Historian and Holocaust scholar Rafael Medoff told the Times of Israel that Ken Burns’ new documentary, USA and The Holocaust, airing this week on PBS, chronicles President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s military service to save the Jews.
Specifically, Medoff claims that Burns exaggerated Roosevelt’s role in rescuing Jewish refugees in Europe by falsely claiming that the United States received more refugees than any other country. In his view, the quotas directly controlled by Roosevelt were partially responsible for the deaths of Anne Frank and the tens of thousands of Jews denied asylum in Europe.
Medoff also said that Roosevelt refused to bomb the railroads to Auschwitz because of the doctrine of not using the military for humanitarian purposes, because of the danger to prisoners, or because it would divert military resources.
He added that Burns missed the role of James J. MacDonald, the first U.S. ambassador to resign from the Roosevelt administration in 1935 to protest that the administration had not done enough to help European Jews.
Medoff also told the Times of Israel that Roosevelt refused to allow Jewish refugees to escape to the US Virgin Islands.
He added that while Roosevelt’s advocates relied on the public that it would be wrong to put too much emphasis on rescuing European Jews, this argument falsely justified Roosevelt’s immigration policies.
Public opinion does not govern US immigration policy; Roosevelt became President The Roosevelt administration decided to suppress immigration below the level permitted by current law, finding reasons to disqualify visa applicants, not the public. One of the main reasons the waiting list was so long was that the German quota remained unfilled for 11 of Roosevelt’s 12-year tenure. Instead, the more than 190,000 quota places available for Jewish refugees were not used. In 1941, when the Franks tried to emigrate, the quota was only 47% full; There was plenty of room for Anna and her family if the administration hadn’t worked so hard to keep the Jews out.
Will any future filmmaker try to blame the “public” for the Clinton administration’s ignorance of the Rwandan genocide, or for the little things the Bush and Obama administrations have done to stop the genocide in Darfur? I hope not.
Documentary filmmakers have a duty to present historical facts to their beloved president, even if it reflects badly.
Medoff said Burns’ documentary was based on a mock 2018 exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, where McDonald’s diaries featuring Roosevelt were not included in screenings about the role of U.S. politics in the Holocaust.
He has come under fire for comparing the shipment of immigrants at Martha’s Vineyard to the Nazis last week.
Joel B. Pollack is Senior Editor and news anchor for Breitbart News News Sunday Breitbart Every Sunday night from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM ET (4:00 PM to 7:00 PM PT) on Sirius XM Patriot. He is the author of the recently published e-book Neither Free nor Fair: 2020 US Presidential Election. last book RED NOVEMBERtells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries from a conservative perspective. Won the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Scholarship. follow him on twitter @joelpollak.