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View all events 1942–1945

January 16, 1944

Meeting between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Henry Morgenthau Jr.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. meet about rescuing Jews from Axis-occupied Europe. Inspired by his father’s actions during the Armenian genocide, Morgenthau Jr. became a key advocate for the 1944 establishment of the War Refugee Board which helped to preserve the lives of as many as 200,000 Jews still trapped in German-controlled Europe.

A memo from the meeting reads in part,

[Secretary] Morgenthau advised the President that he was deeply disturbed about the failure of the State Department to take any effective action to save the remaining Jews in Europe.  He explained that the Treasury Department...had uncovered evidence indicating that not only were the people in the State Department inefficient in dealing with this problem, but that they were actually taking action to prevent the rescue of the Jews....the Secretary said he was convinced that effective action could be taken and referred to results that his father, Henry Morgenthau, Sr., had obtained when he was Ambassador to Turkey in getting the Armenians out of Turkey and saving their lives.

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