“To kill the Jews, the Nazis were willing to weaken their capacity to fight the war. The United States and its allies, however, were willing to attempt almost nothing to save them” (Pp 5). If we would have put half as much energy into loving the Jews as Hitler spent hating the Jews we could have made a great difference.
Wyman’s book, The Abandonment of the Jews was very intriguing to me. Although I found it very thorough it left me wanting to know how something this horrible could have been allowed to happen. Although Wyman does discuss why more was not done, I am still horrified that this was allowed to happen. Wyman proves that the US should and could have done more to help the dying Jews.
I found a reoccurring theme to be that a large problem was that Jewish people had nowhere to go. No one wanted them.
The book begins by giving a brief background into the setting of America at the onset of the war. It details an anti-Semitic America. It also explains most of the anti-Semitism as passive, which ordinarily would do little harm, but during a holocaust crisis became a reason for America’s inaction.
The book then jumps right into the emergence of information that became available. The first major report was the Bund report. This estimated the number of victims to already be over 700,000.
This report and the ones to follow were hard to believe. The state departments skepticism kept the news from reaching the media for several months. They were convinced that the deportations were for slave labor even though this explanation has huge flaws. As more reports of the mass murders developed they were finally confirmed, 17 months after the first killing began.
One of the first steps taken was that seven different Jewish organizations came together to form the Temporary Committee. They decided on 5 steps of action and after obtaining them they dissolved the committee without much accomplished. Some of the steps included press announcements, a national day of mourning, and a meeting with President Roosevelt.
The committee wanted action but had prepared no proposals. All they left with from their meeting with FDR was an agreement that the president would warn Germany of war crimes. This was the only meeting FDR granted to Jewish leaders.
In December 1942 the UN Declaration was signed by the 3 main allies...
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...to be able use this as an example and as a bargaining tool to convince other countries to do the same, but the small effort did not convince anyone.
The War Refugee Board may have saved as many as 200,000 Jews, but it was in no way as effective as it should have been. The two biggest downfalls were that it was not funded properly and it was established too late.
The sad fact is that during the time when humanity needed our help the most we let red tape, fear and greed keep us from helping. Wyman suggests many options that were available to help that would not have harmed our military effort yet we refused to try. We are now stuck with this burden of not knowing. Unfortunately they were not American nor were they British. Even worse they were not only foreigners but also Jews. Wyman suggests this is a huge reason why we were not willing to save them. After reading this book the conclusion to a pageant meant to inform Americans of the Nazi atrocities has stuck with me.
The corpse of a people lies on the steps of civilization. Behold it. Here it is! And no voice is heard to cry halt to the slaughter, no government speaks to bid the murder of human millions end(pp91).
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