Rabbi Stephen Wise
THE PROBLEM OF JEWISH
An HIR series
Table of Contents
( hyperlinked )
A few words about antisemitism
Did mainstream American Jewish leaders help defend the Jews from genocide in World War II?
Why Peter Bergson was obviously right and the “mainstream American Jewish leaders” who opposed him, obviously wrong
How passionate were “mainstream American Jewish leaders” in their opposition to Peter Bergson?
Why did the “mainstream American Jewish leaders” oppose themselves to Peter Bergson and to other rescue efforts on behalf of the European Jews?
As George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” For the Jewish people, this means repeating Catastrophe. Therefore, if you are a member of the Jewish community, which has been subjected to genocidal attacks for over 2000 years, the rational thing is to expect another such attack and prepare for it, the better to mount an effective self-defense and, ideally, to prevent the next mass killing altogether. You should study the past and remember it, so that you can recognize the signs that herald a new genocide and identify them when they recur. Unfortunately, however, the Jews are ill-equipped and ill-disposed to do this: they find it difficult to think rationally about their self defense. Jewish author Kenneth Levin has recently made the latest addition to a large literature that tries to understand this general problem.[1a]
An example of what I mean is that most Jews are unable to recognize the signs indicating that their own mainstream leaders are taking them down the path to destruction, just as mainstream Jewish leaders did the same prior to and during World War II. Don't misunderstand me: it was the German Nazis who were killing the Jews, and this was obviously not the fault of the Jewish people or of its leaders. But equally obviously, the Jewish leadership prior to and during World War II had an obligation to defend the Jewish people, and it must be held accountable for how it reacted before the threat of Jewish extinction. But Jewish leaders have not been held accountable. Stephen Wise, quoted above, is -- absurdly -- considered a hero by modern Jews, and “in the Jewish world, schools and museums and streets are named after Wise.”[1b] And yet Wise's role, as I will document below, was to use his position of supreme authority in the American Jewish community to sabotage the most successful effort to rescue the desperate European Jews, making it easier for the German Nazis to murder in cold blood between 5 and 6 million innocent people, destroying a beautiful, irreplaceable culture.
So why the Jewish celebration of Stephen Wise?
One main reason is that most ordinary Jews are unaware of what Wise and Co. did prior to and during WWII to sabotage the defense of the Jewish people. It is irrational that Jews should not know this history well, but it is true that some special institutional difficulties exist: the same mainstream leaders who betrayed the Jewish people in WWII created the mainstream Jewish organizations that hold sway over the Jewish people today. Stephen Wise himself was "president of both the American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress [which organizations he created], and a key figure, often chief officer, of perhaps a dozen other organizations and institutes."[1c] In consequence, the people running these dominant organizations today have been careful not to expose the performance of their predecessors, in whose steps they are eagerly following, once again endangering the Jewish people in circumstances very similar to those that announced the German Nazi Final Solution. The connections between the past and current leadership are clear.
The present article is concerned with what happened in WWII. Its prequel, Part 0, covers the 1933 crisis, when Jewish leaders -- including Stephen Wise -- saved Hitler from a boycott that ordinary Jews around the world were organizing, and it explains the historical reasons for this behavior. Its sequel, Part 2, will examine how today's mainstream Jewish leaders in the Diaspora are condemning the Jews to repeat a horrific history. Part 3 will do the same for today's Israeli leaders. Part 4 will examine how Israeli leaders reacted to the Holocaust. In Part 5 I begin to explore why it is so difficult for ordinary Jews to take their self-defense into their own hands. Beyond this, I will address the behavior of religious Jewish leaders in Israel.
A few words about antisemitism
Did mainstream American Jewish leaders
help defend the Jews from genocide in World War II?
Long before October 1943 everybody knew that the Jewish people was being exterminated in Nazi-occupied Europe.
A January 1943 headline in the New York Times announced, “Liquidation Day Set For France’s Jews,” and another in February blared “Total Nazi Executions Are Put at 3,400,000; Poland With 2,500,000 Victims, Tops List,” followed by the explanation, in the body of the article, that in Poland “1,000,000 Jews were said to have been killed or permitted to die in concentration camps.” This was, of course, precisely what Adolf Hitler had promised he would do in Mein Kampf and in his speeches: annihilate the European Jewish population. And yet, the Allies were doing worse than nothing to help stop the genocide.
In October of 1943, as related in an article published by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, there was an effort in the United States to change that.
“The date was October 6, 1943, three days before Yom Kippur, and more than four hundred rabbis had come to plead for U.S. government action to save Jews from Hitler.
The march was the brainchild of 33-year-old Hillel Kook of Jerusalem, nephew of Abraham Isaac Kook, the first chief rabbi of British Mandatory Palestine. Kook, who used the pseudonym Peter Bergson, traveled to the United States in 1940 to lobby for U.S. support for Jewish immigration to Palestine and the creation of a Jewish state. After news of the Nazi genocide reached the United States in late 1942 and early 1943, Bergson established the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe, a political action committee that sought U.S. action to rescue Jewish refugees.
Bergson understood the need for dramatic tactics to publicize his cause. To alert the American public about the Nazi massacres, the Bergson group sponsored a theatrical pageant called ‘We Will Never Die,’ authored by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Ben Hecht, which was viewed by more than 40,000 people at Madison Square Garden and then in other cities around the country. The Bergson activists also sponsored more than two hundred newspaper advertisements urging the United States government to rescue the refugees.”
The identification of an absurdity is something that should make any rational person stop, for it is evidence that something important remains to be properly understood. But I have not shown you one yet -- so far this all makes sense. If the European Jews were being exterminated, it was perfectly natural for Jews who were in safety to try to do something about it. Jewish unity was equally to be expected, and in fact the Bergson effort brought together “an interesting array of hasidic rabbis side by side with rabbis known as mitnagdim, the traditional theological critics of Hasidism.” In other words, important differences were set aside in the Bergson effort because the Jewish people was being exterminated in Europe and unity was more important. The above does not contain absurdities: the Bergson effort made perfect sense.
No, the absurdity is here, in the article’s next sentence:
“Bergson’s hard-hitting approach rattled some mainstream American Jewish leaders, who feared that loud protests might provoke antisemitism.”
Ponder that. What could be the most extreme consequence of antisemitism? Why, an anti-Jewish genocide. So what could “some mainstream American Jewish leaders” fear might happen? The Jewish people was already being exterminated.
There is a joke told of two Jews, right before they are killed:
“Sam and Irving are facing the firing squad. The executioner comes forward to place the blindfold on them. Sam disdainfully and proudly refuses, tearing the thing from his face. Irving turns to him and pleads: ‘Please Sam, don’t make trouble!’”
The structure of this joke is identical to what happened when Peter Bergson tried to pressure the US government to save Jewish lives in Europe, causing “some mainstream American Jewish leaders” to say to his protesting rabbis: “Please, don’t make trouble.” The joke makes fun of a pathology of reasoning but the extermination of the Jewish people is not funny; if we do not want more exterminations of the Jewish people, we must understand this pathology of reasoning.
There is a promise in the above joke, and in that promise is locked a hope of mine. The joke is Jewish not only because it depicts Jews but because it is told by Jews (it is quite famous, and I heard it first from a Jewish friend). This is important, because by telling this joke Jews demonstrate that they are -- at some level -- aware that a certain pathology of reasoning makes their self-defense difficult.[7a] I have reason to hope, therefore, that a more careful reflection may be possible for the Jewish people before it is too late again. But we must move to a level of analysis considerably more sophisticated than the passing joke. And then there must be action.
Let us now return to the Wyman Institute piece and look the full absurdity in the face:
“Bergson’s hard-hitting approach rattled some mainstream American Jewish leaders, who feared that loud protests might provoke antisemitism. …Yet there were also pockets of sympathy for the Bergson group within the Jewish leadership.”
Given that the death factories from Auschwitz to Jasenovac were at that very minute busy murdering millions of innocent Jews, and billowing with smoke, where would you expect to find mere “pockets of sympathy” for those protesting this outrage? In a mostly antisemitic population. But the population in question here is “the Jewish leadership.”
“[the Bergson march] was to be the only rally in Washington on the rescue issue during the entire period of the Holocaust [but t]he idea of Jews marching through streets of the nation’s capital, promoting specifically Jewish requests such as rescue, especially during wartime, was anathema to mainstream Jewish leaders.”
The above does not make one little bit of sense. Why is the idea of rescue odious “especially during wartime”? Are people supposed to be rescued in peacetime? And why is “the only rally [!] in Washington on the rescue issue during the entire period of the Holocaust” a “specifically Jewish request”? It isn’t. This was a crime against humanity.
You see, the problem is not merely that the reaction of the Jewish leadership was absurd, but that the author chronicling this reaction writes absurdly. After all, given that the Jewish people was already being exterminated, the right thing to do here was obvious. So how could the request for rescue be “anathema” to mainstream Jewish leaders? What in the world were they for, as Jewish leaders, if they could not find it in themselves to oppose an anti-Jewish genocide?
It is significant that the author, Rafael Medoff, directs the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, and also that he is one of the few people to do significant research on the Bergson effort. If he finds it difficult to write in a sensible manner, then it is unlikely that the majority of the Jewish people can learn from their own history. An institute of Holocaust studies should straightforwardly refute the arguments that supported the reasoning of Bergson's opponents, and which contributed to the deaths of millions. This is what I am doing here. My task is not difficult, because the issue is very clear, and the facts speak very loudly.
“a kind of prince... a ladies man, a bon
vivant... very bright and ambitious, with British manners and a great
name -- Kook
“Ben Hecht was Bergson's most important
recruit... one of the most talented people anywhere...a formidable playwright
Why Peter Bergson was obviously right
and the “mainstream American Jewish leaders” who opposed him, obviously
The Americans whom Peter Bergson tried to mobilize had a relatively good ideology: they were learning to think in the universalist terms of human rights, democracy, and tolerance. The proof: these same ordinary Americans, led by the descendants of slaves, both African and Jewish, would soon learn to hold hands across a phony ‘racial’ barrier, producing the Civil Rights movement that transformed the United States despite determined resistance from the US ruling elite. Since the US ruling elite was already antisemitic (see below), the way to defend the Jews in World War II was obviously to mobilize these ordinary Americans against the policies of the US government, controlled by the US ruling elite.
“...in American society, the rabid, hard-core anti-Semites incapable of recognizing Jews as fellow human beings were distinctly in the minority. For much of the country, anti-Jewish sentiment was not so impervious to issues of human suffering and human decency. ...American Jews...compromise[d] appeals for rescue to a degree that underestimated the surrounding society's capacity to respond positively.”[7b]
But Peter Bergson judged the compassion and decency of Americans correctly, and he did his best to mobilize them. In order to do so, as we've seen above, Bergson resorted to “dramatic tactics” including a “theatrical pageant...which was viewed by more than 40,000 people at Madison Square Garden and then in other cities around the country,” in addition to sponsoring “more than two hundred newspaper advertisements urging the United States government to rescue the refugees.” The point of this strategy was to make democracy work: to make it impossible for the US ruling elite to ignore the wishes of ordinary Americans, now made conscious of the plight of the European Jews, and mobilized for their defense. In this way, the Bergson group hoped to force the US government to do something to help the European Jews who yet lived (at that time, about 4 million).
There is no question that this was an uphill battle, because “rabid, hard-core anti-Semites incapable of recognizing Jews as fellow human beings,” though rare among ordinary US citizens, were in choking abundance in the halls of power. To see the justice of this claim, the following list of well-documented facts will more than suffice (skeptics are encouraged to consult the footnotes, which will send you to the hyperlinked documentation):
1) before the war, the US ruling elite assisted the rise of the Nazi party and ideology in Germany;
2) during the war, this elite, which controlled the US government, not only refused to do anything to help Hitler’s victims (which is why the Bergson effort became necessary), but in fact assisted Hitler’s Final Solution in various ways;
3) after the war ended, the US ruling elite deployed the Marshall Plan to assist the fascist countries that had plunged the world into war and murdered so many millions of people in cold blood (not only Jews, but also more than 20 million Russians, millions of Poles, hundreds of thousands of Serbs and Roma, and on and on…);
4) in addition, after the war the US ruling elite absorbed in secret tens of thousands of Nazi war criminals who were used to create what became US Intelligence, covertly sponsoring the rise to power of disguised fascists in post-war Europe; and finally
5) the US ruling elite assisted the 1948 British effort to destroy the new state of Israel, which involved (among other things) sending captured Nazi officers to lead the Arab armies that publicly pledged themselves to exterminate the Israeli Jews.
It is the last point that deserves our closest attention here.
Although the US voted in 1947 in favor of partitioning the former British Mandate for ‘Palestine’ into an Arab and a Jewish state, it did so only because the Soviet Union had loudly endorsed this project, placing US president Harry Truman in an impossible position. So Truman ordered his ambassador at the UN to vote in favor of partition, over the objections of the entire US Department of State. This very lukewarm US ‘support’ for the state of Israel would not last long. When the Arab armies -- led by the German Nazi war criminals whom the obliging British government sent -- attempted to exterminate the Israeli Jews the next year, the US government did a 180-degree turn and announced that it no longer recognized the state of Israel, moreover slapping an arms embargo on the Israelis to sabotage their defense.
The US citizenry didn’t like that.
According to the New York City police, 250,000 US citizens exploded onto the streets of New York in a massive protest against the policies of their own and the British government. They came from 100 cities and 14 states, and they marched and rallied to defend the Jewish people. This was a protest the likes of which the city of New York had not seen before, and hasn’t since. And the effect was to force the US government to back down, because no such display of popular will can be ignored.
From how ordinary Americans dramatically defended the Jews in 1948 it is obvious that speaking against an ongoing attempt to exterminate the Jewish people does not produce antisemitism in ordinary Americans. Why? Because an ongoing attempt to exterminate the Jewish people is precisely what the war of 1948 was. I remind you, however, that according to Rafael Medoff, the worry of “mainstream American Jewish leaders” in October 1943 was that the Bergson effort would supposedly provoke antisemitism! If the “mainstream American Jewish leaders” really believed that, then they suffered from an extreme pathology of reasoning, because a) the European Jews were already being exterminated, b) the US ruling elite was already antisemitic and moreover cooperating with the Final Solution, and c) the workers -- Bergson’s target -- could clearly be mobilized to defend the Jews, as was dramatically demonstrated just a few years later, in 1948.
And Bergson gave his own demonstration at the time, which is the most important point here:
“In 1944, around 500,000 Americans, most of them gentiles [i.e. non-Jews], joined the ‘Bergson Group’s’ struggle for rescuing Jews and the establishment of a Jewish State in free Palestine.”[14a]
Should we be surprised that Bergson got this many Americans to join his pressure group? No. Kenneth Levin writes that, at the time, “a Gallup poll revealed that 70 percent of Americans supported temporary havens on American territory” for the desperate European Jews. And yet, Levin says, the “major American Jewish organizations did not aggressively lobby for their establishment, largely, still, out of fears of an anti-Semitic backlash.”[14b] But this is absurd. Why would there be an antisemitic backlash if what 70% of Americans wanted done was in fact done, and when this was the obvious and compassionate thing to do? But it was not ordinary Americans, as we shall see below, that these mainstream Jewish leaders were afraid of upsetting.
Despite active opposition from mainstream Jewish leaders, this is what Peter Bergson's mostly non-Jewish pressure group achieved:
“In 1943 [the Bergson group] convinced Congress to kill recommendations of State Department Arabist Harold Hoskins which would have ruled Palestine off limits to further Jewish immigration. In January 1944 they motivated Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau [Jewish] to press Roosevelt to create a War Refugee Board and recommended Ira Hirschmann, the man responsible for saving thousands of lives, to work in the Balkans.”
As Louis Rapoport, who has produced the most extensive documentation of the Bergson effort, correctly says,
“The record of their achievements refutes those who claim that ‘nothing could be done.’ Something was done, and a great deal more could have been achieved had the establishment Zionist and Jewish organizations not concentrated so much of their efforts on destroying the ‘Bergson group’. . .”
It is important to understand the enormity of Peter Bergson's achievement. The American non-Jews he was trying to mobilize were simultaneously witnessing the spectacle of a propaganda campaign, by mainstream Jewish leaders, against Peter Bergson. This is the sort of thing that naturally destroyed the morale of many US citizens and made them think, “Well, if the Jews are not defending themselves, why should I?” And yet despite all this Bergson succeeded in mobilizing enough gentile (non-Jewish) US citizens to change certain official policies, and he managed to create an official rescue effort, however limited, that saved perhaps 200,000 lives. Just imagine if he had been supported rather than opposed by the mainstream Jewish leadership!
Peter Bergson was right: The Jews were not helpless, and what they needed to do was defend themselves.
Here is an example of what might have been: If the mainstream American Jewish leadership had rallied behind Bergson, and mobilized their considerable organizational resources, even bigger crowds of gentiles would have joined to defend the Jewish people, and then the US government might have been convinced to bomb the death camps and/or the railroads leading to the death camps, which would have seriously inconvenienced the effort to extinguish the European Jewish population. As it happens, the US and Britain refused to do this, despite the fact that it was very easy for them to do, and despite the repeated desperate pleas, so the extermination of the Jewish people continued apace until the very, very end of the war, in 1945.[15a]
Among Jewish leaders Peter Bergson was in the minority. In order to understand the formidable forces that Jewish patriots such as Bergson were taking on, I next ask the following relevant questions:
1) How passionate were “mainstream American Jewish leaders” in their opposition to Peter Bergson?
2) Why did the “mainstream American Jewish leaders” oppose themselves to Peter Bergson and to other rescue efforts on behalf of the European Jews?
How passionate were “mainstream American
Jewish leaders” in their opposition to Peter Bergson?
They were passionate all right.
“During the era, Zionist leaders like Rabbi [Stephen] Wise and Nahum Goldmann told the State Department that Kook/Bergson was as big a threat as Hitler to the well-being of American Jewry.”
Adolf Hitler was carrying out the systematic extermination of an entire people and culture: the Eastern Jewish ‘Yiddish’ universe, a world full of complex humor, advanced political and religious ideas, rich literature, and lots of kind-hearted, peaceful people. Example: Peter Bergson’s brother, from a family of Lithuanian Jews, would not cry revenge after surviving an entirely unprovoked racist attack; instead he would become a doctor, saving lives explicitly in order to thank God for his narrow escape. The Eastern Jews were not an abstraction. They were individuals, who laughed and joked around and got drunk and danced, who thought, invented, and wrote, who kissed their children or parents goodnight, who wondered whether their loves would be returned, who got together once a week to celebrate, and pray, and who said ‘Peace’ to each other every time they greeted or parted company. This people was taken away from us. It was a part of us -- a good part -- and it was destroyed, which is why we call it a ‘crime against humanity,’ because it was a sin against us. And the man committing the crime that cannot really be named, gouging out this piece of us forever -- that man was Adolf Hitler. But the mainstream Jewish leaders Rabbi Stephen Wise and Nahum Goldmann told the US State Department that Peter Bergson, who wanted to save as many of these people as he could, was like Adolf Hitler. It is unclear from this alone whether they spoke out of insanity or hypocrisy, but it certainly establishes that Stephen Wise and Nahum Goldmann felt a white-hot hatred for Peter Bergson.
Enlightenment begins with the honest absorption of this simple fact.
More enlightenment comes from extending the insight to see if it is consistent with other things that happen also to be true. For example, we may consider that Bergson was the political leader of the Irgun, a Jewish underground army in British Mandate ‘Palestine.’ The ideology of the Irgun was that all Jews were equal, and that the Irgun should represent and defend them all.
“The Irgunists felt that they were saving the Jewish family, and it did not matter at that point in history if an uncle was never going to milk a cow on the kibbutz, or that he was lazy or drank too much. He had every right to get out of the cauldron of Europe and to be brought to Palestine. They could not tell him that ‘your credentials aren’t good enough to be a New Jew; go back to Poland.’ Yet that was the openly stated position of many mainstream Zionists -- even after the war had begun...”
There had been pogroms (i.e. unprovoked, anti-Jewish racist attacks, involving pillage and murder) everywhere in Eastern Europe, and the annihilation of the Jewish people was being promised by Adolf Hitler in his speeches if war broke out, and then it did begin when the war broke out. So the Irgun believed that you could not pick and choose: every Jew had a right to live in safety. This was the ideology of the Irgun, of which Peter Bergson was the political leader.
“Reform Rabbi Stephen Wise, the undisputed leader of organized American Jewry, called [Vladimir Zeev] Jabotinsky a ‘traitor’ for preaching evacuation of over a million eastern Jews. ...Furthermore, Wise claimed, the Jabotinsky movement was guilty of bringing unselected, ‘unsuitable’ Jews to Palestine. As the United Palestine Appeal’s director Henry Montor [an ally of Wise] wrote, ‘No responsible person has ever said that Palestine could hold all the millions of Jews who need shelter.’ Montor condemned those who ignored the ‘need’ for selecting Jews ‘worthy’ of settling in Palestine: ‘I think it is fair to point out that many who have been brought into Palestine by the Revisionists [sic] have been prostitutes and criminals.”
Lots of consistency here.
First, Stephen Wise, who felt a white-hot hatred for Bergson, also hated Jabotinsky, and Jabotinsky, it turns out, had the same ideology as Bergson’s Irgun: he considered that all Jews were equal, and therefore all deserved to live in safety. Since Wise and Co. slandered supposedly low-quality Jews unworthy of a state as “prostitutes and criminals,” we have an irony, because Wise and Co. were the ones accusing Jabotinsky’s Revisionists, who believed that all Jews were equal, of supposedly being ‘fascists’ -- kind of like how Wise and Co. compared Peter Bergson to Adolf Hitler.
“Labor Zionist activist Marie Syrkin denounced Revisionism as comparable to 'German or Italian fascism,' and Stephen Wise's son James, editor of the monthly journal Opinion, criticized what he considered the 'fascist tendencies' of the Revisionist movement. ...Stephen Wise denounced [Revisionism as]...'Fascism in Yiddish or Hebrew.' [Yet] Jabotinsky in fact denounced totalitarianism and championed liberal democracy...”[19a]
Also not coincidentally, Jabotinsky’s Revisionist Party was loosely allied with the Irgun, and Bergson and Jabotinsky had a very good relationship.
Neither is it coincidence that Peter Bergson, on his mother’s side, was a prince of the relatively small Lubavitch movement, which interestingly is a form of Orthodox Judaism that nevertheless has always advocated the national union of all Jews (reform, atheist, whatever), without distinction or prejudice. These days, one can more easily find Jewish patriots in the Lubavitch movement than elsewhere.
Finally, it is not coincidence that the opponents of Peter Bergson’s Irgun, in British Mandate ‘Palestine’ as in the US, were the mainstream Jewish leaders; the Irgun was relatively small.
This does not exhaust the consistencies, for it turns out that Rabbi Stephen Wise opposed saving Jewish lives in many different contexts, despite the fact that he was, among Jewish leaders, the first to have confirmation, in 1942, that the European Jews would be exterminated.[24a]
For example, before the situation became hopeless, when British prime minister Neville Chamberlain suggested that Jewish refugees from Hitler go to the former German colony of Tanganyika, this was Stephen Wise's absurd reply: “I would rather have my fellow Jews die in Germany than live in lands which bear the imprint of yesterday’s occupation by Germany.” I can hardly imagine anything more absurd: Wise expressed his supposed opposition to Nazi Germany by proudly offering the German Jews up for Hitler to slaughter! Needless to say, he was not thereby offering himself. Louis Rapoport quotes the above statement by Wise, and on the same page writes, “it is inconceivable and clearly slanderous to say that American Jewish leaders were opposed to saving European Jews.” But I doubt that Rapoport would be ruling out this interpretation if it had been a gentile thus replying to Chamberlain, which underscores the sheer extremity of Wise’s position, however interpreted.
In the summer of 1939, as immigration opportunities everywhere were being denied to the desperate Jews of Europe on the eve of war, the S.S. Saint Louis, a Hamburg-American Line ship, sailed for American shores full of Jewish passengers who had, with great difficulty, legally obtained visas for the United States. This ship was turned away by the US authorities, partly thanks to Stephen Wise.
“A few American journalists and clergymen called it one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the so-called ‘haven for the oppressed,’ the United States. ...It appears in retrospect that the St. Louis was a test case for the Nazis. It confirmed their theory that the democracies were unconcerned about the fate of the Jews, and it therefore advanced the prospects for a ‘Final Solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem.’ The American Joint Distribution Committee...did finally succeed in finding refuge in various European countries for the passengers of that ship, but most of them would eventually perish in Hitler’s death camps.
Organized American Jews, led by Rabbi Wise, had not only let down the St. Louis passengers, but they also failed to press for passage of the Wagner bill, which had called for the admission of 20,000 ‘German’ refugee children. The term ‘German’ was used instead of ‘Jewish’ in the draft of the bill because of the prevailing aversion to bringing Jews to America, led, among others, by the anti-Semitic ‘tobacco senator’ Robert Reynolds of North Carolina. ...The cautious attitude of American Jewish leaders guaranteed that the bill would be defeated when it came before Congress that fateful May.”
After the war broke out, Peter Bergson’s Irgun demonstrated that they could save lives but the mainstream Jewish leaders were more interested in opposing them.
“...an Irgun ship guided by Jabotinsky’s son, Eri, brought over 2000 refugees down the Danube route to Palestine, underscoring the fact that even with war raging, it was still possible to get Jews out, even from territories under Nazi control… Since the day after the war broke out six months earlier, the Irgun had sent fourteen barely seaworthy ships out of Europe; but the mainstream Zionist movement continued to attack their efforts.”
There seems to have been nothing Stephen Wise would shrink from when it came to attacking Peter Bergson. He was, for example, friends with Edgar Hoover, and starting in April 25, 1941, he began asking for interviews with FBI agents. Rapoport asks, “Did Stephen Wise provide the FBI with information on Peter Bergson?” We cannot know, because to this day the information on this remains classified, but this is not a wild hypothesis, given that a) Wise was telling the State Department that Bergson was like Hitler, b) he was opposing Bergson in every way, and c) he considered Bergson a threat to his political position, which depended on his relationship with people such as Hoover and Roosevelt (see below). What we do know is that the FBI was not acting speedily enough to please Wise, because he complained about it.
It is true that, in public, Stephen Wise denounced Hitler's genocide, but so did Roosevelt, and talk is cheap. So the question is:
“For Hillel Kook and his friends...
Why did the “mainstream American
Jewish leaders” oppose themselves to Peter Bergson and to other rescue
efforts on behalf of the European Jews?
Louis Rapoport says that, in the United States, “The Jewish leaders feared that they would be suspected of ‘double loyalty’” if they defended the Jews.[24b] Double loyalty? Madness. The Jewish people was being exterminated; compassion by Jewish leaders towards Hitler's Jewish victims cannot be construed as ‘double loyalty.’ The refusal of these leaders to act, and their sabotage of those who did defend the European Jews, was disloyalty to the Jewish people, and loyalty to the antisemites. Indeed, on the same page Rapoport says:
Moral cowardice. Even if these Jewish leaders were right that they would have been accused of ‘double loyalty’ for defending their European brethren, the right thing to do was still to fight to save Hitler's victims with all their energies. This is morally obvious.
But in any case Peter Bergson was demonstrating that, even at face value, Wise's supposed argument for abandoning the European Jews was an utter fallacy. For that very minute, after witnessing an assertive defense of the European Jews by a Jewish leader in the United States, a great many ordinary US citizens were finding their consciences stirred, and they developed an ardent desire to join the fight: as we saw above, 500,000 US citizens, mostly non-Jews, joined Bergson's pressure movement and forced the US government to take action, however belatedly and reluctantly. And US citizens would again demonstrate their basic goodness in 1948 when 250,000 of them marched in New York in passionate defense of the Jews (see above). A third demonstration was given during the Civil Rights movement. This should not be surprising; quite unlike the US ruling elite, ordinary working- and middle-class Americans tend to have, comparatively speaking, a very good ideology -- they are some of the best people in the world.
It does not appear, at any rate, that Stephen Wise and Co. were considering the views of ordinary US citizens at all. Louis Rapoport explains:
“. . .the established Jewish organizations were fossilized and often led by self-righteous, unenlightened men concerned mainly with the prestige of office.”
In other words, Wise and other mainstream Jewish leaders were worried that they had something to lose if they rocked the boat. Wise’s position of power and influence in the Jewish community depended on keeping the antisemitic gentiles who ran the United States happy. Louis Rapoport gives a picture of Wise as totally subservient to Roosevelt, who treated Wise with contempt:
“President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whom Wise called ‘Boss’ or ‘Chief,’ regarded the rabbi as pompous and a pest, and once wrote to him, ‘...you care more for personal publicity than for good government.’ FDR delighted in teasing ‘Stevey,’ who acted like an awed courtier whenever he visited the White House. But the results of this absurd relationship would help compound the tragedy of the Jews of Europe. Even his admirers concede that Wise’s loyalty to Roosevelt ‘blinded his judgment,’ and his reliance on FDR would have ‘terrible results.’”
Naturally it would have terrible results, because the immigration policy of the US, with Roosevelt’s personal and explicit authority, was designed not merely to deny entry to desperate Jews, but to make sure they ended up trapped in Europe, where Hitler would find them. Loyalty to Roosevelt meant loyalty to this.
Though loyalty to Roosevelt and other antisemites running the US government was enough to produce opposition to Peter Bergson in the mainstream Jewish leaders, they had other reasons too.
“[Nahum] Goldmann [Stephen Wise’s Richelieu, according to Rapoport], a sworn enemy of Jabotinsky and the nationalistic Jewish movement, wanted total control of world Jewry concentrated in his hands, and said so unabashedly. The World Jewish Congress, which he had set up with Wise, was ‘the single address’ in his mind.”
The Revisionist/Irgun attempts to rescue Jews would naturally raise the prestige of the Revisionist/Irgun movement in the Diaspora, and would populate the future state of Israel with Jews who had a reason to thank the Revisionist/Irgun movement, which would undermine the political position of mainstream Zionists such as Rabbi Stephen Wise and Nahum Goldmann. Louis Rapoport makes explicit reference to this issue as well:
“For years, Rabbi Wise was engaged in a bitter struggle for power with the more activist Zionists led by Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver and Emanuel Neumann, whose militancy would be constantly spurred by the growing appeal of the Bergson group.”
One clear expression of how Stephen Wise cared only about his own power is as follows:
“In the United States, Rabbi Stephen Wise issued a statement to the press in November 1939, condemning ‘the activities of independent organizations seeking to duplicate or parallel the work of the Jewish Agency.’ Wise ignored the fact that at that time the Jewish Agency’s own activities were extremely limited.”
War had already broken out (Hitler invaded Poland on 1 September 1939), and some people not under Stephen Wise’s authority were trying desperately to save as many Jewish lives as they could. Wise really didn’t like that. The extent to which he didn’t may be measured by the colossal absurdity of his statement: if the Jewish Agency had been busy saving Jewish lives, how could it be a bad thing to duplicate its activities? This would have meant more Jewish lives saved! And yet, the Jewish Agency (represented for several years in New York by Wise’s ally and Bergson’s enemy Nahum Goldmann) was mostly not saving Jewish lives. Obviously, what really mattered to Stephen Wise was making sure that no Jewish political activity took place except under the aegis of his own organizations, the better to concentrate his power. The reason he called those groups that were saving Jewish lives “independent organizations” is that they were independent of his authority.
I have focused on Stephen Wise because he was so important, but the problem was a general one: most Jews in positions of power in the US allied with the antisemites, not with the Jews, and even Jews in power who did act for rescue did so belatedly and timidly. For example, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, who was instrumental in the creation of the War Refugee Board that saved some 200,000 Jewish lives, nevertheless cannot be called an enthusiastic Jewish patriot.
"...it is noteworthy that even Morgenthau, although aware for much of the previous year of State Department obstructionism and although obviously concerned for the fate of Europe's Jews, hesitated to confront the president. He acted only after months of urging by key figures on his staff (Josiah DuBois, Randolph Paul, John Pehle, Ansel Luxford) and by Oscar Cox of the Lend-Lease Administration, all of them non-Jews, and only after being presented by his staff with their 'Report to the Secretary on the Acquiescence of This Government in the Murder of the Jews.'"[30a]
And yet Morgenthau was a vast improvement over most other Jews in positions of power in the United States.
"Samuel Rosenman, special counsel to the president and an advisor on Jewish matters, worked consistently against the president's taking steps that would have abetted rescue. When the Bergson group organized a delegation of Orthodox rabbis to visit Washington and lobby Congress and the administration for intervention, Rosenman tried to block the visit and then encouraged Roosevelt in his decision not to meet with the rabbis. When the WRB [the War Refugee Board, which Bergson's pressure group finally forced the Roosevelt administration to create] pressed the White House for a more explicit statement threatening war-crimes prosecutions against those involved in the slaughter of the Jews, Rosenman worked to quash the effort and subsequently to water down the statement, placing less emphasis on crimes against the Jews. (The statement he diluted had been approved by three Cabinet departments and had even gained State Department support). Rosenman also fought Morgenthau on the creation of the WRB."[30b]
The situation in Congress was not better:
"Of Jews in Congress at the time, [historian] David Wyman writes, 'Only Emmanuel Celler persistently urged government rescue actions... Sol Bloom [as Wyman documents] sided with the State Department throughout.' Bloom was chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and in a particularly good position to exert some pressure to promote rescue. But he appears to have been most concerned with overcoming whatever prejudice there might be toward him as a Jew, especially in the State Department, by demonstrating his capacity to rise above 'particularlist' issues like the fate of European Jewry."[30c]
These Jewish leaders were careful not to upset the antisemites who had allowed them to rise to positions of power, and moreover they “feared that the Bergson group’s growing popularity might usurp their own positions of prominence in the Jewish community.”
It is important to state without mincing any words what these mainstream American Jewish leaders achieved while nursing their own egos and advancing their criminally narrow personal political interests: they gave Adolf Hitler courage.
As James Carroll says,
“As late as 1938, in a furious public rebuttal by Hitler to the world leaders who had denounced the Kristallnacht pogroms, his decidedly unfinal solution to the Jewish problem was still ‘Jews out!,’ not ‘Jews dead!’ His proposal, at that point, was...the expulsion of all Jews from the lands controlled by the Reich. Jews were offered immediate exit visas -- but exit to where? The same world leaders, notably Neville Chamberlain and Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had denounced the anti-Jewish violence of the Nazis declined to receive Jews as refugees... Crucial to [the Final Solution] building to a point of no return was Hitler’s discovery (late) of the political indifference of the democracies to the fate of the Jews...”
Of course, most members of the ruling elites in the US and Britain were not really indifferent -- they were antisemitic. Still, Jews would have been received in these countries if there had been internal pressure to rescue the Jewish people, precisely because they were democracies, however imperfect (Peter Bergson’s objective would be, precisely, to generate such internal pressure). But the turning away of the St. Louis, which returned to Europe in June 1939, only two months before Adolf Hitler invaded Poland, demonstrated that even Jews with legally obtained visas would not be received in the US. This ‘victory’ of Rabbi Stephen Wise over his Jewish opponents “confirmed [the Nazis in] their theory that the democracies were unconcerned about the fate of the Jews, and it therefore advanced the prospects for a ‘Final Solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem.’”
A rocket scientist is not required to conclude this: You do not gain compassion from a racist murderer if you don’t defend yourself, and moreover encourage bystanders not to defend you. What you achieve with this is that you encourage the racist murderer.
“FDR delighted in teasing ‘Stevey,’ who acted like an awed courtier whenever he
visited the White House.
Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver
How similar to “mainstream American
Jewish leaders” were mainstream Jewish leaders elsewhere?
I am sorry to report that there are plenty of examples of mainstream Jewish leaders elsewhere behaving much in the same way that mainstream American Jewish leaders did. I will focus on the case of the Jewish leadership in Britain for the following reasons:
1) like the US, Britain never became Nazi-occupied;
2) like the US, Britain was a democracy;
3) although the British leadership, like the American leadership, was mostly antisemitic, and though the British Foreign Office, like the US State Department, did its very best to sabotage the rescue of Jews, a clear opportunity to save thousands of Jewish lives was sabotaged by the mainstream Jewish leaders in London; and
5) this has now been well documented.
Above James Carroll says that, before the Nazis settled on the Final Solution, “Jews were offered immediate exit visas -- but exit to where?” Recently, historian Frank Shapiro has produced ground-breaking research that has answered this question: Northern Rhodesia (modern Zambia, with its capital in Lusaka). The refutation of the common belief that ‘there was no place to go’ has come late because the relevant documents in Britain were kept classified for more than fifty years. He writes:
“Throughout the world a politically brutal and inhumane picture had emerged: The free western countries were swiftly closing their gates to any form of mass Jewish immigration... Palestine, which was the natural and legitimate solution -- as defined under international law in the terms of the mandate granted to Britain by the League of Nations -- was now put strictly out of bounds. When war broke out in September 1939, it was too late to seek a negotiated solution for these millions of people. By then the Jews were well and truly locked within the graveyard of Europe. Their fate had been sealed.”
But there was a place Jews could go to:
“The mosaic of evidence confirms that vast numbers of Jewish refugees could have been saved and allowed to settle in Northern Rhodesia.”
The main players pushing to make possible a large-scale settlement plan for Jewish refugees in Northern Rhodesia, a protectorate of the British Crown, were 1) Reverend Cohen of the Bulawayo Hebrew Congregation in Southern Rhodesia, 2) J.E. (Chirupula) Stephenson, a gentile and prominent British colonist in Rhodesia, whom Shapiro considers a saint, and who with remarkable energy did absolutely everything in his power to save Jewish lives, and 3) the Colonial Secretary Malcolm McDonald, who -- apparently in an effort to distract from the fact that he wasn't letting any Jewish refugees enter British Mandate 'Palestine' -- was ready to act on the Northern Rhodesian scheme even if it meant upsetting both the Governor of Rhodesia (a subordinate of McDonald’s) and a faction of British colonists in Rhodesia who were antisemites. (As it turns out, however, most of the prominent Northern Rhodesian colonists who initially opposed mass Jewish immigration ended up in support when the situation of the European Jews became desperate.)
There were ups and downs, plans were proposed, revised, then aborted, then new plans proposed, and so forth. However, as the situation in Europe became ever more desperate, a plan for mass settlement of Jewish refugees in Northern Rhodesia was eventually very seriously contemplated thanks mainly to Cohen, Stephenson, and McDonald, and then it was approved. This would have allowed perhaps as many as 3000 Jews to take refuge in Northern Rhodesia, which was much less than what was obviously possible, and consequently much less than what Reverend Cohen and ‘Chirupula’ Stephenson had been passionately advocating, but still better than what was being offered anywhere else.
But the mainstream Jewish leadership in Britain discouraged Malcolm McDonald, and kept the Northern Rhodesia option secret from the desperate European Jews.
Frank Shapiro explains who was in charge:
“Until the 1930s, the lay leadership of Britain’s Jewish community remained the prerogative of an exclusive cadre of personalities of well established, anglicized [Jewish] families, such as Anthony de Rothschild, Neville Laski, Sir Robert Waley Cohen, Sir Osmond D’Avigdor-Goldsmid, Lord Bearsted, Sir Herbert Samuel, and Simon Marks, who provided traditional, paternalistic-style guidance.
. . .[After offering to defray all costs of asylum seekers, freeing the British government of all responsibility,] control over the category of refugees admitted became the responsibility of the voluntary organizations which became centralized in the Emigration (Planning) Committee of the Council of German Jewry, whose chairman was Anthony de Rothschild and Professor Bentwich its director. This committee was to be the primary organization dealing with Jewish refugee settlement in Britain’s overseas colonies [because they were not being admitted into Britain!].”
On June 10, 1939, a Mission headed by Sir James Dunnett and appointed to study the feasibility of a mass settlement scheme for Jewish refugees in Northern Rhodesia completed its inquiries. The Mission concluded with the most ambitious official recommendation, which was quite modest compared to what was in fact possible, but at any rate much better than nothing: 440 families (Eastern European Jewish families were large, so these might have been as many as 3000 people).
“It would have been expected that with the publication of the Mission’s findings favoring the settlement of some four hundred refugee families, Rothschild’s Emigration (Planning) Committee would have immediately struck while the iron was hot and malleable, and transported the agreed-upon quota into Northern Rhodesia as fast as possible. Unfortunately, this was not to be. The idea of the report’s findings bothered Anthony de Rothschild, who expressed the wish to keep the findings under wraps for the time being.”
For the time being. This was June 1939, and the invasion of Poland, which began the World War and sealed the fate of Europe’s Jews when Hitler overran the continent, was only two and a half months away.
Colonial Secretary Malcolm McDonald was prepared to order the Governor of Northern Rhodesia, his subordinate, to accept the refugees, overriding any local opposition. In a statement prepared for McDonald’s confrontation with Sir John Maybin, the Governor, and quoted by Shapiro, the London bureaucrats expressed that:
“HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] would in all probability find themselves compelled to overrule the views of the Governor and of his Legislative Council, assuming that those views continued to be unfavorable to large-scale settlement.”
But the body supposedly created to save Jewish lives, and presided by the mainstream Jewish leader Anthony de Rothschild, would not give its endorsement.
“However, the Emigration (Planning) Committee jettisoned the Mission’s plan and had no intention of implementing it. In their discussion on the Mission’s findings, rather than working out a concrete settlement plan, the members of Rothschild’s committee deliberated how to hide the positive intentions; how to keep the report hushed up, and what the likely reactions would be to any publication.” [emphasis original]
And they worried they might be attacked for this, which reveals consciousness of guilt:
“One of the leading Emigration (Planning) Committee members, Lord Hailey, . . .was particularly worried about how to deal with the potential accusations against the Emigration (Planning) Committee if they did not publish the report.”
The method of procrastination became the assertion that other schemes (schemes that, needless to say, came to nothing) should be considered first. Naturally, this gave Malcolm McDonald’s Colonial Office the cover it needed to do nothing, and so
“. . .the Colonial Office went along with Rothschild’s Committee’s rejection and took the view now taken by the Committee, namely that all considerations of the Mission’s Report were to be shelved until information regarding British Guiana was forthcoming.”
Your capacity for shock has not yet been exhausted. Faced with the disaster of the hushing of the Mission’s Report,
“At the end of July 1939, ‘Chirupula’ Stephenson wrote directly to Rothschild offering a business deal regarding his own [Rhodesian] farm as a means to rehabilitate the refugees. Wishing to retire, he offered the Emigration (Planning) Committee his farm for sale, whereby he would become Life Director in an ensuing established limited company. According to Stephenson, the farm comprising some 12,500 acres could support 1,250 men and women growing crops for export. His message was passed on to the Emigration (Planning) Committee and almost three weeks passed before Stephenson received an answer: ‘the Committee decided that for the time being no measures will be taken in regard to refugee settlement in Northern Rhodesia.’”
For the time being. The invasion of Poland would happen in another week.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about this story lies in a point that Frank Shapiro goes out of his way to document and impress upon the reader: although there was a lot of official back and forth about the mass settlement scheme, while this was going on, not one Jew who tried to enter Northern Rhodesia, with or without a visa, was denied entry. Every Jew who found out about this made it in. But the Emigration (Planning) Committee, which body knew this perfectly well, did not publicize this fact either.
The documents relevant to this case remained classified for more than fifty years: more evidence of consciousness of guilt.
Is the current Jewish leadership different? The next piece in this series will document that it is not. But casting here just a brief glance into the future, notice one deadly connection between the past and the present. As we've seen above, “the Emigration (Planning) Committee,” which body prevented at least 3000 Jewish lives from finding save haven in Northern Rhodesia, “[was] headed by such eminent personalities as...Lord [Herbert] Samuel...” This Herbert Samuel had been the High Commissioner for Palestine, and he presided over the elevation of Hajj Amin al Husseini as Mufti of Jerusalem, after Hajj Amin demonstrated that he could organize anti-Jewish terrorist riots in British Mandate 'Palestine'! Hajj Amin al Husseini went on to organize bigger anti-Jewish terrorist riots with the budget and authority that Herbert Samuel gave him, and when the World War exploded he became one of the main leaders of Adolf Hitler's Final Solution in Europe. Later, he also mentored Yasser Arafat, and grandfathered Fatah, Arafat's organization. This would be the same Yasser Arafat and the same Fatah that current mainstream Jewish leaders have labored energetically to empower inside the Jewish state.
The next piece in this series is:
Notify me of new HIR pieces!
Footnotes and Further Reading
 This quote is reported, I should note, by an admirer of Stephen Wise. It will be found here:
Urofsky, M. I. 1982. A voice that spoke for justice: The life and times of Stephen S. Wise. Albany: State University of New York Press. (p.304)
[1a] Levin, K. 2005. The Oslo syndrome: Delusions of a people under siege. Hanover, NH: Smith and Kraus. (p.119)
[1b] Rapoport, Louis. 1999. Shake heaven and earth: Peter Bergson and the struggle to rescue the Jews of Europe, Gefen, Jerusalem and New York. (p.221)
[1c] The Oslo syndrome (p.119)
 “Can Israel
survive if it does not defend itself?: The Jewish people must come to grips
with their radical opposition to self-defense”; Historical and Investigative
Research; 13 Sep 2005; by Francisco Gil-White
 Rapoport, Louis. 1999. Shake heaven and earth: Peter Bergson and the struggle to rescue the Jews of Europe, Gefen, Jerusalem and New York. (p.vii)
[3a] Levin, K. 2005. The Oslo syndrome: Delusions of a people under siege. Hanover, NH: Smith and Kraus. (pp.118-119)
 LIQUIDATION DAY SET FOR FRANCE'S JEWS; Whole Problem Is to Be Put Into German Hands by Feb. 15, Relief Groups Hear SEVERAL METHODS USED Internment and Deportation Are Employed, as Is Assignment to Dangerous Work; By DANIEL T. BRIGHAM; By Telephone to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Jan 27, 1943. p. 10 (1 page)
 Total Nazi Executions Are Put at 3,400,000; Poland, With 2,500,000 Victims, Tops List; New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Feb 28, 1943. p. 12 (1 page)
 No US visas
for European Jews trying to escape the Nazi slaughter; From “Is the US an Ally
of Israel?: A Chronological Look at the Evidence”;
Historical and Investigative Research; by Francisco Gil-White.
The allies refused to sabotage the Final Solution by
military means; From “Is the US an Ally of Israel?:
A Chronological Look at the Evidence”; Historical and Investigative Research;
by Francisco Gil-White.
 “The Day the
Rabbis Marched”; David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies; October 06,
2005; by Rafael Medoff. (Dr. Medoff is director of The David S. Wyman Institute for
[7a] I have examined this pathology of reasoning in the following piece:
[7b] Levin, K. 2005. The Oslo syndrome: Delusions of a people under siege. Hanover, NH: Smith and Kraus. (p.137)
 In the 1930s,
the US Establishment helped sponsor the rise of the German Nazi movement;
From “Is the US an Ally of Israel?: A Chronological
Look at the Evidence”; Historical and Investigative Research; by Francisco
 No US visas
for European Jews trying to escape the Nazi slaughter; From “Is the US an
Ally of Israel?: A Chronological Look at the
Evidence”; Historical and Investigative Research; by Francisco Gil-White.
The allies refused to sabotage the Final Solution by
military means; From “Is the US an Ally of Israel?:
A Chronological Look at the Evidence”; Historical and Investigative Research;
by Francisco Gil-White.
 The following three pieces contain discussion, making reference to the relevant documentation, of how US Intelligence absorbed and sponsored Nazi war criminals after 1945:
The following piece documents the power that US Intelligence was given in 1947 to corrupt the press and the entire political process, making US citizens essentially powerless to control their own government:
 “The British
Record on Partition”; Reprinted from The Nation, May 8, 1948; Comments by
Jared Israel, Emperor's Clothes.
 In 1947-48,
forced by external circumstances, the US government gave lukewarm support to
the creation of the State of Israel. But then it reversed itself and
implemented anti-Israel policies; From “Is the US an Ally of Israel?: A Chronological Look at the Evidence”; Historical and
Investigative Research; by Francisco Gil-White.
 To read an analysis of all this, consult:
To see a photo of the demonstration, in the original NYT article that reported on it, visit:
NOTE: The NYT headline diminishes the size of the crowd to 100,000, but the body of the article reports that the NYC police estimated the crowd at around 250,000.
 Friedman, Saul S., 1937- Shake Heaven and Earth: Peter Bergson and the Struggle to Rescue the Jews of Europe, and: America Views the Holocaust, 1933-1945: A Brief Documentary History (review); American Jewish History - Volume 88, Number 1, March 2000, pp. 141-145
[14a] HOLOCAUST: THE AMERICAN JEWISH CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE:
The Rise and Fall of the American Jewish Commission on the Holocaust; The
Forgotten Heritage: The Struggle of the Irgun's
Delegation to the United States (1939-1945) Against the Silence of America
(The Story of the Bergson-Hecht Group); The Jewish Post of New York; May/June
1996; by GAD NAHSHON.
[14b] Levin, K. 2005. The Oslo syndrome: Delusions of a people under siege. Hanover, NH: Smith and Kraus. (p.137)
 Rapoport, Louis. 1999. Shake heaven and earth: Peter Bergson and the struggle to rescue the Jews of Europe, Gefen, Jerusalem and New York. (p.viii)
[15a] The allies refused to sabotage the Final Solution
 Rapoport, Louis. 1999. Shake heaven and earth: Peter Bergson and the struggle to rescue the Jews of Europe, Gefen, Jerusalem and New York. (p.xi)
 “Two of Hillel’s [Bergson’s] brother’s were injured in different pogroms [anti-Jewish racist attacks]. In the worst pogrom, when Rabbi Dov Kook and his sons, Rafael and Herzl, were out of town, Girgoriev’s men invaded and ransacked the Kook’s home. Rebecca fled with her youngest, four-year-old Hillel [who would later be Peter Bergson]…, and her four girls; Batya, Sonia, Tzila, and Nehama. Fifteen-year-old Nahum, who stayed behind, was shot in the chest, the bullets penetrating his lungs. The pogromchiks left him for dead. Rebecca and her children hid in the cellar in the courtyard, where other Jewish mothers were sheltering their children, trembling in fear. Hillel’s mother warned her little boy not to cry out, or she would have to clasp her hand over his mouth, as another young mother was doing to her child. They stayed in the cellar for hours. When they emerged, the found Nahum at death’s door and the streets of the town literally flowing with blood. The experience was indelibly branded into Hillel Kook’s soul: His earliest memories were of Jews being shot, or cut down with swords or axes. Nahum was brought by cart to the hospital, where the doctors said there was no hope for him. But somehow, he survived. In offering thanks to God for what was considered a miraculous recovery, he took a vow to become a doctor. This was pleasing to Rebecca, who wanted two of her sons to become rabbis, and the other two to become physicians.”
SOURCE: Rapoport, Louis. 1999. Shake heaven and earth: Peter Bergson and the struggle to rescue the Jews of Europe, Gefen, Jerusalem and New York. (p.15).
 Shake Heaven and Earth (p.32)
 Shake Heaven and Earth (p.32)
[19a] Wyman, D. S., and R. Medoff. 2002. A race against death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust. New York: The New Press. (p.19)
 Shake Heaven and Earth (p.14)
 Urofsky, M. I. 1982. A voice that spoke for justice: The life and times of Stephen S. Wise. Albany: State University of New York Press. (p.304)
 Shake Heaven and Earth (pp.33-34)
 Shake Heaven and Earth (p.39)
 Shake Heaven and Earth (p.62)
[24a] On August 28, 1942, Rabbi Stephen Wise received an alarming cable from London. It read in part: "IN FUHRER'S HEADQUARTERS PLAN DISCUSSED AND UNDER CONSIDERATION THAT ALL JEWS IN COUNTRIES OCCUPIED OR CONTROLLED [BY] GERMANY...SHOULD AFTER DEPORTATION AND CONCENTRATION IN EAST AT ONE BLOW BE EXTERMINATED." The message had originally been sent by Gerhart Riegner, the World Jewish Congress representative in Switzerland. It came to Wise because, as a leading figure in more than a dozen Jewish organizations, he was probably the most influential and well-respected American Jew of his generation.
[24b] Rapoport, Louis. 1999. Shake heaven and earth: Peter Bergson and the struggle to rescue the Jews of Europe, Gefen, Jerusalem and New York. (p.34)
 Shake Heaven and Earth (p.41)
 Shake Heaven and Earth (p.61)
 No US visas for
European Jews trying to escape the Nazi slaughter; From “Is the US an Ally of
Israel?: A Chronological Look at the Evidence”;
Historical and Investigative Research; by Francisco Gil-White.
 Shake Heaven and Earth (p.62)
 Shake Heaven and Earth (p.44)
 Shake Heaven and Earth (p.39)
[30a] Levin, K. 2005. The Oslo syndrome: Delusions of a people under siege. Hanover, NH: Smith and Kraus. (p.138)
[30b] The Oslo syndrome (p.138)
[30c] The Oslo syndrome (pp.138-139)
 “The Day the
Rabbis Marched”; David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies; October 06,
2005; by Rafael Medoff. (Dr. Medoff is director of The David S. Wyman Institute for
 Carroll, J. 2001. Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (p.522)
 Shapiro, Frank. 2002. Haven in Africa, Jerusalem and New York, Gefen (p.1-3)
 Haven in Africa (pp.90-91)
[34a] BRITISH MANDATE; MCDONALD WHITE PAPER |
 Haven in Africa (pp.33-34)
 Haven in Africa (p.111)
 Haven in Africa (p.117)
 Haven in Africa (p.117)
 Haven in Africa (p.117)
 Haven in Africa (p.119)
 You will find the most complete documentation on this here:
Some of this material was originally published here:
Reform Rabbi Stephen Samuel Wise
Reform Rabbi Steven Samuel Wise