cover image Saving the Jews: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Holocaust

Saving the Jews: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Holocaust

Robert N. Rosen, , forewordby Gerhard L. Weinberg, afterword by Alan Dershowitz. . Thunder's Mouth, $32 (580pp) ISBN 978-1560257783

Was FDR an indifferent or possibly anti-Semitic president who abandoned European Jews, or was he a pragmatic leader who understood that the key to saving the Jews was winning WWII as swiftly as possible? This bloated, repetitious volume reads like one long apology as it takes on the so-called "revisionist" historians who question FDR's good will; it concludes that he should be "honored for [his] actions during World War II, not defamed." According to Rosen (The Jewish Confederates ), FDR may have told ethnic jokes about Jews, but he also surrounded himself with Jewish friends and advisers like Henry Morgenthau Jr. FDR didn't have the political clout to change American immigration laws, and two-thirds of the refugees on the SS St. Louis, who were refused entry to the U.S. in 1939, are believed to have survived the war. Roosevelt probably didn't know about requests by various Jewish leaders to bomb Auschwitz, an action that, Rosen says would have killed Anne Frank and other innocents. Although Rosen is able to debunk some of the more overheated claims put forth four decades ago by Arthur Morse in While Six Million Died , his often simplistic arguments don't undo landmark works like David Wyman's The Abandonment of the Jews . (May)