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tv   Rebecca Erbelding Rescue Board  CSPAN  August 29, 2018 4:32am-5:26am EDT

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board. >> good afternoon everyone. thank you all for coming. my name is bernard and i'm a bookseller here at the politics and prose. on behalf of the owners and the staff i like to welcome all of you to your favorite bookstore for this afternoon's event. as you may already know politics and prose hosts hundreds of events like this all throughout the year. one such event and this is the one we do next saturday, may 12,
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for her new book edge of chaos, why democracy is failing to deliver economic growth and how to fix it. a little bit of housekeeping before we start the first of all, turn off or silence your cell phones and we would appreciate it for the q&a. step up to the microphones and we have one on the side and apparently it's only on the side. please, lineup if you want to ask the author a question. not only so that we can hear the conversation but to also ensure that it is being recorded. for those of you who want to buy copies of the book there are right behind the cash registers. we will do assigning after the q&a so if you like to get your book signed line up to the right of the podium. lastly, please keep the chairs where they are as we have another event after this one. onto the main event. this afternoon i'm happy to introduce rebecca erbelding to
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all of you. she has an archivist, curator and historian of the united states holocaust memorial museum here in washington dc. she organized the museum's exhibit on the american response to the holocaust. rebecca has a phd in american history from george mason university. she and her work have been profiled in "the washington post", "the new york times" and the new yorker and the teacher on the history or channel and other media outlets. she will discuss her new book rescue board, the untold story of america's efforts to save the jews of europe. this book tells the little-known story of john, a lawyer who persuade president roosevelt to organize the refugee board in 1944.
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their work involved forging identity papers, recruiting spies, leaking it news and channeling food and money to underground organizations. in 20 months the board saved tens of thousands of lives. lynn olson, author of the book last island, says that with her magisterial research rebecca brilliantly brings to life the gripping little-known story of this transformative moment in american history and persuading government lawyers who made this happen. the fine work of scholarly detection turning up a story that deserves to meet much better known. ladies and gentlemen, rebecca erbelding. [applause] >> thank you so much. first of all, i'm incredibly excited to be here. i've been working on this project for about a decade in the first caveat is when i talk about it is this is not a book that is a product of the holocaust museum work.
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it's my work. for the decade of been working here i come here and look at the moment when my book will be on the shelves. this is a big day and i'm grateful for all of you for sharing it with me. rescue board begins on the. full weekend of august, 1942 in the internment camp in southern france. twenty -year-old roswell the quality went by roz was a californian who worked for the american service committee, a quaker aid foundation, and he's watching the first deportations of foreign jews from france, nor to paris and as we now know to auschwitz where most of them will be killed on arrival. ross knew what was happening in very general terms but just a week earlier he had gone to the capital of collaboration of france and protested the french government arguing that the nazis plan to and this is a direct quote, exterminate these people.
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he laughed at him at the time and it was a fiction he said. if the united states were concerned about what was happening to the jews why were we not taking them. rescue board is the story of how we got to their and how us immigration laws were structured to keep out undesirable immigrants and there was no refugee policy to speak of. it's a story of how the market people in the government were so into immigrant the group of corpsmen got together in april 1938 and vowed they were not introduce any legislation to open immigration for fear that raising the debate would cause more stricter laws. it's a story of refugee crisis that extended past pearl harbor and jews in casablanca and lisbon and in southern france were still trying to get out. it's a story of how a californian could be on the ground in an internment camp witnessing deportation. mainly the book is about what
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happened next. ross mcclellan was not the only person working peppers beginning of august 1942. [inaudible] worked for the world jewish congress in switzerland learned about the rumors of mass killings to the east and the deportation of jews. he learned they all had a purpose and there was a nazi plan to exterminate and murder all the jews of europe. this seems obvious to us now and it's hard to look back on the holocaust and not look at it with a lot of hindsight but back then they saw no precedent to this. jews had been subjected to programs before and they inevitably ended but a plan was different. he tried to send this news to the us and switzerland which had a secure commission channel to the united states and once the message got to america the state department officials blocked it from being received.
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it seemed to fantastic, one wrote. another thought it must just be a war rumor and i can't see why they would put this in a telegram. the news of the nazi extermination plan made it through in the press reported the story in november 1942. by that point ross mcclellan had escaped from southern france to switzerland and the americans remain behind in france were arrested in interment in germany as the allies invaded north africa and the nazis swept itself. for more than a year after november 1942 as more information trickled out of europe the state department continuously tried to quell any attempt at public pressure for some rescue action. activists staged elaborate rallies and pageants that were the country and placed full page newspaper ads condemning roosevelt and the state department calling on the us to do something and in october 1933
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hundreds of orthodox rabbis marched on the capital. mass rescue of course is impossible in the allied armies thousands of miles away from the death camps in the us has only a tenuous grip on the european continent but much more absolutely could have been done. at this point in the story a group of treasury department lawyers most of them in their 30s enter and the most unlikely of heroes. they spent the fall of 1943 asserted by delays improving $25000 in aid money that was to go to jews in france and romania. while they were writing a report detailing the reasons the state and excuses they'd given the discovered evidence that the state farm it had been actively trying to stop information about the holocaust from reaching the united states. they wanted to stop the public pressure. americans don't know about it then they won't put pressure on the state permit to do anything. they specifically told the swiss us not to send any more of his reports about atrocities. one of the best things that studying the treasury department is fdr's treasury secretary
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recorded all of his meetings. in this book i was able to use the treasury department own words and express their frustration. you can read the actual transcripts of what they are saying and at the end of december 1943 josiah, a lawyer treasury, and said mr. secretary, the only question we have in our minds, i think, are the bowl has to be taken by the horns in dealing with this jewish issue. get this thing out of the state department into some agencies hands that is willing to do with it frontally. for instance, take the complaint and whatever you do with the juice? we let them die because we don't know what to do with them. another staff member added we are speaking as citizens now. armed with their evidence the treasury department wrote a new report titling the report to the secretary on the acquiescence of this government in the murder of the jews. this is a dc town and a lot of us have read government and that
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is not generally the title of these reports but it began one of the greatest crimes in history and the slaughter of the jewish people in europe is continuing unabated and unless remedial steps are drastic nature are taken taken immediately i am certain the no effective action will be taken by this government to complete the extermination of jews in europe and this government will have to share for all time responsibility for this extermination. it was time to go to fdr they decided in demand as one of them put it a new deal. on january 16, 19.4 morgan and two men of his staff met with ms. watson continued to convince him to execute in order. a new government agency tasked with relief and rescue of jews and other persecuted minorities. it was nominally headed by the sectors of wars, state and treasury but was housed on the third floor treasury with almost all the staff were treasury department lawyers and 35 -year-old assistant secretaries
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john served as the war refugee board director. for the first time in january 1944 the united states as an official policy about the holocaust and by the end of the war in europe, 17 months later, they saved thousands of whites. rescue board is the first non- self published book about the war refugee board. who they were, what they did, they did. this seems strange given the tens of thousands of books that are published about world war ii and the thousands about the holocaust that are published every year and for the decades that i was writing the book i expected someone to come behind me and get their first and the self published books have all come out last five years and they are relying on similar, older scholarships of why we watched the abandonment of the jews while 6 million died in many of these books tear at each other or play the selected game of hidden stories and telephones were one finds the document and
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others cites a citation and becomes this more elaborate story and the story that they tell of american indifference has been enduring so enduring that the sheer existence of the war refugee board and the efforts that the americans and make have been completely overshadowed. that work is important in matters. there's another more basic reason that the war refugee board has been largely forgotten which is the arc of records are almost impossible to navigate so when i started working in 2011 and in 2012 i was looking at 120 boxes of the fdr library there were still in their original 1944, 1945 order so they had a correspondent series those of a medical by author and it topic series that was six boxes called turkey, six boxes called sweden and the couple historians who have written about the war refugee board, usually longer pieces to larger books, have written these isolated stories and this is what they're doing
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in turkey and in sweden and in switzerland. when i started the first thing i did was photograph all of those 120 boxes and after deleting the duplicates i had about 19000 original documents and some one-page, some a couple hundred. then i had to fill in all the gaps so i ended up with about 43000 unique documents that i was working through so i put them all into pdfs and gave each one a unique title which gave the date that the document was created and when i found it and what archive i found it in and what box and folder and i figure out that if you put a 40001 folder in a computer with a lot of memory it all sorts chronologically and then you can read through things as they were actually happening. things that showed up in one archive there was an answer document in the other archive and all of a sudden they're back together. reading through and looking through everything chronologically is important
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because the prospect for rescue change so rapidly in 1944. options for what you can do change before d-day and after the day before the battle of the bulge and after and does the leverage of the united states over neutral nations but not the occupied country and collaborating nations. by reading through chronologically i could see how much time they were spending on projects whether they were successful and i could avoid the historian trap of hindsight. they tried so many ideas in different projects that it's hard to explain their work in any sort of pithy summary. a give you a couple overall facts and tell a few stories before we get to questions. the same day in january 1944 that roosevelt issued the executive order based streamlined the procedure that agencies would send money overseas so they argued it did not matter anymore after januarf
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humanitarian aid got into the hands of the nazis. by the end of the war the wr b had offered more than $11 and that's $154 million today in humanitarian relief money to host different aid organizations that money was used to buy guns for the french underground from up a people who were hiding children in their homes, pay guides who were taking people across borders and the board reported representatives in most of the neutral nations in turkey, switzerland, portugal, north africa and eventually in london most of them treasury department employees who are already there or humanitarian aid workers so the representative in turkey is a narcissistic bloomingdale's marketing executive who gets in a lot of trouble. they are working on leverage and try to leverage this near certain allied victory by 1944 to convince all of these nations that the us cares about what will happen to these people and
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that they can carry favor if they pretend to care, too. from washington john paley, the director lays out a strategy for the board and persuade the not these and the collaborators to stop killing and take action to rescue those people they thought could be saved, to either move people who were on border countries like romania or bulgaria, france and move them out to safety or keep the people who are deep inside not the territory alive long enough to be liberated. i will give you an example of each. the board launched a propaganda warfare campaign using radio broadcast and leaflets intended to dissuade would be perpetrators by saying we will see what you're doing will punish you after the war and it's late in the war so i become a perpetrator now. you will lose. on march 24, 9044 result issued a statement drafted by the board
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quote, in one of the blackest crimes of history begun by the nazis in the days and multiplied by them 100 times in times of war the wholesale systematic murder of the jews of europe unabated every hour. march 24 only a few days before that germany had invaded hungary which was home to the largest and last intact jewish population. 800,000 hungarian jews were still alive and in hungary. the board quickly added a new paragraph two statement. as a result of the events of the last few days hundreds of thousands of jews lot while living under persecution have found a haven from death in hungary in the balkans are now friend with annihilation of hitler's forces defended more heavily on these lands. these innocent people who have already survived a decade of hitler's fury should perish on the very eve of triumph over the barbarous which the persecutions of license would be a major tragedy. we can't measure the results of psychological warfare. you can't count up the number of people who survive because of
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atrocities that are prevented. i did interview an elderly german man who remembered finding the leaflet containing his statement after an allied bombing in his town and that is how he learned about the holocaust and since all the other things in that leaflet and reports and he figured that was probably -- the us government through the war refugee board also laundered money to help refugees sneak into sweden. i talked to sanction people at the treasury to see if i could call it money laundering and they hemmed and hard for a couple minutes and finally decided that money laundering if it's used for the commission of the crime. i decided that whether or not the us laundered money or not depends on whether or not you are sweden because we didn't definitely would've thought this was a crime. the war refugees boards represented -- he was also an
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oss spy with codename congressman and he was test with monitoring the money movement of money and more material between germany and sweden and once he added the war refugee board to his beauty to duties among other things he recruited [inaudible] the now famous swedish businessman who traveled to budapest funded by american jewish organizations through the war refugee board and as most of you probably know he establish safe houses and issued letters of protection saving thousands of lives in budapest. not focusing on it today. got to get the book for that. for much of the summer of 1944 olson is focused on a very hazardous plan to rescue refugees from latvia, estonia by water. he would need, he wrote, quote, the most skillfully organized type of underground operation because the baltic countries are not virtuously open to
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everything. they thought they might be able to rescue 500 or 700 racial, religious or political refugees from each country. the war refugee board paid for the project directly out of funds from as well. but they realized that such a large deposit in a swedish bank would be suspicious and they wanted to avoid any impression that the rest was funding unrelated refugee arrivals in sweden and even the swedish jews quote, are very interested in jewish release and rescue operation as long as they don't involve bringing them to sweden. john bailey who in his treasury work had been passed with keeping money out of the hands of the enemy decided to sneak olson's funds past the swedish government to pass the swedish people. at his urging the staff at goodyear tire and their headquarters in akron, ohio agreed that if they transferred $50000 to their factory their subsidiary in sweden would give olson the similar amount in swedish kroner.
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there is no references to the goodyear tire deal in any of the boards paper. it's clear they had to scrub that out but henry morgan got a daily briefing folder of all of their work and the wr b forgot to purge his records. this arrangement worked well and also recorded from stockholm and although not full proof it's desirable from a security point of view. at this time we do not recommend bank transfers as the receipt of such size by individuals involved in operations unavoidably attract notice in suspicion. olson used money to purchase votes and guns because the treasury staff spent the war keeping the money out of the enemy now argue that humanitarian aid was more important than adhering to the rules. in switzerland which was, like i said, surrounded completely by enemy territory the war refugee board secreted ross mcclellan,
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the man who had been in the california internment camps at the beginning of the book. most of his work involved jews deep inside enemy territory in sweden and social and had the closest ties to nazi germany in two areas in eastern europe and among a myriad of things: participates in negotiations with the nazis who were trying to use america's supposedly found interest in refugee to offer basic jews for sale. the us has never going to agree to pay ransom and mcclellan and sally meyer who was the american jewish joint dissertation committee represented in switzerland managed to string along a pair of high-ranking nazis for six months. in november 1944 he even traveled to zürich and meets with [inaudible] dressed in his
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crisp ss uniform who personally worked for heinrich himmler as proof that roosevelt was interested in the negotiations. during world war ii in american government representative held a top-secret unauthorized meeting with a high ranking as us officials to negotiate on humanitarian management as a result mcclellan got more than 1600 jews released as a good faith gesture on the part of the nazis. beyond this the board opened refugee camp in upstate new york and brought nearly 1000 mostly jewish refugees from europe to live there and they argued quote, the nazis was not be given the pretense of justification that the la was speaking in horrified terms of the knotty treatment of jews never once offered to receive these people. they sent 300,000 food packages and they passed along requests to the war department for the bombing of the real lines and the gas chambers and crematorium's or to wipe out the entire camp itself. with no authorization for the rest of the government gave the american public detailed information for the first time on the process of arrival,
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selection and gassing at auschwitz. in response to this information a washington post editorial introduced americans to the new word genocide. i don't have time to get into all these stories or the many others including how the war refugee board saved the parents of jean-jacques a bore or the time that is now completely forgotten when the us offered to evacuate all the jews of hungary. i hope that you will pick up the book and find out about those. in conclusion the war refugee board's creation was and remains the only time in american history that the us government founded a government agency dedicated to saving the lives of civilians being murdered by the war enemy. the 21 months between january and september marked a period of one american action met american rhetoric about our democratic values. in contrast to many subsequent human rights efforts the war
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refugee board had no cynical secondary motive. they were not trying for overseas procedure power and they were not trying to help people who they intend to ever become american citizens and most of the people never had knowledge that the american government was interested at all in their survival. the refugees sorry, the refugees were not intended to become americans. historian wrote, quote, what made the wr b on the unique body is that it was officially permitted to break practically every important law in the name of outrage humanity. one of my hopes for this book is of the war refugee board will enter our public narrative and when we talk about american response to the holocaust because the war they debated a lot of the same challenges today and they talked about whether the us should pay ransom for captive population. they debated bush between providing relief for the many or trying to rescue the few.
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they try to figure out how to bring refugees to the united states while addressing legitimate national security concerns. and they discussed how many resources could permit to fall into the hands of the enemy we are at war with. the united states could have done much more to aid jews especially in the 1930s before the war began but with the word of fiji board staff did mattered. i think we need to remember to honor their efforts and bring greater nuances to their understanding of american response in to study their work as we continue to confront these challenges they keep coming up and up and up as we look at the newspapers every day. that is the story of refugee board and i'm happy to take questions. please, lineup and i'm happy to address anything. ask me anything. >> it sounds like a wonderful book. what lessons can we take from what went on and then to deal
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with the situation now especially with refugees from like syria and afghanistan and iraq and who are turned away and were exactly the same reason that jews were turned away in 1939 and the alleged security problems? >> right. it's clear that our security apparatus is much more sophisticated and was back then. i think one of the things that is concerning to me is humanitarian aid being cut off because there's a lot of things you do and i read this week about cutting off aid to the white comets who are doing amazing humanitarian work in syria. that is something we need as individuals to pay attention to and made clear to our elective representatives that that is not coming we will stand for. one of the reasons that the war
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refugee board exists is because there was public pressure in 1943 that american made it clear they were paying attention. since they felt like we were winning the war they were okay with sending humanitarian aid and even if that falls in the hand of the enemy we will still win. it is not losing heart and continuing to make it clear that this is an these are our values and i don't have a magic bullet for it because you need an administration that is listening to that and so we need to vote in administration that is more willing to listen to that. but not giving up is important, too and continuing to be attention even when it hurts. thank you. >> in addition to writing this incredible book and all the work you did in the exhibition of the museum you also did this incredible piece of work with
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the documents. you took an impossible challenge of archiver he and doing something to encourage scholarship so what are the stories that are left undone in the book and what are your hopes to further scholarship and are you planning to share that depending -- >> when i finished photographing everything at the fdr library i gave the fdr library my scans and so they are available online now. they don't have my organization because i wanted to get the book out there and i'm not quite sure because i use proprietary software that i paid for but i don't know how it works to then donate that to an organization. i've always been happy to look things up for people as my relative mentioned here i can do that sort of thing. there are lots of stories and the stories of four ontario with the refugees who came to the us there is one book about in the 1980s and they deserve another new book and the offer give over
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all of the hungarian jews the us will take them as far as i know there's not a lot about that but a lot of these things can be pulled off in different trucks and i might pull some off in different things coming up but still working on that but there are plenty in here and one of the things we do when you write a book is you try to lay a trail and hopefully something in it will reach something and they can go into my notes and findings and take it in their own path. that is the points. this is not the book but the first book. it's a pretty definitive book. [laughter] >> some have suggested that when you compare the good at the war refugee board accomplished to what roosevelt could have accomplished that the feeling is the war refugee board was really
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a stop to morgenthaler and the jewish community to get off of his back and how would you respond to that? >> i would say most of the jewish community was not on his back. most of them were fairly reliable democrats and there is not evidence that he was at risk of losing them and when he created the board he at least had not publicly said he was running and it becomes clear, i think, pretty early in 1944 that he's actively dying and so there are questions as to whether or not he should or could have run in 1944. that being said i think the phrase you always hear related to the board is too little, too late. i accept that phrase in the round of 1933 because their
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board was created too little too late is what they're trying to do in 1940 [inaudible] what they themselves are is not too little, too late. they are working as hard as they can and doing almost everything that is ever proposed to them and they try to follow up on and one of the interesting things in the first things they do was write to all these aid organizations would been working in the space and pressuring the us government to do something and asking for ideas. they wrote to over 120 organizations asking for public input on what they should be doing and that is definitely something to state farm it was not going to do but it shows the board staff was going to leave no stone unturned in 1944 to do whatever they could do that late. i think what they accomplished was remarkable and that does not discount the fact that so much more could've been done earlier. >> hello.
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first of all, thank you for all your work on this book and the research and bringing this pretty important topic to life. given that they did the original research and you had good material to work through i imagine you have a pretty good idea of exactly how much was known about what the nazis were doing and i wonder if you could comment on that for a moment particularly what he thought about that. >> so, the 30000 square foot view is fairly accurate. they know that jews are being deported to the east and that they are killing centers there and mask guessing and they are not quite clear on where all those places are. they know names but they don't -- for a long time they don't know that auschwitz and birkenau were together and another organization think auschwitz is in east prussia which was about a miles away from where it actually is or
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that it was a working camp. the details get fuzzy and in part because they don't have reliable journalists on the ground and they don't -- everything is third or fourth hand for a long time. when the board does get reports from reports from auschwitz that is what they publicize in 1944. we certainly know much more than they did and it is hard now to look back without trying without saying that is not true but this is and why did i not follow this one because they did not know that was not true. i get into it a little bit in the book and communication is also such a problem because if you want to send something securely you have to go and has to be coded and then goes to the state department and be decoded and takes about a week to send coded communication and to have it be delivered to its intended recipients. all of these times when if you did something right now it would help this particular group of people who are in danger that particular moment they don't
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have the capacity to act quickly. and so, it does get really hard. >> thank you for the talk. i know you said at the beginning that you don't speak for the museum at this point but since the new exhibit just opened at the from the same time and i'm curious if you talk about the chicken or the egg. did your book come first ordered the exhibit and how did your work on this book influence the exhibit? >> sure. i'm a historian at the holocaust museum and i was an archivist at the museum until about 2013 when i moved over to work on the new exhibit and at that point i had finished my dissertation which was on the war refugee board and graduated.
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my dissertation is 800 pages long and i don't recommend it. the book is much better. it is shorter and much more interesting. if you really want the inside scholarly view with all the documents there is an 800 page dissertation waiting for you to google. i got that in because i was an expert in this topic and because no one had written this before. to that extent this is whichever comes first, the chicken or the a, this is one of the keepers. the exhibit came second. the museum has been working on that exhibit for five years. i came in two years into it when they were getting the narrative set and it's been one of the privileges of my life to get to help work on that exhibit. i think it gets tricky because i read through the exhibit and i think that is what i think but a matter if it's because that is what we all agreed on in the room were i was in the room and i said this and that is where we went with it.
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i think they work well together and i think the narrative state the same and the exhibit talks about the bombing and talks about four ontario and does not get into the other things of the war refugee board is doing. there is many 9% of this is not reflective in the exhibit which covers 1933 to 1945 and will be on display at the holocaust museum until 2021 and, please come. it's a very good exhibit. anyone else? >> this is not what your book addresses specifically but was there any look back at the state department for what went on there during the war? >> there are a few books and there's a really good one from the 1980s called a pretty good club which the title alone is a
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bit sarcastic and there are books on foreign diplomacy the talk about the state farm and at the time and there is not a look specifically at them during the war and interestingly they wrote their own history of the war, the state farm ended in 1946-19 for seven they asked the different divisions to write their history of the war and all of the major consulates overseas. probably telling you too much because i might do something with this. don't go to the state farm it to look but they wrote their own history and wrote about this is how we function and this is what we did and this is how were changed that it was never published. there's all these tractor drafts in the national archives of the war history of the state department that no one has ever touched.
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>> [inaudible] this. >> the state department has officially apologized for things like the st. louis. at the museum we do trainings for the state department officials and i present on this history to them. ... >> but certainly they condone systems and that is different than the treasury department which has the first jewish cabinet member in place. so what is just corporate culture a fundamentally different place and to be
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actively reflected on that. as far as i know. >> thinking for this important and compelling work. is there been speculation about a movie being made about this? >> every author has cast that in their head i would love it if you knew that. [laughter] and i thank you for being articulate in your description i was interested in your research there are any any fragments or events to middle eastern jewish committees -- communities after researching
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your book? >> giving getting enough support was raised in palestine and then go back to palestine. and is a very big activists and then to do the full-page newspaper ad but the story of palestine is complicated except to say the white paper 1939 through 1944 through 1944 how many jews could enter pre-state israel that is mandated by the british supposedly limited how many people could come but basically that convinced the
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government not to cancel that. but then it came out of her mania and bulgaria get them to land in turkey and syria mandated by france and that it is outside of the white paper so it does get complicated because of the middle eastern politics that continue to reverberate today that is with the messy origin but they are trying to negotiate out of the border countries and into palestine. 8000. >> maybe this is more technical but the outgrowth could you speak of that
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approach to the academic paper to the more general audience? >> my advisors here i wrote my dissertation thinking this is it the last thing i could have written but then i learn that nobody reads those pages so then i realized there were parts in the dissertation but nobody had written it before and i thought i would put all their that way if somebody wants to know about labor life that there is a dissertation for that now but but it isn't the core story and not the people doing things but to me that is the best nonfiction
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that is the book of the agency trying different bureaucratic and this is the story of who they were what they try to do so there is a lot more heart in the book they had in the dissertation and that is the fundamental difference that his wife there is a movie and is not based on the dissertation. [laughter] >> with those agencies that were active during this time with a aware of the book was there any collaboration for those refugees? >> absolutely someone that was the best letterhead any organization that was rescued
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to donate and rescue they are very aware those are one of the organizations but what they are doing was to help refugees in lisbon spain to help them pay for transport to the u.s. because in their consideration it is still incredible work that they are less involved the board is more involved because they have representatives that are still at nab territory. and so to coalesce into the neutral cities.
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and those that had fingers in hungary and poland. >> we can talk about anything else that you want. [laughter] congratulations thank you for your excellent talk. it is there to say that large the stock could the u.s. have done more? more questions and more useful question so which questions doesn't answer or does it ask? >> i am hesitant whatever historians say this is what should have happened because i
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don't think that is the role of historians but to say this is what did happen and these are the possibilities and what would likely have happened. should have is for all of you to debate and then to establish earlier and i will poke at that you say what was leverage the u.s. had during the war? and then you can say in 1942 they offered those of the nationality if they would take them in the neutral nation said no. they could have stopped that that is a good point. so i think this gives you a lot of places for history to say what happened if they had
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done this earlier or later? one of the things is the board shuts down when there are 2 million displaced persons in europe where the jews have just come out of fighting or have emigrated then the agency but what would have happened if they kept going? what happened if we try to discover something like this now? and i think that is a very valuable question to say how do we deal with those challenges now? in the right way? what about syria or burma?
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>> how would the refugee board deal with the populist and the whole? did they try to fly under the radar? >> i'm very aware of public opinion so the offer to take on gary and jews without getting life magazine involved her with a spread with those refugees. the negotiations are secret of course they are very aware when they need public support will before roosevelt
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announces he goes through a month of propaganda with radio speeches and the radio announcer gives that fake letter to say john you are so great i really think it would make your life so much easier if we opened a refugee camp because we are asking all the other refugees so they planted the seed so when i went to roosevelt they had all the letters to show him obviously they cannot do that sometimes they just do that anyway but that is probably why they
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scrubbed the record to prevent a public scandal in the future that they realized i had gotten morgan's house papers and with those people who found out that there were not duplicates there. yes and no some of it is public but a lot of it was not. >> do i close this? thank you very much everyone. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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