What’s our excuse?
Why did we, the American Jewish community, not do more to force our government to take necessary action leading up to and during World War II?
Many thanks for an excellent and thought-provoking op-ed, but it does not touch on the question that troubles me the most (“Holocaust Museum’s exhibit makes excuses for FDR,” Aug. 31). Why did we, the American Jewish community, not do more to force our government to take necessary action?
In the 1930s, the U.S. population included more than 4.4 million Jews. We had been told what was going on under the Nazis in the Europe. Kristallnacht in 1938 made it crystal clear what Hitler intended to do to us. At least a tenth of our population should have gone to Washington and gathered in front of the White House with a simple message: “President Roosevelt, we love you. Most of us voted for you and hope to do so again. But we’re staying here until you take decisive action to save the lives of our people in Europe.”
I doubt FDR would have ignored a half million determined supporters. Would some other Americans have called us “pushy”? Of course. But we had the facts. This would have been the time to make our case to our fellow Americans.
Why did we not do more to demand action to save our people? Well, one of the glories of the FDR administration was the number of Jews in positions high and low, who helped Roosevelt’s ideas become administrative realities. They literally helped save the republic. But, was it possible that the very number of our people, in responsible positions, might have been one reason we were not more forceful on this issue? The word “tragedy” is over-used and misused, but here it might really apply.