Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

John McCain Would Have Passed The ‘Anne Frank Test,’ Says Atlantic Editor

During a conversation about the Holocaust, the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic told Sen. John McCain that he would have passed the “Anne Frank Test.”

Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in The Atlantic that he talked every so often about the Holocaust with McCain, who died Saturday of brain cancer. McCain told him that all civilized people, and the governments of all civilized nations, should be intolerant of leaders who commit verified acts of genocide.

Goldberg told him that he would pass the Anne Frank Test: Which non-Jewish friends would risk their lives to hide Jews should the Nazis ever return? (McCain was unfamiliar with the test, which Goldberg said he found surprising, given that his best friend was Joe Lieberman.)

Goldberg wrote that McCain laughed, and then became serious.

“I like to think that in the toughest moments I’d do the right thing, but you never know until you’re tested,” McCain told him.

Goldberg thought this was absurd, noting McCain’s sense of honor. When he was in Vietnamese captivity, he rejected an offer to be released — based on time held in captivity, it was not his turn. So Goldberg pressed him on his response.

“I’ve failed enough in my life to know that it’s always an option,” McCain had said. “I like to think I would do what it takes, but fear will make you do terrible things.”

“I’m pretty sure you’d kill Nazis to defend Anne Frank,” Goldberg recalls responding.

McCain smiled, he said. “It would be an honor and a privilege.”

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.