Churchill and Roosevelt on Rescuing the Jews
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.
Oral History Item Type Metadata
The highest levels of the British and American government were well aware it was going on. In the last two years, some of the contents of Churchill’s red box—the ULTRA box—have been released to their National Archives, and it’s caused major embarrassment for British scholars because there are the records that Churchill repeatedly saw, again and again, that the Nazis were ordering the mass extermination of every Jew they could. There is no doubt that Churchill knew. I confirmed from American files that Roosevelt was informed. I read the reports of our U.S. military attaché in Moscow, and he was forwarded the body counts week by week, as early as 1942. The American files show clear knowledge of what had gone on in the fall of 1941.
Roosevelt was a practical politician. He knew that he couldn’t budge the British or the Russians, who didn’t care how many Jews Hitler was putting into boxcars, as long as he wasn’t sending ammunition and troops to the Eastern Front. It was a great drain on the Third Reich’s resources to go around killing Jews, so Stalin was happy. Churchill didn’t want to touch the political problem of Jewish immigration; it was just easier to close their eyes. Roosevelt did do some things: 3,000 Jewish orphans were smuggled into the U.S. as prisoners of war, and they were hidden in an army barracks in upstate New York.