Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and MuseumVirtual Tour
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War!:  Prelude to the Holocaust, 1939-1941

Prelude to the Holocaust, 1939-1941

Between 1939 and 1941, Germany conquered immense areas in Eastern and Central Europe, bringing vast numbers of European Jews under Nazi control. This nearly eliminated their prospects for escape to safety. In 1941, persecution escalated to mass murder, beginning in Eastern Europe. What became known as the "Final Solution" of the "Jewish Question" was a carefully planned and organized effort to destroy every Jew on the Continent. In Soviet territory, beginning in summer 1941, they were shot by the tens of thousands. Reports of those killings were first heard in America soon after they began.

Some historians maintain FDR could have done more to rescue Jewish refugees during these years. Others argue action to rescue Jews far behind enemy lines was impossible and that in the end the way to save lives was to end the war as quickly as possible.
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