Pelosi’s Father Aided Jews of the Shoah

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With mounting fears in some circles that the Democratic Party’s long-standing support of Israel is perceptibly waning, we know of at least one high-ranking member for whom commitment to Jewish causes runs in the veins. Nancy Pelosi, the incoming Speaker of the House, was born to politics. Her father, Congressman Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr, was an ardent Roosevelt Democrat who nonetheless broke with FDR, and worked to bring pressure on the Administration to respond to the plight of Nazi-era Jewry. He joined the famous Bergson group, named after its ringleader, a nephew of Rav Kook, who took a more aggressive stand on agitating on behalf of Europe’s Jews than the Establishment Jews who shunned him, and worked to undermine his efforts. (He was the instigator of the famous March of the 400 Rabbis that was rebuffed through the efforts of Stephen Wise.) The group was ultimately successful, albeit at a late point in the war, in pushing Congress to create the War Refugee Board which played a role in the rescue of 200,000 Jews.

The full story belongs to Dr. Rafael Medoff, who heads the David Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, and frequently writes on matters of Jewish history.

[Thanks to Yale Harlow, LA]

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14 Responses

  1. Nachum Lamm says:

    Hillel, Just to clarify: R’ Jung did not write the essay; it was written in a volume of essays written in his memory. I suppose the subject was chosen because of R’ Jung’s activities to save Jews during and after the war. As it happens, he was a close friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, who seems not to have had the anti-Semitism of her husband. (For more on that, I’d recommend Ben Hecht’s memoirs.) Of course, I don’t excuse Wise or Proskauer- far from it.

    I’m distantly related to R’ Lamm. But please- it’s “Nachum.”

  2. HILLEL says:

    To Bob Miller:
    You provide clarity, as usual.

    Nochum: I knew Rabbi Jung very well, as well as his successor, Norman Lamm (related?). Wise’s mind might have been clouded, as Jung says, but this does not excuse his cold-blooded collaboration with people in the FDR administration who were determined to let Hitler complete the job of exterminating the Jews of Europe.

    Only a completely-Hellenized Jew–totally alientated from his people–could have done what Wise and Proskauer did!

  3. Bob Miller says:

    Whoever accelerates the moral breakdown of America through legislation is not our good buddy.

  4. Jak Black says:

    The worst that can be said about her is that she doesn’t think the government should interfere in the private lives of consenting adults and that, long term, is a position that helps Jews.

    That’s a good one. What you really mean is that she believes that the government shouldn’t interfere with the sexual aspects of the private lives of consenting adults. The government can, and should however, get involved with every other aspect of life, private or otherwise. A quick glance in your history books will tell you that statism leads to all manner of evil, including totalianarianism.

    And that, long term, is a position that will harm Jews.

  5. Barry says:

    “No one I know is ready to embrace her, or is looking to the next two years with anything but trepidation.”

    Mr. Alderstein…you ought to get out more. I know a lot of people who are ready to embrace her and are ready to see, in the next two years, an end to the long nightmare of the past six. Speaker Pelosi could disappoint, of course, but why don’t you give her a chance. After all, we’ve survived six years of President W. And we’re somehow still around, dispite it all.

    “We all expect the Democrats to slaughter Israel on an altar of ineptidue.”

    You blame slaughter by ineptitude on the Democrats? There’s absolutely no way that Speaker Pelosi will be able to match Pres. W for ineptitude. Pres. W has set a VERY low bar. And, G-d willing, no way we will have the slaughter, in the next two years, that we’ve had over the last six.

  6. Aaron says:

    Does anyone know where Avraham Avinu’s father stood on the issues?

    Add me to the chorus of indifference to Pelosi’s yichus.

    That nobody in Pelosi’s party seems to object to the outspoken calumnies of that party’s penultimate resident of the Oval Office nor gets as outraged by Sharpton’s pogrom-mongering as over Tom Delay says all I need to reject a party that once supported Second Amendment defenders like Humphrey and anti-totalitarians like Scoop Jackson.

    Democrats are giving the country away to our enemies. Republicans are selling it.

  7. Nachum Lamm says:

    Hillel, read the essay on Wise in the Leo Jung memorial volume. The man basically worshipped FDR to the extent that it seriously clouded his mind.

  8. HILLEL says:

    I agree with Gedalia Litke. Nancy Pelosi must be judged on her own merits. She didn’t help th Jewish Holocaust victims during World War II; her father did.

  9. Yitzchok Adlerstein says:

    PR, nothing.

    It’s a news story. No one I know is ready to embrace her, or is looking to the next two years with anything but trepidation. But it is nice to know that she wasn’t born into antisemitism, like Mel Gibson. We all expect the Democrats to slaughter Israel on an altar of ineptidue. Jimmy Carter won’t flinch; perhaps Nancy Pelosi will

  10. Jim says:

    “matters authentically Jewish”

    Isn’t supporting Israel and authnetically Jewish matter? Furthermore, Nancy Pelosi has never voted in favor of anything that would hurt Jews.
    The worst that can be said about her is that she doesn’t think the government should interfere in the private lives of consenting adults and that, long term, is a position that helps Jews.

  11. Gedalia Litke says:

    This is an unscrubbed PR piece. If it is in fact important to seek a clear-eyed understanding of the extent of Ms. Pelosi’s commitment to matters authentically Jewish, it might be more instructive to analyze her voting record on family, social and Israel issues.

  12. One Christian's perspective says:

    Of course, we know from Biblical history that righteous G-d-fearing men often fathered children who did not follow in their father’s foot steps.
    Nancy Pelosi must be judged by what she does not by the good her father did.

  13. HILLEL says:

    I’ve always admired the selfless dedication of Bergson/Kook and Merlin in saving Jews from the Nazi killing fields during World War II.

    And I’ve always wondered how Stephen Wise and his cronies in the American Jewish Congress mustered the cold-blooded determination to silence the American Jewish community and to harrass Bergson and Merlin in the face of the huge mass-murder campaign in Nazi Europe.

    Indeed, Wise and the rest of the sycophants at the AJC were the modern-day version of the pro-Greek Hellenizer collaborators, who sold our people down the river in the time of the Maccabees.

    I’m, sure there is a special place in Hell for Wise, Proskauer, and all the rest of his henchmen. [EDITED]

  14. Nachum says:

    Well, kol hakavod to Congressman D’Alesandro, not to mention the rest of the Bergson Group. But let’s not get too optimistic: Kofi Annan is married to the niece of Raoul Wallenberg, of all people, and yet when it comes to Jews dying, he’s as feckless as…well, as we’d expect the Secretary General of the UN to be.