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Blowing the Whistle on Genocide

Josiah E. DuBois, Jr. and the Struggle for a U.S. Response to the Holocaust

by Rafael Medoff

Publication Year: 2009

Blowing the Whistle on Genocide tells the story of Josiah E. DuBois, Jr., a young treasury department lawyer who risked his career to alert the world to the Holocaust

Published by: Purdue University Press

Series: Shofar Supplements in Jewish Studies


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pp. ix-x

This book describes what Josiah E. DuBois, Jr., did to help bring about the rescue of Jews from the Holocaust. It is neither a biography of DuBois nor a comprehensive history of the War Refugee Board, the U.S. government rescue agency that he helped bring into existence and of which he was a leader. Those are books that remain to be written. DuBois’s own memoir, The Devil’s Chemists, mentioned ...

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pp. xi-xiii

American heroes come in different varieties—soldiers who distinguish them-selves on the battlefield, political leaders who inspire a nation, sports figures who lift us up from our everyday lives with their athletic accomplishments. In his excellent book, Blowing the Whistle on Genocide: Josiah E. DuBois, Jr., and the Struggle for a U.S. Response to the Holocaust, Rafael Medoff makes it clear ...

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1. An American Hero of the Holocaust

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pp. 1-12

For all its villains and victims, the history of the Holocaust also has its share of heroes, although painfully few. Th ere were villagers who risked their lives by sheltering Jewish children. Th ere were individuals such as Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg who protected Jews through an array of ruses. Th ere were a handful of diplomats like Chiune Sugihara of Japan and Feng-Shan Ho of China ...

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2. The Struggle for U.S. Rescue Action

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pp. 13-39

When Josiah DuBois began working in the Treasury Department in 1935, the last thing he expected was that it would involve him in the affairs of Europe’s Jews. Even after he returned, in 1940, to the Treasury after a hiatus, and was assigned to combat Nazi economic penetration of the Western Hemisphere, he had little inkling as to what lay ahead. It seemed to be an ordinary government job. It would soon turn ...

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3. “The Acquiescence of this Government in the Murder of the Jews”

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pp. 40-52

The full text of the pivotal report to Secretary Morgenthau follows. Authored by Josiah E. DuBois, Jr., the report was initialed by Randolph Paul for the Foreign Funds Control Unit of the Treasury Department. Page numbers of the original document are indicated in brackets ...

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4. Confronting the President

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pp. 53-69

The title of DuBois’s report, “Report to the Secretary on the Acquiescence of this Government in the Murder of the Jews,” left no doubt that the contents were political dynamite. But DuBois knew the report would have an impact only if Morgenthau were prepared to use it. The treasury secretary was reluctant to approach President Roosevelt on the rescue issue, preferring to go through the regular ...

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5. The War Refugee Board in Action

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pp. 70-117

On January 22, 1944, two days before the Gillette–Rogers rescue resolution was scheduled for a vote before the full Senate, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9417 establishing the War Refugee Board.¹ Gillette and Rogers promptly withdrew their resolution. Since Morgenthau and his aides had played such a key role in bringing the board into existence, it is not surprising that the board became ...

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6. The War Refugee Board: A Summary of Its Achievements

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pp. 118-130

Executive Order 9417 establishing the War Refugee Board endowed it with great potential. It directed the State, Treasury, and War Departments to provide what-ever help the board needed to implement its rescue programs, subject only to the stipulation that they be “consistent with the successful prosecution of the war.” In addition, it required all other government agencies to comply with the board’s ...

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pp. 131-136

Shortly after the war ended, the War Refugee Board, having fulfilled its designated purpose, was disbanded. During the year to follow, DuBois served on U.S. delegations to talks in Berlin, Moscow, and Tokyo about postwar reconstruction. In May 1946, he concluded his government service, and the DuBois family moved back to New Jersey. There DuBois joined his brother Herb’s private law ...

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Appendix 1. Executive Order 9417 Establishing a War Refugee Board

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pp. 137-138

Whereas it is the policy of this Government to take all measures within its power to rescue the victims of enemy oppression who are in imminent danger of death and otherwise to afford such victims all possible relief and assistance consistent with the successful prosecution of the war ...

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Appendix 2. Declaration by the President of the United States

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pp. 139-141

It is, therefore, fitting that we should again proclaim our determination that none who participate in such acts of savagery shall go unpunished. The United Nations have made it clear that they will pursue the guilty and deliver them up in order that justice be done. Let that warning now be repeated so that no one shall fail to hear and understand. Let it be clearly understood that this applies not only ...

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Appendix 3. Leaflet to be Dropped over Germany

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p. 142

There are within your midst large numbers of persons forced-labor battalions and in concentration camps. Without regard to their nationality and whether they are Jewish or otherwise, Germans, these are my orders: You shall disregard any order from whatever source, to molest, or otherwise harm or persecute any of these people. As the Allied armies, already firmly on German soil, advance, we ...

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Appendix 4. The State Department Changes Its Position on Nazi War Crimes

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pp. 143-144

In a statement defining the American position on the question, Mr. Grew said this Government has made “forthright and far-reaching” proposals to the Allies for ways of carrying out this intention. While he would not disclose details to keep the information from the enemy, he said it was clear that the American people want the guilty to be punished and he emphasized that “the Department ...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 145-148


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pp. 149-155

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About the Author

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p. 157

Dr. Rafael Medoff is founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies (www.WymanInstitute.org), which focuses on issues related to America’s response to the Holocaust. Dr. Medoff is the author of seven books about the Holocaust, Zionism, and the history of American Jewry, including, most recently, A Race against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust ...


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E-ISBN-13: 9781612490144
E-ISBN-10: 161249014X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557535078
Print-ISBN-10: 1557535078

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Shofar Supplements in Jewish Studies
Series Editor Byline: Zev Garber See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 794701196
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Blowing the Whistle on Genocide

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Jews -- Rescue -- United States.
  • Jewish refugees -- Government policy -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • DuBois, Josiah E. (Josiah Ellis), 1912-1983.
  • United States. War Refugee Board.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- 1933-1945.
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. 1882-1945 (Franklin Delano), -- Relations with Jews.
  • United States -- Emigration and immigration -- Government policy.
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Influence.
  • United States -- Ethnic relations.
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