Too Little and Almost Too Late: The War Refugee Board and America's Response to the Holocaust, Washington edited by Rafael Medoff, Washington, the Wyman Institute 2017, 314p

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Abstract

Like other pieces of legislation then and now, the establishment of the War Refugee Board (WRB) was not the result of a self-starting, heartfelt desire of the American government to aid Jews during the Second World War but rather the result of personal investment in a cause, professional organization, media pressure, political horse-trading, and Congressional jockeying. Laurel Leff on the WRB information campaigns; Medoff on the WRB and the failure to bomb Auschwitz; Shoren Lowenstein on the rescue to Oswego; Medoff and Bat-Ami Zucker on presidential adviser Sam Rosenman's clash with the WRB; Karen Sutton on the WRB and the Va'ad ha-Hatzala; and Arieh J. Kochavi on the American policy toward war criminals. The behind-the-scenes descriptions of how the WRB actually functioned, and the comments about how they could have done more had the organization been established and funded earlier, are a stark reminder of how the rescue of human beings is so often dependent upon an almost set mechanism: a person or group with access to decision makers who tirelessly turn it into their sole goal; media campaigns to keep the issue alive and burning; political pressure and horse-trading to propel the issue to the forefront of legislation or government decision making; a group of people willing to pause or even sacrifice their personal progress to promote and execute rescue schemes; and success in obtaining the necessary funds to pay for the schemes, not just to resettle refugees but to pay for their transfer and release from bondage.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)104-106
JournalAmerican Jewish History
Volume103
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

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