Letters to the Editor: October 7


Why go back and discredit a president?
As the beloved Ronald Reagan might say, “There he goes again.”

In a diatribe with the trappings of scholarship, Rafael Medoff and Monty N. Penkower (Sept. 23, “Ken Burns Holocaust documentary may be hard on America, but not hard enough”) vilifies President Franklin Delano Roosevelt for failing to save more Jews during World War II. To what end? Simple: To sever American Jews’ long-standing ties to the Democratic Party by discrediting the individual largely responsible for establishing such loyalty in the first place. In the documentary itself, filmmmaker Ken Burns concludes, in the context of the widespread antisemitism of the time, that while Roosevelt was mostly acting within his means as a politician, “he could not weave a magic wand.” Not what today’s right-wing Jews would like people to think.

Parkville, Md.

Key role played by centenarian Ben Ferencz
Thank you for publishing the insightful article on the Ken Burns Holocaust documentary (Sept. 23, “Ken Burns Holocaust documentary may be hard on America, but not hard enough”). The documentary includes a brief segment on Ben Ferencz, who at age 27 successfully prosecuted 24 high-ranking Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, which took place from 1946 to 1949.

Ferencz’s life story is illuminating, He was born in the Transylvania area of Hungary, which is now part of Romania, and at age 10 months emigrated from Europe with his parents to America, He was a bright student who attended City College of New York and then graduated from Harvard Law School. While serving in the army during World War II, he investigated Nazi war crimes and was selected as a prosecutor for the Nuremberg trials. It was his first case as a lawyer.

Ferencz went on to have a remarkable legal career and played a key role in the formation of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. How ironic that an immigrant from Transylvania was selected to prosecute the Nazi killers of hundreds of thousands of Romanian and Hungarian Jews. As America now struggles with how to deal with ongoing immigration, Ferencz’s story highlights the important role that immigrants have played in America’s history. Now 102 years old and living in Florida, he is the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials.

Pikesville, Md.

Letters should be related to articles that have run in the print or online editions of the JT, and may be edited for space and clarity prior to publication. Please include your first and last name, as well your town/neighborhood of residence. Send letters to editor@jewishtimes.com or Baltimore Jewish Times, 9200 Rumsey Road, Suite 215, Columbia, MD 21045, or submit them
online at jewishtimes.com/letters-to-the-editor.

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