War Refugee Board Orders U.S. Diplomats Abroad to Speed Immediate Rescue of Jews
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War Refugee Board Orders U.S. Diplomats Abroad to Speed Immediate Rescue of Jews

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The War Refugee Board which was established this week by President Roosevelt to save Jews and other persecuted minorities from Nazi lands, today announced that “all United States diplomatic and consular offices throughout the world have been instructed to do everything possible to effectuate this Government’s war refugee policy as announced by the President, bearing in mind the urgency of the problem.”

The Board also announced that “foreign governments are being approached to ascertain the extent to which they are prepared to cooperate.” Immediate reports have been requested by the Board from American officials abroad, including information as to the permission granted to war refugees to enter each country, the encouragement and cooperation given to such entry, and the extent to which each country does not cooperate in permitting entry.

“Where refugees are refused entry at frontiers, the facts and reasons for such action have been requested,” the Board disclosed. “Recommendations as to a possible line of action have been asked, with notation of special obstacles which may handicap rescue operations and methods of overcoming such obstacles.”

The instructions were despatched following the first meeting of the War Refugee Board which took place on Wednesday, attended by Secretaries Hull, Stimson and Morgenthau. “All missions were advised that instructions have been issued by the President to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of War to endeavor to effect immediately the rescue and relief of Jews in Europe and of other victims of Nazi terror,” the announcement of the Board stated.

The instructions to U. S. diplomates abroad for details concerning countries which hinder rescue of refugees may indicate a new policy of “tough talk” to neutrals that seek excuses to exclude refugees.

(Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the administrative committee of the World Jewish Congress, stated in London today that “there is reason to hope that Jewish experts, especially from Europe, will be attached to the office of the Director of the war Refugee Board. Addressing a press conference. Dr. Goldmann lauded the establishment of the War Refugee Board as indicating that “the U. S. Government is determined to abandon routine methods for energetic rescue work.”)


The Washington office of the Hias today announced that it has received a check for $100,000 from its headquarters in New York for presentation to the War Refugee Board together with a copy of a letter addressed to President Roosevelt by Abraham Farman, Hias president.

Expressing the profound appreciation of the Board of the Directors of the Hias for President Roosevelt’s executive order establishing the Board, the letter says: in accordance with Paragraph 4 of your executive order, the Board of Directors has the honor to inform you that it has resolved to place at the disposal of the War Refugee Board the services of its offices and personnel at home and abroad, and to offer its participation in the cost of the undertaking. In accordance with this resolution, it has this day forwarded to the War Refugee Board a contribution of $100,000.


The Treasury Department announced that the first contribution to the War Refugee Board was a check for $10 from a Jewish refugee on a small bank in the midwest, it was accompanied by the following letter:

“Today we learned for the first time that president Roosevelt has ordered actual measures for the rescue of those Jews and other people still under Hitler’s keel. My wife and myself are among the fortunate Jewish people, who after years of persecution and concentration camps found refuge and a refuge and a real home in the blessed U.S. A. for only sorrow concerns the fate of our dear mother, 77, and our friends, who were taken 16 months ago, out of their homes to some unknown place.

“I am 61, and my wife is 52, so we are not able to make much money, especially as we were not used to hard physical work. That is why we are not able to send more than this $10 –which we ask you to accept as our contribution for this good cause. We are living in this small Ohio town where we were received and accepted as equals among friends we never met before. We will show our gratitude to this country by doing everything in our limited power.”

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