Few Americans have ever heard of Jewish Rabbi Stephen S. Wise. Few Liberals know what he did for their cause. And even fewer Jews know how he fought to save Eastern European Jews during the 1930s and early 40s.
Rabbi Wise lived from 1874 to 1949. In his life he help to found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. He was also instrumental in the creation of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 1920. Rabbi Wise also tried to get the U.S. government under Franklin D. Roosevelt to increase the number of Jewish emigrants entering our country. Wise did allow a rivalry with another Jewish organization taint his rescue attempts. There was some infighting within various American Jewish groups.
In early 1940, Roosevelt appointed Breckinridge Long as an assistant secretary of state. Long was a well know anti-Semitic. Long was in charge of refuge policy. He made it difficult for Jews to immigrate to American by advising "...our consuls to put every obstacle in the way and to require additional evidence and to resort to various administrative advices which would postpone and postpone and postpone granting of the visas." Long's policy was kept secret.
In 1941, the Nazis increased their operations to exterminate the Jewish population of Eastern Europe. Rabbi Wise tried in vain to bring this matter to the U.S. public. The mass media just didn't care about the Jewish plight! Word did not, for the most part, get out to the American public. Wise finally met with other leaders and Roosevelt, but the policy of limited immigration continued. Roosevelt and his government would not save what Adolph Hitler attempted to eradicate!