Roosevelt made matters worse
Ira Forman, the U.S. envoy for combating anti-Semitism, noted that the U.S. quota system of the 1930s prevented refuge for Jews (“Jewish lawmakers meet to discuss global anti-Semitism,” WJW, Dec. 12). While it is the that the quota laws severely restricted immigration, the Roosevelt administration made the situation much worse, by imposing extra requirements and burdensome regulations, above and beyond the law, in order to discourage and disqualify would-be immigrants. This reduced immigration to levels far below what the law allowed.
A maximum of 25,957 German citizens were permitted by law to immigrate to the U.S. each year. Yet during 1933, Hitler’s first year in power, barely 5 percent of the German quota was filled. The following year, less than 14 percent of those spaces were filled. During President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 12 years in office, the German quota was filled in only one year, and in most of the Roosevelt years, it was less than 25 percent filled. Nearly 190,000 quota places from Germany and Axis-controlled countries sat unused — 190,000 lives that could have been saved, had President Roosevelt shown even a minimal amount of humanitarian interest in their plight.
Contemporary partisans of FDR defend his immigration policy on the grounds that anti-immigration sentiment in Congress was too strong for Roosevelt to bring about any changes in the immigration quota laws. But the fact is that FDR could have admitted many more refugees — within the existing law — without confronting Congress or igniting any substantial public controversy. All he had to do was quietly instruct the State Department (which administered immigration) to permit immigrants to enter the United States up to the maximum number allowed by law. That alone could have saved 190,000 lives.
DR. RAFAEL MEDOFF
Director, The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, Washington, D.C.
Academics stressed as well
I enjoyed the article about the Decko family and the SULAM program (“Day schools seek to accommodate special-needs students,” WJW, Dec. 5). It highlighted many areas we have developed to help serve our community within our existing institutions and day schools.
I wanted to mention the fact that as much as we focus on creating a nurturing environment, we also strive to create a supportive academic environment that helps our students reach their academic potential and go on to institutions of higher learning upon completion of high school.
Please keep up the great human interest component of your paper as it helps convey real issues about real people in our community.
RABBI ELISHA PAUL
Director of the SULAM program
Peter in Neverland
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a very decent man, has made a serious mistake in my opinion. He announced with pride how Democrats have come to an agreement with Iran. It’s typical of our cultural war in America between leftism and conservative values. At its core, leftism is steeped in naivete, utopian views and lack of wisdom. Leftism is the value system of leaders like Neville Chamberlain who indirectly unleashed the savagery of World War II. It threatens us again.
The dream of leftism is, “I dream of things and therefore they must be true and, therefore, I will act accordingly.” Leftists dream that the fascist radical Islamists who run Iran, who glory in slitting innocent people’s throats, are at their core decent folk who just want to get along in life. Hence, an open hand, a soft reassuring voice, we hear you, we understand, we are elevated modern progressives, we roll back the sanctions. And we do draw red lines, so be careful.
We conservatives understand the foolishness and danger of leftism. This agreement rewards the mullahs by giving them a good infusion of cash so they may now relieve the pressure from the mass of unhappy stirring citizens below. This will smooth their path to acquire a nuclear bomb. This will connect radical terrorism with the highest level of destructive technology — our 21st century nightmare. These are the guys we naively coddle, the ones who without a second thought would press a bright green button to vaporize Tel Aviv, Washington or L.A.
As the late Margret Thatcher said, “Reality is being a conservative.” Reality is that if leftism is not fought in America, carnage will come again as it always does when people whose values are those of Peter in Neverland gain control of American power in very dangerous times.