tv American Artifacts Americans and the Holocaust Exhibit - Part 1 CSPAN January 5, 2019 10:00am-10:41am EST
one thing people say, you know, well, this is military history. logistics is military history. military history is not just what happened on the battlefield but everything outside of it. announcer: watch the entire talk by edward ayers on the battle of gettysburg and its consequences today at 6:00 p.m. eastern on the civil war, only on c-span3. announcer: each week, american history tv's american artifacts visits museums and historic places. >> welcome to the u.s. holocaust memorial museum. i am daniel green, the curator of americans on the holocaust. we decided on our 25th anniversary to look closely at americans role in this history. that goes back to our founding charter, which mandated that the museum look closely at the americans role in this history. the daily opened, and leave the weisel, saide
this is not an answer, it's a question. the questions that frame this exhibition are what did americans know and what more could have been done? you will see that what we try to do is try to show the context of american history. that context includes our isolationism in the aftermath of world war i, xenophobia, fear of immigrants, racism, jim crow america, anti-semitism in the united states, the 1920's and 1930's where the height of anti-semitism in the united states, and then we are responding to nazism amid the context of the great depression and war. we are always trying to keep that context front and center. the opening film of the exhibition shows the context of the united states between 1918 and 1932.
what you see is american's response to world war i. veterans on the streets. americans mouring at graves of fallen soldiers. you see the context of the united states being relatively closed to immigrants that severely limited the number of immigrants that could be leading with quotas. you see the rise of the ku klux klan in the 1920's, as well as jim crowe america. all these things are precursors nazi's rise to power in 1933. this is the foundation of the interwar period that shape our responses to nazism. one of the myths we want to bust in this exhibition is the idea that americans did not have information about the threat of nazism in the 1930's and later 1940's. in the exhibition, you will
see that americans have a great deal of information on the murder of jews. early on, americans are very interested in the rise of this new world leader, adolf hitler. what we show is a number of magazines from 1932 to 1934 the , at beginning of the nazi onime, where you see hitler the cover of vanity fair and newsweek. this one is particularly fascinating. this is the cover of time magazine there's a 3000 word , july 10, 1933. article covering nazi germany. what you see, even on the cover, under the word minister of propaganda is say it in your dreams, the jews are to blame. were picking up magazines like this, and these were popular, could have read about the rise of fascism in germany, but what isn't hidden here is anti-semitism is essential to nazi ideology.
this does not mean americans could have predicted in 1933 that mass murder is to come. but it doesn't allow us to say we didn't know. let americans of the 1930's off the hook that easily. we wanted to tell in the exhibition a lot of individual stories. here we are showing part of the media landscape of disease, and then an individual story about dorothy thompson. dorothy thompson is the first ls fromn journalistic cel nonazi germany, and she had interviewed hitler before he rose to power and she wrote a popular book in america called i met hit letter -- i met hitler. we are showing that issue from the cosmopolitan. thompson gets many things right. she says anti-semitism is the
soul of hitler's movement and the nazi's lose no opportunity to insult the jews. but she also says there is no way that this guy can become chancellor of germany. she underestimates -- she sees anti-semitism is essential to nazi ideology, but you can imagine he will become chancellor of germany. this is a good representation of how americans thought of hitler early on. some saw a real danger and understood his appeal to germans at the time. but others thought there was no way he would last. you see both of those things's in thompson -- things in thompson's article. one of the most interesting projects the museum launched years before the exhibition, two and a half years before it opens, was called history unfolded. it is a crowd sourced website, where we asked students, and history buffs throughout the country to go to their local
non-digitizedeir newspapers and their local historical societies, libraries, and archives and look for coverage of nazism. what we found is that americans across the country could have had access to a lot of information about the threat of nazism. citizens have uploaded more than 15,000 articles to our website, and we put a number of them to our interactive map so visitors can touch on any state and see -- for example, this is an article from indianapolis. the indianapolis star in september of 1935. the front-page news there is coverage of the nuremberg laws. defiant nazis passed decrees against jews. i will show you one more. from nevada, which speaks to an interesting challenge we thought about as putting together the exhibition. this is a reno, nevada paper.
nevada state journal, march 27 of 1933. they are reporting on the fact that albert einstein is renouncing his citizenship and that he won't return to germany. if you look over two columns, you also see this article, mistreatment of jews ends. there had been no story of persecution of jews for weeks coming out of nazi germany. and the secretary of state says we consider physical may this treatment of jews virtually terminated. that speaks to one of the central challenges of this exhibition, is to get visitors to read history forward. we know the end of the story. we know what nazism ultimately leads to mass murder, 6 million jews and millions of others, but americans in the 1930's had no idea that was coming. that is one of the challenges we try to address, to get people to read history as it was happening. that is one of the reasons you see such a chronological treatment in the exhibition.
communities took to the streets against nazism and you see here rallies in 1933 across the united states, condemning the nazi regime, and you see marches by jewish communities, by labor philadelphia,in in cleveland, a new york, in chicago, in boston. there are rallies, protests, and movements to boycott german-made goods, and you see a lot of ephemera of some of the boycotts ' materials. stamps he would affix to letters to show you supported boycotting german-made goods or fighting communism fascism, and nazism, buttons showing your support of a cause for boycotting not see german is him, and matchbook saying come up or's say, do not
buy german goods. actions led by this man, a rabbi, and what you don't see, you see individual actions, rallies and protests. you don't see a sustained anti-nazi movement. that takes hold in the united states. we also wanted to look at how the u.s. government reacts early on. the u.s. government has representatives in nazi germany. george messersmith is one. he is very clearly aware and he says it's a favorite past time of them to attack jews. messersmith and others in the state department are receiving petitions like this from all over the country, asking the government to make some kind of statement against nazism. many of the petitions are not clear about what they're asking for. they just want some kind of anti-nazi declaration by the u.s. government.
dodd is sent to germany to be the ambassador in 1933, he tells dodd that the german authorities are treating jews shamefully. but he tells them, this is not a governmental affair. and what fdr meant by that is it wrote ining that dodd his diary, so it was as told to buy fdr, and what i think dodd fdr meant by that was it is his job to respect germany's national sovereignty. are tellinghat we in this part of the exhibition is actually about multiple sa,cks on americans by the a new york times piece, covering dozens of brutal attacks on americans by the sa in 1933, and during dodd's first meeting with in october 1933,
item number one is for dodd is to say the sa has to stop attacking american citizens on the street area but the united states government at the time thinks it's outside their purview to protect the citizens of another nation. of course they know jews are being persecuted. that there are attacks on jews, that political opponents are being rounded up and sent to dacau. the nazi's 1st constitution camp, well reported in the u.s. press, but the government does not speak out about that during this early period. one of the ways we wanted to get at on the question on what was all of americans' minds, was to use public polling throughout the exhibition. gallup and other organizations are actively polling americans by the mid-1930's, and we use polls throughout the exhibition like this to show america's concerns at home, later on you will see many polls that asks americans' opinions about whether we should be letting in
refugees. by the end of the exhibition, ing in 1942, 1943, asking americans if they believe the stories out of germany with atrocities. so early on, there is deep concern about our own economy. the depths of the depression are on all americans' mindset this you will see a poll that speaks point. to american isolationism. americans are asked whether it unitedistake for the states to enter world war i, and you see 70% of americans say yes. this is one of the ways we try to get the extent of our economic fears and their isolationism. in the depths of this suppression, where 25% of americans are out of work, and
so much of what is going on in the united states in the early 19 -- mid-1930's is about economic recovery. i think that prevents americans from looking abroad as much as they might have. fdr's first term, 1933 to 1937, is so much about trying to with the country out of the depression through the new deal and foreign-policy concerns are not a priority at that point. there are a few moments where americans pay attention and debate a proper response. one of those moments is the question of whether they go to the olympic games. whether we should send a team to the olympic games in berlin in americans debate this for a 1936. couple of months throughout 1935. you see this public opinion poll in 1935, where did a little confusingly, should america
refuse to participate in the olympic games being held this year in germany? we reproduce these polls exactly. 43% of americans saying we should refuse to participate. in effect, 43% say we should boycott the games, and 57% saying we should go. the people who get caught in the middle largely in this debate are african-american athletes. there have been african-american athletes participating in the 1932 games in los angeles. but there are 18 african-american athletes on the team in 1936. here you see jesse owens, who gold medals in berlin in 1936, and another medal winner in the new york 1936. amsterdam news and african-american newspaper writes an open letter to jesse owens and other athletes, saying that if they want to strike a blow against racism here at home, then they have to protest
h against -- against hitlerism by not going to the games. what you see with an african-american community, jewish american communities is a divide on how to respond to nazism. the proper way to respond to nazism. some, like that amsterdam news, say the best way to protest is by making this protest statement. jesse owens and others in the african-american community say the best way to protest nazism is to go over and win medals and disprove their theories of aryan superiority. of course, it doesn't work out that way. owens wins medals, as do many american athletes, but what you see is the nazi propaganda machine has an explanation for everything. they very easily say some version of, well, of course african-american athletes won,
they are closer to animals, and animals are faster than humans. so hitler and the nazi propaganda machine can spin anything that happens to serve their propaganda aims. the loudest voice for participation is this man, the head of the american olympic committee, who will then later be the head of the international olympic committee. serving in the 1970's when there is the tragedy at munich in the international olympic committee. he has some deeply held anti-semitic ideas. but he argues is that radicals and communists are trying to encourage this boycott, and that is his coded language for jews pushing a boycott. and brundage ultimately wins the day. he goes over to germany to inspect and check whether jewish athletes are being treated fairly under the regime.
he does not speak german. he's never allowed to talk to a n athlete without a nazi official present. and he finds what he wants to find. which is, as he argues, that jewish athletes are being treated fairly. certainly, they were not, but some of the nazi's earliest policies were to segregate jews. jews couldn't swim in pools, jews couldn't train with non-jews. that affects jewish athletes who could have qualified for the 1936 olympics. we also try to round out the media landscape by showing american newsreels here. even during the depression , americans went to the movies. movies were relatively cheap. you could sit there all day, and before the movies, you would watch digests of the news of the week. what we are showing in some newsreels is the extent of
american isolationism in world conflicts in the american stay 1930's. out of the spanish civil war. they stay out of conflict with italy's invasion of ethiopia. they stay out of china and the war between china and japan. and we are seeing in some of these newsreels the extent of anti-immigrant sentiment. in the united states, as all. our own employment is transferred from the united states to foreign lands, and if we had refused admission to the midst, therein our would be no unemployment problem to harass us. was arguably the height of anti-semitism here in the united states. one of the people who give voice to this more than anyone else is a radio priest out of detroit. you see him in a popular way ranting against jewish
communism, questioning the american loyalty of jews and others. you see that in some of the newsreel footage we show in the exhibition. ♪ >> new york turns out 18,000 strong for a glimpse of detroit's famous radio partner. >> i ask you in the name of abolishesty, which communism, in the name of patriotism, which loves america, i ask you if you will rise in your places and fight with me to restore america to the americans. [applause] [cheering] >> there is some support for nazis. and within the united states, especially among organizations like the german-american bunk.
itz, whoa story of frti fashions himself as the american furor. a lot of these are american german ethnics who support the nazi party. this is an advertisement for the membership of the german-american bund, asking frome to verify that i am area in origin, free from jewish color or blood. the story we are telling here is about trying to set up summer camps across the united states. hitler used summer camps across the united states, and one town, one small town that stands up bundst the german-american camp, they do not want the german-american bund camp in their town. every resident got this flyer in their mailbox, asking whether they want the swastika thrust upon them. ultimately, the residents of
this tiny town in south berry, connecticut, are able to keep the bund out. in large part due to the efforts of reverend lindsay congregationalist minister in , a south berry, who gives a stirring anti-nazi sermon. it was thanksgiving weekend of 1937, and this is the sermon and his typewriter, where he calls nazism an anti-christian menace. he describes it as agents of the antichrist. and argues that residents need to keep nazis out because it is unchristian and un-american. the point there is americans for in the 1930's, they weren't always understanding nazism as a threat to jews first. they were seeing it as a threat to democracy. the next section really focuses on how americans responded to a refugee crisis. things change in the nazis 1938. invade austria in march of 1938.
they start to take over parts of czech slovakia. so for americans, americans start to realize that nazis have greater territorial ambitions beyond germany. you have a nationwide violent jews acrossst germany and the former austria. that is arguably the biggest story about nazism in this 12 year period. historians have talked about the paper walls that kept immigrants out. we were motivated and interested letter that albert einstein wrote to eleanor roosevelt 1941. he said to her, your government has erected a wall of bureaucratic measures to keep immigrants out. can't you do something about this? and this is kind of our take on this paper wall. what you see here is idem's the museums' collection, ship ofkets, passports, letters
sponsorship from refugee organizations, affidavits of americans guaranteeing their support or sponsorship for immigrants. all this paperwork that they had potential immigrants lining up in order to make it to the united states. they were operated under this immigration quota system. there is no system for refugees. so jews who want to make it in or anybody who wants to make it out of nazi germany, needs to navigate the immigration system. it is difficult, bureaucratically, and it is also quite expensive. you see all these examples from our collection of individuals trying to navigate the immigration system and the paperwork they needed to line up in order to do it. as i said, kristallnacht is really is the biggest story, you
of the biggestns newspaper some across the country showing headlines from november of 1938, the los angeles examiner says nazis warns jews will be wiped out unless evacuated by democracies. san francisco chronicle saying german storm jews. this was huge front-page news. you see a full-page spread, two-page spread in november of 1938 in life magazine about kristallnacht. americans are shocked by this nationwide attack on jews, where thousands of jews are rounded up and sent to concentration camps. nearly 100 are murdered. shops and synagogues across the country are destroyed. fdr speaks out about kristallnacht in the aftermath of the attack. this is his handwritten speech he gave the week after kristallnacht.
he has written on the bottom in his own hand,, myself, could scarcely believe such things could occur in the 20th century civilization. fdr does speak out. the united states recalled the ambassador to germany. for consultation, but in many other ways, our government response is limited. and fdr's response is limited. he is asked in a press conference november 15 of 1938, a week after kristallnacht, whether he would recommend relaxation of immigration restrictions. as you can see, fdr says that is not in contemplation. we have the quota system. he speaks out against kristallnacht. he recalls the ambassador. the urging of his secretary of labor, frances perkins. he extends or waives the visastion date on visitor for about 12,000 people here on visitor visas, but there's no political will to try to liberalized immigration system
or quota system in response to kristallnacht. congress tries in a way. wagner, aee is robert senator from new york, and edith rogers, introduce a bill known as the wagner rogers bill. it is to lead in 10,000 jewish children a year outside of the immigration quota system. the american public is pulled polledou see is p -- about this in 1939, should we let children from germany be brought into this country and taken care of in american homes? i what you see is of americans two thirds are against letting in refugee children. eleanor roosevelt was the champion of this bill. she said other countries are taking their share, and we should, too. she writes this telegram to fdr , asking if he will speak out about the passage of the child refugee bill or if she should. fdr responds, all right for you
to support child refugee bills. but it is best for me to say nothing. he never does speak out on behalf of this bill. the opponents of the bill are led by robert reynolds. a senator from north carolina, and it is democratic white southerners in congress and the senate who are deeply anti-immigration. they do not want to be letting in immigrants, and he argues, as you see, that american children have their own problems that we need to take care of american children before foreign children. the contrast between these two polls is at the heart of the exhibition. this is two weeks before kristallnacht, november 1938, and americans are asked what they think. do you approve or disapprove of the nazi j treatment ofew -- treatment of jews in germany? you see 94% of americans disapprove. that same week they are then asked should we allow a larger number of exiles in? and you see more than 70% say
no. that is one of these essential questions. why is there such a gap between and a will to action on behalf of the victims? what you see here, a graphic representation of the immigration system. in the united states, year by year, we are showing between 1933 in 1941, how many immigration visas could have been issued to people living under nazi germany. each year, each person represents a thousand visas that could have been issued in gray. and then what you see in gold is the number of visas that were actually issued. one of the essential questions for the exhibition is what more could have been done? certainly, more could have been done under existing law that could issue the number of visas allowed under existing law. we hope visitors will ask, why weren't the visas issued? there is no singular explanation.
certainly the extent of the great depression matters. there is a lot of rhetoric about fear of immigrants taking jobs from americans during the depression, and the depths of anti-semitism in the united states certainly mattered. a lack of government will from the white house all the way down to admit immigrants. you see here if you added up all these unused visas, you are talking about nearly 120,000 visas that could have been issued that weren't during this period, and then what you see on the wall, wrapping down to the floor, is the waiting list year by year. each suitcase represents 5000 people on the waiting list. in 1933, you have a three year waiting list. to get in immigration visa. by 1940, the waiting list for germany alone, for the country of germany alone, is over 300,000. that represents an 11 year waiting list for foreign immigration visas, assuming all
would be issued, which in every year, except for one, they were not. on this interactive table we tell the stories of nine individuals who were trying to make it out of nazi controlled europe and the americans trying to sponsor them. we are trying to show how this restrictive immigration system influenced real people. we tell one of the story of anne frank's father, who is trying to get visas for his wife and two daughters, margot and anne. story is an interesting one that shows the limits or challenges for people trying to immigrate. she is a seven-year-old girl in vienna in 1940 and her father passed away already. it is just her and her mother. she has no siblings. her mother decides to send her under the care of german jewish
children's aid, an organization trying to help jewish children, alone, as an unaccompanied child to the united states to be fostered by a family. you see her and her mother in dress from a museum's collection that her mother had made. she has to collect paperwork. just like any other immigrants, so her birth certificate here, where she has to -- she is forced by the nazis, as all were , to add the middle name sarah to make them more identifiable as jews. men had to add the middle name israel. she collects her passport where she is listed as stateless. passport, because the nazis have taken a way her citizenship, and she ultimately makes it on a ship from lisbon, without her mother, under the care of the jewish children say,
under the care of a family in baltimore. you see her under the care with her foster family. her mother did not have a sponsor in the united states and to themately deported east in 1942 and murdered. and her daughter had been part of a jewish school class. this is a picture of the class either from 1939 or 1940. as far as we know, two girls from this class survived the holocaust. what you see on this interactive table is how this restrictive immigration system influenced real people and how those americans who made the decision to try to sponsor refugees, the challenging bureaucracy they tried to navigate. we also show harrowing stories of individual americans who took extraordinary risks to try to rescue individuals, jews, or masses of jews, and these are
outliers. these are people who went against the mainstream, risked push lives at times, or the boundaries of the law, or even broke the law to aid refugees. one story we tell is a couple of philadelphia. gilbert and eleanor krause. he's an attorney, she's a homemaker. they decide in to go to vienna 1939 to rescue 50 children. they get an affidavit and sponsorship from people in their own community in philadelphia. they work in conjunction with the state department, although there is some resistance there, and they ultimately go to vienna with their pediatrician from philadelphia and convince parents to put children in their care, and they foster 50 children and bring them back to philadelphia. what we are showing here is some americans who took these extraordinary risks, and to
think about what was in the realm of the possible. are rescuing children as congress is unwilling to pass a bill to aid refugee children. sometimes the action the individual americans take can have much impact or impact individuals in different ways as the government is failing to take action on behalf of refugees. in the first half of the exhibition, you are looking at the early years before world war ii begins. 1933 to 1939. we are trying to ask enduring questions in the exhibition. what do americans know about nazism early on? how do they respond to the collapse of the democracy? and then especially in this section of the exhibition, our -- how are americans debating the responsibility to responding to the refugee crisis? what action are individual americans trying to take? what is the government doing or not doing on behalf of refugees? there is a shift once europe
goes to war in september of and 1939 after germany invades poland. rnd americans, thei reluctance to let in refugees remain, but now they are debating, should we go to war? announcer: this was the first of a two-part look in americans in the holocaust. shows the holocaust between 1939 in 1945 and american response. tourweekend, c-span cities takes you to santa monica, california, with the help of our spectrum cable partners, we highlight their literary life and history. today at noon eastern on booktv, a visit with journalist, author, and professor saul rubin, as he describes santa monica's
culture, economy, and more. is a progressive seven california beach city, and -- southern california beach city, and it is a major tourist destination, roast well known for being a place where people might come to enjoy the day, be a tourist, and also now is a popular place for young tech startup companies. on sunday at 2:00 p.m. eastern on american historytv, santa monica pier historian jim harris, author of santa monica pier, a century on the last great pleasure pier shares the history of this iconic landmark. >> we see almost 9 million people a year come to the pier, and that is people of all walks of life, all income levels, all interest. there is almost as many different reasons to come to the pier as are the people that visit it. if you were to walk down the day,today, on any given and ask what brought them here,
you would get a different reason from each one. announcer: watched c-span cities tour of santa monica, california, today at noon eastern on c-span2's booktv and that sunday on 2:00 p.m. on american historytv on c-span3. working with our cable affiliates as we explore the american story. announcer: tonight on lectures in history, texas woman's university professor catherine land deck teaches a class on the contributions of american women during world war ii.here is a preview . >> i want to show you some pictures of the rosy riveter's. airplanes,s lots of you know i love, but this is another image of rosie the riveter. i want to make the point that even though most of the poster images received see are targeting those middle-class white women and this idea that you can still be attractive and
feminine if you are working in the factory, the reality is you have a lot of women of color who are going to be in these positions and doing these different jobs. i love this. this is one of my favorite ones, so much so that i have it twice for you because i like this one because of the reflection on the plane. you can see her ring in the reflection, and this idea that she is still feminine. she has this beautiful ring. wicked her nails.i don't know if she knew she was going to be photographed the next eight or she just kept her nails that pretty because it made her feel feminine while she is doing this work, right? women doing this work while still being feminine, but the target and a lot of that advertisement is not women of color, what you see a lot of different women taking jobs. this is why we can still call it we can do it women rosie because she looks like a lot of these women. this idea of the bandannas to pull their hair up.
doing these different types of jobs. issues is always of interest to me, the types of shoes, right? they were penny loafers, little loafers, no work boots for this group, for this generation, right? too. what doill, you see in the corner of that ? what do you see here? >> them working together. these idea of men doing different jobs. the one on the right is a sailor. that is the kind of places that the we can do it poster would have had. just to remind people while you are there, right? you are not just doing a job, but it gets romanticized a lot, it?n't this idea of, oh, you are building this plane and you are going to save a man, and he is going to fly at and killed the germans are japanese and we are going to win the war and it will be because you riveted that? right? your rivets save the world, right? but it is also boring, right?
to do the same thing every day. it is dirty, it is allowed, it is monday, right? so it is -- it is mundane. so it is trying to find a balance of how to make people realize it is important to keep coming to work and getting through the boring this of doing -- boringness of doing the same thing every day. announcer: learn more about the contributions of american women during world war ii tonight at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern on lecturers in history. you are watching american historytv, where we bring the classroom to you. tv, on american history holocaust survivor frank grunwald recalls his experiences of a young boy after the nazis occupied his hometown in circles about kia hit -- czechoslovakia. he talks about his deportation to the auschwitz concentration camp,is