Anne Frank, the Jewish girl whose diary made her famous only after her family tried to hide from the Nazis in an attic in occupied Holland until they were found and killed near the end of WWII – has been in the news a few times recently. The Washington Post recently wrote about a new theory about how the Frank family was finally caught, and casually mentions that they were unable to emigrate to the United States due to a common
fear of taking in immigrants who seemed a little too different. Would an influx of Jews escaping persecution in Germany ever assimilate into American society? Would Germany intentionally send as many communists as possible in the initial waves of immigrants in order to stir up trouble in the United States? Few Americans wanted to take a chance and find out by allowing a new wave of Jewish immigrants.
Signs like this were common at Miami hotels in 1939.
Many thousands of Jewish refugees were denied access to the United States within sight of Miami’s shores (like the passengers on the S.S. St. Louis in 1939, who were refused entry into the United States, Cuba, and other nations before returning to Germany where most of them were later killed.)
One article tells us: “Earlier this week, WorldViews ran a post that cited a set of polls conducted in the United States in the build-up to World War II. Broadly, they illustrated the extent to which American public opinion was largely against the arrival of refugees from Europe, many of whom were Jews.
The polls had been highlighted on Twitter by Peter Shulman, a historian at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. The WorldViews story that followed — “What Americans thought of Jewish refugees on the eve of World War II” — ended up being one of the most read articles on our Web site. Clearly, it posed a history lesson that resonated with many readers, as the United States is now in the grips of a new conversation over [Syrian] refugees.
“The situations are not exactly parallel and I’m not saying that they are,” Shulman told TIME magazine in an interview this week. “But in terms of a heavily politicized, nativist response to a refugee crisis, we have been here before. And the example of Jewish refugees fleeing Europe in the late ’30s is most poignant because we know how it ended.”
Polls appear to show that many Americans seem comfortable stigmatizing hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees — people who are fleeing a hideous war zone — because of the violence carried out” in the name of Islam by jihadis and terrorists.
Is it cold blooded to set limits on immigration? Is it wrong to look at the huge increases in rape and terrorism in European nations that have been allowing an influx of Muslim
refugees from the Middle East, and not want the same problems in America?
Is the answer to vet immigrants more carefully, and put their applications under greater scrutiny, when they come from nations with known inclinations towards various extremist behaviors? Or would it be wrong to use such profiling in an attempt to protect the nation when many Syrian refugees just want to live peacefully?
I think we must find an intelligent, cautious way to welcome the many legitimate refugees who will contribute to American society without the blind and suicidal open gates multiculturalism wreaking havoc in Europe.