Skip To Content

The Real FDR

Thanks to Henry Morgenthau, Jr., (father of Robert Morgenthau) in 1944, President Roosevelt acted to save Jews by creating the War Refugee Board. Other than that, whatever FDR did to save Jews between 1939 and 1945 was merely accidental. The reasoning of Robert Morgenthau in his October 21 op-ed, “How FDR’s Political Risk Helped Save the Jews of Palestine” is specious. The “risks” had nothing to do with the Jews of Palestine, North Africa or Europe. They were merely accidental recipients.

Does Robert Morgenthau believe the Allied 1942 invasion of North Africa was motivated by a desire to save the Jews of North Africa from Hitler?

I cried when FDR died in 1945. He was the only president I ever had. Like most Jews, I thought he was our great protector. How wrong I was. Had he been alive in 1947, does anyone believe he would have helped the UN partition Palestine? Would he not, instead, have listened to his Arab friend Ibn Saud, King of Saudi Arabia and opposed creating Israel?

He could have saved 900-odd Jews aboard the “St. Louis” when anchored off Miami in 1939 by allowing them sanctuary in the U.S. Instead, he played politics and let them be returned to Europe where they died under Nazi rule.

Robert Morgenthau should be proud of his father but needs to rethink the role of FDR with regard to American Jews.

Dan Davis

Santa Maria, Calif.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

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.