America's Soul in the Balance

Greenleaf Book Group Press  2012

 

Wallance, an author of historical novels as well as a frequent legal commentator on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and NBC’s The Today Show, has directed his considerable talent to the controversial role of the Roosevelt administration during the Holocaust. America’s Soul in the Balance is a riveting account of the manner in which the U.S. State Department obstructed efforts to rescue Jews from the Nazis and their satellite governments bent on the destruction of European Jewry.

Drawing on the work of scholars such as Arthur Morse and David Wyman, as well as mining the archives of the State and Treasury Departments, Wallance has made an important contribution to the debate surrounding the Roosevelt administration and the politics of rescue. Wallance has also researched the background of many of the important officials in the State Department, especially those who were products of private schools such as Groton, where anti-Jewish sentiment prevailed, and concluded that a virulent anti-Semitism on the part of many officials in the State Department contributed to their cover-up of reports of the Nazi extermination of Jews, and their efforts to block the rescue of Jews in Nazi satellite countries such as Romania.

Because Wallance is a novelist, it is no surprise that his history reads like a thriller wherein the Treasury Department under Henry Morgenthau, a Jew, and his Christian staff emerged triumphant over the subterfuge and prejudices of the State Department. Although the moral indifference of such State Department figures as Breckenridge Long and Borden Ream were exposed, it came too late to save the majority of Europe’s Jews killed in the Holocaust. Nevertheless, thanks to the efforts of Morgenthau’s staff, President Roosevelt was persuaded to issue an Executive Order (1944) which created the War Refugee Board, which subsequently rescued 200,000 Jews. Wallance’s history of this morally reprehensible page in American history deserves a wide reading audience.



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