80,000 had recently been moved there from other countries. Pressed as the Germans were on all fronts, they devoted vast resources to the killing machines. Meanwhile, Allied powers mouthed platitudes but balked at providing a refuge. America even refused to take in orphaned Jewish children. While the British accepted children, their government restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine. Jewish leaders in America made desperate appeals. The government, in return, offered platitudes. Secretary of State Cordell Hull assured the Alliance, a labor Zionist organization, that the US was “giving every consideration to the plight of the Jewish people in Europe (New York Times, p. 11). Their plight, he insisted, commands “the heartfelt sympathy of civilized people throughout the world.” But he sidestepped any actual aid saying, “When Hitlerism is defeated, your organization will have great opportunities further to aid in bringing relief to the victims of the Nazi scourge in the devastated communities of Europe.” How many would survive til then?


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