Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Roosevelt Receives First Report on Activities of War Refugee Board in Rescuing Jews

May 12, 1944
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

President Roosevelt today received the first oral report on the activities of the War Refugee Board in rescuing Jews from occupied Europeans. The report was given by John W. Pahle, executive director of the WRB, who spent fifteen minutes with the President.

Speaking in the House of Representatives today, Rep. Thomas J. Lane, (Mass. Dem.) and Rep. Clare Boothe Luce, (Conn. Rep.) supported the establishment of “free ports” in the United States to give shelter to refugees from Europe for the duration of hostilities without affecting the existing immigration laws.

“For 11 years now Americans have been deploring the fate of Europe’s refugees,” Mrs. Luce said. “While we deplored and lamented, millions of refugees were savagely ordered by Hitler’s henchmen. Others escaped death only to wander as refugees across the face of a world which was sympathetic but coldly inhospitable. They have life but no place to live. They have not been able to find a temporary haven of shelter until the storm of war blows over and they can return to their old homes or settle in a new and permanent home. The idea of free ports for refugees deserves the most serious thought and investigation by those who want to offer some small comfort and hope to their stricken fellowmen.”

Rep. Lane called upon “those who treasure our American traditions of speaking out for the oppressed and offering them the sanctuary of our free institutions” to assist the work of the War Refugee Board “so that all the world will know that Americans are wholeheartedly united in the humanitarian task of rescuing those whom hostility and terrorism threaten to annihilate.”

Recommended from JTA