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Russia Helped 1,750,000 Jews to Escape Nazis, Says James N. Rosenberg

July 2, 1943
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“Russia has saved over ten times as many Jews from Nazi extermination as all the rest of the world put together,” James N. Rosenberg, American Jewish leader, declared here today in an address of welcome which he delivered at a reception given at the Astor Hotel to Solomon Mikhoels and Itzik Feffer, the Jewish cultural delegation from Russia. The reception was attended by several hundred representatives of various Jewish organizations.

Emphasizing that he based his estimate of those saved on facts gathered by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Mr. Rosenberg quoted the organization’s journal as reporting that “of some 1,750,000 Jews who succeeded in escaping the Axis since the outbreak of hostilities, about 1,600,000 were evacuated by the Soviet Government from Eastern Poland and subsequently occupied Soviet territory and transported far into the Russian interior and beyond the Urals. About 150,000 others managed to reach Palestine, the United States, and other countries beyond the seas.”

“We Jews,” Mr. Rosenberg said, “rightly give thanks for the innumerable resolutions of sympathy for Jews, adopted by well-meaning men and groups horrified by the hideous tragedy which has befallen our people. Russia has chosen deeds. She has given life, asylum, bread, and shelter to a vast Jewish population. These facts are not sufficiently known. To make them known to every Jew in this country is a task of supreme importance for the Jewish Council for Russian War Relief. Need I ask what would have happened to those Jews had Russia left them where they were?”


Commenting on Jewish life in Russia in 1926, when, as chairman of the Agro-Joint, he visited the Jewish colonies there, Mr. Rosenberg said that “a world which prays for a just and durable peace has a big lesson to learn from Russia’s treatment of minorities.”

“Let us take a global glimpse,” he continued. “Palestine’s low ceiling for Jewish immigration must and will be lifted. To that end the Jews must strive. But even so, Palestine cannot alone solve the problem of the Jews of Europe. As for the rest of the world, when thirty-two nations were convened at Evian by that great humanitarian, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to give help to refugees, only that generous little nation, the Dominican Republic, offered asylum for a substantial number. What since then? The Bermuda Conference? The least said the better. Nevertheless we still look to the Western Hemisphere, many of whose lands are underpopulated. The after war world will tell a new story.

“Weighed down as we have been by the unparalleled sufferings of European Jewry, we turn also to that vast and gallant country, Soviet Russia whose man power has spilled its life blood on the field of battle; will it perhaps replenish some of its lost man power with Jews of Europe? There is a land where anti-Semitism is a crime against the State, where human beings are actually given an equal chance in life, whatever the color of their hair or skin, the shape of their noses, the slant of their eyes. That is what we Jews ask of the world, not for ourselves alone but for all men and as a sine qua non for world peace.”

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