Roosevelt, a largely Dutch Jewish surname, translates to Rosenfeld in German.
Some argue that as FDR’s mom was a gentile, he was not Jewish under Jewish law, therefore NOT Jewish.
With that said…
1. Bernard M. Baruch — a financier and adviser to FDR.
2. Felix Frankfurter — Supreme Court Justice; a key player in FDR’s New Deal system.
3. David E. Lilienthal — director of Tennessee Valley Authority, adviser. The TVA changed the relationship of government-to-business in America.
4. David Niles — presidential aide.
5. Louis Brandeis — U.S. Supreme Court Justice; confidante of FDR; “Father” of New Deal.
6. Samuel I. Rosenman — official speechwriter for FDR.
7. Henry Morgenthau Jr. — Secretary of the Treasury, “unofficial” presidential adviser. Father of the Morgenthau Plan to re-structure Germany/Europe after WWII.
8. Benjamin V. Cohen — State Department official, adviser to FDR.
9. Rabbi Stephen Wise — close pal of FDR, spokesman for the American Zionist movement, head of The American Jewish Congress.
10. Frances Perkins — Secretary of Labor; allegedly Jewish/adopted at birth; unconfirmed.
11. Sidney Hillman — presidential adviser.
12. Anna Rosenberg — longtime labor adviser to FDR, and manpower adviser with the Manpower Consulting Committee of the Army and Navy Munitions Board and the War Manpower Commission.
13. Herbert H. Lehman — Governor of New York, 1933-1942, Director of U.S. Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations, Department of State, 1942-1943; Director-General of UNRRA, 1944 – 1946, pal of FDR.
14. Herbert Feis — U.S. State Department official, economist, and an adviser on international economic affairs.
15. R. S. Hecht — financial adviser to FDR.
16. Nathan Margold — Department of the Interior Solicitor, legal adviser.
17. Jesse I. Straus — adviser to FDR.
18. H. J. Laski — “unofficial foreign adviser” to FDR.
19. E. W. Goldenweiser — Federal Reserve Director.
20. Charles E. Wyzanski — U.S. Labor department legal adviser.
21. Samuel Untermyer — lawyer, “unofficial public ownership adviser” to FDR.
22. Jacob Viner — Tax expert at the U.S. Treasury Department, assistant to the Treasury Secretary.
23. Edward Filene — businessman, philanthropist, unofficial presidential adviser.
24. David Dubinsky — Labor leader, president of International Ladies Garment Workers Union.
25. William C. Bullitt — part-Jewish, ambassador to USSR [is claimed to be Jonathan Horwitz’s grandson; unconfirmed].
26. Mordecai Ezekiel — Agriculture Department economist.
27. Abe Fortas — Assistant director of Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of the Interior Undersecretary.
28. Isador Lubin — Commissioner of Labor Statistics, unofficial labor economist to FDR.
29. Harry Dexter White [Weiss] — Assistant Secretary of the Treasury; a key founder of the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank; adviser, close pal of Henry Morgenthau. Co-wrote the Morgenthau Plan.
30. Alexander Holtzoff — Special assistant, U.S. Attorney General’s Office until 1945; [presumed to be Jewish; unconfirmed].
31. David Weintraub — official in the Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations; helped create the United Nations; Secretary, Committee on Supplies, 1944-1946.
32. Nathan Gregory Silvermaster — Agriculture Department official and head of the Near East Division of the Board of Economic Warfare; helped create the United Nations.
33. Harold Glasser — Treasury Department director of the division of monetary research. Treasury spokesman on the affairs of United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.
34. Irving Kaplan — U.S. Treasury Department official, pal of David Weintraub.
35. Solomon Adler — Treasury Department representative in China during World War II.
36. Benjamin Cardozo — U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
37. Leo Wolman — chairman of the National Recovery Administration’s Labor advisery Board; labor economist.
38. Rose Schneiderman — labor organizer; on the advisery board of the National Recovery Administration.
39. Jerome Frank — general counsel to the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, Justice, U.S. Court of Appeals, 1941-57.
40. Gerard Swope — key player in the creation of the N.R.A. [National Recovery Administration]
41. Herbert Bayard Swope — brother of Gerard
42. Lucien Koch — consumer division, N.R.A. [apparently-Jewish]
43. J. David Stern — Federal Reserve Board, appointed by FDR
44. Nathan Straus — housing adviser
45. Charles Michaelson — Democratic [DNC] publicity man
46. Lawrence Steinhardt — ambassador to Soviet Union
47. Harry Guggenheim — heir to Guggenheim fortune, adviser on aviation
48. Arthur Garfield Hays — adviser on civil liberties
49. David Lasser — head of Worker’s Alliance, labor activist
50. Max Zaritsky — labor adviser
51. James Warburg — millionaire, early backer of New Deal before backing out
52. Louis Kirstein — associate of E. Filene
53. Charles Wyzanski, Jr. — counsel, Dept. of Labor
54. Charles Taussig — early New Deal adviser
55. Jacob Baker — assistant to W.P.A. head Harry Hopkins; assistant head of W.P.A. [Works Progress Admin.]
56. Louis H. Bean — Dept. of Agriculture official
57. Abraham Fox — research director, Tariff Commission
58. Benedict Wolf — National Labor Relations Board [NLRB]
59. William Leiserson — NLRB
60. David J. Saposs — NLRB
61. A. H. Meyers — NLRB [New England division]
62. L. H. Seltzer — head economist at the Treasury Dept.
63. Edward Berman — Dept. of Labor official
64. Jacob Perlman — Dept. of Labor official
65. Morris L. Jacobson — chief statistician of the Government Research Project
66. Jack Levin — assistant general manager, Rural Electrification Authority
67. Harold Loeb — economic consultant, N.R.P.
68. William Seagle — council, Petroleum Labor Policy Board
69. Herman A. Gray — policy committee, National Housing Conference
70. Alexander Sachs — rep. of Lehman Bros., early New Deal consultant
71. Paul Mazur — rep. of Lehman Bros., early consultant for New Deal
72. Henry Alsberg — head of the Writer’s Project under the W.P.A.
73. Lincoln Rothschild — New Deal art administrator
Yet this is how the Jews spin it….
Could FDR Have Done More for the Jews?
Regarding the possibility of rescuing Jewish refugees from the Nazis, the choice was not between what was morally desirable and what was “realistic,” as Noah Feldman claims [“Could FDR Have Done More to Save the Jews?,” NYR, May 8]. There were numerous realistic steps that President Franklin D. Roosevelt could have taken that would not have involved challenging the immigration quotas or diverting from the war effort. All of these rescue steps were proposed, at the time, by prominent progressives and New Dealers, such as Nation editor Freda Kirchwey, Democratic congressman Emanuel Celler, and investigative journalist I.F. Stone.
Consider, for example, immigration. The quota system permitted a maximum of 25,957 German citizens to immigrate to the US each year. Yet during Roosevelt’s twelve years in office, the German quota was filled in only one year; and in most of those years, it was less than 25 percent filled. A total of nearly 190,000 quota places from Germany and Axis-controlled countries sat unused during the Holocaust years. FDR did not have to confront Congress or ignite public controversy over the issue—all he had to do was quietly instruct the State Department (which administered immigration) to permit immigrants to enter up to the maximum number allowed by law.
In 1938, the governor and legislative assembly of the US Virgin Islands offered to open their territory to Jewish refugees. When the refugee ship St. Louis approached America’s shore the following spring, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. proposed permitting the passengers to stay in the Virgin Islands temporarily on tourist visas. Interior Secretary Harold Ickes also urged using the islands as a haven. But FDR personally blocked the proposals for a Virgin Islands haven. The administration claimed that Nazi spies might sneak in, disguised as refugees (even though no such spies had ever been discovered among Jewish refugees).
Noah Feldman notes that Richard Breitman and Allan Lichtman, in their book FDR and the Jews, claim that the impact of bombing Auschwitz or the railways leading to the camp “would not have been great.” George S. McGovern, who was in a better position to judge this issue, felt otherwise. In 1944, the future US senator and presidential candidate was one of the young bomber pilots who flew over Auschwitz, bombing German oil factories nearby. Here’s what he told Wyman Institute interviewers in 2004:
There is no question we should have attempted…to go after Auschwitz. There was a pretty good chance we could have blasted those rail lines off the face of the earth, which would have interrupted the flow of people to those death chambers, and we had a pretty good chance of knocking out those gas ovens.
In any event, the Roosevelt administration rejected the bombing requests on different grounds. Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy responded to the requests by claiming that the administration had conducted a “study” that had found that such bombing raids were not feasible because they would require “diverting” bombers from elsewhere in Europe.
But both of McCloy’s claims were false. There is no evidence any such study was conducted. As for the claim about “diverting” planes, the fact is that at that very time (in 1944), US bombers (such as McGovern’s) were already flying over Auschwitz as they bombed oil factories less than five miles from the gas chambers. Thus no “diversion” would have been necessary. (The US did, however, divert military resources for other purposes—such as the recovery of historic paintings and the rescue of the Lipizzaner dancing horses.)
Some of the other steps that prominent progressives suggested at the time:
• Thousands of US cargo ships brought supplies to Allied forces in Europe. When the empty ships were ready to return home, they had to be filled with ballast—rocks and chunks of concrete—so they would not tip over. Jewish refugees could have served the same purpose.
• President Roosevelt could have pressured the British to quietly open Palestine to Jewish refugees. To avoid antagonizing the Arabs, the boats could have landed at nighttime at out-of-the-way locations.
• FDR could have agreed to set up numerous temporary shelters for Jewish refugees, instead of just the one token camp in Oswego, New York, where 982 refugees were housed. An April 1944 Gallup poll (commissioned by the White House) found 70 percent of Americans said they agreed that “our government should offer now temporary protection and refuge to those people in Europe who have been persecuted by the Nazis.”
In short, if President Roosevelt had the will to help the Jews, ways could have been found—ways that would not have involved tampering with the immigration system or undermining the war effort in any way.
The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies
Noah Feldman replies:
Nearly all the possibilities raised by Mr. Medoff—filling the German immigration quota, bombing Auschwitz, and re-settlement in mandatory Palestine—were addressed in my review. The disagreement, assuming any exists, seems to turn on the word “realistic.” Legally, Roosevelt could have altered Hoover-era interpretations of the immigration laws to admit the full complement of immigrants from Germany; but under late Depression conditions, he judged that it would be too politically costly to do so. Logistically, bombing the death camp at Auschwitz was possible from the summer of 1944; but the War Department did not consider it a military target.
In theory, Roosevelt could have pressured Britain to increase Jewish migration to Palestine; but Britain’s interest in avoiding wartime opposition from the Palestinian Arab population matched the US wartime interest in keeping as many British troops as possible free to fight the Germans. As for the moral indignation that informs Mr. Medoff’s letter, it seems to me to be both comprehensible and appropriate as a response to the tragedy of European Jewry