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Yehuda Bauer: My Brother's Keeper

A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1929-1939

[Holocaust preparations in Europe and resistance without solution of the situation]

The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia 1974

Transcription with subtitles by Michael Palomino (2007)



Chapter 6. The Beginning of the End
[C.] Evian [conference in summer 1938]

[Supplement: The reasons of anti-Semitism are not discussed

Also at this moment the industrial leaders of Roosevelt's "USA" are delivering and working for Hitler's Third Reich, and at the same time "US" Jewish banks are financing Communism.

The Pope with it's Bible which says that the Jews had murdered Jesus is the main cause for anti-Semitism. This would have been the main problem to discuss. But the Pope is not at the Evian conference, and the problem of anti-Semitism in the Bible and the existence of Jesus is not solved until now.

So, the Evian conference is discussing only the effects of anti-Semitism and plans to dislocate Jews. The Conference is not discussing the real reasons for anti-Semitism and by this cannot make real conclusions which could have saved many lives...]

[6.6. Preparation meeting for Evian Conference on 22 March 1938]

[22 March 1938: Preparation meeting: "President" Roosevelt invited 33 governments]

On March 22, 1938, President Roosevelt

[who gives to his industry bosses the approval to support NS Germany's industry against Communism and the "American" banks are financing Communism at the same time]

invited 33 governments to a conference in Europe that was to deal with refugees from Germany and Austria. In his book While Six Million Died, Arthur D. Morse traces the origin of this conference to Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, who suggested in a memorandum that an American initiative on the international level would counteract liberal pressure about the restrictive quota system.

The international body that would presumably be set up would take on the responsibility for finding places of settlement for the refugees other than the U.S.

(End note 25: Morse, op. cit. [Morse, Arthur D.: While Six Million Died; New York 1968], pp. 203-4

This memorandum seems to have represented the thinking of the State Department and its chief officials.

Another political reason behind the president's move was probably the anti-isolationist policy it implied. The fate of the refugees was used as a means to other ends rather than as a problem that had to be solved. The fact that until well into June the State Department proved incapable of expressing what it wanted to achieve at the conference indicated that there was little intention to do something tangible for the refugees.

(End note 26:
-- Wyman, op. cit., [Wyman, David S.: Paper Walls; Amherst, Mass., 1968], p.44
-- Michael Mashberg: America and the Refugee Crisis; M.A. thesis; City University of New York, 1970)

[Myron C. Taylor convening the conference - Roosevelt: "USA" will not change their quota]

Myron C. Taylor, former chairman of U.S. Steel and a Roman Catholic, was appointed as Roosevelt's representative and given the task of convening and chairing the conference. His appointment was probably intended to demonstrate real American interest in the refugees. At the same time, however, the president made it clear that the U.S. quota system would not be changed; also, all expenditures for emigration and settlement would have to be borne by private agencies. The task of the American government was to exert pressure on Germany to permit the refugees to leave and to influence countries of immigration to receive them.

[East European Yiddish speaking Jews are not considered!]

["USA" conditions after Austria accession (Anschluss)]

Two steps were taken in April to supplement the American initiative.

-- First, the administration declared that the Austrian quota would be added to the German quota, and the resulting quota of 27,370, it was hinted, would be filled to a much greater extent than heretofore.
-- Second, it was made clear that the U.S. government believed that the solution to the problem lay in requesting (p.231)

the Germans to allow Jews to bring some of their property with them when they left Germany. If Jews came with money, they had a good chance of being accepted; if they came without funds, all doors would be closed.

[Creation of an Advisory Committee on Political Refugees]

Having made his invitation public - in the end South Africa, Iceland, El Salvador, and Italy refused to participate, thus reducing the number of the countries involved to 29 - Roosevelt created an Advisory Committee on Political Refugees. There was marked anxiety not to make it appear that Jewish refugees were involved at all. Indeed, the very word "Jew" was considered to be somehow unmentionable;

[The term "political refugees"]

"political refugees" was the official terminology, despite the obvious fact that the overwhelming majority of the refugees were in fact Jews.

[Only one European Jew is in the Advisory Committee: Wise, a Zionist - JDC has no representation there]

The first meeting of the Advisory Committee was held on April 13 under Roosevelt's chairmanship. Eleven non-Jews and three Jews (Henry Morgenthau, Sr., Bernard M. Baruch, and Stephen S. Wise) participated. Baruch and Morgenthau, of course, belonged to the immediate political family of the president, so that the only political invitee was Wise, head of the American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress, and the acknowledged leader of American Zionism. Naturally, this was a blow to the leadership of the American Jewish Committee and JDC, who made some bitter comments about Wise's membership on the new committee.

[Baruch against higher "US" quotas - suspicion of coordination between Baruch and Roosevelt]

Welles had prepared the president against any move to liberalize American immigration policy, but at the meeting one of the Jews, Baruch, went a step further: he was the only one among the participants who opposed the president's initiative. He wondered whether  "it would be wise for our government to encourage the idea that more refugees should come here." The fact that this had been preceded by a private visit by Baruch to Roosevelt on the same day would seem to indicate that this "opposition" was prearranged.

(End note 27: 9-44, memorandum on White House conference on refugees, 4/13/38 [13 April 1938]; see also: Morse, op. cit. [Morse, Arthur D.: While Six Million Died; New York 1968], p.204

[Roosevelt denies any financial help for Jewish emigration! - and Jewish organizations make no protest]

Roosevelt explained that private agencies would have to pay for all emigration and settlement expenses, because any government appropriation would have to be passed by Congress, and that was not very likely. (p.232)

McDonald was elected chairman of the new committee, and it was he who proposed that Paul Baerwald be invited to join. The president's letter of invitation to the JDC chairman went out on April 18. In the meantime, the JDC leadership had agreed, at a meeting with American Jewish Committee officers late in March, that large-scale settlement projects were the order of the day.

(End note 28: 8-21, meeting of 3/28/38 [28 March 1938])

In all matters concerning refugees it was preferable that non-Jews take the lead, in order to avoid anti-Semitic feelings. JDC accepted the government's policy - no questions were asked, no requests were made, no hint of any criticism of the government's attitude was heard. Nothing was said regarding the government's decision to put the burden of expenses on "nongovernmental sources".

(End note 29: Executive Committee, 4/20/38 [20 April 1938])