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tv   U.S. Response to Nazi- Era Refugee Crisis  CSPAN  August 6, 2019 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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tonight beginning on 80s during on cspan3. the house will be in order. >> for forty years cspan has been providing america with unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public- policy events from washington dc and around the country. so you can make your own mind. created by cabell in 1979, cspan is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. cspan, your unfiltered view of government. the u.s. commission on civil rights recently hosted an event on early twentieth century immigration policy in the not era refugee crisis of the 30s and 40s. we haven't had the immigration act of 1924 impacted the crisis and how racism, anti-semitism and xenophobia played a role
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in limiting the amount of jews in america. this is about an hour. >> the u.s. commission on civil rights comes to order at 1:30 pm on march 22, 2019. the meeting takes place of the commission headquarters located at 1331 pennsylvania avenue northwest washington dc, 20425. i am chair catherine lehman and the commissioners present in addition to me are vice chair goodson, commissioner kawasaki, commissioner harriet, commissioner crystal, commissioner yockey you are on the telephone, can you confirm? >> i am. >> thank you. quorum of the commissioners is present, court reporter present? i need a verbal yes for the court reporter. thank you [ laughter ]. as the staff director present? >> present. >> thank you. i see commissioner dagley is joining us as well. do i have motion to approve the
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agenda for this business meeting? >> so moved. >> is there a second >> i second. >> thank you. i begin the call for amendments but the one of my own, adding a discussion about the wyoming state advisory chair committee appointment and i look to amend the agenda to replace the items of the top of the agenda, as i understand at least one commissioner will need to leave in order to catch a flight. is there a second for my amendments? >> second. mike thank you. are there any other amendments? >> i have an amendment. yes, i would like to amend the agenda to include a vote on a draft statement from earlier this week from the commission regarding the portion of hate crimes against white nationalism. >> okay, thank you. is there a second? >> second. mike thank you. are there any other amendments?
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there are none. let's vote to -- sorry i think your microphone is off, mister commissioner. he wanted to know microphone on. >> it appears to commissioner yockey, at least according to the email i had, mister yockey's statement was already included in the agenda. was it not? >> it's not. >> okay. well then i would also move that mice raiment being loaded in the agenda. >> sure, can we verify a second? >> second. are there any other amendments ask? all those in favor say aye. >> i. >> any of those? any extensions? the motion passes soon ms lee. our first item on the agenda today is the next iteration of the commission's speaker series title american responses to the
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rise of nazism in the 1930s and 40s. the exhibit is titled americans in the holocaust, special thanks to stacy burdette for inviting us and coordinating our visit. she is the museum's government and relations director. we very much appreciated. we are grateful not about the back of the commission doctor rebecca erbelding who has been an architect , curator and historian for fifteen years. she has been affiliated with the museum for seventeen years. she holds a phd in american history from george mason university. her first book, titled rescue board, the untold stories of america's efforts to save the jews of europe, was published by doubleday in april 2018. and just one the 2018 jewish book award. jvc herbert e award,
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congratulations. we heard from doctor erbelding two years ago regarding emma st. louis and we are very glad to have her again today. the floor is yours. >> i want to start by thinking the commissioners for inviting me today and also coming to the museum this morning to see the americans and all past exhibit. which for anyone listening who did not come, is available online for people who can't make it to washington. the exhibit is part of a major new initiative to share any research on the united states during the holocaust into the floor, along with our visitors, what americans knew and what they did during the nazi-era. i worked on these questions and my role is to present information on the factors that played and american ounces to the refugee crisis in the nineteen 30s and 1940s. the contexts of the period is crucial here. it's not meant for use of
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action or a litany of reasons to argue why this period of history is similar or different than today. instead, when we look at the u.s. in the 1930s and 1940s , we realize the past is not a foreign country. we can't look back and assume that all decisions were clear and things are more complicated today. decisions in the 30s and 1940s, particularly about refugees menasha security, economic and security in the roles and responsibilities of america and americans were difficult. americans had fears and challenges, just as we do today. this is a reality and should not become an excuse, just as it should today. before i get into the particular details of the refugee crisis in the 1930s i heard a low recently that i would like to share in the plot against america, if we are all 's novel about a dystopian american online with nazi germany he wrote the relentless unforeseen is
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homeless history where everything acted on time is chronicled on the page is inevitable. the terror of the unforeseen is the science of history hides, turning a disaster into an epic. >> we don't want to hire the terror of the unforeseen, we want to resurface it. we want to remind our visitors of it. particularly when we look at the holocaust we can read it backwards. we have images of concentration camps in our minds. americans back the don't have those images on hands, they have not in the the holocaust has not happened yet the genocide and there will be that word until 1944. it is unforeseen and it will be terrible, but americans are acting are choosing not to act with this knowledge. until the 1920s, the united states with open immigrant about without limits. they were a burden on the state.
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the exceptions were chinese immigration, band with few exceptions after 1982 and japanese immigration, which the government promises to restrict in 1907 in order to avoid their own version of the twenty-six was an act. the right to naturalize and become a citizen but still limited to freeway persons of good character. and after the civil war to african-americans. asian immigrants cannot become citizens until 1952. in the first two fifteen years of the twentieth entry about 900,000 persons immigrated to the united states each year. insomnia some summers the us grew about 1% three immigration. we tend to picture people driving to ellis island waving at the statue of liberty presenting the paperwork and hopes of all find for admission. in those first fifteen years of the twentieth century, 40 to
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50% of those immigrants list the racial category as other, italian or hebrew. but during world war i immigration dropped, it becomes more hard to leave and congress is determined to limit immigration. the confluence of fact that leads to this change. the senate does not approve of president wilson's plan to join the league of nations and throughout the 1920s the u.s. demilitarized , vowing to never go to war again. it has resulted in anti- immigration. they felt the large numbers, there is the worldwide influenza pandemic which led to 650,000 deaths in the united days. americans understand that disease as infiltrating the u.s. from overseas . at the time, history book are focused on the issue of the american
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they and wrapped american history up in this idea that the country had been a place of opportunity for the many, so long that we can and. now the frontier is closed, we will be limited from now on. their fears surrounding the russian revolution in there and i guess terror attacks in the u.s., la, around three. many of whom were jewish or immigrant or both. and perhaps, most crucially, the desire to limit immigration was raised in eugenics pseudoscience. social darwinism, the idea that biologically some people are better than others and reiko beatty and by cultivating its good racial stock america could maintain its white superior culture and made no more
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immigrants. americans read mass-market books like the passing of the great race, which argued there was a superior nordic race responsible for all progress in this race was in danger. or, this is another title, the rising tide of choleric and white supremacy, which is not meant to be demeaning. is a promise he was the ideal. it would therefore seem to in three years. historians noted mine camp directly from some of these text. the authors of these books in eugenics societies began lobbying congress for this change. over the 1919, eight unique bills are using congress are proposing is is immigration to the united states totally free. between two and ten years. in december 1920 the house passes the building and all immigration to the trent money for one year. and to provide for the protection of citizens in the
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u.s. , that's where they would and immigration, to protect america. the role is bipartisan, 293- four and 204-1. the senate was unrelated to the bill as written, but is limiting immigration based on national origin the idea of national origins again based in eugenics. eugenicists argued immigration is an and that he is invasion just as clearly as more certainly and national conquest than an invading army. the nordic man, which in its purity, this is another, and it. he has an opt in, was the idea. racial mixture, whether it's between black and white or so- called good and bad immigrants, would only result in the lowering of the office bring the ku klux klan, which did two and half million members in nineteen eighty-three, the painting is catholic and jews
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and foreigners for a 100% american campaign. these ideas are everywhere. in 1921 for the first time in u.s. history they passed a quote a lot. the doors remain open, but immigration is limited. the opportunity available to immigrant is based on their country of birth, privileging so-called nordic countries while severely limiting these available to southern and eastern european places where jews and catholics lived. at the last minute, the senate rejects a proposed amendment which would have made a distinction between immigrants and refugees. by accepting immigrants who could prove they were escaping political or racial persecution from these quotas. has this amendment been an act in 1921 americus response to the crisis in the 1930s might have been very different. the quote is admin's at the u.s. border it is chaos, ships
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are racing asked the atlantic trying to deliver their past jurors before the month we quotas are filled. they start complaining to congress because they are being fined if they deliver immigrants and the quotas of those immigrants have already been filled. so to deal with this, congressman albert johnson, who has been chair of the house meeting on immigration and a member of the clan, he had once written he was in congress to bring about a heavy reduction of immigration by any method possible. he proposes a new conference of co-authored by senator david reed. johnson is from washington state. johnson immigration act of 1924 becomes law on may 24 1924. it remains u.s. law with very few amendments until 1965. the quota system immigration from quota countries. the sickly all countries outside of the western
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hemisphere at approximately 164,000 people a year and a divvied that number up country. they did not use the word quota the way we do today, as in a letter you have to hit. instead, the audit is maximum number, the upper limit, not the. germany and great britain have the highest portion of the water since eugenicists solve those as reliability white easily assimilated into the u.s. 86% of the water is reserved for immigrants from northern and west europe. 12% for southern and eastern europe into% for elsewhere. some countries headquarters of 100 people a year. the entirety of africa had 1100 quotas available each year. the johnson reed i also codifies an easy bar zone defined by longitude and latitude from which immigration was riveted entirely. the lame to options for non-
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immigrants meeting professors, energy, rabbi, people born in the western hemisphere. those groups were not numerically emitted by the johnson reed act. the problem of the ships racing to ellis island thomas date department counts the officers were now responsible for approving paperwork. officers had to wait in the countries to receive their visas. although all of this happened in the 1920s, fifteen years for the refugee crisis of european jews, this is when the bulk of the america government response to the future refugee isis is decided. the seas are so long in advance of the off-season and not interest wants to it. the refugee crisis is the unforeseen. immigration is limited, those limits are rooted in racism and anti-semitism. effective immigrants have to wait in their country. it is a slow, deliberate assess not designed to work in a crisis. and besides agreeing that people fleeing for persecution could be exempted from literary test, there is no
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differentiation between immigrants and refugees. there is only one assess and it will not change until after world war ii. there are no new laws passed to let jews and them out in the 1930s because the johnson reed immigration act of 1924 did that most of the u.s. governments actions or inactions in the 1920s and 30s makes sense, at least intellectually when you know these things. for example, is both here about the st. louis carrying 937 most jewish passengers. most on the waiting list for the u.s. to obtain visas and are planning to wait in cuba for their turn to come up in present their paperwork. when two bacteria them away, we had no refugee or asylum policy and the order for germany was filled that you're already anti-immigrant sentiment was so strong. although many americans expressed sympathy for the refugees, there is no appetite to change the law or make any sort of option for them.
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i just skipped ahead, so let's go back for a second. after 1924 when john reed passes , the quotas are basically filled for a few years. the quota applications are revised in 1929 in the immigration total is lowered from 164,000 total people 153,000. 1929 that was a year of the market crash in the beginning of the great depression. it has happened before it happens, economic and debility exacerbates anti-immigration ultimate. on employment problems were transferred to the united dates from foreign land, a texas senator complaint. if we had refused admission to the 16,500,000 foreign born in our midst, there would be no serious leak on employment program to harass as president herbert hoover issued a direction to the date department to strictly enforce a public charge was an older immigration law. forcing them to prove he or she
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would never need any public severe immigration dropped from about 140,000 immigrants in 1929 to fewer than thirty thousand in 1932. maybe thirty- three, there are 8200 and immigrants that have entered the united dates. twenty years ago it had been over 1 million. adolf hitler was appointed chancellor of germany in january 1933 and roosevelt takes off in a few month later in march. as the front pages of american newspapers spread the word that [null] germany was boycotting jewish businesses and banning books, 25% of the american horse was unemployed. the labor department, which housed the ins, and the state department his officers arrest for issuing visas, getting into a debate about whether exceptions can be made for jewish refugees and ultimately nothing changes. approximately 90,000 germans sit on the u.s. waiting list . this is a consistent length of
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the waiting list from 1931 before the nazis take howard in 1937, mainly because german jews escaping [null] germany are traveling locally , going to france or belgium or the netherlands kind of way the nazis out. or because they know they can't qualify to come here. between july 1933 and june 1944, the first faux quote year that hit hitler's empowerment, the issue about 4000 visas to people born in germany out of the 25,957 visas actually available to the law. roosevelt adjust the state department interpretation of this public charge was in 1933 and again 1930s. as more germans during the waiting list to get your, the slowly begin to issue more visas. it's clear by 1938 that life in germany is becoming unbearable jews. in march germany annexes
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austria, bringing in the hundred thousand jews under german control. thousands wait outside u.s. consulate everyday to get on the waiting list for the u.s. and suicide skyrocket. president roosevelt combined the quotas, meaning only 27,000 370 people can immigrate each year roosevelt also called an international conference in evian, france. thirty-two nations attend, most declaring in a polite, diplomatic language that there not willing to take anymore immigrants. either for economic reasons, or in the words of the australian delegate, they do not have a racial problem and they are not interested in importing a racial problem. the -- attacks were headline news for three weeks. we bought much larger than the coverage of the 1938 midterm elections for the twentieth anniversary of world war i. polls show that americans overwhelming, 94% of them
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disapprove of the [null] treatment of jews, but only 21% think the united states should bring in more jewish immigrants. congress is bipartisan and the unwillingness to adjust immigration laws. the situation is so bad that in april 1938 acre produced congressman get together amongst himself and decide none of them will introduce any new legislation to open immigration any further . that even having the debate will only lead to bills that will restrict immigration and dozens of those wells were introduced in 1939. from bills to and immigration entirely, to bills to say that an immigrants entire family has subjected to an intelligent test prior to receiving a visa. none of these bills passed. but the few bills that called for opening immigration, none of them did either. the members of congress who favor immigration restriction echo public opinion. in january 1930 americans are asked if they want their member
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of congress to open the doors to that it states more european refugees, only 9% say yes. resident roosevelt is a politician, not a human at aryan . although eleanor consistently voices support for jewish refugees he prioritizes recovery from the great depression and victory from world war ii. at times he accidents always to aid refugees normally he does not it is becoming more and more difficult to physically leave europe. not just because of the quota system and the message demanded among visas, but in june 1940 the waiting list is over 300,000 people. after september 1 1939 when world war ii begins it becomes incredibly difficult to physically escape. for example, in october 1938, the month before kristallnacht, 5504 jewish refugees emigrate from europe to unite on fifty- five ships from fourteen different european cities. four years later, in october
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1941, nazi germany brevet jewish immigration. three ships are able to make the crossing. that was it. once the war reaches an area, those ports shut down the u.s. bound transportation. september 1939 , german and polish ports closed. the spring of 1940 ports in the netherlands, belgium, norway, denmark, france to u.s. bound transportation. passenger ship are converted to troop ships and by june 1940 refugees have to get to lisbon if they want to find a ship to take them to the united dates. most americans are convinced they will be able to stay out of the war. does a robust debate between groups like america first then this be aaa, the committee to defend america by eighteen allies. those debates happen on what america's role should be in the
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war and in the world. once france falls in june 1940, many americans believe the u.s. could be dragged unwillingly into war. salazar is possibly disguised as jewish refugees could bring the country down. roosevelt capitalizes on this fear in order to urge were preparedness. he says jewish refugees could be trojan horses, their loved one back in germany held hostage in exchange for act test, buying and advertised. the ins moved from the department of labor to the department of just and immigration officially goes from being a question of economic to a question of national security. immigration is restricted even further and within a year like immigrants no longer have a place to go to receive a visa. the doors to the united states never officially shot and there is no last ship out of nazi accurate . instead, many doors are shut on immigrants all along the way, or have altered close years before.
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there are many last ship for many almost made it and hundreds of thousands, millions of tragic stories. we estimate that the united states the back expected between 180 and 280 immigrants between 1930 1945, more than any other country in the world. clearly, that is not something we should pat our about about. i recorded philip ross at the beginning with the idea that history is the relentless unforeseen. in the 1920s the refugee crisis is the unforeseen, but with an immigration law based in eugenics science, racism, anti- semitism, isolationism, economic security and fear, the american government response to the refugee crisis that began fifteen years later is not surprising. it's also important to remember that [null] germany murdered the jews, not the united states. our immigration laws were not generous, but america was not homicidal. the nazi's were and they were
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relentless and in the face of desperate human need for the united states did not bend, we did not relent either. thank you very much. >> q for the sobering thought, i really appreciate it. open for questions from my fellow commissioners. madden vice chair? >> again, thank you so very much professor for joining us. i don't know that i have a question, it's more of a comment . i visited many museums in my time and the holocaust museum, that many of us were fortunate enough to visit today, was absolutely incredible. this morning, you presented the context, the information and then the action that was taken. i believe that we can take a
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lot to look at that. it's a way to look at life and the issues our nation's facing at this time. and i think you for causing us to ask russians of ourselves, along with much of the information that you presented. and i will forever take with me the fact that just because an issue, a problem is huge, often even appearing insurmountable, that one need not hesitate to try to do something about it, the smallest tops certainly better are then no steps. i think that is so profound and i thank you very much for doing
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that for us. and madam chair, i think you for planning and putting this before us. >> thank you so much for that presentation, which sounded balanced to me. i'm not a scholar of the period , but it sounded balanced to me. i am also no scholar of the bible, but i seem to remember in their there was a line about but not your trust in princes. it will be nice to mention private citizens did two things that were very interesting. like mary jane gold who was a really character for a novel, i would think. a woman who, you know spent all of her life on frivolity, but when the old came she was there and she helped. and women like mary and davin, an art student in france.
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and the other one i was trained to think of is lois gund and. and if you had many comments about your american superheroes of would love to hear it. i got to leave. you pointed out three women and it is women have history month. one of the things i pointed out to the commissioners this running his social work was a very gendered profession at the time and a lot of the refugee aid organizations were headed by and run by women. i think that's very important to note. mary jane golden and miriam davin heart are both crucial to the success of fries operation and other and friends. marion fry was a journalist who went in june, well it's a date in june 19 thirty, leaves in august 1940 to try to get 2000 intellectual's, writers, many of whom were jewish, some are political opponents of the nazis out of france. he does so in spectacular fashion over the course of a
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year and a half working with these women who were in france, miriam davenport is a not, evaluating the artist to see the unknown names. were they get enough to qualify for one of these limited visas. mary jane, i'm sorry lois gund and is also amazing. she was a french teacher in goshen, indiana and a mennonite. intercommunity asks her to go overseas, go to france, southern france, and be in charge of a children's home. there were children of spanish republicans families had lost the civil war and gone into france and jewish children whose parents were in internment camps, which she would go to children. in october 1941, two months for barbara, she goes across the ocean. every shoot few ships, has a set, passing west. she goes east, she goes into an area that is almost certainly going to be a war zone. at one
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tells the ss they cannot come into the home. she has been righteous among the nations. and in the fall of 1942 she is arrested and turned to [null] germany for over a year along with american diplomats and quakers who are all doing relief work in southern france. she's amazing and she goes back to the united states in 1940 and keeps teaching high school french, does not make a big deal about this. this is not, and i think that is one of the consistent things you see in rescuers and you see and people who are making the effort to help them is that they don't think is a big deal. they don't see any other way to do it, this is what you do. when people are in need, this is what you do. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> yes, i want to let people
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know, if you haven't seen the comments incredibly well done, very powerful, particularly linking in the voices of everyday americans and where they stood on the issues. so thank you very much. i have to say, it was a very tough and roomy, because of the internment in my parents. but i think very important for everyone to see. i did think one of the things that struck me, near the end of the debit, there is a discussion of the kids, who at the very end weren't allowed to come to the united states, but then held behind barbed wire, basically. so i would like to hear more about that story and how they got there and how they were finally released, because i feel like the commissioner is looking now at the detention and operation of families and
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their kids at our southern border. we saw the pictures and many of the commissioners all reacted the same way emma which was very reminisce into us of was happening today. >> beginning to of january 1944 the u.s. have the policy of rescue and released. there was a war refugee word with a government agency tasked with trying to do this. two months later, in march, the war refugee board arguing we should establish camps here in the u.s. and we should bring jews here to stay in the duration of the war. they can go back after the work emma but should be held in safety here. they argue they should be happening because we can't let the nazis say that we never point out our hypocrisy, saying that we care so much about the jews, but never offered to receive these people. it takes about two months to
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get the rest of the government to agree with them. they launch a propaganda campaign, they get a friendly newspaper column to talk about how great it would be to have a refugee camp here. and finally in june, nineteen eighty-four, they convince roosevelt unilaterally announced this is going to happen they can only have the one camp and only bring about 1000 people here and they need to find an emergency to convince roosevelt this is necessary they find an emergency and they realize that the us military is actively turning away rickety wooden boats of refugees trying to make it from yugoslavia to ally occupied territory. they're saying his territories are full and there are many to press on in the be taking care of people so they convince roosevelt to resend that order, to say that no of the u.s. will take anybody who makes it from you is obvious to italy. and also to release some of the
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pressure of the camps, we will bring 1000 refugees from allied occupied italy to the united states. more than 900 of the refugees are jewish and they represent eighteen different nationalities . they are kept in fort ontario which is a hold war of 1812 for on the bank of lake ontario. it has a long history and is under consideration out of it, not the part. incorporating both the history of the fort and america's wars and the site of the only refugee in the u.s. . logically it is run by the same agency running japanese internment camps on this task are the same people bureaucratically, that is how it worked out for this is under the department of labor these refugees arrived in august 1944 and there again until january 19 six and they're finally released. since
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you can't change your immigrations status in the u.s. you may have to reenter as eagle immigrants. the kids are able to attend public, but the parents cannot work outside the camp and spend any time outside the camp, even to visit relatives who may have immigrated sooner or to see sons and daughters but immigrated and joined up. their parents are not allowed to leave the camp until nineteen eighty-six. 1946. >> another cost of repair talked about the religious group that stood out, including the quakers. it was really, the quakers were really one of the few that stood up with me and would visit the camps. just a foreshadowing. >> commissioner yockey, i think it might be on you if you can your, i would appreciate it.
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doctor i was really stuck at the beginning of your talk when you the path does not have century in the frame is widely secret to us a stick lessons of the past and how they apply today. the extraordinary at the museum at visitor any moment to also so. i appreciate the frame now. your work leading to this point, your presentation today, your was enormously painful to listen to and also a witness. i just want to say thank you to you for that work and for helping each of us to remember why we are here on the commission and why we do what we do in our time. i understand
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that commissioner yockey had the question. commissioner yockey. >> thank you very much, i am released very i didn't get a chance to see the exhibit today, but i hope i will in the future. it's something every person who comes to washington should go to. my question has more to do with how the past is prolonged and i just wanted to give your assessment, if you can give it on the resurgence of anti- semitism worldwide and even in the country, as you know, a
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cemetery was just vandalized a couple days ago in massachusetts. including with nazis and theology and words being scribbled on headstones. you know, when you see this and you think about the role of the holocaust museum, what are your thoughts as you see the world, as it is right now so having the seeds and the feelings that are out there that we thought we had extinguished over fifty years ago. >> i would say that i don't necessarily think we had extinguished it fifty years ago and i think the holocaust museum, my colleagues in
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particular, had always been aware that white supremacy and anti-semitism has stayed part of our culture. unfortunately, i think one of the things that use the is that when hitler is a good chance of germany, you don't see enough rise in german citizens practicing his ambassador. you don't see them taking to the streets in defense of the jewish neighbors. few and far between is anyone's end of does anyone stand up. that reminds us when we see acts of white supremacy this is something we can do to change that equation. we can get up and do some about it and our role, the museum's role, we will is an education. after charlottesville we put out a cost of terms, signs and symbols and hates beach to remind people that symbols and
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signs that the marchers use in charlottesville are not new. these were people who were deeply immersed in the ideology and they are playing it in the same applicant is ways that the nazi is dead and we should be aware of that and aware of where this rhetoric is coming from in the hatred that was bound up in it the beginning. >> okay, thank you. thank you very much for the presentation. one of the pieces of the exhibit this morning that i thought was interest, was to the extent in which it is lord a distance and time between what our government came to know about what is happening in germany and across europe and with the plans were, and when the american public came to have a broader understanding of
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the atrocities. i was wondering if you could comment on the and help us understand what is oracle record on those points. >> what we see is that all along americans have information. in 1923 leno pretty accurate information about boycotting jewish words, jewish attack. as long as there are journalists in [null] occupied territory of americans are getting this in his neighbors. this is a time where there are multiple foreign course hundreds, there are seventy-five at least correspondence for different is neighbors, different american newspapers in berlin reporting live of what is happening. so americans can read it, whether they consider it part of their concern. that's a different question. what they have this information. in july 1941, the consulate
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rosen reported slowly began to leave [null] territory. at pearl harbor american journalist, the few still in germany are rounded up and interned and have to be prisoner exchanged out. december 1941 is all of the date the first extermination camp opened. so the holocaust really ramps up the exact same time american journalist are being kicked out or being in turn. the first report that are coming out about second and third hand coming out of the soviets, through the list government. americans are unsure about that. there unsure whether this is just what happened in war. the enemy is always murdering women and children. the is how people get americans
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to fight. how do you get anybody to fight demonized the enemy. americans remember back to world war i and these atrocity numbers. in 1942 the american government, or the state department gets where this is a plan to murder all the jews of europe. it becomes public information in november. but largely americans either don't know it do, or they are busy. they're trying to go to work for the first making up for fathers and sons who are fighting back at about the war they may have information, but to most people it does not translate to concerted effort on the run, it becomes if anything, an extra determination to win the war, but not the rescue..
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very few people really advocate devoting resources from the war t military and aid if it will prolong the work. no one is advocating prolonging. nor does anyone have any of how that would happen anyway. >> thank you so much for the morning and this afternoon. i found it. along the line commissioner date praim believes, i wasn't taking notes then like i am now diligently. you mentioned something about the rest of the american public finding things out and there was the exhibit with everything . we also had rms utter in the
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30s in germany. and you said something about fact become knowledge. we did all of that occur in the timeline? if you can. i'm sorry, i don't remember all three or four of those subjects. i'm sure she will be able to review them now. >>@[ laughter ]. i'm sure what i was talking about is you can read something and not internalize it. you have the information, but it doesn't mean you understand it and it doesn't mean you necessarily at this time believe it. and then it is the biggest jump, i think, is from knowledge and understanding and leave entrance letting that and am sort of effective action to deal with what you have read. to some extent it's because we have short attention spans and without knowledge of the future we don't know where to look. are we looking at venezuela,
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syria, myanmar, where is the next atrocity going to break out ? the museum does a lot of work with early warning is trying to predict that. but as an average consumer, it's hard to know. but that doesn't mean that we have the x used not to act. that, i think, is the gaps that we need to jump. and in this history, the press reports, as we went over various lengths, the information is received by most americans to be accurate, or perhaps inaccurate or rumor. and people believe it, then take action at different points . that is entirely based on the individual. who you are, what your community is doing and saying and your personal beliefs and set of values. so some people are taking to the streets in 1933, then don't pay attention again until 1945.
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some are in 1938 trying to sponsor a refugee going to extraordinary lengths. some people are going to europe . people are responding and making that leap between information and action at different points. for most americans, they probably do not understand or believe the holocaust until 1944-1945. too many of them, they need to see at in order to understand what is happening. >> on the government just chose to take a different path? >> and the government, the government is not a monolith so you can say the state department takes a different come of the state department clearly take a different path from the treasury department, the state department is all in and the war department is all in on this idea we just in the war and is possible and to not divert resources. the treasury department is favoring a guess and approach. we can win the war, but we can also administer humanitarian aid, try to rescue people and
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that will devote resources from the war effort. the treasury department wins out in that debate in 1944 and that is why the u.s. has a rescue operation up in january, 1944 that saves tens of thousands of lives. most of those people who were saved have no idea that the u.s. government is behind any of that work. but they are. and, that moment in which u.s. and government response takes the turn, the moment when the treasury department starts to win the argument is a very interesting moment in u.s. history. that they are successful in their argument that we can divert some resources. our actions can match our rhetoric about democratic values. >> and, was there ever, and i apologize for asking too many questions again, what was the
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turning point that got treasury to win? how did they convince the powers to be? >> there are a couple of things at play, there is a resolution in congress telling for some sort of rescue response. there are activists advocating, there's even an orthodox march in washington, advocating for a response, and the treasury department lays out a case against the state department, a case that they have been deliberately delaying humanitarian aid, that could be going and helping people. they have been saying that we could do it and dealing their approvals, and that they are deliberately keeping information about atrocities from the u.s. so, they argue that basically, if we don't do something now, we might as well blackout the statue of liberty because we will be forever complacent in the murders of europe, and that is a very powerful thing as the secretaries of treasury, for
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him to hear, and to take to the president. that your legacy will be forever if we don't do something. >> when you're not speaking, if you can mute your line, it would make us easier to hear. >> thank you so much for coming to speak to us again. >> i have been on mute since i last spoke. >> somebody else is making noise, thank you and i apologize. >> i believe the noise is coming from jeff, can you mute your line when you're not speaking? thank you, madam chair, once again, thank you for coming to speak to us for a second time hear about lessons we have learned from the holocaust, i was very lucky to have, as a professor hero, from world war ii, and when i was an undergrad
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from georgetown, and can you mention the role he played and how important that was, especially when the question came up a few moments ago? >> absolutely, he has been smuggled into the warsaw ghetto to witness what was happening to the juice and smuggled into the transit camp outside of the extermination camps. is then smuggled out of london where he talks to british government officials, and then to the united states with the help of the polish government, he meets with roosevelt for about one hour in july 1943, to discuss what he is seeing in poland. not just what is happening to the juice, but what is happening in poland. within the span of a year, he goes from being in the ghetto to being in the oval office, explaining to roosevelt what is happening, and at the end of their meeting, roosevelt, he
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asked roosevelt, what are we going to do about this? this is a 27-year-old polish man in the oval office, probably intimidated, asking the president, the most powerful man in the world, what are we going to do? and roosevelt says, we are going to win the war, that is consistent u.s. policy for this entire time, we are going to win the war as soon as possible, that is how we will stop all the killing, not just the murder of the jews , and finally again, six months later, roosevelt signed the executive order establishing a dedicated rescue response. roosevelt, because he doesn't live to see liberation, he doesn't live to write memoirs, he doesn't live to reflect in a post-holocaust world, we don't know what his motivations really are for establishing the refugee board, we don't know why that change happened in him.
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and whether he is in the back of his mind, whether he is remembering that meeting, it certainly had an effect on him because he orders a ski to go see other government officials, and to tell his story, roosevelt is clearly moved by what he has heard, even if he says that rescue is impossible. whether that is still in his mind months later when he created the board, it is hard to say. but it was certainly a pivotal moment to happen. >> one clarification, at that point, when it is the turning point between the treasury department in the department of state, which is the understanding of how many jews have been killed in europe? >> between 4.5 and 5 million have been killed. >> and picking up on the questions of my colleagues, are there other names of individuals who carried the
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debate forward for treasury, who we should be aware of historically, the people that got in the trenches and said that the united states must do something else, can you share their names? >> john paley, the boys, -- randall paul, the treasury secretary, these are major figures in this history. yes. thank you. >> thank you madam chair. he mentioned the executive branch individuals who were involved in this, what, if any individuals in congress could you highlight as being advocates for the refugee influx, doing anything, whether they were infractions on congress, it strikes me it was notably asked absent, and there might be more involved? >> sure, i talked earlier today
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about a bill for child refugees, that is sponsored by robert wagner, a democrat from new york and noris rogers, a republican from massachusetts, that effort was a bipartisan one, emmanuel steller, a democrat from brooklyn is a constant voice on refugees, also a new york democrat, constant voices. a manual seller, the heart seller act, that was emmanuel seller, after the holocaust finally overturns the immigration act, that is a career for him spent advocating on behalf of war immigration to the u.s. a lot of the senators and congressmen who become involved in pushing roosevelt
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for a rescue response, tended to not be long-term senators, so there are not names that we know, but will rogers junior was the democrat in california and i think he was a democrat, i'm sorry, actually, you do have to remember which party people are from because immigration and refugee matters are bipartisan. it is bipartisan for and bipartisan against, both camps, it was not a party issue at the time. so, i believe he was a democrat from california. he is in congress for less than 5 years, but he really leads the charge in terms of pushing for a resolution calling on roosevelt to do more to rescue. >> thank you very much for your presentation, thank you and the
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holocaust museum for hosting us today and for showing your expertise with us now, we will take a 10 minute recess and come back at 2:40, and i look forward to that moment. this is a special edition of american history tv, a sample of the compelling history programs that air every weekend on american history tv, like american artifacts, real america, the civil war, oral histories, the presidencies, and special event coverage about our nations history. enjoy american history tv, now and every weekend on c-span3 . >> in 1979, small network was
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