|TIMELINE OF AMERICA AND THE HOLOCAUST
1933 January 30: Hitler elected Chancellor of Germany
1935: Nuremburg Laws enacted
1938 November 10: The Night of Broken Glass
1938 March 25: The Evian Conference called by Roosevelt held in Evian, France
The Evian Conference was a worldwide meeting called by President Roosevelt in order to find homes for Europe's refuges. Some people believed that the reason for the Evian Conference was to show anger and disapproval of the Nazis, although in the end nothing was accomplished.
1939: The Tragedy of the St. Louis
The ship, St. Louis of the Hamburg-Altoona Line, sailed to Cuba with approximately 900 Jews, was turned away, and then headed to the U.S. coast. Because the refugees had not been able to secure the necessary documents before leaving Hamburg, and because of strict immigration laws, The U.S. government denied entry to the refugees, forcing them to return to Europe.
1939 February: The Wagner-Rogers Bill
When Robert Wagner and Edith Nourse Rogers introduced their bill in early 1939, providing for the admittance of 20,000 German refugee children in the United States, many religious figures, labor organizations, prominent politicians, and editors supported it. Other restrictionist and patriotic groups, such as the American Legion, DAR, and the American Coalition of Patriotic Societies banded together in opposition to the Wagner-Rogers Bill, insisting that charity began at home, and criticizing the notion of separating children from their parents or guardians. The bill died in the Senate.
1941: The mass killings of Jews begin by gassing in specially designed vans at Chelmno.
1942 June 20: The New York Times carried a report from the World Jewish Congress that the Germans had massacred one million Jews, and that the Nazis had established a "vast slaughterhouse for the Jews" in Eastern Europe.
From Hannah Rosen's Diary:
"The New York Herald Tribune (NYHT) finally had a front page story on the massacre of a million Jews. Though horrifying, this article contains hard facts, however late. I am outraged to have found such a brief article about the killings in Chelmno buried on page five in NYT on June 27."
1942 August 20-25: Jan Karski infiltrates Warsaw Ghetto
Between August 20 and 25, 1942, the wave of terror in the Warsaw Ghetto briefly abated; the German murder network was busy clearing the Jews from several outlying towns. In an area already shrunken to a fraction of its former population, the Ghetto's remaining inhabitants were momentarily free to go about the business of living and dying-- mostly dying, of starvation, disease and suicide-- relatively unmolested.
1942 August: The Riegner Telegram/Cable reaches the U.S. State Department
Gerhard Riegner sent the telegram to Rabbi Steven Wise via the U.S. State Department and to Sydney Silverman via the London Foreign Office informing them that a Nazi plan for the mass extermination of the European Jews is being implemented on East European Soil.
1942 November 25: The New York Times carried an announcement on page ten by Rabbi Wise about the slaughter of two million Jews.
1942 November 28: Rabbi Wise holds a press conference and announces to the world the Nazi Plan to exterminate Europe's Jews.
1942 December 2: In London, Jan Karski reported to Polish-Jewish leaders Szmul Zygielbojm and Ignacy Schwarzbart.
Schwarzbart perused the full text of the documents Karski had carried, his illusions were shattered. He cabled the World Jewish Congress in New York:
"HAVE READ TODAY ALL REPORTS FROM POLAND COMPULSORY ORDER JEWISH COUNCIL WARSAW FOR DEPORTATION STOP THEY EXCEED BY HORROR SUFFERINGS OF OUR NATION EVERYTHING FANTASY CAN PICTURE STOP JEWS IN POLAND ALMOST COMPLETELY ANNIHILATED STOP READ REPORTS DEPORTATION TEN THOUSAND JEWS FOR DEATH STOP IN BELZEC FORCED TO DIG OWN GRAVE MASS SUICIDE HUNDREDS CHILDREN THROWN ALIVE INTO GUTTERS DEATH CAMPS IN BELZEC TREBLINKA THOUSANDS DEAD NOT BURIED IN SOBIBOR MASS GRAVES MURDER PREGNANT WOMEN STOP JEWS NAKED DRAGGED INTO DEATH CHAMBERS GESTAPOMEN ASKED PAYMENT FOR QUICKER KILLING HUNTING FUGITIVES STOP THOUSANDS DAILY VICTIMS
THROUGHOUT POLAND STOP BELIEVE THE UNBELIEVABLE STOP...."
1942 December 13: America's most popular broadcaster, Edward R. Murrow reported the following:
"Millions of human beings, most of them Jews, are being gathered up with ruthless efficiency and murdered...It is a picture of mass murder and moral depravity unequaled in the history of the world. It is a horror beyond what imagination can grasp...There are no longer 'concentration camps' - we must speak now only of 'extermination camps'."
1942 December 17:
In the name of the United Nations, President Roosevelt warns Hitler and the Germans that they will be held individually responsible for what they were doing to the Jews of Europe. This announcement was made both in Congress and the British Parliament.
1942 December 18:
Front page story in The New York Times about the atrocities in Europe. It is the first public acknowledgment by the U.S. government and ten other nations of the mass murder of the Jews.
1943 January-March: Peter Bergson engages in an all-out campaign to bring the genocide to the attention to the United States Government and the American People. A Pageant about the Genocide and the plight of the Jews -- We Will Never Die -- tours five American cities and draws a total of 40,000 at two record-breaking performances at Madison Square Garden on March 9.
1943 April: British-American Conference held in Bermuda to discuss the situation of the Jewish victims of the Genocide. Largely regarded in its aftermath as a hoax, the official result is that the only way to help the Jews of Europe is to win the war.
1943 October: The Bergson Group leads a massive demonstration in Washington, D.C. They do not succeed in meeting with the President. They urge the immediate establishment of a special governmental agency to address the plight of the European Jews.
1943: Congress considers legislation that would assist in the rescue of the Jews by Senator Guy Gillette and Congressman Will Rodgers, Jr. It moves rapidly through the Senate but is held up in the House when Breckenridge Long gives misleading testimony behind closed doors concerning the numbers of refugees and Jewish refugees in particular.
1944 January 16: Rabbi Steven Wise meets with F.D.R. at the White House. Henry Morgenthau,Jr. and John Pehle meet with Roosevelt at the White House and outline the report "On the Acquiesence of this Government in the Murder of the Jews."
Morgenthau demonstrates to Roosevelt that there has been an intentional cover-up of the reports of genocide from Europe and intentional obstruction of action by the State Department. He identifies and produces two memoranda from Breckinridge Long of 1942 and 1943. The first sent to the Visa Officers at the consulate in Zurich, Switzerland, directing them not to relay any reports of the Genocide from private individuals. Given that there were very few, if any, official reports relating to this matter at the time, this was a crucial source of information. The second was a memorandum to all U.S. Consulates to delay and postpone all requests for visas.
1944 January 22: At the urging of Henry Morgenthau, the War Refugee Board (WRB), an interdepartmental committee, is established by Executive Order 9417 to deal directly with the plight of the European Jews and other victims of Nazi terror. It has the authority to circumvent the State Department. John Pehle is appointed as its Director. The mandate of the WRB is to "rescue as many victims of the Nazi oppression as possible."
In the end, the WRB succeeded in rescuing over 200,000 Jews, including 48,000 Rumanian Jews and at least 70,000 Jews from Budapest, Hungary.
1944 July 6: Chaim Weizmann transmits two messages to Anthony Eden, the British Foreign Secretary, requesting that the gassing installations and the railway lines to Auschwitz be subjected to aerial bombing. The reply, dated September 1, 1944, that is, over seven weeks later, reads as follows: "As he promised, Mr. Eden immediately put the proposal to the Secretary of State for Air. The matter received the most careful consideration of the Air Staff, but I am sorry to tell you that, in view of the very great technical difficulties involved, we have no option but to refrain from pursuing the proposal in present circumstances."
The WRB also recommended that the Crematoria at Auschwitz be bombed. The War Department refused to do so. John Pehle was told it was not possible because the bombers would have to fly from England without fighter support. In fact, American bombers had been flying to oil refineries not even 40 miles away from Auschwitz and even bombed the BUNA refinery at Auschwitz from airbases in Italy.