World War II #holocaust

Bernard Flam

Hi from Paris,
Dear  Deborah,
Back to your question.
I am not a specialist of all American Jewish movements, organizations and institutions, but I can at least testify about the American Jewish Labour Committee (JLC) which has been founded in 1934, one year after Hitler's election.
JLC, close to US migrants from Bund and socialists unions,  started both as a voice of workers among the American Jewish community and a voice of Jewish workers among American workers.
As militants from JLC were generally very close to their families left in Europe, they reacted quickly to the dramatic situation before 1939 and then to WWII / Shoah.
"They were not silent" is a documentary realized in 1998 by Roland Millman, Gail Malmgreen being referee of JLC archives at NYU-Taniment library.
JLC leaders were also members of a delegation which met President Roosevelt on 1942, December 8th, without any result concerning any action against Holocaust : I attach the memorandum of the meeting.

Whatever, Mir zeinen do ! We are there !!
I take this opportunity to send my best wishes to all participants and managers of this forum which reunites us across ocean.
Bernard Flam
Archives & history of Medem Center - Arbeter Ring of France (Bund, Skif, Workers Circle)

Alan Reische

I did not see it myself, being too young at the time, but our summer home in northern New Hampshire was directly adjacent to a colony of luxurious vacation homes, and my mother said that there was a sign at the entrance: 'No Jews or dogs allowed'. That did not come down until post-1945, and even after that, exclusionary practices continued around the resorts and vacation colonies. 

My father was a doctor in a small town not far away, at least 15 then-difficult miles from the next Jewish family, and my distinct impression was that my folks kept a very low religious profile and attempted to assimilate with the Yankee community. My father's office was attached to our residence, and I have a recollection of a XMas tree in the lobby. Pure assimilation, and we saw what good that did for the German-Jewish community. What eased things, I suppose, was that his patients adored him and made a concession in their bigotry for 'the Doc'.

(There was a single black family in the community at the time, and I have a memory of their son, who was a friend of mine, punching another local kid for using the N word. I can't imagine what life was like for them.)

There seemed to be a change in the mindset post-1947, fueled in part by Israel's fight for independence; Gentleman's Agreement (and Gregory Peck's courage); and Exodus. Still, we've seen how the virus remains alive in our body politic, ready to emerge at a moment's notice.

Alan Reische
Manchester NH
Przeclaw, Austria;
Debica, Austria


This seems to be an appropriate place to mention that my father graduated from the University of Bologna Medical School, in Italy, in the summer of 1938. He was immediately directed by his family to apply for immigration to America rather than return to Warsaw to establish a medical practice. Against all odds, he obtained his visa and came over on the Queen Mary, arriving in New York Harbor on February 9, 1939, just some 7 months before Hitler invaded Poland. On the ships manifest of Alien Passengers, he is listed as "Hebrew", while others were listed as "Polish", "German", etc. Some 2 weeks after his arrival, there was the big Pro-Hitler German-American Bund rally at Madison Square Garden. Just an hour away by car was the Pro-Nazi Camp Siegfried on Long Island. He soon changed his last name from Mozesson to Mason and returned to Europe in 1943 as a Captain in the US Army Medical Corps. He survived the war. His mother, father, little brother, aunts and uncles did not. He was the only member of his family to survive. 
George Mason


 Sorry if this is a repeat.  I exited before I hit reply.

I'm surprised The Abandonment of the Jews by David Wyman has not been mentioned here.  I believe it was the first to discuss why the US did not let the Jews in.  It is still worth reading and a good basis for further exploration of the subject. 

Certainly the Ken Burns documentary is worth watching (and paying for)  I haven't seen it yet.

Gentlemen's Agreement  isn't about the Holocaust and not germane to the original question.

Jessica Schein

JoAnne Goldberg

Thanks for mentioning the Gentleman's Agreement movie, George.

It won a number of awards and a brave movie for its time -- an era in
which actors generally changed their names to sound less Jewish and
movies tended to shy away from explicitly Jewish themes.
JoAnne Goldberg - Menlo Park, California; GEDmatch M131535



A movie, based on the book, came out in 1947, starring Gregory Peck. It is interesting to watch, even today, as a reflection of its time, foreshadowing similar movies of the Civil Rights era of the 1960s.

George Mason

Simah Kraus

On the subject of Jews not being white, there is an interesting book by Karen Brodkin from 2006 with the title: How Jews Became White Folks & What that Says about Race in America.
Simah Kraus

Barbara Stack

On the subject of Jews not being "white," over time I've collected a few documents supporting this view and have posted them here:
Barbara T Stack
ALTSTEIN                       Mlawa, Poland
ALTSZTEJN                     Nowy Dwor, Mazowiecki, Poland
CHRZADOWSKI             Brzeziny, Poland
CHSHUNSTOFSKY         Brzeziny, Kikol, Lipno Poland
DROZDOWCIZ                Nowy Dwor, Mazowiecki, Poland
OLDSTEIN                       England, US, Australia
RESNICK                         Volhynia, Ukraine
SCHLEGER                      Lokachi, Ukraine
STACHOWITZ                 USA
STASIOWICH                  Nowy Dwor, Mazowiecki, Poland
THORNER                        USA, Plock, Poland
TORUNCZYK                  Warszawa, Poland
YECHT                             Lokachi, Ukraine
ZLOTNICK                       Nowy Dwor, Mazowiecki, Poland

JoAnne Goldberg

For a different perspective:

I also found the book Gentleman's Agreement, published in the late 1940s, a fascinating albeit fictional look at the general perception of Jews. It's also well known that colleges/universities changed their admissions policies beginning in the 1920s to limit the number of Jewish students.


JoAnne Goldberg - Menlo Park, California; GEDmatch M131535



On Mon, Sep 19, 2022 at 12:33 PM, <shlasky@...> wrote:
In addition, many Americans were almost completely anti immigration believing in "replacement theory", which was new at that time.  Back then, replacement theory meant that white Protestants would be replaced by nonwhites and/or people of other faiths. 

According to Ken Burns' first episode in the currently running PBS documentary mentioned above, a lot of Americans thought that Jews were not "white."  This was also a time when Jews were not welcome at social and country clubs, some elite schools of higher education and other places. I remember Jews being unwelcome at local country clubs where I grew up in SC during the 1950s and 1960s. Later, they begged some to join.  
Barbara Sloan
Conway, SC


I watched the first part of the Ken Burns documentary and there were huge rallies, protests, and marches all over the US. Christians as well as Jews participated. Rabbi Stephen Wise was very influential in getting people on board.

The problem for Roosevelt was that he was dealing with millions of Americans who were pro Nazi and thought Hitler was a great man coupled with the resurgent KKK, also with millions of members and supporters.  Plus, there were people who believed that Roosevelt was Jewish and had changed his name from "Rosenberg" despite the fact that it was well known at the time that the Dutch had settled New Amsterdam in the early 1600s. 

In addition, many Americans were almost completely anti immigration believing in "replacement theory", which was new at that time.  Back then, replacement theory meant that white Protestants would be replaced by nonwhites and/or people of other faiths.  Catholics were not all that more welcome than Jews.  On top of that, the absurd theory of eugenics was widely believed.  Despite the efforts of scientists and some politicians to debunk it, people believed that where you came from made you more or less intelligent and worthwhile.  Naturally, the whiter people, those from the UK and Scandinavian countries, were deemed to be superior.  Of course, those were generally Protestant countries with the exception of Ireland and the Irish weren't especially welcome because they were Catholic.

Stephanie Shlasky


"None is too many" from the preface to the book: [This] is a story best summed up in the words of an anonymous senior Canadian official who, in the midst of a rambling, off-the-record discussion with journalists in 1945, was asked how many Jews would be allowed into Canada after the war … ‘None,’ he said, ‘is too many.’
Ruth Chernia
Toronto, Canada
searching for
TSCHERNIA of Copenhagen, Denmark, & Genichesk, Kherson Oblast, Ukraine
SHLAMOWITZ/SZLAMOWICZ/BIRENCWEIG of London, England; Lodz & Jezow, Poland
SEIDLER/ZAJDLER/LANDAU of Lodz & Sulejow, Poland
ROSENFELD of Raków, Kielce, Poland
SHKOLNIK/TICK[ER] of Ladyzhyn & Bershad, Vinnytsia, Ukraine

Frank Szmulowicz

See Christian Zionism:

Christian Zionism is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land and the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 were in accordance with Bible prophecy. The term began to be used in the mid-20th century in place of Christian restorationism.[1][2]

Christian advocacy in support of the restoration of the Jews grew after the Protestant Reformation and has its roots in seventeenth century England.[3] Contemporary Israeli historian Anita Shapira suggests that evangelical Christian Zionists in England of the 1840s "passed this notion on to Jewish circles",[4] while Jewish nationalism in the early 19th century was widely regarded with hostility by British Jews.[5]

Some Christian Zionists believe that the gathering of the Jews in Israel is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus.[3][6] The idea has been common in Protestant circles since the Reformation that Christians should actively support a Jewish return to the Land of Israel, along with the parallel idea that the Jews ought to be encouraged to become Christians as a means of fulfilling biblical prophecy.[7][8][9][10] Polling has suggested that Jews distrust Christian Zionist support for Israel and Jews themselves.

Frank Szmulowicz

Avrum Lapin

There wasn’t much “outrage or protest”

Watch the Ken Burns documentary tonight (9/18) on PBS at 8 pm (at least in the LA area on channel 50.1)

You will find that the American response was similar to the Canadian Prime Ministers response who when asked how many Jewish refugees Canada could take replied “None is too many”

Avrum Lapin

Ittai Hershman

There is no lack of books and articles on this topic.  One of the more recent polemicists is already re-hawking his book on the news of the PBS series.  A good place to start for an objective take is with the US Holocaust Museum summary:

I will take the opportunity to share something I was surprised by when I read James Loeffler's award winniing "Rooted Cosmopolitans" which is about the history of Jews and human rights in the 20th century (p. 97):

“Blaustein's researchers reported to him that antisemitism had dramatically increased in American society during the war years. Most Americans viewed Jews as a greater threat than German Americans or Japanese Americans; one-third of respondents indicated that they would ‘join or sympathize with an antisemitic political campaign.’ That number soon rose to a whopping 57 percent of the public. Yet at the same time, 59 percent of Americans favored the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. Even a majority of self-professed antisemites supported such a state. This presented a confounding situation for Jewish leaders: Americans liked the Zionist idea of a Jewish state even as they feared Jewish influence in domestic politics.”

Ittai Hershman
New York City


I have been puzzled by this for a very long time. Where were the Jews in the USA in the 1930's while FDR was President? Where was the outrage & protests? What was the response of the ADL? I have not been able to find very much information on this topic.  Deborah Stone, San Diego, CA