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5.0 out of 5 stars The U.S. Fiddles while Europe's Jews Burned, September 4, 2011
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This review is from: American Experience - America and the Holocaust (DVD)
This is a fine addition to a holocaust film library. For all those who wonder what the U.S. government's response was while Hitler was killing Europe's Jews, this film will answer many questions. There are some upstanding Christians like Will Rogers Jr. and Mr. Pele. However, much of Christian America was anti-Semitic at the time. The Jews of the U.S. did not feel secure in their own country. Thus, many misguided Jews like Rabbi Wise supported Roosevelt's administration policies. Breckenridge Long placed in charge of immigration for war refugees was himself an ardent anti-Semite who blocked the issuing of Visas to Jewish refugees at every turn. He could not have been more obstructionist without putting out a sign publicly that stated he hated Jews. American Jews were themselves victims of exclusionary policies keeping them out of certain fields, certain industries and even preventing the few Jewish doctors from having hospital privileges. Hotels, resorts, and residential areas excluded Jews. Some corporations like the three major car companies refused to hire Jews. They would sell to Jews or allow them to have dealerships, but they wouldn't hire them. The white glove law firms would not hire Jews. There were Jewish quotas in Universities and professional schools which severely limited Jewish admissions. Universities did not hire Jewish professors. There were exceptions here and there. However, American Jews having just left the depression behind were economically and socially vulnerable so many did not want to make waves or call attention to the anti-Antisemitism in our government and industry. Thus, many were afraid to speak out and urge government response. They were afraid that they too would be persecuted by Christian America. There was a small but vocal and active Nazi party and white power group here in the U.S. Some like Peter Bergson did speak out. Some brave Christians spoke out too. There just weren't enough people with power and influence calling for the rescue of Europe's Jews. Had the U.S. and Britain acted fervently upon learning of the fate of Europe's Jews, probably half of the 6,000,000 could have been saved. However, they didn't want them. It is truly sad as so many talented artists, musicians, scientists, physicians, professors, historians and writers were forever lost. For so many who thought that FDR was a true American hero, this film will be a surprise. He too in spite of his appointment of Henry Morganthau must have been anti-Semitic himself. He was a true politician. Only the threat of historical records probably forced him to set up the War Refugee Board. The Board probably saved 200,000 Jews who would have perished, but the Roosevelt administration responded as little as it could to even their requests. History has so far been charitable to FDR. I wish someone would be more frank in their historical perspective. He is the sacred cow that no one will criticize since he pulled us out of the depression and took us to victory in WWII. Had Elenore been president, she would have done much more. I can't say for sure if he was just behaving politically or if he was a true anti-Semite. He left no smoking gun. However, he must have been an anti-Semite to ignore and obstruct any remedial action that could have been brought to save Jews. I will always find fault with the fact that he failed to bomb Auschwitz while bombing the IG Farben factory a mere 5 miles away. For Breckinridge Long there is a special place in hell.
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