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Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany in January 1933. Soon thereafter, terror actions against opponents of Nazism began: Jews were a major target in these campaigns. Many Jews were subjected to public humiliation or arrest, and others were forced to quit their posts. Anti-Jewish measures climaxed with the April 1, 1933, boycott of Jewish-owned businesses. This footage depicts a Jewish anti-Nazi march in Chicago.
The American Jewish Congress was among the first groups in the United States to oppose Nazism. It held a mass rally as early as March 1933, soon after Hitler rose to power in Germany, and continued to hold rallies throughout the war years. The American Jewish Congress organized this anti-Nazi march through Lower Manhattan. The event coincided with book burning in Germany.
On November 9, 1938, the Nazis led a nationwide pogrom against Jews. During the pogrom, known as "Kristallnacht" (the "Night of Broken Glass"), bands of Storm Troopers (SA) destroyed thousands of Jewish-owned businesses and hundreds of synagogues. Almost 100 Jews were killed in the process. This footage shows scenes from a protest rally in New York City. Rabbi Stephen S. Wise voiced the outrage of the American Jewish community. As part of an official protest by the United States government against the violence, President Franklin D. Roosevelt recalled America's ambassador from Germany.
After word reached America of the Nazi killing of European Jewry, pressure mounted on the Roosevelt administration to help European Jews. To spur action, playwright Ben Hecht prepared a memorial to the Jewish victims of Nazi persecution, "We Will Never Die." The pageant, sponsored by the Zionist Revisionist Bergson Group, was part of a mass demonstration at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Later seen in other US cities, the show was part of the Bergson Group's effort to pressure Washington to act decisively to rescue Europe's remaining Jews.
Delegates of 32 countries assembled at the Royal Hotel in Evian, France, from July 6 to 15, 1938, to discuss the problem of Jewish refugees. The refugees were desperate to flee Nazi persecution in Germany, but could not leave without having permission to settle in other countries. The Evian Conference resulted in almost no change in the immigration policies of most of the attending nations. The major powers--the United States, Great Britain, and France--opposed unrestricted immigration, making it clear that they intended to take no official action to alleviate the German-Jewish refugee problem.
During World War II , the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker relief organization, provided food, shelter, and other aid to thousands of Jewish refugees—especially Jewish children—in France. The Quakers were active throughout France, even in areas occupied by German forces. In this footage, Quaker relief workers feed children at one of the Quaker-established schools in Marseille in the unoccupied southern zone of France.
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