The War Refugee Board


It was not until late in the war that the United States attempted to rescue Jews from the Holocaust. In January 1944, the Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., persuaded President Franklin D. Roosevelt to establish the War Refugee Board.

Although confirmed reports of the mass murders of Jews had reached the U.S. State Department in 1942, officials had remained silent. During the war the State Department had insisted that the best way to save victims of Nazi Germany’s policies was to win the war as quickly as possible.

The War Refugee Board worked with Jewish organizations, diplomats from neutral countries, and resistance groups in Europe to rescue Jews from occupied territories and provide relief to inmates of Nazi concentration camps. Its most extensive rescue efforts were led by Raoul Wallenberg....

The War Refugee Board played a crucial role in the rescue of as many as 200,000 Jews. However, some people still wonder how many more Jews might have been saved if the rescue missions had begun sooner.


Source: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum