In the ancient Jewish text called Ethics Of The Fathers, the sage Hillel said: “In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.” In the 1940’s, even as the unimaginable horror of the Holocaust was revealing itself to the world, there was a tragic lack of men willing to take a principled stand.
This month marks the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht – the foreshadowing “Night of Broken Glass” – in which 91 Jews were killed, 30,000 incarcerated, 1,000 synagogues burned, and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged.
In commemorating this tragic event, the Shapell Manuscript Foundation has published an article detailing the efforts of one man to stand firm against evil. In October 1943, Oscar Chapman – Assistant Secretary of the Interior – wrote to Congressman Will Rogers about the plight of the Jews. In his words, “I am sure you agree that this is not just a problem for Jewish people to work out alone, but one of urgent concern for America and all the United Nations.”
The article discusses how the U.S. State Department obstructed and blocked the flow of information about the Holocaust to the United States; humanitarians of all stripes will no doubt find this article of interest.