rabbi_01The Rabbis march was an selfless act of almost 500 Orthodox rabbis.

During the absolute annihilation of the Jewish race during the holocaust there were some people that did nothing, some did a little while others wish they could have done more.

There are countless stories where there was an opportunity to save hundreds of lives and the human race turned their back, shut their ears and in some instances walked away.

One such instance of betrayal was the shunning of almost 500 orthodox rabbis in Washington D.C. on October 6th, 1943.

Hillel Kook, “Peter Bergson”, a 33 year old Revisionist Zionist activist from Jerusalem came to the U.S. specifically to sound an alarm of the fate of the Jews in Europe under Nazi control.

Bergson was very successful in drawing attention to the treatment of Jews in Europe by using several media outlets such as print advertising and film.

The event that drew the most attention to the genocide that was taking place in Germany under Hitler rule was the rabbis march on Washington.

Emergency Committee for the Rescue of European Jewry a committee established by Bergson orchestrated a protest and recruited nearly 500 priest mainly from New York and other northern states.

When some of then President Franklin Roosevelt Jewish aides, advisers and Jewish American spokespeople got word of the rabbis march, they began to influence the President to disregard this movement.

The American Jews in places of authority that could have made a difference were consumed with fear of anti-Semitism in the U.S. and in essence by doing nothing allowed the murders to continue.

I’m reminded of the biblical story of Esther when the decree had been signed to destroy all Jews orchestrated by wicked Haman.

The book of Esther Chapter 4 in the bible reads:

13Then Mordecai told them to return this answer to Esther, Do not flatter yourself that you shall escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews.

14For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?

15Then Esther told them to give this answer to Mordecai,

16Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast for me; and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I also and my maids will fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.

There was no stopping the rabbis march.

They long bearded rabbis unflinchingly marched from Union Station to the Capitol buildings wearing long black coats and black hats.

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rabbireadingrabbisteps2rabbistepsThe spirited rabbis were met on the capitol steps by an uneasy and nervous Vice President Henry Wallace.

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The petition to the President and to all who had ears to hear was read in Hebrew and English:

“Children, infants, and elderly men and women, are crying to us, ‘Help!’,” they read. “Millions have already fallen dead, sentenced to fire and sword, and tens of thousands have died of starvation … And we, how can we stand up to pray on the holy day of Yom Kippur, knowing that we haven’t fulfilled our responsibility? So we have come, brokenhearted, on the eve of our holiest day, to ask you, our honorable President Franklin Roosevelt … to form a special agency to rescue the remainder of the Jewish nation in Europe.”

The rabbis were not privileged enough to read or hand the petition to President Franklin Roosevelt when their march landed on the grounds of the White House.

The President had been advised to exit the White House through a back door shortly before the rabbis arrival.

The message the rabbis received was the President was unavailable because of other engagements when in fact his schedule was open particularly at the time of the rabbis visitation.

The march although it seemed unsuccessful it was not.

The negative publicity and pressure on the President eventually caused President Roosevelt to issue an executive order for a U.S. government agency to rescue refugees from Hitler.

The result would be approximately 200,000 Jews were saved from Hitler’s hell.