FDR’s greatest success was dispatching Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg to save thousands of Hungarian Jews near war’s end. But perhaps many more could have been saved across Europe by wider actions earlier, the authors speculated. Winik afterwards told me he thinks Churchill was somewhat more proactive, asking that Auschwitz be bombed, a request that was ignored. Breitman said bombing Auschwitz would have had symbolic importance but likely would not have significantly slowed the Nazi death machine.Share
After Yalta, FDR met the Saudi king to urge Arab acceptance of a Jewish state, pointing out two million Jews had been murdered in Poland. The king caustically responded there should be plenty of room then left for survivors in Poland. So much for Holocaust sensitivity.
Remembering the Holocaust and other genocides is important for, among other reasons, it reminds us of humanity’s endless capacity for evil. Modern, wealthy, protected Americans largely live in functional denial about evil. In our coddled culture, any absence of affirmation and security is a terrible wrong meriting grievance and renumeration. It’s nearly impossible for most Americans to imagine a political upheaval involving orchestrated, sustained mass murder. We believe people are basically nice, and when they’re not, it’s a mysterious aberration. (Read more.)