No observer of the current scene--watching this country fail to act on Bosnia--should be too perplexed at the U.S.'s failure to act on behalf of the European Jews during the Nazi era. Yet it is very hard to understand why, even after war was declared, no thought was given to military actions, such as bombing railroad lines, that might have retarded the flow of victims to camps such as Auschwitz.
Of course, the Second World War was not fought to rescue the Jews. Raul Hilberg tells how Gerhart Riegner, an official of the World Jewish Congress in Switzerland, sent a telegram to the U.S. government in 1942, warning that the Jews of Europe were going to be annihilated by gas. He asked that copies of the message be sent to Jewish leaders in the Allied countries, including Rabbi Stephen Wise in New York:
[T]wo officials in the State Department, looking over the document, expressed unease. Paul Culbertsen, Assistant Chief of the European Division in the department, could not see why the American legation in Bern had sent the telegram, but at the same time was concerned that Wise would discover the contents sooner or later on his own and that then the Jewish leader would "react". Accordingly, he drafted a note to Wise. It was crossed out by his chief, Elbridge Dubrow, with the instruction, "Do not send, ED." Dubrow then wrote a memorandum explaining that passing on the message was undesirable in view of the "fantastic nature of the allegation" and the "impossibility of being of any assistance."
Hilberg, pp. 238-239; 253.
Hilberg, after relating other instances of denial and avoidance of the facts, lists a number of actions, such as bombing the railroad tracks to Auschwitz, that would have been militarily possible, which were suggested at the time by Jewish organizations and even by U.S. government figures, but which were never done. He concludes:
The Western Allies did not want the war to be perceived by their own populations as an effort for the deliverance of Jewry. There was to be no hint or implication that Allied soldiers were mercenaries in a Jewish cause.
Hilberg, p. 255.
Job said to God: " You will look for me in the morning, and I shall not be."