"President Roosevelt writes here of a plan to settle refugee Jews – far away from Europe, far away from the United States and far away, it would appear, from reality. They ought to pay the Venezuelan government, he suggests, to allow them to colonize a “little explored” section of that country’s interior. "
This collection chronicles the activities and issues involved in the Roosevelt Administration's policies concerning the reception of Jews and other refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. Instead of opening its doors, the U.S. government created a bureaucratic barrier, which prevented most refugees from entering the country before and during World War II. Not until 1944 did the United States respond with belated rescue efforts to stop the genocide of European Jews and other groups. This was a full two years after the Wannsee Conference in Berlin that laid out the comprehensive plan for the extermination of European Jewry. On January 22, 1944, President Roosevelt established the War Refugee Board (WRB) to provide rescue and relief for Jews and other persons in danger of death in Nazi-occupied Europe.
"The only way to rescue European Jews, Franklin D. Roosevelt thought, was to win the war as fast as possible. What this meant, in 1944, was that American heavy bombers would strike oil targets within forty-seven miles of Auschwitz, but leave the railroad tracks leading to the death camp untouched. Roosevelt in fact, took little interest in the fate of the Jews, except as a source of occasional favorable publicity."