OCTOBER 25, 1941
WASHINGTON, Friday—Yesterday was spent very largely on one subject, because from 9:00 o'clock to 12:30, we sat in Room B in the Labor Auditorium and talked about participation of young people in civilian defense. The conference adjourned to the White House for lunch, and we were back at the Labor Department Building at 2:00 o'clock. We actually finished at 4:00 o'clock, which was the time we had scheduled to bring the conference to a close. I think this speaks well for the young people and their ability to keep their program moving on time.
At the meeting, there was a feeling expressed that, through our defense work, certain goals should be set which we should all strive to attain in the next few years. It was agreed they should not be for youth alone, but must be goals for every age and group. The entire overall picture must be covered, though there may be certain interests on which youth will want to place special emphasis.
Mr. Eugene Meyer came in to tea with me yesterday to tell me how deeply impressed he was with the work of the women in England. He considers that their labor is not only contributing valuable service, but is creating unity throughout the British nation. There is no doubt that women have a tremendous role to play and I am looking forward to the meeting which Miss Eloise Davison will hold on November 8th in Washington, when the role of women in civilian defense will be canvassed from many points of view.
I have been reading some accounts of the removal of the Jewish people from Germany to Poland and Russia. Somehow, being suddenly told that within an hour you must leave your home never to return, is very difficult for us here to visualize. It is a leave-taking which savors somewhat of death.
In all partings with people whom we love, there is in a minor way, that sense of temporary loss which presages the horrible finality of separation which comes over one at the time of death. These mass removals, where people are treated like animals and not like human beings, are so horrible to contemplate, that one can only hope that at a certain point feelings become numb and suffering ceases to be acute.
At Madison Square Garden, in New York City, on October 27th there will be a mass meeting to raise funds for the alleviation of suffering in Russia, not only through the Red Cross services to military units, but on a wider basis for the civilian population. The Russian people are fighting heroically for their homes, and we must admire their courage and do what we can to lessen their sufferings.