History Repeats Itself

Never change, America. Stay afraid:

After Germany annexed Austria in March 1938 and particularly after the Kristallnacht pogroms of November 9–10, 1938, nations in western Europe and the Americas feared an influx of refugees. About 85,000 Jewish refugees (out of 120,000 Jewish emigrants) reached the United States between March 1938 and September 1939, but this level of immigration was far below the number seeking refuge. In late 1938, 125,000 applicants lined up outside US consulates hoping to obtain 27,000 visas under the existing immigration quota. By June 1939, the number of applicants had increased to over 300,000. Most visa applicants were unsuccessful. At the Evian Conference in July 1938, only the Dominican Republic stated that it was prepared to admit significant numbers of refugees, although Bolivia would admit around 30,000 Jewish immigrants between 1938 and 1941.

In a highly publicized event in May–June 1939, the United States refused to admit over 900 Jewish refugees who had sailed from Hamburg, Germany, on the St. Louis. The St. Louis appeared off the coast of Florida shortly after Cuban authorities cancelled the refugees’ transit visas and denied entry to most of the passengers, who were still waiting to receive visas to enter the United States. Denied permission to land in the United States, the ship was forced to return to Europe. The governments of Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium each agreed to accept some of the passengers as refugees. Of the 908 St. Louis passengers who returned to Europe, 254 (nearly 28 percent) are known to have died in the Holocaust. 288 passengers found refuge in Britain. Of the 620 who returned to the continent, 366 (just over 59 percent) are known to have survived the war.

Tennessee joins the other Republican states saying no to refugees, proving yet again what horrible people they are.

The story of the St. Louis is an especially dark stain on our past. I’ve noticed over the years, as anti-Semitism has waned as a cultural force, that America has whitewashed its past where the Holocaust is concerned. We all love to hear the stories about the Oscar Schindlers and Irena Sendlers, the heroes and heroines. We want to hear the good news. Please don’t tell us about the St. Louis and the Japanese internment camps. But that was America. We turned that boat away. We imprisoned over 100,000 American citizens of Japanese descent after Pearl Harbor. We said, “never again,” but here we go again.

From Twitter:



Filed under Current Events, Housekeeping, immigration

7 responses to “History Repeats Itself

  1. Pingback: A Picture Is Worth | From Pine View Farm

  2. Prup (aka Jim Benton)

    The person involved in blocking the entrance of the St. Louis — I believe — and certainly the person most involved with preventing refugees from fascism from coming to America was Breckinridge Long, one of FDR’s few really bad appointments — they’d become friends when they’d both worked in the Wilson Administration. To quite Wikipedia:

    In an intra-department memo he circulated in June 1940 Long wrote: “We can delay and effectively stop for a temporary period of indefinite length the number of immigrants into the United States. We could do this by simply advising our consuls to put every obstacle in the way and to require additional evidence and to resort to various administrative devices which would postpone and postpone and postpone the granting of the visas.”[2][3]

    Ultimately, the effect of the immigration policies set by Long’s department was that, during American involvement in the war, Ninety percent of the quota places available to immigrants from countries under German and Italian control were never filled. If they had been, an additional 190,000 people could have escaped the atrocities being committed by the Nazis.

    In a scary similarity to today’s Republican Governors — and Maggie Hassan, sadly — “He justified this in his diary by referencing the contemporary strict laws in the United States imposing quotas on the number of immigrants from particular countries, and his great concern about the possibility that Germany and the Soviet Union would introduce spies or subversive agents into the United States amidst the large numbers of refugees.”

    Sadly, his record for inhumanity that makes him one of the most historically hated figures in 20th Century America would, today, make him a suitable fit for today’s anti-Semites. (Syrians ARE Semites as well, after all.)

  3. Well, we do have a story. Here in Knoxville last night we had a campaign stop from Trump. I took part in a protest rally organized by UT Knoxville STUDENTS, who stood, chanted and supported all our area’s Immigrants and refugees. With mostly White young activists were older folks like me, along with Hispanic students, we stood across from the doors of the Convention Center and continued to chant and rally from 5:30 until Trump’s visit was over. And the amazing fact was that many of his ‘fans’ could not get in, so they stood up on the walkway and in front of the doors and LISTENED and watched…no ugly taunts, NADA. THEY learned what “democracy looks like’ last night. And then this morning, our Governor wants to stop Syrian refugees from coming here. So there you have it !

  4. Prup (aka Jim Benton)

    As horrifying as it sounds, the mayor of Roanoke Virginia mentioned the Japanese Internment Camps — and suggested they might be a suitable model for today. Even more horrifying, the mayor is a Democrat, and I believe that Roanoke is one of the less conservative parts of Virginia.