“I am forced to look out for emigration and as far as I can see USA is the only country we could go to,” Otto Frank wrote to an American friend on April 30, 1941. The Frank family—Otto, Edith, and their two daughters, Margot and Anne—had spent the past seven years in the Netherlands, where they fled after Hitler came to power in their native Germany. But the Nazi invasion in May 1940 turned their refuge into a cage. As antisemitic regulations mounted, Frank realized that the only way to guarantee his family’s safety was to escape.
Nathan Straus Jr. was the friend to whom he wrote for help. Straus’s ancestors—German Jews, like the Franks—had emigrated a century earlier to the United States, where they sold dry goods. His father had worked his way up to ownership of what is now the Macy’s department store chain. When Straus received Frank’s letter, he was serving as the administrator of the US Housing Authority; he and his wife, Helen, were friendly with the Roosevelts. If anyone could have gotten the Franks out of the Netherlands, it was Straus.
But not even he was able to cut through the thicket of immigration restrictions put in place by the US in the years before and during World War II. As demonstrated in The US and the Holocaust—a six-hour documentary series directed and produced by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, and Sarah Botstein that aired on PBS last fall and is now available for streaming—antisemitic, xenophobic, and racist groups in American society had long used their political power to keep out immigrants perceived as undesirable, including Jews. The influence of these groups increased just as Jews were becoming more and more desperate to leave Germany and the ever-expanding territory it occupied. Not only did the US prove unwilling to relax its rigid immigration laws to help them, but it introduced new restrictions, resulting in the exclusion of hundreds of thousands of potential immigrants who soon met their deaths at the hands of the Nazis—among them Edith, Margot, and Anne Frank. (Otto survived Auschwitz and returned to the Netherlands, where he edited and published his daughter’s famous diary.)
The question of whether it was within the power of the US to prevent the Holocaust—or at least to reduce the number of its victims—is usually posed as a military one: Should the Allies have directed some of the war effort toward disrupting the operation of concentration camps, for example by bombing the railroad lines to Auschwitz? This searching, compulsively watchable documentary, which juxtaposes archival photographs and news footage with interviews with Holocaust refugees, survivors, and historians, puts the question differently: Why did the US turn away the flood of Jewish refugees who sought to escape Europe in the 1930s and early 1940s? As the historian Rebecca Erbelding comments on camera, “Even though the Holocaust physically took place in Europe, it is a story that Americans have to reckon with too.”
“As a young country, America could not afford to turn people away; there was simply too much land to fill, too much work to be done,” Jia Lynn Yang writes in One Mighty and Irresistible Tide: The Epic Struggle Over American Immigration, 1924–1965 (2020). Between 1870 and 1914 nearly 25 million people, mostly from Southern and Eastern Europe, made their way to the US. The Statue of Liberty, installed in New York Harbor in 1886, became an embodiment of the country’s openness to newcomers. In her poem “The New Colossus,” Emma Lazarus addresses the statue as “Mother of Exiles,” channeling its spirit in the well-known lines “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,/I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Lazarus’s vision, according to The US and the Holocaust, was more dream than reality. As the historian Peter Hayes comments, “Exclusion of people and shutting them out has been as American as apple pie.” While Burns has sometimes been accused of nostalgia in his approach to the American past—particularly in his documentary series about the Civil War—the new series is a scathing, even bombastic indictment of US immigration policy over the past 160 years.
In the 1860s Chinese laborers were employed to extend the transcontinental railroad into the American West—dangerous, exhausting work for which they were paid low wages. After the railroad was complete, they spread across the country, sparking protests from white workers who found themselves displaced.1 These protests helped inflame anti-Chinese sentiment and led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the first US immigration law to discriminate on the basis of race or class, which blocked Chinese laborers from entering the country (although it allowed Chinese students, teachers, and other white-collar workers). Another immigration act the same year created other categories of inadmissible people, such as convicts, prostitutes, the indigent, and the insane; epileptics and anarchists were later added to the list. In 1917 a new law barred immigrants from virtually all of Asia and imposed a literacy requirement on others.
Between 1880 and 1924 more than two million Jews from Eastern Europe and Germany found refuge from pogroms, oppression, and poverty in America. But as interest grew in the eugenics movement—funded by John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, and championed by such figures as Margaret Sanger and Helen Keller—Jews began to replace Chinese as the targets of anti-immigration activists. White supremacists such as Madison Grant, author of The Passing of the Great Race (1916), argued that Jews were an inferior race that would dilute white Americans’ intelligence and physical prowess if allowed to procreate with them. In response to pressure from the Ku Klux Klan as well as Protestant clergy and union leaders, a new quota system was established in 1924 that set the total number of immigrants allowed into the country at around 150,000, one sixth the previous number. While the system didn’t target Jews specifically, the quotas for Eastern European countries, from which most Jews were emigrating, were minuscule—around 10,000 people.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had read Mein Kampf in German and was the first major-party candidate to denounce antisemitism, became president in 1933, just as Hitler seized control of Germany. Conditions for German Jews rapidly deteriorated. Günther (later Guy) Stern, one of the refugees whose stories are featured in The US and the Holocaust, was then a young child growing up in Germany. He recalls how his friends at school simply stopped acknowledging him after Hitler came to power. “Can you save us?” his mother wrote to a relative in America, who offered to take one member of the family. His parents chose Günther, who made it to St. Louis in 1937. The following year two of Edith Frank’s brothers, Julius and Walter Holländer, also managed to emigrate from Germany to the United States.
While some media organizations were complicit with Hitler—including the Berlin branch of the Associated Press, which fired all of its Jewish employees in compliance with local law—reports nonetheless trickled out on the treatment of Jews in Germany, horrifying American Jews. But many close to FDR warned him that speaking out against Hitler’s policies risked stoking antisemitism both in Germany and at home. At the time, the American radio commentator Father Coughlin was blaming “Shylocks” and “international bankers” for the Depression. Antisemitic propaganda called FDR “Rosenfeld” and claimed that he was controlled by Jews. A poll conducted in 1938 found that two thirds of Americans believed that the persecution of Jews in Germany was “partly or entirely” their own fault. Even in November 1938, after news of the Kristallnacht pogrom reached the United States, Americans remained unwilling to welcome Jewish refugees. “A few Jews add strength and character to a country, but too many create chaos,” Charles Lindbergh wrote in his journal in 1939. The US and the Holocaust makes clear that this was not a fringe opinion.
As Hitler occupied more and more territory—Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland—the number of Jews hoping to emigrate increased exponentially. Between 1933 and 1939 roughly half of the 523,000 German Jews fled—many of them, including the Franks, to nearby countries like the Netherlands, where the Germans would soon catch up to them. By the end of 1938 half of the Jews remaining in Germany had applied for visas to the US. Otto Frank first filed applications for his family at the US consulate in Rotterdam that same year. By early 1939 the waiting list for emigrants from Germany (the category under which German Jewish refugees were considered, regardless of their current place of residence) ran to around 300,000 names.
In May 1939 nearly a thousand prospective immigrants sailed from Hamburg to Havana on the St. Louis, only to be denied entry by the Cuban government. The US State Department said the passengers would have to wait their turn for US visas—a wait that would have lasted years. Canada, too, turned them away. Passengers said they would rather die than return to Hamburg; the captain considered running the ship aground off the coast of England or France. Finally, after Jewish organizations pledged $500,000 (more than $10 million today), England, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands jointly agreed to take the refugees. More than 250 of them eventually died in the Holocaust.
As Hitler marched into the Low Countries and France in the spring of 1940, US politicians expressed fear that a “fifth column” of German loyalists in the United States might act as spies, or worse. As US ambassador to Cuba George Messersmith put it, “There is no doubt” that under the right circumstances, immigrants from Germany and elsewhere “would become willing and dangerous elements, being so widely scattered over our country and employed in all kinds of key industries in all kinds of capacities.” The historian Deborah Lipstadt, who currently serves as the US special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, points out in The US and the Holocaust that this argument was absurd. Even if they had wanted to aid Hitler, refugees—like Julius and Walter Holländer, by then working as low-paid manual laborers in Massachusetts—were hardly in a position to become effective spies.
But Breckinridge Long, a notorious nativist who served at the State Department as assistant secretary in charge of the visa division during these crucial years, tightened controls further. He ordered his staff to
delay and effectively stop for a temporary period of indefinite length the number of immigrants into the United States…by simply advising our consuls to put every obstacle in the way and require additional evidence and to resort to various administrative devices which would postpone and postpone and postpone the granting of visas.
As of June 1940 it was no longer sufficient for applicants to have a good reason for leaving Europe; they had to supply a reason for entering the US and avow that they would not engage in subversive activities. Meanwhile, the application procedure was confusing and varied from consulate to consulate. Some consuls demanded only affidavits; others required proof of material support.
This was the climate in which Otto Frank reached out to Nathan Straus Jr. The two men first met during their college years, when Straus studied abroad in Heidelberg; soon afterward Frank spent about a year in the US, where Nathan Straus Sr. took a fatherly interest in him and taught him the inner workings of the department store business. After Frank returned to Germany, he and Nathan Jr. remained close, even vacationing together with their families in Switzerland in 1928, the year before Anne was born.
As Frank understood the situation, the family would be able to leave the Netherlands as long as they had affidavits from relatives vouching for them and could pay for their travel. The Franks had affidavits from the Holländer brothers, as well as from two people who did not know the family—Walter Holländer’s employer and a friend of his, both American Jews. But Frank had heard that if the affidavits were “not sufficient,” a bank deposit might be required. He asked if Straus would be willing to pledge $5,000—the equivalent of about $100,000 in today’s money.
“After all the letters and requests for help we’ve had from people we hardly know, the enclosed one…is from my husband’s best friend during their university years—an extraordinarily fine man,” Helen Straus wrote in May 1941 to Augusta Mayerson, the acting director of the Migration Department of the National Refugee Service, an aid organization in New York. The Strauses wanted to help, but they were unsure whether the promise of a deposit would be sufficient to satisfy the authorities.
In mid-June the situation grew still more complicated. After Washington forced Germany to close its US consulates, Germany expelled all US consuls within its territory. Straus reported to Frank in July that in order to arrange a visa, the Franks would need to get to a country where a US consulate was still operating—Portugal, Spain, Free France, or Switzerland. But to make such a trip from the Netherlands was effectively impossible. You could travel to a neutral country only if you already had an exit permit—i.e., a visa for the country to which you wanted to emigrate—yet the only way to get such a visa was to appear in person at a consulate in a neutral country. And the entire family would have to come: the State Department had changed the rules yet again to forbid granting a visa to anyone with relatives remaining in German territories. “The State Department is moving the bar on them,” the historian Daniel Greene comments.
Frank didn’t give up. In September 1941 he wrote to Straus with a new idea: it might be possible to use a visa to Cuba (by then a supporter of the Allies) to get to a neutral country. This would require a security deposit in an American bank in Cuba as well as fees to the Cuban immigration service, transport from Cuba, and the cost of the visas—totaling over $6,000. “It is all much more difficult [than] one can imagine and is getting more complicated every day,” Frank wrote a month later, adding: “I shall never be able to leave without your help.” Together with the Holländer brothers, the Strauses agreed to cover the cost of the Frank family’s visas. But by December 1, when a Cuban visa was finally sent to Frank, it was too late. On December 7 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. When the US entered the war, Cuba canceled its visa program. The journalist Dorothy Thompson later wrote, “It is a fantastic commentary on the inhumanity of our times that for thousands and thousands of people a piece of paper with a stamp on it is the difference between life and death.”
The writer Daniel Mendelsohn (who is also an editor-at-large at this magazine) appears in The US and the Holocaust to tell the story of his ancestor Shmiel Jäger, a Jew from a village in eastern Poland (now Ukraine) who made a similar—and similarly fruitless—request of his relatives in America. As Mendelsohn recounted in The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million,2 Jäger and his family were murdered by the Nazis, along with around 90 percent of Poland’s Jews and about 75 percent of the Jews deported from the Netherlands.
Eva Geiringer, whose family had emigrated from Austria to the Netherlands shortly after the Anschluss and went into hiding like their neighbors the Franks, appears in The US and the Holocaust to give viewers a glimpse of what they experienced. Geiringer and her mother were deported to Auschwitz in the summer of 1944, when she was fifteen. She recalls her mother telling her to wear a coat and a hat on the transport, saying, “It might be useful later.” When they arrived at Auschwitz, they had to present themselves for inspection by a camp doctor who, in Eva’s memory, wielded a stick like a conductor’s baton: “He looked you over just a fraction of a second and he conducted you, [either to the] right or left”—one side went to work, the other to the gas chambers. Normally children under sixteen were gassed, but the brim of Eva’s hat concealed her youthful appearance. The Nazi sent her to the side of the living, together with her mother. Geiringer’s father and brother had also been deported to Auschwitz and were murdered, but she and her mother survived. After the war they returned to the Netherlands, and her mother eventually married the widowed Otto Frank.
Did the American public know what was happening to the Jews at the time, when there was still a possibility of intervening? The answer, according to the documentary, is yes—sort of. US newspapers were initially skeptical and provisional in their coverage of the Holocaust. In late June 1942 the Chicago Tribune reported on the mass killings of Jews in Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, but only in a short article deep inside its pages. “You either missed it or if you saw it, you would say, ‘The editors don’t think this is true. If they thought this was true, this would be on the front pages,’” Lipstadt observes. (The Pittsburgh Courier, an African American paper, did put the news on its front page.) A similar skepticism pervaded reports about the massacre of more than 33,000 Jews at Babi Yar, near Kyiv, a few months later, even though the Soviets brought reporters to the killing fields and introduced them to two survivors.
In the summer of 1942 Eduard Schulte, a prominent German businessman and passionate anti-Nazi, traveled to Zurich on a secret mission to deliver information about Auschwitz, where the Nazis had just begun gassing Jews on an industrial scale. Hoping to warn Jewish leaders in Britain and the US that the Nazis intended nothing less than the complete destruction of the European Jewish community, he spoke to a Jewish friend who passed the news on to Gerhart Riegner, a representative of the World Jewish Congress (WJC). Riegner took it to the US consulate in Geneva, but the consul’s boss marked the information as a “war rumor” before sending it on to Washington.
That August Stephen Wise, a rabbi who had been trying to rouse American opposition to Hitler since 1933, pleaded with Under-Secretary of State Sumner Welles to investigate the murder of European Jews. (Wise later said he was “almost demented over my people’s grief.”) In November 1942 the New York Herald Tribune finally reported on its front page that Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto were being “mass murdered” at Treblinka, Bełżec, and Sobibór. “Millions of human beings, most of them Jews, are being gathered up with ruthless efficiency and murdered,” Edward R. Murrow announced on CBS.
Wise and other Jewish leaders begged FDR to take action immediately. But they were also cautious about Americans’ perceiving the fight as “a war for the Jews,” Erbelding comments in The US and the Holocaust. The documentary gives ample justification for this caution. The America First Committee, which included Henry Ford and Lillian Gish, alleged that Jews were behind Roosevelt’s “rush” to war. Nazi propaganda portrayed Churchill and FDR as tools of the Jews, and the American government worried about lending credence to that allegation. The War Department was also concerned that soldiers would fight with less than full commitment if they knew they were being sent on missions to save Jews.
According to a Gallup poll conducted in January 1943, fewer than half of Americans believed that the Nazis could have killed as many as two million Jews. The actual number by then was four million. But there was theoretically still time to intervene on behalf of Jews remaining in the camps, as well as others in countries Hitler had not yet reached, such as Hungary. This too was not to be. At the US Treasury Department, John Pehle discovered that officials at State were delaying licenses necessary to provide funds to the WJC and other organizations seeking to aid Jews remaining in Europe, including helping Jewish children hiding in France to escape to Spain or Switzerland. Pehle granted the necessary WJC license and passed it on to State, but the staff of Breckinridge Long obstructed his efforts. “We had it in our power to rescue this doomed people and we did not lift a hand to do it,” Freda Kirchwey wrote in The Nation in 1943. “Or perhaps it would be fairer to say that we lifted just one cautious hand encased in a tight-fitting glove of quotas and visas and affidavits and a thick layer of prejudice.”
Even after the camps were liberated and the reports of Hitler’s crimes could no longer be dismissed as propaganda, many survivors had nowhere to go. As David Nasaw has described in The Last Million: Europe’s Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War (2020), no countries were initially willing to take in the more than 250,000 Jews who languished on German soil for years in displaced persons (DP) camps run by the Allies, unable to return to their former homes in Eastern Europe. (My grandparents, Polish Jews who were deported by Stalin, were among them; my mother was born in 1947 in a DP camp in Ulm.3) At the time only 5 percent of Americans thought the US should allow in more refugees than it had before the war. More than one third thought that fewer refugees should be admitted. From the spring of 1945 to June 1947, fewer than 15,000 Jewish refugees received US visas. Other countries were similarly unwelcoming.
By 1953, when the US finally relaxed its restrictions somewhat and opened its doors to some 80,000 Jewish refugees—including my grandparents—around 200,000 of the surviving Jews had already made their way to Israel. The US and the Holocaust devotes less than a minute of its six-plus hours to the creation of the Jewish state in 1948, which did at last provide a home for survivors of the European genocide, even if it was, as the documentary reminds us, on “contested land.” But efforts to resettle Jews prior to the war in places as far-flung as Brazil, Alaska, or the Philippines—which also might have mitigated the catastrophic death toll of the Holocaust—had been stymied. The intervening years have more than demonstrated that Israel was an imperfect solution to the refugee problem. But was there another one?
There are a few heroes in The US and the Holocaust. Two of them are Varian Fry and Hiram Bingham IV, whose actions on behalf of refugees are mentioned briefly in it. Richard Hurowitz gives them a more extensive treatment in his book In the Garden of the Righteous, which charts the work throughout Europe of the “Righteous Among the Nations,” as Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, calls those who protected Jews during the Holocaust. Fry was a Harvard graduate in classics and a book editor who was transformed by witnessing a Nazi rally in front of his Berlin hotel in 1935. With the division of France following the German invasion in the spring of 1940, Fry realized that the intellectuals and artists who had fled there, not all of them Jewish but many of whom held political views antithetical to the Nazis’, were now targets. He helped to form the Emergency Rescue Committee, which drew up a list of two hundred prominent political and cultural figures in danger. Overseas visas and Spanish and Portuguese transit papers would allow foreigners to escape without French exit visas—but the rescuers would have to act quickly.
Fry’s deeds are well known—he is the subject of at least two full-length biographies4—but Hurowitz draws new attention to Fry’s colleague Bingham, a career diplomat who happened to be in charge of visas at the US consulate in Marseille in the late 1930s. He, too, had witnessed the Nazi persecution of Jews and intellectuals firsthand and was distraught to see the beginnings of similar violence in France. Disregarding the warnings of his superiors, Bingham issued visas to just about anyone who was able to appear at the consulate. “He looked like an angel, only without wings,” one refugee later remembered. Working with Fry, he orchestrated the escape of Marc Chagall, André Breton, Jacques Lipchitz, Lion Feuchtwanger, Alma Mahler, Franz Werfel, Heinrich Mann, “an unknown young philosopher named Hannah Arendt,” and many others. By mid-1941 the State Department managed to put a stop to their efforts. After being passed over repeatedly for promotions, Bingham resigned from the Foreign Service; Fry, too, suffered professionally for his deeds.
“Look what he gave to America. Some of the great intellectuals of the world,” one of Fry’s colleagues later commented. As Hurowitz points out, in many cases their best work was still ahead of them: Chagall, for example, went on to create his famed stained-glass windows, among other works. The US and the Holocaust makes a similar argument about the benefits of accepting immigrants, quoting Eleanor Roosevelt: “We have always been ready to receive the unfortunates from other countries, and though this may seem a generous gesture, we have profited a thousandfold from what they have brought us.” What if Otto Frank had somehow found his way to Bingham’s desk in Marseille or had managed to join the throngs lining up outside the home of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese consul in Bordeaux who defied his country’s fascist regime to issue tens of thousands of visas to refugees? Anne Frank might now be living out her old age in Westchester or Rio de Janeiro, a dozen or more books to her name. Multiply her by 1.5 million—the number of Jewish children murdered by the Nazis—and we begin to approach the magnitude of what was lost.
Hurowitz’s impressively researched and engagingly written book tells stories both familiar and unknown, from the Japanese consul Chiune Sugihara, who saved thousands of Jews by issuing visas in Lithuania, to the circus manager Adolf Althoff, who concealed a single Jewish family among his performers. Hurowitz clearly intends these stories to be inspiring, quoting Golda Meir’s description of the rescuers as “drops of love in an ocean of poison” and urging his readers to follow their example and “make the world a better place.” But I came away from his book overwhelmed by the ultimate futility of the rescuers’ efforts. Laudable as these people were, they could do only so much while operating independently, without institutional or organizational support.
The need for systemic change to prevent future tragedies comparable to what happened to the Jews during World War II is the underlying argument of The US and the Holocaust, which draws perhaps a too-direct line from the white supremacists and nativists of the 1930s and 1940s to supporters of Donald Trump today. The documentary ends with footage from the 2017 march in Charlottesville of white nationalists screaming “Jews will not replace us,” images of the 2018 shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, and finally the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, where at least one rioter wore a sweatshirt emblazoned with the words “Camp Auschwitz.” Nearly eighty years before Trump’s election, North Carolina senator Robert Reynolds was urging the construction of a wall around the United States to keep out immigrants, as the documentary somewhat heavy-handedly shows. “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes,” Burns said in a podcast interview with Larry Wilmore, quoting Mark Twain. “By the time we were finishing this film, it was rhyming in every sentence.”
The creators of The US and the Holocaust clearly intend their series to serve as a warning about the consequences of present-day fascism in America not only for Jews, but also for would-be refugees around the world. The similarities between the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust and the contemporary treatment of undocumented immigrants in the United States are discomfiting. People living peacefully and productively in this country for years may suddenly be deported without notice or recourse, resulting in the destruction of families; asylum seekers are detained under brutal conditions, often deprived of food and suffering sadistic treatment. The director Stan Zimmerman recently reprised a production of The Diary of Anne Frank that he first staged in 2018, in which the Jews in hiding are portrayed by Latinx actors. Zimmerman came up with the idea after watching a CNN report about a Jewish woman in Los Angeles who was helping to hide immigrants fearing deportation by signing the lease on a safe house. “What was done to us cannot happen to other people,” she told the CNN reporter.
One person’s historical rhyme, however, may be another’s cognitive dissonance. After a recent performance of The Diary of Anne Frank—LatinX, an audience member self-identifying as Jewish stood up during the Q&A session (which featured a Holocaust survivor as well as Jai Rodriguez of the reality TV show Queer Eye, who talked about his experience playing Peter van Daan, Anne’s love interest, in a school production of the play) and accused Zimmerman and the cast of “appropriating” Anne Frank’s story.
Indeed, while Anne’s Diary and especially the play adapted from it have often been read as having universal themes, there is a valid concern that its particular lessons about the dangers of antisemitism remain unlearned. A survey conducted in 2021 by the American Jewish Committee demonstrated that one in four Jews had been the target of antisemitism in the previous year; more than half the members of the general public surveyed said they either “hadn’t heard much” or “had heard nothing at all” about the rise in antisemitic attacks. According to a survey recently conducted by the Anti-Defamation League, more than three quarters of Americans believe at least one anti-Jewish trope, such as “Jews have too much power in the business world.” Meanwhile, the Diary itself is losing popularity in school curricula, perhaps in part because of recent challenges from right-wing activists on the basis of its (very mild) sexual content. The young actors playing Anne and Peter in the Zimmerman production had never heard of Anne Frank before they came in to audition.
Leaving aside the precision of the analogy, however, the problem of finding safe haven for the world’s refugees—whether they come from Latin America, Syria, Ukraine, or the increasing number of regions becoming uninhabitable due to climate change—is not going to go away. The world’s more fortunate nations, including but not limited to the United States, are morally obligated to enact fair and consistent policies for the treatment of migrants, which too often has been characterized by unconscionable inhumanity.5 The courage of the Jewish woman in Los Angeles who sheltered Latin American refugees is admirable, but—like Miep Gies, the Dutch woman who provided support to the Franks while in hiding—she can be only a stopgap.
“We all need to be more like Miep,” Rodriguez commented after The Diary of Anne Frank—LatinX. But even more than that, we need her actions to be replicated on a global level, with the wealthiest nations acknowledging their obligation to make the planet safer for all its inhabitants. Otherwise, a piece of paper with a stamp on it will signify the difference between life and death for many millions more.
Andy Marino, A Quiet American: The Secret War of Varian Fry (St. Martin’s, 1999); and Sheila Isenberg, A Hero of Our Own: The Story of Varian Fry (Random House, 2001). See also Fry’s 1945 memoir, Surrender on Demand (Johnson, 1997). ↩