WASHINGTON (Aug. 30)
Morris B. Abram, former U.S. Representative to the UN Human Rights Commission, charged today that restrictive and inflexible American immigration policies sealed the fate of European Jews exterminated by the Nazis in World War II. He urged that the President be given discretion to vary immigration policies for the victims of genocide to avoid a similar disaster in the future.
Testifying before the House Foreign Policy Research and Development Subcommittee, Abram a New York attorney who is honorary president of the American Jewish Committee, also urged Congress to ratify the UN Genocide Convention, to maintain “absolutely firm and unmistakable commitments to the security of Israel,” and to adopt legislation aimed at preventing discrimination against American citizens and firms resulting from the Arab boycott.
Abram urged that the U.S. maintain a flexible immigration policy with respect to victims of genocide and an “unyielding position against genocide on behalf of human rights.” He charged that almost no voices were raised against the murder by Indonesia of one-half to three-quarter million of its citizens after the overthrow of President Sukarno. Likewise, he pointed out that UN bodies were “very quiet” when the Ibos were being slaughtered during the Nigerian rebellion a few years back.
U.S. HAD PERTINENT INFORMATION
Turning to U.S. failure to help European Jews survive, Abram charged that the State Department had reliable information on Hitler’s plans to exterminate all Jews as early as 1942. However, he added both the U.S. and Britain rejected requests for cooperation in rescue efforts during the war and immigration officials here so administered the law that few Jewish refugees from Germany were permitted entry into this country.
Tracing the rise of the Nazis to power in Germany and Europe, Abram declared that there were many opportunities “to chain this criminal state after its course was clear and its crimes against its own people were established, but the world failed to consider human rights problems with Germany as of any concern outside. So, the beast was able to devour its own and eventually it stalked abroad and devoured Europe.”
Continuing. Abram insisted that “without taking any steps to their disadvantage, I submit that it was possible for the West to have saved the Jewish populations of France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy and perhaps of Germany, had these states the time and will to do so. Immigration quotas, bureaucratic lassitude or indifference, administrative runaround and in many cases blatant prejudice resulted in the liquidation in these countries of unnecessary thousands of men, women and children, who could have been rescued by foresight and forceful policies undertaken at the right time.”
He contrasted these actions with the accomplishments of the Danish people, who, in spite of the fact that their country was occupied by the German army, kept almost all 8000 Danish Jews hidden and then ferried them to Sweden, where they remained until the end of the war.
There will be no Bulletin dated Sept. 6, due to Labor Day, a postal holiday.