In Rescue Board, Rebecca Erbelding tells the extraordinary unknown story of the War Refugee Board, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's unpublicized effort late in the war to save the remaining Jews in Europe.
In January 1944, a young Treasury lawyer named John Pehle accompanied his boss to a meeting with the president. For more than a decade, the Jews of Germany had sought refuge in the United States and had been stymied by Congress's harsh immigration policy. Now the State Department was refusing to authorize relief funds Pehle wanted to use to help Jews escape Nazi territory. At the meeting, Pehle made his best case — and prevailed. Within days, FDR created the War Refugee Board, empowering it to rescue the victims of Nazi persecution, and put John Pehle in charge. Over the next twenty months, Pehle pulled together a team of D.C. pencil pushers, international relief workers, smugglers, diplomats, millionaires, and rabble-rousers to run operations across four continents and a dozen countries. Altogether, they saved tens of thousands of lives.
Rescue Board is based on a decade of Erbelding’s research, including never-before-seen documents from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and new interviews with survivors and their families.
Rebecca Erbelding is an archivist, curator, and historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. She has a Ph.D. in American history from George Mason University. She and her work have been profiled in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New Yorker, the History Channel, NPR, and other outlets.
Writers LIVE programs are supported in part by a bequest from The Miss Howard Hubbard Adult Programming Fund.
Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 6:30pm
Jewish Museum of Maryland 15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202
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