A new book disputes widely held assumptions that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was insensitive to the plight of European Jews under the Nazis, and instead concludes that he tried to arrange resettlement for thousands of refugees in the late 1930s, only to be thwarted by his own State Department.
The book, "Refugees and Rescue," claims FDR developed plans in 1938 for the United States to fill its immigration quota with 27,000 Jews from Germany and Austria and to send others to British-held Palestine and friendly nations in Africa and Latin America.
"Most of the initiatives to resettle refugees in underdeveloped areas proved impossible, met substantial resistance abroad, or developed very slowly partly because of resistance by the Department of State," the Center for Jewish History says in a statement about the book.
The claim that Roosevelt actively sought ways to help Jews escape Europe before the war began in 1939 challenges the widely accepted view that he ignored warnings of Adolf Hitler's plan to exterminate them.
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