Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

Readers respond

(Photo from Flash90)
(Photo from Flash90)

No objectivity in Rubin’s opinion piece
In regard to the article, “Israelis should support American diplomacy on Iran” (Sept. 2), what Mr. Rubin failed to mention was that during the time the JCPOA was in effect, Iran continued to advance its bomb and missile program. Mr. Rubin’s Trump derangement syndrome has completely overwhelmed any objectivity he might have once possessed.

Bernita Barnett
Mt. Lebanon

Roosevelt could have done more when confronting the Holocaust
Andrew Lapin’s review in JTA’s article regarding Ken Burns’ new documentary “The U.S. and the Holocaust,” which you published on Sept. 9, quotes the noted filmmaker as still believing that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was mostly acting within his means as a politician when confronting the Holocaust. In his words, FDR’s very limited response to Jewry’s darkest hour was due to the fact that he “could not wave a magic wand. He was not the emperor or a king.”

The wartime chief executive did not need a magic wand, however. There were ways to help Jews or interrupt the mass murder without serious political risk. Some possible examples: allowing the existing immigration quotas to be filled; permitting refugees to go temporarily to the U.S. Virgin Islands (as U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr. suggested regarding the more than 900 Jews fleeing Nazi Germany in May 1939 aboard the St. Louis); bringing refugees back to America’s shores on empty Liberty cargo ships, vessels which needed ballast to avoid capsizing; and dropping a few bombs on the railways and bridges leading to Auschwitz from planes that were already bombing those regions.

Professor Monty Noam Penkower
Jerusalem, Israel

Roosevelt administration prevented Anne Frank’s family from coming to U.S.
A news article in your Sept. 9 edition stated that in a scene in Ken Burns’ upcoming film, Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank, “tries to secure passage to America for his family but gets stymied by the country’s fierce anti-immigration legislation.”

America’s immigration system was indeed restrictive, but the main obstacle to the Franks reaching the United States was that the Roosevelt administration took a bad system and made it worse. In the year Otto was applying, 1941, the U.S. quota for German

nationals (such as the Franks) was only 47% filled, meaning there were more than 15,000 empty quota slots; there was plenty of room for the Franks. The problem was that the Roosevelt administration actively sought to suppress immigration below the legal limits, by imposing extraneous requirements upon visa applicants and looking for any technicality to reject them.

To make matters worse, 1941 was also the year that President Roosevelt approved a new regulation barring all visa applicants who had close relatives staying behind in Europe, which would have provided additional grounds for disqualifying the Franks. The theory behind the new regulation — a theory that was never backed by any evidence — was that the Germans would take the relative hostage in order to force the immigrant to spy for Hitler. In effect, Anne Frank was denied admission to the United States because the Roosevelt administration feared she might become a Nazi spy.

Rafael Medoff
Director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies
Washington, D.C.

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