Many White House Advisers to FDR Told Him Not to Publicly Speak Out Against Hitler: Historians

  • In the 1930s, the FDR did not publicly denounce Hitler’s treatment of the Jews.
  • Some Jewish advisers in his government had advised him not to speak out.
  • They were afraid that speaking out would lead to more persecution of the Jews.

Some Jewish advisers close to President Franklin D. Roosevelt advised him not to publicly denounce the Nazis because they feared it would further harm the Jewish people in Germany — leaving the Democratic president with a dilemma. , a new PBS documentary reported.

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According to the documentary, Roosevelt appointed more Jewish officials to his administration than any president before him, but those in his administration disagreed on how to handle international diplomacy over what Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were doing in 1930s Germany. goods.

The documentary ‘The US and the Holocaust’ is a film by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein. It premiered Sunday on PBS. The three-part, six-hour series features first-hand testimony from Holocaust survivors and, with the help of historians, examines the US’s initial public apathy towards the humanitarian crisis and the US government’s reluctance to open its doors. for those seeking refuge .

Ultimately, President Roosevelt would side with advisers who told him not to speak out.

Jewish Americans in the US disagreed on how to help the people of Germany. There were concerns that speaking out would fall into Hitler’s propaganda and ultimately be more damaging to the Jews under his rule. However, many Jewish Americans and non-Jewish allies held rallies, delivered speeches, and argued for more.

Jewish war veterans had led a march to New York City Hall, calling for a worldwide boycott of German goods.

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“The time of prudence and prudence is over. We must speak out like men. How can we ask our Christian friends to raise their voices in the protests against the injustice suffered by the Jews if we remain silent,” said influential Rabbi Samuel Wise on the meeting time.

He added: “What happens in Germany today could happen tomorrow in any other country on Earth unless challenged and reprimanded. It is not the German Jews who are being attacked. It is the Jews.”

The protests then spread across the pond to England, leading the Nazis to claim it was proof that German rule was being “attacked” by Jews, claiming that reports of mistreatment of Jewish people were lies.

Nazi leader Hermann Göring, a close Hitler adviser, called on Jewish leaders in Germany to stop the demonstrations immediately or the Nazis would take “revenge,” according to the documentary.

“The Jews in America and England hope to injure us. We will know how to deal with their brothers in Germany,” Göring said.

On March 27, 1933, more than 20,000 people in New York City gathered in Madison Square Garden to protest the German treatment of German Jews. Another 35,000 gathered outside. Speaking at the event, Rabbi Samuel Wise said that if their protests did more damage, they would “bow their heads.”

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“When things get worse for our brothers Jews in Germany, which I can’t make myself believe, we bow our heads humbly and sorrowfully in the face of the tragic fate that threatens and once again appeal to the consciousness of Christianity to save civilization of the embarrassment that may be imminent,” Wise told the crowd.

More than 70 protests in cities across the US followed, involving more than a million Americans. These protests only led to Hitler claiming that Jews “controlled” America.

In retaliation, he ordered a one-day boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany, and Nazi soldiers stood outside every Jewish business to intimidate customers into entering.

“Again and again Jewish Americans would find themselves in a painful dilemma,” said the documentary, narrated by Peter Coyote. “If they kept quiet about the persecution by the Nazis, it seemed as if they had abandoned their fellow Jews. If they protested, they risked confirming Hitler’s delusions about the power of Jews around the world.”

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