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Roosevelt and the Holocaust

I'm about to read a book entitled "Roosevelt and the Holocaust." Often before reading a non fiction book, I research the issue and write out a time line so that I can refer back. I guess it's the Lawyer and the Nerd in me. My time line is about a history of Antisemitism in the US around the time of World War II. I have no conclusions about Roosevelt. Much of my information came from this fine writing. soc.washington.edu/.../burstein/Dinnerstein_Antisemitism_High_Tide.pdf

I thought that I'd share my time line with you. I'm interested in your opinions.  My time line is admittedly incomplete.

Type your cut cont

1932- A Pennsylvania Congressman, on the floor of the House, declares that Jews had all the gold and money while gentiles had only "little slips of paper."

1932- Fred (Fritz) Gartner is elected to Congress with the Support of the German-American Bund.

January 30, 1933- Ths Silver Legion of America, commonly known as the Silver Shirts, an American Nazi organization was founded by William Dudley Pelley.

February 3, 1934, Pelley publishes an edition of "Liberation which contained an infamous antisemitic canard known as The Franklin Prophecy, which claimed that Benjamin Franklin warned Americans not to allow Jews to benefit from the United States Constitution.." (Wikipedia)

November 11, 1934 Father Charles Coughlin founded the National Union for Social Justice (NUSJ), a nationalistic worker's rights organization which grew impatient with what it viewed as the President's pro-capitalist policies. His radio programs preached about the negative influence of international bankers and Wall Street on the general welfare of the public. His radio show often spoke out against Roosevelt, Capitalist and "Jewish Conspirators."

After the 1936 election, Coughlin increasingly expressed sympathy for the fascist policies of Hitler and Mussolini. He blamed the Depression on an "international conspiracy of Jewish bankers", and also claimed that Jewish bankers were behind the Russian Revolution.

1936 Olympics- On the morning of the 400-meter relay race, at the last moment, the only two Jews on the 1936 US track team, Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller, were replaced by Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe. Glickman later said that that decision might have been the result of pressure from Avery Brundage (President of the Amateur Athletic Union). Brundage later praised the Nazi regime at a Madison Square rally, and was expelled from the America First Committee in 1941 because of his pro-German leanings. After the 1936 Olympics, Brundage's company, the Avery Brundage Company, was awarded a building contract by Nazi Germany in 1938 to build the German Embassy in America. Brundage was notified in a letter from Nazi authorities acknowledging Brundage's pro-Nazi sympathies. As late as 1971, after many revelations over Nazi Germany's use of the 1936 Olympics for their own propaganda, Brundage still claimed "The Berlin Games were the finest in modern history...I will accept no dispute over that fact. (Wikipedia)

November 27, 1938, Coughlin said "There can be no doubt that the Russian Revolution ... was launched and fomented by distinctively Jewish influence."

He began publication of a newspaper, Social Justice, during this period, in which he printed antisemitic polemics such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. At a rally in the Bronx in 1938, he gave a Nazi salute and said, "When we get through with the Jews in America, they'll think the treatment they received in Germany was nothing."

December 18, 1938 two thousand of Coughlin's followers marched in New York protesting potential asylum law changes that would allow more Jews (including refugees from Hitler's persecution) into the US, chanting, "Send Jews back where they came from in leaky boats!" and "Wait until Hitler comes over here!" The protests continued for several months.

After 1936, Coughlin began supporting an organization called the Christian Front, which claimed him as an inspiration. In January 1940, the Christian Front was shut down when the FBI discovered the group was arming itself and "planning to murder Jews, communists, and 'a dozen Congressmen'" and eventually establish, in J. Edgar Hoover's words, "a dictatorship, similar to the Hitler dictatorship in Germany". Coughlin publicly stated, after the plot was discovered, that he still did not "disassociate himself from the movement", and though he was never linked directly to the plot, his reputation suffered a fatal decline. (Wikipedia)

1939, Representative Jacob Thorkelson of Montana, stated that there was a Jewish conspiracy of International Bankers.

June 4, 1939- The SS St. Louis refused entry into US.

Congressman Hamilton Fish was touted by the Germans as a friendly American ally. Time magazine once termed him, "the Nation's No. 1 isolationist".


On August 14, 1939, Fish, president of the U.S. delegation to the Interparliamentary Union Congress conference in Oslo, Norway, met with Joachim von Ribbentrop. Ribbentrop served as Foreign Minister of Nazi Germany from 1938 until 1945. Fish flew to Oslo in Ribbentrop's private plane. Fish, a staunch opponent of Roosevelt, advocated better relations with Nazi Germany and hoped to solve the "Danzig question" during the conference in Norway. "Stepping out of Joachim von Ribbentrop's plane in 1939, Fish opined that Germany's claims were ‘just.’"


Upon his return to the states, Fish used his office to distribute copies of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. When accused of anti-Semitism, he responded, "It doesn't bother me any. There's been too much Jewism going around anyway." (Wikipedia)

February 11, 1940, Pelley testifies before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

In 1941, a judiciary panel investigating the activities of Nazi agents in the U.S., sent officers to the Washington headquarters of an anti-British organization, the Islands for War Debts Committee, to seize eight bags of franked Congressional mail containing speeches by isolationist members of Congress. George Hill, Fish’s chief of staff, had the mail whisked away to Ham Fish's office storeroom just prior to their arrival.

A grand jury was convened and summoned George Hill to explain: 1) why he had been so solicitous about the Islands for War Debts Committee's mail; and 2) his close association with George Sylvester Viereck, a Nazi propaganda agent. (Viereck would later be convicted of violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act and for having subsidized the Islands for War Debts Committee.) Hill said he had not sent for the mail and did not know George Sylvester Viereck. The jury promptly indicted George Hill on a charge of perjury.

Shortly after the indictment, Congressman Fish defended Hill claiming, "George Hill is 100% O.K., and I'll back George Hill to the limit on anything."

After Hill’s verdict, Fish issued a statement: "I am very sorry to learn that George Hill, a disabled, decorated veteran of the World War and a clerk in my office, has been convicted of perjury... . Mr. Hill is of English ancestry... . He had an obsession against our involvement in war. ...".

An investigation by the Department of Justice produced evidence that several congressmen received funds from Nazi sources. The special assistant to the Attorney General, William Maloney convened the first grand jury investigation, which indicted 28 individuals. Among those indicted was Hamilton Fish, Republican congressman from New York. During trial, Hill explained that Viereck visited Capitol Hill in 1940 and arranged for wholesale distribution of Congressional speeches attacking the Administration's foreign policy.

Fish was also accused of receiving over $3,100 (approximately $41,000 in 2007 dollars) in cash from pro-Nazi sources.


The Orange and Putnam district that Fish represented had begun to turn against him. Polls showed Fish would not even win the Republican primary. For the first time in his 22 years of political campaigning he opened campaign headquarters. However, soon thereafter he was publicly humiliated and repudiated by the popular Republican gubernatorial candidate, Thomas Dewey. (Wikipedia)

February 11, 1940, Pelley testifies before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Congressman John A. Flanagan of West Virginia states on the floor of the House that he didn’t want "any Ginsberg" to lead his son into battle.

Congressman Martin dies of Texas told colleagues that antisemitism was not a crime.


July, 1940 The America First Committee an isolationist group garners support of Henry Ford and Father Coughlin. Senators Burton Wheeler of Montana and Gerald Nye of North Dakota speak at America first Meeting. Nye denounces Jewish producers in Hollywood for making movies designed to win support for US entry into WWII.

September 16, 1941, Charles Lindbergh, who had already accepted a medal from Hitler, spoke before the America First Committee. "Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our Government."

August 6, 1942- Pelley convicted on 11 counts of High Treason.

1043- The Government distributed 350,000 copies of the Bible to the military that included the following two phrases "Israel’s Fall the Gentile’s Salvation" and "The Jews are a synagogue of Satan."

In Germany General Patton refused to have Jewish chaplains at his headquarters.

John E. Rankin, Mississippi Congressman from 1920-1953, stated in reference to American Jews:

"They whine about discrimination. Do you know who is being discriminated against? The white Christian people of America, the ones who created this nation.... I am talking about the white Christian people of the North as well as the South.... Communism is racial. A racial minority seized control in Russia and in all her satellite countries, such as Poland, Czechoslovakia, and many other countries I could name. They have been run out of practically every country in Europe in the years gone by, and if they keep stirring race trouble in this country and trying to force their communistic program on the Christian people of America, there is no telling what will happen to them here." (Cong. Rec., April 23, 1952, p. 4320).


In 1944 and 1945 The Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars called for the suspension of immigration to the US for periods of 5 to 10 years after the war ended,

1945 Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi "So far as Jews are concerned, we have Jews in my State, ans some of my best friends are Jews." But there was a certain class of "k***" Jews in New York who wanted to "cram" the Fair Employment Practices Commission :down the throats of the American people."

Neil Simon wrote of a fellow soldier’s reaction to finding out that he was Jewish : "You’re Jewish?, I thought you’d look different, your nose would be different."

ents here.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 28th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
It is another dismal chapter in our history. There has been discrimination, open discrimination. It has not perhaps been talked about as much as it might. My sense of it is that the election of Obama allows a cleansing of all that has gone on in the past. This is my hope. It is not just about black and white, but about all ways chosen to discriminate against another group of people.

My oldest son is married to a woman of Chinese descent. Though her mother was born in this country, she did not approve, and still does not. I have found it very painful, but my daughter-in-law sees it as a chance for healing, and my grandchildren will be raised with awareness because of it.

My younger son married a woman who is Jewish. Her parents are welcoming, though they would have preferred it differently perhaps. They worry their traditions will be lost. Knowing both young people, I feel their traditions will be honored and respected, and again, the grandchildren will be wisely and carefully taught. What I see with both my sons and their choice of incredibly beautiful, intelligent, compassionate, and kind wives is that this younger generation is intermingling in a way that means the divisiveness of the past can heal.

I think that is why we now have an attack on "elitists." It seems the last ones to heal will be those who feel best when they have some group to attack.

That no longer serves us. It is time to cultivate the best of each group, honoring the diversity from which we come and the unity that is attached.

I am remembering now that my mother married a Catholic. She had been taught they were devils with horns, and she certainly never planned to marry one, but then, she fell in love. The Catholic Church never worked for her, but certainly she could see that my father found something in it that she had to respect. I think it was helpful for me to see different choices as to spiritual belief when I grew up.

I don't know if this addresses your question, but my sense of it is that while we may need to remember what has been, we also need to honor the changes that have occurred. Though Diane Feinstein is Jewish, I never hear it mentioned about her. I think that it has nothing to do with her resume says it all as to the difference between that time period and now. When I just checked to make sure she is Jewish, I see that Barbara Boxer is also. Again, I am not aware of any prejudice against them in the voting booth because they are Jewish. I think that says a great deal about the changes that have occurred, and the election of Barack Obama says a great deal more.

I believe in the healing that occurs, and I am certainly grateful I live now when such barriers have begun to fall, and those kinds of comments now backfire.
Nov. 28th, 2008 06:03 pm (UTC)
I don't think that the younger generation sees color or religion like ours did. It's about time.

My sisters first husband was Jewish. He was also a Putz. My niece and nephew grew up with a selfish, arrogant, stupid father. She is now married to a Christian. He treats my sister like gold. He gives my niece and nephew a male role model that they never ot from their father.

His daughter is beautiful and charming. as much a niece to me as my sister's kids.

They celebrate Passover, Christmas, Rosh Hashonah, Easter etc... It would have been sad had my sister given up happiness because of religion.

Times have changed. my examples were of an era long ago. There;s still plenty of prejudice. It'll never die, but hopefully it's terminally ill.
Nov. 29th, 2008 03:31 am (UTC)
Yes, times have changed. I see now that was your point, just how bad it was. Yes, I look forward to my grandchildren celebrating all the holidays. Actually, my children did through school so it makes sense to continue that way.

I am happy for your sister, and yes, I hope prejudice is terminally ill. It hurts us all and has no place in society anymore.

May the peace of Thanksgiving continue throughout the year.

Nov. 29th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
My step-grandfather was Jewish.
Interesting time line. Any cohesive group of intelligent, successful, and powerful people will be viewed as a threat by the disjointed, stupid, financially dependent and insecure people. Again, with the Jews, the victims are made out to be the perpetrators. On the other hand, no group--Christian Republican Fascists, Buddhist Pro-Life/Anti-Women Activists, Muslim Extremists--should be granted absolute power. Checks and balances are inherent in the human thought code and will continue to prevail.
Nov. 29th, 2008 02:45 pm (UTC)
Re: My step-grandfather was Jewish.
History fascinates me. I get obsessive about it. I need Sarah Palin to revive my sense of humor.
Nov. 29th, 2008 02:55 pm (UTC)
Turkeys and Chickens
Friend of mine sent me a link to that damned turkey video/interview w Palin. I could only watch the part where the fat butterball is kicking its little feet trying to get out of the decapitator. Palin + Cheney monkeys could start a new holocaust (complete w guillotines) against the "Unsaved". Gotta nip these roots while they're short, yes?

Also, if they come after you, they come after me. I've got your back.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )



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