AUGUST 23, 1947
NEW YORK, Friday—It seems to me a very cruel thing that the Jewish refugees who remained on board three British ships in a French port, as a protest at not being allowed to land in Palestine, should finally have been handed an ultimatum by the British—to debark in France by a certain time or they would be taken to camps in Germany.
According to a report in one paper, a spokesman for the International Refugee Organization said they would be sent to a displaced persons camp less than a mile from the site of the infamous Nazi Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. It is easy to understand their feeling that this would mean defeat. They feel perhaps that death is preferable.
We may think their attitude unreasonable, but then we have not been through what they have gone through. I think that, after a certain length of time, perhaps misery makes one less able to do what the ordinary person might consider sensible. The picture of these people seems to me to point up the whole horrible tragedy which is going on today for the Jews who wish to enter Palestine. I find it hard to see how the present situation can seem fair and right to anyone.
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Last night I saw the finished documentary film called "The Roosevelt Story." I had seen it before when it was far from complete. Naturally I would not be the one to judge this picture objectively, but I am glad it was done in documentary form.
There will be many opinions about it. I have already been told it has too much of the war in it, but then the last few years of my husband's life were completely taken up with the war! I have been told that there is too much emphasis laid on the varied peoples who make up our country and the part they played in winning the war. Apparently, some feel we should emphasize some of our people and forget about the others. That seems foolish to me. Others have said that there should have been less mention of Russia but, after all, what is said is true.
One could not make such a film which would tell the story as each one of us wants it told, for in this particular case each of us has his own picture in mind. I think perhaps that is why this story is going to be useful. It is going to remind each one of us of that which meant something to us in the years from 1933 to 1945. And perhaps we need that reminder to keep accepting the responsibilities which are ours today.
After the performance, Mr. Josh White gave me a record of a song which he has just written, hoping it will sell for the benefit of the infantile paralysis drive. It is called "The Man Who Couldn't Walk."