But not until I read (or reread) some of Roosevelt’s most despicable statements about Jews, extensively documented in a series of on-line commentaries by Rafael Medoff, founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, did the depths of Roosevelt’s loathing for Jews, and refusal to lift a finger (which, unlike his legs, was not paralyzed) to rescue them, fully penetrate.
As a member of the Harvard board of directors he supported a Jewish admissions quota.
In 1941 he told his Cabinet that too many Jews were federal employees in Oregon. One of his grandsons recalled that the protagonists in FDR’s jokes “were always Lower East Side Jews with heavy accents.”
** At the 1945 Yalta conference, FDR indicated to Stalin that as a concession to the king of Saudi Arabia, he would “give him the six million Jews in the United States. **
Tragically, Roosevelt’s embedded anti-Semitism was not confined to jokes. It was displayed in the refusal of the American government in 1939 to admit the desperate refugees on board the S.S. St. Louis, who were returned to Germany – or to even fill the quotas that authorized the limited admission of Germans. It was revealed in American government suppression of information about the mass murder of European Jews. The White House opposed a resolution to create the War Refugee Board and delayed its establishment for fourteen months. Orders to bomb railroad tracks leading to the extermination camps were never given, although Nazi facilities merely five miles away were destroyed. And special American missions were launched to rescue art treasures – and performing Lipizzaner horses.