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Ickes Recommends Allowing Jews Into Virgin Islands

(October 10, 1942)

This document mentions a discussion in 1940 about bringing Jewish refugees, including 1,000 children, to the Virgin Islands. Two years had passed without any action and Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes raised the issue with President Roosevelt, suggesting the children and adults be given refuge on the islands. Otherwise, he said, they would likely be murdered by “Hitler’s brutes.” The president tells Ickes to talk to Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles.

The idea was originally raised in 1938, but the State Department sabotaged it and no refugees ever found safety in the islands.