The April 22 Arts & Style article “Reconsidering FDR on refugees” was a useful review of the American reaction to the Holocaust. I used to look up to Franklin D. Roosevelt as a president who had to deal with economic disaster and a world war and managed to lead effectively.
Unfortunately, the ruthless political calculations required of him were very harmful to the Jewish victims of the evil of the Holocaust. The War Refugee Board created in 1944 was a paltry response that was too late, a mistake that cost too many lives. The fear of allowing people into the United States should not override humanitarian acts. I think the purpose of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has been furthered by this exhibit. Elie Wiesel commented that the museum doesn’t provide answers; it raises questions. The question remains regarding FDR: Why didn’t he do more?