Any mention of burial – even a symbolic burial of ashes from victims of the Holocaust conjures up a whole wellspring of feelings among survivors. But it should truly impact on every Jew. Indeed, it should impact on every breathing person alive today.
70 Years After – Some Troubling Thoughts
It is hard to imagine that a mere 75 years ago, there was an efficient killing machine of an entire race that killed 5,000, 10,000, or sometimes even 20,000 Jews every day – for years. It is true that there were months where many more Jews were killed than other months. However, the big picture is that the systematic killing went on for an extended amount of time. One question that is so hard to grapple with is how the world cold stand idly by. Today, we know that the “secret” of the Holocaust was not a secret at all among the leaders of the free world. FDR, Churchill, and many others most certainly knew of the systematic killing of Jews in the middle and late stages. The only debate is about the early stages, when the first million or so Jews were killed in 1939 – 1941. But from the middle of 1941 towards 1942, the leaders of the free armies knew the scope of the tragedy. From 1943 and 1944, when the last 2-3 million Jews were killed, they were fully aware of the systematic killing.
The most common cause for inaction is the common refrain that FDR repeated over and over again. His line was that we need to devote all resources towards winning the war, and only that will free the Jewish people from the racial tragedy. Well, this attitude along with Churchill’s attitude on the racial destruction of the Jewish people was one of the reasons that the Nazi devil was able to kill another 1-2 million Jews between the end of 1943 and especially 1944 and 1945. By this point, the Allied forces were already flying over the death camps. and bombing German military facilities right near the death camps. There were thousands of Jews that were being killed every day in these very death camps. But the pilots had orders to only shoot at German war facilities. That one decision sealed the fate for hundreds of thousands of Jews. One Air Force pilot at the time was George McGovern. He spoke about this years afterwards and expressed his astonishment at the lack of an order to bomb the railways.
FDR did make time to campaign throughout 1944 as it was an election year. He most certainly did not just “run the war” 24 hours a day. The Jewish people were simply a low priority. It is a stain on the legacy of FDR to this day.