YSU Speaker discusses FDR, knowledge of Holocaust
The speaker talked of the connection between Prescott Bush and the Nazis.
By JoANNE VIVIANO
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- In Dante Alighieri's "The Divine Comedy," the author reserves a space in his seventh circle of hell for those who had the ability to prevent evil, but did nothing.
That niche, John Loftus fears, very well may have been the fate of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Loftus, a former prosecutor in the Justice Department's Nazi War Crimes Unit, spoke at Youngstown State University Thursday as part of the "FDR and the Holocaust" Judaic and Holocaust Studies Symposium.
Loftus said Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin all knew the atrocities perpetrated upon the Jews as early as September 1941.
"They all made the Jews expendable to the war effort," he said. "They knew Jews were marked for death and they did nothing."
Loftus, who serves as the first Irish Catholic president of the Florida Holocaust Museum, spoke on "The Secret Intelligence files of the Holocaust: What FDR Knew" as he presented the symposium's Sen. Maurice and Florence Lipscher Keynote Address.
What he discovered
While he worked in the Nazi War Crimes unit under presidents Carter and Reagan, he discovered that Nazis he had been assigned to prosecute were working for NATO intelligence. He resigned and told his story on an Emmy-winning segment of "60 Minutes."
He has written "The Belarus Secret," "The Secret War Against the Jews" and co-authored "Unholy Trinity." He is also involved in a Sept. 11, 2001, class-action lawsuit and investigations into the government's response to terrorism.
His comments brought sighs, gasps and shaking of heads, especially when he discussed his research into the ways in which several families, as well as Prescott Bush, grandfather of President George W. Bush, profited from the concentration camp at Auschwitz, which was an American-owned coal processing plant.
Regarding Roosevelt, Loftus told listeners at YSU that British intelligence agents had discovered the slaughter of Jews and were reporting the information to Churchill regularly by September 1941. By October, he had received reports listing casualty numbers of 30,000 to 300,000.
This early in the war, he said Jews suffered "hands-on killing of the most brutal type." They were forced to strip and lie atop each other in ditches as soldiers shot through several bodies at a time to preserve ammunition, he said.
By December, intelligence agents had determined that it "was clear beyond any doubt that the Nazis were killing every Jew they could lay their hands on" so they stopped their reports, Loftus said, and Churchill kept it a secret.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt demanded the information and sought refuge for Jews, but every country refused to take them, including the United States, Loftus said.
"When Roosevelt read the files on the Holocaust, he was horrified and asked Britain to join him in a public appeal to Hitler to release the Jews from concentration camps" but the British resisted, fearing, "If we push him too hard, he might do it and where would the Jews go?" Loftus said.
America's Russian ally Stalin also found a reason to stay quiet about the Holocaust, Loftus said, explaining that "he liked the idea of Hitler wasting box cars on Jews" instead of using them to transport German troops for the war effort.
Roosevelt had a political problem at the highest level, Loftus said. "Roosevelt fought for a compromise: Jews would be expendable but Britain and Russia agreed to Nuremberg war crimes trials. ... He couldn't risk a split with his allies in the middle of the war."