I was happy to read Saul Golubcow’s column in the Oct. 12 issue of the JT (“For Jewish Americans, the Holocaust Then and Now”) regarding the current U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s exhibit in Washington, “Americans and the Holocaust.” It is an amazing history of warnings and reports of the coming Holocaust for almost 20 years, from 1930 to 1945. Newspapers and other media around the world and this country reported warnings of the dark clouds attesting to the danger to the Jewish population of Europe. There were pockets of organizations and individuals who tried to help, but U.S. immigration doors were closed to all but a few when it became reality. Politics, fear, hopelessness, anti-Semitism and strict immigration policies were a reality.
I am a child survivor who was brought to America through the efforts of a small group of very dedicated Baltimoreans at age 7 in 1940 and placed in foster homes. I was one of a very few lucky ones, and I am forever grateful for the good life I have been able to have in this wonderful country. I ache for those who did not have my opportunity.
Perhaps if there was a State of Israel in those tumultuous years, many might have been saved because all other doors were closed to us. Perhaps my mother and father could have made their way to safety as they tried so desperately.
It should make us understand that Israel is our only haven in times of trouble if need be, no matter what its politics are. Israel’s government has many failings and competing ideologies, as does ours in abundance, but it does not include dictators who murder their own people. Many of our fellow Jews in the U.S. are quick to speak of Israel’s failings, but we are not in danger, and we do not walk in their shoes.
Please try to see this eye-opening exhibit. It does not blame, but documents an important time in Jewish life. I am featured in a small section.