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Forgotten Memor. The Last Sermon
The Jumper
Lovers & Enemies
Shlojme Balagule
The Fall of Sevast.
Autobiogr. Notes
The Shtejtl
World Collapses
The Russians.
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First Kaddish.
Out of the Grave
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The Baby
Bunker Building
Bunker Collapses
I Almost Killed ...
Ghetto Escape
In Hiding
The Liberation.
Survivor Creed
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Final Solution
What Happened?
The Killings
Why Jews?
War against Jews
Victims of Antisem
The Worst Camp
Nazi Methods
Hitler - Syphilitic
Hitler the Man
Hitler & Jews
The Victims
Hlc. Syndrome
The Rescuers
Jewish Resistance
Church Silence
Nazi Revolution
Jews Abandoned
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Remebr. Day
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The Verdict


©1998 by Robert Michael

The records of the Casablanca Conference contain the clearest and most significant evidence concerning the President attitudes toward the Jews and the basic reason why he did nothing to end the anti-refugee policy of the United States. The conference took place in January 1943 in the middle of the period when the mass murder of Jews was taking place in Europe. By this time, Roosevelt knew nearly everything about these atrocities. Roosevelt had been informed over the years by American diplomats and American press reports about the Jewish condition in Europe.1 Moreover, in December 1942 the Polish government in exile had accurately informed the U.S. government of many of the facts of the Holocaust.

Yet at Casablanca, Roosevelt amazingly seemed to sympathize with Nazi discrimination against Jews. He proposed to Generals Noguès and Giraud that the French government in North Africa discriminate against the Jews of French North Africa just as Hitler had done in Germany before the war .2)

Roosevelt stated that the number of Jews engaged in the practice of the professions . . . should be definitely limited to the percentage that the Jewish population in North Africa bears to the whole North African population. He endorsed the same plan for Germany. Limiting the number of Jews in the professions, he stated, would further eliminate the specific and understandable complaints which the Germans bore toward the Jews in Germany, namely, that while they represented a single part of the population, over 50 per cent of the lawyers, doctors, school teachers, college professors, etc., in Germany were Jews. 3)

Roosevelt¸s misinformation and solutions were shared by American Ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, who had written to Charles Crane that he, Dodd, had told the Germans unofficially that they had a serious [Jewish] problem but that they did not know how to solve it. The Jews had held a great many more of the key positions in Germany than their numbers or their talents entitled them to. 4)

The errors in Roosevelt statements were telling, because they mirrored modern antisemitic stereotypes. In the interwar period, the facts are that Jews comprised about 16 percent of German lawyers, 11 percent of physicians, 4 percent of the university teachers, and 1 percent of teachers in lower grades. 5 )

At Casablanca, F.D.R.¸s comments echoed Nazi and American anti-Jewish propaganda of the 1930s. Father Coughlin praised the National-Socialists¸ understandable effort to block the Jewish-Communist plan for subjugating Germany.6 Congressman Louis McFadden had encouraged Hitler¸s attempts to destroy the alleged Jewish control of the German economy, media, education, and professions.7)

For President Roosevelt, America was a "Protestant" nation,8) and Jews were here on suffrance. F.D.R.¸s feelings about Jews (and Catholics) are clear from a private conversation with Leo Crowley, the Catholic economist and wartime Alien Property Custodian. One day in January 1942, Roosevelt proclaimed to a shocked Crowley: Leo, you know this is a Protestant country, and the Catholics and the Jews are here on sufferance. It is up to both of you [Crowley and Henry Morganthau, a Jew and Secretary of the Treasury] to go along with anything that I want at this time. 9)

F.D.R.¸s comment confirms his belief that Jews as well as Catholics would always be aliens in a Protestant nation like the United States. This attitude, not uncommon among America's Protestant elite, may help explain FDR's aloofness from the agonized experience of the Holocaust's Jews. He may have hated the Nazis and their collaborators for the crimes they committed against non-Jews, but he remained aloof, unable to make the human connection with Jewish victims. 10)

Like many liberals, FDR avoided the realities of the Jewish catastrophe based on a mild antisemitism. As Life magazine's managing editor, John Billing, wrote in his diary, "We're all antisemitic, only some of us have better self-control than others."11)

FOOTNOTES 1) At the time of Kristallnacht in November 1938, President Roosevelt had already been warned by his ambassador to Poland, Anthony Biddle, that The plight of the Jewish populations as a whole in Europe is steadily becoming . . . untenable. Biddle to Roosevelt (10 November 1938). See Lipstadt, Beyond Belief.

2) Noguès was Vichy France¸s Resident General of Morocco.

3) The Roosevelt-Noguès and the Roosevelt-Giraud Conversations at the President¸s Villa (noon and 4:20 p.m., 17 January 1943), Roosevelt Papers, McCrea Notes, in Foreign Relations of the United States: The Conferences at Washington 1941-1942 and Casablanca 1943 (Washington D.C. 1968), 608-11.

4) Brecher, Charles R. Crane¸s Crusade for the Arabs, 47, 54n34.

5) See Jewish Historical Atlas.

6) Curran, Xenophobia and Immigration, 149.

7) Shapiro, The Approach of War, 48.

8) Robert Herzstein, "Jews, the Holocaust, and Henry Luce," Dimensions, 15.

9) Entry of 27 January 1942, Henry Morganthau Diaries, in Morgan, FDR, 553.

10) NAnother example was Henry Luce, the owner and director of Time Magazine, AMerica's most powerful journalistic enterprise. Herzstein, "Jews, the Holocaust, and Henry Luce," Dimensions, 19.

11) Herzstein, "Jews, the Holocaust, and Henry Luce," 21.

©1998 by Robert Michael


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