Rescue in the Holocaust by Diplomats - Hiram Bingham, IV
Hiram Bingham: Bibliography and Quotes
Appendix 1: Abbreviations
German Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt)
Jewish Consistorial Association of the Israelites of Paris, France
American Federation of Labor, USA
American Friends’ Service Committee (Quakers), USA
Universal Jewish Alliance (Alliance Israelite Universelle), France
Armée Juive (Jewish Army), France
American Jewish Committee, USA
American Red Cross, USA
American Relief for France, USA
Armée Secrète (Secret Army)
Chief German Security Official (Befehlshaber der Sicherheitsdienstes)
Comité d’Action et de Défense des Immigrés (Action and Defense Committee for Immigrants)
Comité d’Action et de Défense de la Jeunesse Juive (Jewish Youth Committee for Defense and Action), France
Committee for Aid to Refugees from Germany (Comité d’Aide aux Réfugiés), France
Consistoire Central des Israelites de France (Central Consistory of Jews of France)
Commission Centrale des Organizations Juives d’Assistance (Central Commission for Jewish Relief Agencies), France
Jewish Defense Committee (Comité de Défense des Juifs)
Comité Directeur de la Jeunesse (Administrative Committee for Jewish Youth)
Comité Général de Défense (General Defense Committee), France
General Commissariat for Jewish Affairs (Commissariat Général aux Questions Juives)
Commissione italiano de l’armistizia con la Francia
Commission d’Inter-mouvement auprès des Evacués (Committee for Action on Behalf of Refugees), France
Comité National de Defense des Juifs, France
Comité d’Organisation (Organizing Committee)
Comité Juif d’Action Sociale et Reconstruction (Jewish Committee for Social Action and Professional Reorientation)
Comité des Oeuvres Sociales des Organisations de Resistance (Social Aid Committee for Resistance Organizations)
Representative Council of Jewish Organizations (Conseil Représentatif des Israelites de France)
Conseil Représentatif des Juifs de France (Representative Council of the Jews of France), presently CRIF, Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France), France
Comité d’Union et de Défense des Juifs (Committee for the Union and Defense of Jews)
Main Office for the Shelter
Aid Commission for Jewish Refugees (Delegazione Assistenza Emigranti Ebrei), Italy, France
French Israelite Mutual Aid Society (Entr’aide Française Israélite)
French-Jewish Scouts (Eclaireurs Israélites de France), France, formerly OJC
Emergency Rescue Committee
Temporary Mutual Assistance (Entr’aide Temporaire)
Fédération des Sociétés Juives (Federation of Jewish Societies [of France]), France
Franc-Tireurs et Partisans Français (French Irregulars and Partisans)
Military branch of the immigrant resistance, see FTPF and MOI, France
Groups Mobiles de Réserve (Mobile Reserve Groups)
Foreign Labor Battalions (Groupements de Travailleurs Étrangers)
Hebrew Immigrant Aid and Sheltering Society, headquarters New York, USA
Umbrella organization composed of HIAS, ICA, and EMIGDIREKT (Berlin Aid Society)
Jewish Colonization Association (Paris)
International Committee for the Red Cross
International Migration Service
Jeunesse Juive de France (Jewish Youth in France)
Karen Kayemeth l’Israel
Ligue Internationale Contre l’Antisemitisme (International League Against Antisemitism), France
German Military Command in France (Militärbefehlshaber in Frankreich)
Main Forte (Strong Fist); part of Jewish Army
Mouvement des Jeunesses Sionistes (National Movement Against Racism)
Mouvement de Libération Nationale (National Liberation Movement), France
National Movement Against Racism (Mouvement National Contre le Racisme), France
Main d’Oeuvre Immigrée (Immigrant Workers Organization), France
Mouvements Unis de la Résistance (United Resistance Movements), France
National Refugee Service, USA
Organisation Juive de Combat (Jewish Fighters Organization), name adopted by Jewish Army (Armée Juive; AJ), May 1944 (France)
National Committee for the Child (Oeuvre National d’Enfance)
Oeuvre de Protection de l’Enfance Juive (Program for the Protection of Jewish Children)
Organization for Reconstruction through Labor (Organisation pour le Reconstruction et le Travail, also known as Institution for Vocational Guidance and Training) – Society for Propagation of Artisanal and Agricultural Work, Geneva
Aid Operations for Children (Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants), France
Organisation Sioniste de France (Zionist Organization in France)
Parti Communiste Français (French Communist Party)
Police for Jewish Affairs (Police des Questions Juives)
Relief Committee for the War-Stricken Jewish Population, Geneva, Switzerland
Reich Security Division (Reichssicherheitshauptamt)
Service de contrôle des administrateurs provisoires (Agency to Control Trustees)
Germany Security Service, a division of the RSHA (Sicherheitsdienst)
Investigation and Inspection Division (Section d’Enquête et Contrôle) a special anti-Jewish police of the CGQJ
Service d’Evacuation et de Regroupement (Zionist Service for Evacuation and Resettlement), France
Service d’Evacuation et de Regroupement (Office of Evacuation and Regrouping), France
Service des Faux Papiers (False Documents Service), MLN, France
Germany Security Police (Sicherheitspolizei)
Order Service of the Legion, Veterans’ Legion (Service d’Ordre Légionnaire), known after January 1943 as the Milice
Service Social d’Aide aux Émigrants (Society for Aid to Immigrants), France
Social Services for Foreigners (Service Social des Étrangers)
Obligatory (Forced) Labor Service (Service du Travail Obligatoire)
Travailleurs Étrangers (Foreign Workers)
Union Française pour la Défense de la Race (French Union for the Defense of the Race)
Union des Femmes Juives de France pour la Palestine (Federation of Jewish Women of France for Palestine), France
Union Générale des Israélites de France (General Union of French Jews), France (N – North; S – South)
Union de la Jeunesse Juive (Union of Jewish Youth), France
Jewish Union for Resistance and Mutual Aid (Union des Juifs pour la Résistance et l’Entraide), France
Unitarian Service Committee, headquarters, USA (non-Jewish)
Union of Jewish Associations (Union des Sociétés Juives), France
Women’s International Zionist Organization
Young Men’s Christian Association, USA
Terms - Glossary
Affidavit in Lieu of Passport
Many refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied territories left their countries illegally without passports, papers or identity cards. Local consuls and diplomats could issue an affidavit in lieu of passport as a means of providing refugees with a document that could legally allow them to cross international borders.
German: “Annexation”; German annexation of Austria by Germany on March 13, 1938. It was accomplished by popular vote. It put approximately 189,000 Austrian Jews under German rule. Many thousands fled to Southern France, especially after the Kristallnacht action of November 10, 1938.
Jewish Army. Founded by Abraham Polonski and Lucien Lubin in France in 1942.
The Armistice Commission located in Wiesbaden negotiated the Pence Treaty between Germany and France in 1940. It was composed of German and French military, diplomats and economic specialists.
District in city
Clause of the German-French Armistice agreement of June 1940. Stipulated that the French were obliged to “surrender on demand” German nationals on French soil to the German occupying government.
Aryan Papers Documents
Expropriation – confiscation of Jewish property, businesses and money in Germany and German-occupied Europe. Under these laws and the French Statut des Juifs, more than 42,000 Jewish businesses and properties were confiscated in France.
Jews of European ancestry
Auschwitz (G.); Oswiecim (P.)
Nazi death camp in Poland
Vrba-Wetzler Report. Rudolph Vrba and Alfred Wetzler escape from the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in 1943. They successfully escaped to Slovakia, where they prepared an elaborate report of the murder of Jews. The report was translated into numerous languages and sent around the world.
Political and military alliance between Germany, Italy and Japan. It also included Bulgaria, Hungary, Finland and Slovakia.
French: “Sub”; A French term for Jews in hiding (referring to “submarine”). Jews in France who posed as Aryans in order to avoid arrest and deportation. There were elaborate networks to hide these Jews and provide them with false documents.
Certificate of Exemption
Certificate of Good Conduct
Chantiers de la Jeunesse
Cooperation of French citizens and German occupying forces. Collaboration between French officials or private citizens and the Nazi government enabled them to Aryanize Jewish businesses, enforce antisemitic laws, and arrest and deport Jews and other enemies of the Nazis to the concentration and death camps.
Council of State
French: Consistory, council
Converting to Christianity
Law passed October 1870 making Algerian Jews citizens of France. The Vichy government reversed the law in 1940.
The Nazi government built six camps that were used as killing centers for Jews and others. Jews from France were deported to three of these camps: Sobibor, Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau. 75,000 Jews from France were murdered in these camps.
Delegazione de Assistenza Emigranti Ebrei (Delegation for the Assistance of Immigrants). Jewish rescue and relief agency founded in Italy in December 1939. It operated in France and throughout Italy until September 1943.
Removal of citizenship.
Department of Information and Propaganda for Jewish Questions
Forced removal of Jews to concentration camps or murder centers
Transit camp. Place from which Jews and others were sent to concentration or death camps.
German: German State Railroad. Responsible for transporting deportees to the death camps in Poland. 77 deportation trains left France between 1941-1944.
Displaced Person (DP)
Mostly located in occupied France, these centers held interned Jews and others prior to deportation. Centers were run by Vichy officials.
Transit camp located in suburb of Paris, established in 1940. 74,000 Jews in France were deported to Auschwitz from this camp. 11,000 were children. 5,000 Jews were from Belgium. Drancy was a French camp until July 1943.
Embassy (see also Legation)
Also “unblocked visa.” The US State Department authorized consuls in France to issue a limited number of visas outside of the US quota system. Several hundred of these special visas were issued to artists, writers, intellectuals trapped in Southern France, particularly in Marseilles.
French: “Purge” – Postwar trials of collaborators in France. Between 1945-1946, 39,000 trials for collaborators were held in France.
Conference held in the French resort town of Evian, July 6-15, 1938. It was attended by 33 countries. Its purpose was to resolve the refugee crisis that resulted from the German annexation of Austria and thousands of Jews fleeing from Germany and Czechoslovakia. Virtually nothing of substance was accomplished at this conference, as no countries were willing to accept Jewish refugees.
Endlösing der Judenfrage in Europa; German: “Final Solution of the Jewish Problem in Europe”
More than 700,000 French people were impressed by the German government to work for the Nazi war industries.
French: Brotherhood. Pro-Jewish newspaper published in Southern France. Cooperated with MNCR to fight anti-Semitism and advocated helping Jews to avoid deportation.
French armed forces under General Charles de Gaulle. Fought for the liberation of France.
French Forces of the Interior (EFI)
French: constables, French police. Many collaborated with German occupying forces to enforce antisemitic policy and aid in round-ups and deportations.
German: Geheime Staatspolizei; German State Secret Police. Headed by SS General Heinrich Mueller. IVB4 was a department of the Gestapo.
La Grande Rafle
French: The Grand Roundup. 12,884 Jews, 4,000 of them children, were arrested in the Paris area on July 16-17, 1942. Most were sent to the Auschwitz death camp, where they were murdered on arrival.
Germany and Austria after annexation.
Groupments de Travailleurs Étranges (GTE)
Labor battalions authorized by Vichy law to work prisoners or war. Supervised by the French Ministry of Industrial Production and Labor. Jews and former Spanish Republican soldiers were impressed into these foreign labor units.
Hebrew: “Training”; agricultural training farm. Several of these farms were located in Southern France.
Hebrew: “Young Guard”; Socialist-Zionist Youth Movement; organized to help young Jews train for life on collective farms (kibbutzim) in Palestine (Israel); many became partisans and rescuers during the war.
Hasidei Umot Ha’Olam (H.)
Righteous Among the Nations; Righteous Person.
He Halutz (Halutzim; H.)
Hebrew: “Pioneer.” Jewish youth organization that helped prepare young Jews for immigration to Palestine.
Institute for the Study of Jewish Problems, Paris, France
Volunteers from all over the world who fought against Franco in the Spanish Civil War. Many were Jewish.
Established in 1939 in France to detain Spanish Republican soldiers and refugee aliens. Run by French officials and police forces.
Gestapo and SS “Jewish Office,” headquartered in Berlin, in charge of arrest and deportation of Jews in France and other occupied countries. Headed by SS Colonel Adolph Eichmann, his deputies were Dieter Wisliceny and Major Alois Brunner.
“J,” Jude, Juif, Jew
Stood for Juif (Jew). Stamped on German, Austrian and Czech passports.
French: “I Accuse”; pro-Jewish newspaper published in Paris. Cooperated with MNCR to fight anti-Semitism and advocated helping Jews to avoid deportation.
Jewish Agency for Palestine. Established in 1921 to establish Jewish self rule in the British Mandate of Palestine. It set up Palestine Offices to promote immigration to Palestine.
After June 7, 1942, French Jews in the northern occupied zone were forced to wear a yellow Star of David with the word “Juif.”
Department of Jewish Affairs in RSHA office, Paris. Headed by SS Hauptsturmführer Theodore Dannecker (Bureau IVB4). Responsible for planning and implementing anti-Jewish actions and deportations.
French: Jew. In France, Jews had their papers and documents stamped with the word “Juif” in large red letters.
Konzentrationslager (G.); concentration camp. There were thousands of these camps throughout Nazi occupied Europe.
Headed by German diplomat Dr. Kundt, the Commission was a detachment of Gestapo and German officials that searched French internment camps for those wanted by the German government. They arrested 800 persons.
Landsmann (G., Y.)
League of Nations
Loi Marchandeau. A French law passed in 1881 that outlawed press attacks “toward a group of persons who belong by origin to a particular race or religion when it intended to arouse hatred among citizens or residents. This law was repealed by the Vichy government on August 27, 1940. This allowed virulent antisemitic attacks on the Jews in France.
French: Militia. French paramilitary force of 30,000 formed by Vichy government in 1943. Led by Joseph Darnand and Paul Touvier. Participated in round up and deportation of Jews.
Militärbefehlshaber im Frankreich
German: Military Command in France; MBF. Headed by General Otto von Stülpnagel, 1940 and Karl Heinrich von Stülpnagel 1942-1944. The civil administrative director was SS-Brigadeführer Dr. Werner T. Best, 1940-1942.
Mossad le Aliya Bet
Jewish underground organization, often operated illegally to smuggle Jews from Europe to Palestine.
Nazi, Nazi Party
Quota. In France, quota systems were used to exclude Jews from professions, businesses and schools.
Area occupied by the German Army and civil government. This comprised most of Northern France and the border along Spain.
Palestine Office. Palestine Offices, located throughout Europe (usually in capitols), issued Palestine Certificates. These were staffed by Jewish volunteers from Palestine.
A certificate issued by the Yishuv, and authorized by the British mandatory government, that allowed Jews in Europe to immigrate legally to Palestine.
Resistance fighters against German occupying forces.
French word for guide. These were individuals who guided refugees across international borders.
Official document issued by a country of origin for an individual.
Police for Jewish Affairs (PQJ)
Prisoner of War
Ration card, ration book
Reich Security Division (RSHA)
German: Reichssicherheitshauptamt. Reich Security Main Office. Combined offices of Nazi Gestapo (Secret Police), Security Service (SD) and Police (SIPO). Headed by SS General Reinhard Heydrich and later Ernst Kaltenbrunner. It coordinated the final solution for the murder of Jews of Europe and millions of others. In France, the RSHA office was headed by SS Obersturmführer Helmut Knochen. He was responsible to Himmler and the SS office in Berlin. Other RSHA officers were SS-Sturmbannführers Herbert Martin Hagen and Kurt Liska, SS-Hauptsturmführer Theodore Dannecker. Coordinated the murder of more than 75,000 Jews in France.
International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC)
Individual displaced from his or her country of origin.
French: “Garel Network”
Righteous Among the Nations
Non-Jews who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. Official title and honor created by the State of Israel in 1953.
Jew of Spanish origin.
Service du Travail Obligatorie (STO)
French: Forced Work Force. In February 1943, Vichy government passed a law forcing selected French men and women to work in Germany.
Hebrew: “Catastrophe”; term commonly used in Israel for the Holocaust
Volunteers from Spain and other countries who fought against Franco forces in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. When the war ended, thousands of Spanish Republicans fled to Southern France. Many were interned in the French camps of Gur and Le Vernet.
SS; Schutzstaffel (G.)
Statut des Juifs
French: Jewish Statute. Group of antisemitic laws first enacted by the Vichy government on October 3, 1940. These and subsequent laws were applied against Jews in France and the French territories of Tunisian Algeria, and Morocco in North Africa. Combined with the German Aryanization laws, Jews were effectively removed from public and economic life in France.
Area of Southern France not occupied by German forces June 1940-September 1943.
Sports arena in suburbs of Paris. On July 16-17, 1942, 13,000 Jews were arrested and imprisoned here pending deportation.
Resort town in Southern France, in the unoccupied zone. Established as the headquarters of the French government let by Martial Philippe Pétain. Government until German occupation in November 1942.
Document that permitted bearer to travel through, enter and exit a country. There were entry, exit and transit visas. Visas could be attached to or stamped in passports.
Hebrew: “Settlement”; Prewar Jewish Community in Palestine/Israel. Established under British mandate by League of Nations in 1921.
Jewish youth organization that prepared Jews to emigrate to Palestine.
Underground rescue network headed by Joop Westerweel* (1899-1944), a Dutch Christian. Working with Jewish groups, it smuggled Jews from France into Spain. Westerweel was shot in 1944 by Germans.
Zionist Youth Groups
Appendix 2: Bibliography: America and the Holocaust
Anderson, Mark M. (Ed.). Hitler’s Exiles: Personal Stories of the Flight from Nazi Germany to America. (New York: The New Press, 1998).
Barron, Stephanie, with Saline Eckmann. Exiles & Emigrés: The Flight of European Artists from Hitler. (Los Angeles: Museum Association, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1997).
Bauer, Yehuda. American Jewry and the Holocaust: The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1939-1945. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1981).
Ben-Ami, Yitshaq. Years of Wrath, Days of Glory: Memoirs from the Irgun. (New York: Shengold Publishers, 1983).
Bentwich, Norman. The Rescue and Achievement of Refugee Scholars. (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1953).
Bianco, Anthony. The Reichmanns: Family, Faith, Fortune, and the Empire of Olympia & York. (New York: Times Books, 1997).
Breitman, Richard. Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and Americans Knew. (New York: Hill & Wang, 1999).
Breitman, Richard and Kraut, Alan M. American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, 1933 - 1945. (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press 1987).
Childs, Rives. Foreign Service Farewell, pp. 116-117.
Dallek, Robert. Democrat and Diplomat, the Life of William E. Dodd. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1968).
Dawidowicz, Lucy S. The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945. (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1975).
Dinnerstein, Leonard. America and the Survivors of the Holocaust. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982).
Dobkowski, Michael N. The Tarnished Dream: The Basis of American Anti-Semitism. (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979).
Feingold, Henry L. The Politics of Rescue: The Roosevelt Administration and the Holocaust, 1938-1945. (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1970).
Feingold, Henry L. Zion in America: The Jewish Experience from Colonial Times to the Present. (New York: Hippocrene Books, 1974).
Friedman, Saul S. No Haven for the Oppressed. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1973).
Fry, Varian. Surrender on Demand. (New York: Random House, 1945).
Gerber, David A., ed. Anti-Semitism in American History. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987).
Gilbert, Martin. Auschwitz and the Allies. (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1981).
Gilman, Sander L. and Katz, Steven T., eds. Anti-Semitism in Times of Crisis. (New York: New York University Press, 1991).
Gruber, Ruth. Haven: The Unknown Story of 1000 World War II Refugees. (New York: New American Library, 1983).
Hertzberg, Arthur. The Jews in America: Four Centuries of an Uneasy Encounter: A History. (New York and London: Touchstone Books, Simon and Schuster, 1989).
Hilberg, Raul. The Destruction of the European Jews. (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1985).
Hirschmann, Ira Arthur. Caution to the Winds. (New York: D. McKay Co., 1962).
Hirschmann, Ira A. Life Line to a Promised Land. (New York: Vanguard Press, 1946).
Hockley, Ralph M. Freedom is not Free. (2000).
Kraut, Alan M., and Richard Breitman. American Refugee Policy and European Jews. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987).
Jewish Black Book Committee. The Black Book: The Nazi Crime Against the Jewish People. (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1946).
Lacquer, Walter. The Terrible Secret: An Investigation into the Suppression of Information About Hitler’s ‘Final Solution.’ (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980).
Lipstadt, Deborah E. Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust, 1933-1945. (New York: Free Press, 1986).
Lookstein, Haskel. Were We Our Brothers' Keepers?: The Public Response of American Jews to the Holocaust, 1938 - 1944. (New York: Vintage Books, 1985).
Lowrie, Donald A. The Hunted Children. (New York: W. W. Norton, 1963).
Marino, Andy. A Quiet American: The Secret War of Varian Fry. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999).
Marrus, Michael, R., and Robert O. Paxton. Vichy France and the Jews. (New York: Basic Books, 1981).
Medoff, Rafael. The Deafening Silence: American Jewish Leaders and the Holocaust. (New York: Shapolsky Publishers, 1987).
Morse, Arthur D. While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy. (New York: Overlook Press, 1967).
Penkower, Monty Noam. The Jews Were Expendable: Free World Diplomacy and the Holocaust. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1983).
Penkower, Monty Noam. The Holocaust and Israel Reborn: From Catastrophe to Sovereignty. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994).
Ryan, Donna F. The Holocaust and the Jews of Marseille: The Enforcement of Anti-Semitic Policies in Vichy France. (Urbana, IL: The University of Illinois Press, 1996).
Scholnick, Myron I. The New Deal and Anti-Semitism in America. (New York: Garland Pub., 1990).
Shafir, Shlomo. “American Diplomats in Berlin (1933-1939) and their Attitude to the Nazi Persecution of the Jews.” Yad Vashem Studies, 9 (1973), pp. 71-104.
Stember, Charles Herbert et al. Jews in the Mind of America. (New York and London: Basic Books Inc., 1966).
Thompson, Dorothy. Refugees, Anarchy or Organization. (New York: Random House, 1938).
Thompson, Dorothy. Let the Record Speak. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1939).
Weil, Martin. A Pretty Good Club: The Founding Fathers of the U.S. Foreign Service. (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1978).
Wischnitzer, Mark. Visas to Freedom: The History of HIAS. (New York: World Publishing Co., 1956).
Wyman, David S. The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust, 1941-1945. (New York: Pantheon, 1984).
Wyman, David S. ed. America and the Holocaust: A Thirteen-Volume Set Documenting the Acclaimed Book the Abandonment of the Jews. (New York: Garland Pub., 1989-1991).
Wyman, David S. Paper Walls: America and the Refugee Crisis, 1938-1941. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1968).
Wyman, David S. and Rafael Medoff. A Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust. (New York: The New Press, 2002).
Zucker, Bat-Ami. In Search of Refuge: Jews and US Consuls in Nazi Germany, 1933-1941. (Valentine Mitchell, 2001).
Dingol, Solomon. “How Many Refugees from Nazi Persecution Were Admitted to the United States?” Rescue, I (February 1944), 1-7.
Ford, Franklin L. “Three Observers in Berlin: Rumbold, Dodd, and Francois-Poncet,” in The Diplomats, II, 437-476.
Fry, Varian, “Our Consuls at Work,” Nation, CLIV (May 2, 1942), 507-509.
Fry, Varian. “The Massacre of the Jews.” The New Republic, December 21, 1942.
Fry, Varian. “Operation Emergency Rescue.” The New Leader, 1965.
Kirchway, Freda. “Nightmare in France,” Nation (August 27, 1940), 124.
Klein, Anne. “Conscience, conflict and politics: The rescue of political refugees from southern France to the United States, 1940-1942.” Leo Baeck Institute Year Book, 43 (1998), 287-311.
Maxwell, Elisabeth. “The rescue of Jews in France and Belgium during the Holocaust.” Journal of Holocaust Education, 7 (1998), 1-18.
Shafir, Shlomo. “George S. Messersmith: An Anti-Nazi Diplomat’s View of the German Jewish Crisis.” Jewish Social Studies.
Stuart, Graham H., “Wartime Visa Control Procedures,” Department of State Bulletin, IX (September 10, 1944).
Thompson, Dorothy. “Refugees, A World Problem,” Foreign Affairs, XVI (April 1938).
Waag, Alfred, III. “Washington’s Stepchild: The Refugees,” New Republic (April 13, 1942), 592-594.
US Government Documents
Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers 1938, Volume II: The British Commonwealth Europe, Near East and Africa. (Washington, DC: US Department of State, 1955).
“Rumania: Anti-Semitism in Rumania and consideration of Jewish emigration as a possible solution,” 672-684.
Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers 1940, Volume II: General and Europe. (Washington, DC: US Department of State, 1957).
“Cooperation with the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees to assist persons forced to emigrate, primarily from Germany, for political or racial reasons,” 208-249.
“Persecution of Jews by German Occupation and Vichy Governments; representations by the United States on behalf of American Jews,” 565-569.
United States Department of State. Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers, 1940. Vol. II: General and Europe. (Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1957), pp. 228-247.
Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers 1941, Volume II: Europe. (Washington, DC: US Department of State, 1959).
“Closing of German consular and other offices in the United States and of similar American offices in Germany and German-occupied countries,” 628-633.
“Rumania: Persecution of Jews in Rumania,” 860-879.
Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers 1942, Volume II: Europe. (Washington, DC: US Department of State, 1962).
“Representations to the Vichy Government concerning treatment of American Jews and other Jews of foreign nationality in France,” 709-715.
Appendix 3: Quotes by and about Vice Consul Hiram Bingham, IV
Hiram Bingham, IV, Quotes
Quotes by Hiram Bingham, IV:
“The whole world around us has the disease which we’ve feared for so long. We can only pray that the natural goodness of men will fight off the plague before it spreads too far.”
- Hiram Bingham, IV, wartime diary entry
“It was getting as many visas as I could to as many people…”
- Hiram Bingham, IV, oral history, when asked the most important thing he did for the Jews
“Although we were not in the war, most of our government was on the side of the allies, the British and the French. But my boss who was the Consul General at that time, said, ‘The Germans are going to win the war. Why should we do anything to offend them?’ And he didn’t want to give any visas to these Jewish people. So in a way, I had to do as much as I could.”
- Hiram Bingham, IV, oral history
“And at one time he sent me to a camp where the French were interning Canadian and British pilots who were forced down and had escaped from the Germans. They came down to southern France and then they were put in a concentration camp.”
“The French were rather eager to let them go and get back to England again. But we were not supposed to help them at all. The Consul General told me to tell the French manager, the general in charge of the camp, that we were not interested, that we were glad they were holding them so they couldn’t get back to England. And when I went to talk to the general, he said, ‘I know what you’ve come about, you want these fellows to get back to England. OK.’”
“He was sure that we wanted them to. So he said, ‘Well, we won’t talk about it any more. You haven’t said anything to me at all.’ So we agreed that he’d let them all escape, if he could.”
- Hiram Bingham, IV, oral history
“Lion Feuchtwanger was on Mrs. Roosevelt’s list of distinguished authors that we were supposed to help. But the Germans didn’t want him to get away because he was writing a lot against Hitler and against the Nazis. He was Jewish. He wrote a book, a novel called ‘The Oppermans,’ which is still an interesting book about what happened to a Jewish family under Hitler.”
“And so in order to get him safely across the frontier, they didn’t dare have him use his regular name, so I gave him a visa under the translation of his name. His name was Feuchtwanger, which was ‘wet cheek,’ and so we put on the passport, this is Mr. Wetcheek.”
“And when he left Marseille, he was smuggled onto a train at about 5 o’clock in the morning that was leaving the station. He had to go through the kitchen in the station in order to get on the train so they smuggled him on so he didn’t have to have his passport examined, that he didn’t have an exit visa to leave France.”
“And then when he got to the frontier they arranged that during the lunch hour, they’d walk across the frontier while the guards were all having their lunch. Anyway, he got across the frontier that way, and he got to Lisbon. And then in Lisbon, we sent directions there for the American consulate in Lisbon to change his name back to his regular name, which he did.”
- Hiram Bingham, IV, oral history
“And I did help one admiral to get out of Marseille, who later became the head of the French fleet in London. He worked for De Gaulle when De Gaulle’s forces had their capital in London and Admiral Muselier (Emile Henri Muselier. French Admiral, born Marseilles 1882, died: 1965 and was one of the first high-ranking officers to join De Gaulle – ed.) I helped to get him on a… to sneak on a boat so he could get back to England.”
- Hiram Bingham, IV, oral history
Quotes by Varian Fry:
“To Harry Bingham, my partner in the crime of saving human lives.”
- Varian Fry, inscription to Harry Bingham in a presentation copy of his book, Surrender on Demand
Shortly after arriving in Marseille, Varian Fry meets with Dr. Frank Bohn of the American Federation of Labor. He was tasked to save trade union leaders and noted German socialists. Fry and Bohn discuss the refugee situation in Marseille, and their relationship with American Vice Consul Hiram Bingham IV:
“I called on Frank Bohn the day I moved into the Splendide. He had a room in the hotel very much like mine. When he opened the door to my knock, and I told him who I was, he grabbed my hand in a great big friendly clutch.
“‘Oh, I’m so glad you’ve come,’ he said. ‘We need all the help we can get. Come in. I’m so glad you’ve come…” […]
“We talked in whispers about the situation of the refugees in France and ways to get them out. Bohn had already been in Marseille several weeks, and had had plenty of opportunity to get a good view of the situation, not only from his own observations, but also from conversations with dozens of refugees.” […]
“As for ‘cover’ operations, Bohn didn’t think they were necessary. He had been operating openly from this room in the hotel, and he hadn’t had any trouble with the French police at all. Of course, great secrecy was necessary on such matters as escapes, but you could see the refugees quite openly in your hotel room, and if anyone asked you what you were doing you could say you were helping them get American visas and giving them relief allowances. All that was quite legal, and the French police couldn’t very well object to it. Besides, the American consulate was solidly behind us and the work we were trying to do. They had cooperated splendidly, Bohn said, and if anything should happen to us the consulates and the embassy would back us up. Harry Bingham was a prince. He sympathized with the refugees and did everything he could to help them, within American law.” […]
“After talking to Bohn I decided to alter my plans. Instead of traveling around the country on a bicycle or a Paris Soir truck, disguised as the representative of an American religious organization making a study of relief needs, I’d set up headquarters at the Splendide, as Bohn had done, and have the refugees come to me. […]
“Bohn took me to the consulate that day and I met the consul general and the vice-consul in charge of visas, Harry Bingham. I told them both what I had come over to do, showed them my credentials and letters of recommendation, and asked for their help. The consul general was extremely nervous, as Bohn had said, but Bingham was more friendly and sympathetic than I would have dared to hope, after my experiences with the consulate at Lisbon, and my visit to the visa division of the Marseille consulate the day before. He is the son of the late Senator Hiram Bingham of Connecticut, and one of his brothers, Alfred, is the editor of the magazine Common Sense. Perhaps that helps to explain why he was so much more liberal than most of the American foreign service officers. I’ll have a lot of hard words to say about the American foreign service officers in this book. But none of them will apply to Harry Bingham. Without his help I would never have been able to save the lives of many of the refugees I managed to get out of France.
“It was Harry Bingham who got Lion Feuchtwanger out of the camp of St. Nicolas, where he had been interned in May. Harry had arranged it all very carefully with Mrs. Feuchtwanger, who had been allowed to stay at the Feuchtwanger’s house at Sanary-sur-Mer, on the coast near Toulouse.” […]
“A consul who would take the chances Harry had taken to save Feuchtwanger was obviously going to be immensely useful to me in the work I had to do in France. If I believed in a divine Providence which benevolently arranges human affairs, I’d say that it was that Providence which put Harry Bingham in the consulate at Marseille in the summer of 1940. Since I don’t believe in that kind of Providence, I have to say it was luck. But it was certainly extraordinary luck, the kind that happens all too seldom in this world, especially when it’s most needed, as it emphatically was then.
“After my talks with Bohn and Bingham I went back to the hotel feeling that my job was going to be a hell of a lot easier than I had thought when I left New York.”
- Varian Fry (draft manuscript for Surrender on Demand, pp. 88a-92, Varian Fry Papers, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York)
During an initial meeting with Dr. Frank Bohn, Fry inquired about the cooperation of the American consulate in Marseilles:
“‘How do you find the [American] Consulate?’ I asked. ‘Have they co-operated?’
“‘Splendidly!’ Bohn Said. ‘Splendidly! Don’t you worry. If anything should happen to us, the Consulate and the Embassy would back us up to the hilt.’” (Varian Fry, Surrender on Demand, p. 10)
“‘By the way, have you any idea what’s become of [Lion] Feuchtwanger…?’
“[Heine said,] ‘…I haven’t heard what’s become of Feuchtwanger. Some say he’s in Switzerland. He was interned in the camp of St. Nicolas last spring, but after the armistice he escaped, and nobody’s heard of him since.’
“‘Huh-hmm,’ Bohn said, clearing his throat. ‘Perhaps you and I had better talk privately about this, old man.’
“He got up and led me into the bathroom.
“I’ve promised Harry Bingham not to breathe a word of this to anybody,” he said, after he had closed the door, “but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind my telling you. It was Harry who got Feuchtwanger out of that camp. He arranged it all with Mrs. Feuchtwanger in advance, and she got word of their plans to her husband. Luckily she wasn’t interned, you see…
“Gosh,” I said, “he really is a prince, isn’t he! Where is Feuchtwanger now?”
“Hiding in Harry’s villa,” Bohn said. (Varian Fry, Surrender on Demand, pp. 11-12)
“Fortunately for me, the first of the refugees to come to the Splendide in response to my summons were Paul Hagen’s German socialist friends and some of the younger Austrian socialists. They were all young and vigorous and not at all lacking in courage. Most of them had already received American visas. All they needed, they said, was money. With enough money in their pockets for the trip to Lisbon, they would take their chances with the French and Spanish police and the Gestapo in Spain. They would get Portuguese and Spanish transit visas and go down to the frontier and cross over on foot. I gave them money and they went. All of them got to Lisbon. It was as simple as that,”
- Varian Fry (1945). Surrender on demand (pp. 14). New York: Random House.
“The saddest cases were the apatrides, the men and women who had been deprived of their nationality by decree of the Nazi government. Not only could they not get legal passports, but they were presumably in the greatest danger of being picked up by the Gestapo, for they had already been singled out as enemies of the Nazi state. The French had given most of them green, accordion-folded documents called titres de voyage—a kind of refugee passport—but the Spanish didn’t recognize these, and everyone who went down to the frontier with one had to come back again. Luckily, when an American visa had been authorized for an apatride, or man without a country, the American Consulate usually gave him a paper called an ‘affidavit in lieu of passport.’ For a while this worked, provided the man was willing to take the chance of going through Spain under his own name. In fact, many minor French and Spanish officials obviously took the bearers of such documents for American citizens, and treated them with the special deference European under-officials somehow almost always reserve for Americans—or used to. I was not inclined to correct the false impression.”
- Varian Fry (1945). Surrender on demand (pp. 17-18). New York: Random House.
“August-September 1940. As already stated in the administrative report, this period was very productive of results and relatively free from difficulties. Those who possessed American visas—and there were quite a few—easily obtained transit visas for Spain and Portugal and had therefore only to get across the Franco-Spanish frontier. The disorganization existing at the frontier following the Armistice created a disorder which was favorable to us; policing was practically nonexistent on both sides and the guards on the French side were generally well-disposed and kindly. Crossing the frontier on foot through the mountain passes or by automobile represented no exceptional feat, and, once in Spain, one could continue in safety and without annoyance. During these six blessed weeks nearly 250 clients of the Committee, including women and children, were able to cross without incident. Among these were: Heinrich and Golo Mann, Franz Werfel, Lion Feuchtwanger, Egon Erwin Kisch, Leo Borochovitz, Hans Natonek, Herta Pauli, Conrad Reisner, Boris Nikolaewsky, Fritz Adler, Walter Victor, Walter Benjamin, Leonard Frank, Babette Gross, Emil Gumbel, Konrad Heiden, Arthur Koestler, Otto Meyerhoff, Baldwin Olden, Franz Pfemfert, David Schneider, Friedrich Stampfer, Jacob Walcher, Milly Zirker, Frederike Zweig, etc., etc. Some of these crossings were made alone, others were guided. They constituted, during the first period of the existence of the Committee, its only illegal activity.”
- Varian Fry (unpublished report, Emergency Rescue Committee, pp. 2-3, Varian Fry Papers, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York)
“In the course of time we learned that some of the refugees on my list had already escaped from France without our help. But the great majority were stuck, and wouldn’t have been able to get out at all if it hadn’t been for us. With the help of the American affidavits and the Czech passports, we were able to get quite a lot of them out of France in those first weeks. Besides Paul’s underground-worker friends, they included among many others, Hans Natonek, a Czech humorist; Hertha Pauli, an Austrian journalist; Professor E.S. Gumbel, a German refugee scholar on the faculty of the University of Lyon; Leonard Frank, a German novelist and poet; Heinrich Ehrmann, a young German economist; Friedrich Stampfer, a German trade union leader and the former editor of the Berlin Vorwaerts; Dr. Otto Meyerhoff, a Czech physicist [physiologist] and Nobel Prize winner; Alfred Polgar, German novelist; and Conrad Heiden, the biographer of Hitler.” (Varian Fry, Surrender on Demand, p. 32)
“He [Lion Feuchtwanger] had an American ‘affidavit in lieu of passport’ in one of his pen names, James Wetchek (sic), and his wife, who was still at Sanary, had one in her own name.”
- Varian Fry (1945). Surrender on demand (p. 57). New York: Random House.
“The Consul-General kept telling me I’d be expelled any day if I were lucky enough not to be arrested and held on charges.”
- Varian Fry (1945). Surrender on demand (p. 86). New York: Random House.
“The Consul-General kept telling me I’d be expelled any day if I were lucky enough not to be arrested and held on charges. But there were four friends of Paul Hagen’s in the camp at Vernet he had asked me particularly to help, and I didn’t want to go until I had gotten them out of France.
“The first step, obviously, was to get them out of Vernet. We had sent letters to the commandant in the name of the committee, and Bingham had sent him letters and telegrams in the name of the Consulate—all to no avail.”
- Varian Fry (1945). Surrender on demand (pp. 86-87). New York: Random House.
“The four men came to Marseille, went to the American Consulate, and got their American visas the same day, thanks to Harry Bingham.”
- Varian Fry (1945). Surrender on demand (p. 87-88). New York: Random House.
“Just before the Bouline left, Harry Bingham invited me to dinner at his villa, to meet Captain Dubois. Captain Dubois was a member of the Marseille staff of the Sûreté Nationale. Though a Vichy policeman, he was friendly to England and America, and Harry thought it would be useful for me to know him.
“It was. Dubois was the first French official I had met who was familiar with my case and willing to talk about it. When I asked him what the police had against me, he said, with a sly smile I couldn’t quite fathom, ‘Smuggling people out of the country.’
“‘Anything else?’ I asked.
“‘Yes, trading in foreign exchange.’”
- Varian Fry (1945). Surrender on demand (pp. 89-90). New York: Random House.
“…a cabin boy came in and announced that Monsieur le Consul des Etats-Unis was waiting below. Much impressed, the captain instructed the boy to bring the Consul up at once.
When Harry Bingham walked through the door and shook hands with us, whatever doubts the captain may previously have had about us were immediately dissipated. His manner became perceptibly more cordial. He took out a key ring from his trousers’ pocket and unlocked a cupboard, revealing a large collection of half-filled bottles. He selected a bottle of cognac and took down four small glasses.
‘Voilá, messieurs, dame,’ he said, pouring us glasses of the brandy. ‘A votre santé.’
As we drank, Harry told us that he had called up the Prefecture several times to find out why we were being held and for how long. But all the high officials were out with the Marshal, or busy protecting him, and he hadn’t been able to get any information. He hoped to do better tomorrow, when the Marshal would be on his way back to Vichy and things would be returning to normal in Marseille. A great many people had been arrested in honor of the Marshal’s visit, he said, at least seven thousand, and most of them would probably be released in a few days. Whether we would be released or not he couldn’t say, but he would do his best to see that we were.”
- Varian Fry (1945). Surrender on demand (p. 147). New York: Random House.
Then Harry Bingham was recalled, and his place at the head of the visa service at the American Consulate was taken by a vice-consul who seemed to delight in making autocratic decisions and refusing as many visas as he possibly could. He was also very weak on modern European history, but very strong on defending America against refugees he regarded as radicals.
One day I went to see him about a visa for Largo Caballero. The court at Aix had refused to grant his extradition, but he had been placed in “forced residence” in a small town in Southern France. I thought that if I could get him an American visa I might be able to smuggle him to Casablanca, via Lussu’s route, and put him on a boat for America. When I mentioned Caballero’s name to the Vice-Consul he looked puzzled.
“Who’s Caballero?” he asked.
I told him he had been Prime Minister of Spain during the Civil War.
“Oh,” the Vice-Consul said, “one of those Reds.”
I explained that Caballero had resigned the Premiership rather than continue to co-operate with the communists.
“Well,” the Vice-Consul said, “it doesn’t make any difference to me what his politics are. If he has any political views at all, we don’t want him. We don’t want any agitators in the United States. We’ve got too many already.”
By the end of June, the American Consulates in France received new instructions forbidding them to grant any visas at all except on specific authorization from the State Department. Even transit visas had to be authorized by the Department, and all the refugees who had been patiently building up immigration-visa dossiers at the Consulates now had to begin all over again in Washington. No one with a close relative in Italy, Germany or any of the occupied countries, including the occupied part of France, could get a visa under any circumstances.
- Varian Fry (1945). Surrender on demand (pp. 215-216). New York: Random House.
“Of them all, probably none was in greater danger than [Konrad] Heiden. What he had written about Adolph Hitler the Fuehrer would never forgive or forget. Heiden had been interned at the outbreak of the war, released a few weeks later, reinterned in May. […]
“Heiden made his way to Montauban, and from there he came to Marseille. At the Marseille consulate he got an American visa and an affidavit in lieu of a passport, under his own name. He wanted to go to Lisbon with this, but I felt I couldn’t take the responsibility of letting him go through Spain under his own name. I got him a Czech passport under the name of David Silbermann, and after a good deal of hesitation, he used the Czech passport as far as Lisbon, changing back to his rightful personality there.”
- Varian Fry (unpublished manuscript, pp. 113-114, Box 14, Folder 1, Varian Fry Papers, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York)
“Paul’s friends were Franz Boegler, Hans Tittel, Fritz Lamm and Siegfried Pfeffer. There were visas for all of them at the Consulate. Harry Bingham sent letters and telegrams to the army officer in charge of the camp asking him to let them come to Marseille to get their visas, but it didn’t work. He just didn’t get an answer.”
- Varian Fry (unpublished manuscript, p. 115, Box 14, Folder 1, Varian Fry Papers, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York)
“Paul’s friends were Franz Boegler, Hans Tittel, Fritz Lamm and Siegfried Pfeffer. There were visas for all of them at the Consulate. Harry Bingham sent letters and telegrams to the army officer in charge of the camp asking him to let them come to Marseille to get their visas, but it didn’t work. He just didn’t get an answer.
“Meanwhile, Mrs. Boegler and her sweet little boy of two came to me for advice and help. Mrs. Boegler was convinced that her husband would be handed over to the Gestapo any day. But she didn’t want to leave France as long as there was the slightest chance that she could do something to save him. I felt that if the American Consulate couldn’t do anything, she could do nothing either, and it seemed better for her and the boy to be out of the country when the Gestapo came and took her husband off. I had a lot of trouble persuading her to go, but in the end I succeeded. She and her little son went down to Cerbère and crossed over like everybody else, and I promised to save her husband and the others if I possibly could.
“The only people who had any trouble in the first weeks were the Victors. They had left Germany shortly after Hitler came to power and had gone to Switzerland. After living there several years, during which Victor wrote and did radio work and his wife had a baby, the whole family, including Mrs. Victor’s mother, were asked to leave the country. Not that the Swiss had anything against them; on the contrary: just that Switzerland isn’t in the habit of letting political refugees in and, on the rare occasions when it does, almost never lets them stay more than a few years. The Victors looked around frantically for some country to go to. At the last minute, they got visas for Luxembourg. Just before the war began, they went to Paris, traveling on special refugee passports which the Luxembourg government had given them in accordance with a League of Nations convention the little duchy had signed several years before.
“In May, the French interned Mr. Victor in a camp near Paris and sent Mrs. Victor’s mother to the big internment camp of Gurs, in the High Pyrenees. Mrs. Victor was allowed to stay on in her apartment in Paris because she had a three-year old child to take care of. She and her child went through the bombardment alone. Just before the Germans entered the city they escaped to southern France, walking by day and sleeping in freight cars or woods at night. Meanwhile Victor had escaped from the internment camp and found his wife and child, by one of those miracles of chance which seemed always to be happening in France.
“When they came to Marseille, I sent them to the Consulate and they got their visas on their Luxembourg refugee passports. But, on account of the baby, they felt they couldn’t go over the frontier on foot. There was a story going around Marseille that you could get exit visas at Perpignan. So they went to Perpignan to try their luck. There they met a man named Berger. Berger turned out to be a German exile of Hungarian extraction. He was always very well-dressed, used perfume, and smoked expensive imported cigarettes, which he bought on the black market. He was one of a whole tribe of men who were making money smuggling people out of France, but unlike most of the others he had a reputation for never promising more than he could perform, and of being a square shooter in his dealing with refugees. When Victor showed him the Luxembourg refugee passports, Berger examined them with professional thoroughness and said he’d take them to the prefecture and see what he could do about getting exit visas on them.
“The next day Berger met Victor again and said he could get the exit visas for 4,000 francs apiece, or $100 at the official rate of exchange. Victor had some money of his own, so he made a deal with Berger for the visas. A few hours later, Berger brought the passports back with French exit visas in them. They were real exit visas issued by the prefecture at Perpignan and signed by the prefect himself. Victor paid Berger the 8,000 francs and he and his wife and child set out for Cerbère the next morning.
“When they got to Cerbère, the frontier police wouldn’t let them out of the country. The police wouldn’t explain why they didn’t recognize the Perpignan exit visas, but they didn’t, and that was that.
“The Victors had no choice but to go back to Perpignan. When they got there they looked up Berger and told him what had happened. Berger said that for the cost of the gasoline he would take them down to the frontier in his car and see that they got over. They set out for the frontier again, this time in Berger’s car. Instead of taking them to Cerbère, he took them to Le Perthus, the first border point west of Cerbère, where there is a motor highway over the frontier, but no railroad. At Le Perthus, Berger had no trouble at all in getting them through the French police, most of whom he knew by name. But when they came to the Spanish police and presented their passports, they were told that League of Nations documents weren’t recognized in Spain.
“‘Spain doesn’t recognize the League of Nations,’ the Spanish border official said, handing the passports back.
“They watched the autobus which meets the Barcelona train at Figueras go out without them. Then they crossed back into France, and Berger drove them back to Perpignan. From Perpignan they returned to Marseille, and at Marseille they came straight to me and told me their story. Since their Luxembourg refugee passports weren’t recognized in Spain, the only thing to do was to get them American affidavits in lieu of passports. Many American consuls would have refused to give an affidavit in lieu of passport to a refugee who already had a passport, on the grounds that the man had a passport and it was no business of the American Consulate whether the passport was valid in Spain or not. But Harry Bingham wasn’t a run-of-the-mill Consul. He made out the affidavits without any hesitation at all and transferred the visas to them. Then, since the Victors had spent all their money by this time, I advanced them some and they set out for the frontier again. This time they didn’t come back.”
- Varian Fry (unpublished manuscript, pp. 115-118, Box 14, Folder 1, Varian Fry Papers, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York)
“They [Mr. and Mrs. Victor] watched the autobus which meets the Barcelona train at Figueras go out without them. Then they crossed back into France, and Berger drove them back to Perpignan. From Perpignan they returned to Marseille, and at Marseille they came straight to me and told me their story. Since their Luxembourg refugee passports weren’t recognized in Spain, the only thing to do was to get them American affidavits in lieu of passports. Many American consuls would have refused to give an affidavit in lieu of passport to a refugee who already had a passport, on the grounds that the man had a passport and it was no business of the American Consulate whether the passport was valid in Spain or not. But Harry Bingham wasn’t a run-of-the-mill Consul. He mad out the affidavits without any hesitation at all and transferred the visas to them. Then, since the Victors had spent all their money by this time, I advanced them some and they set out for the frontier again. This time they didn’t come back.”
- Varian Fry (unpublished manuscript, pp. 117-118, Box 14, Folder 1, Varian Fry Papers, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York)
“Stephen Hessel is also leaving soon. He has his American visa, and he thinks his commanding officer in the Deuxième Bureau will give him a passport and exit visa.”
- Varian Fry (Dated “Villa Air-Bel, Sunday, February 9 , Morning.” (Varian Fry, unpublished manuscript for Surrender on Demand, p. 421, Box 14, Folder 1,
Varian Fry Papers, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York)
“Another friend, Hans Sahl, the German poet, who has been my adviser on German writers, artists and musicians from the very beginning, is hoping to get his exit visa and his Spanish transit visa next week: if he does, he’ll leave too.”
- Varian Fry (Dated “Villa Air-Bel, Sunday, February 9 , Morning.” (Varian Fry, unpublished manuscript for Surrender on Demand, p. 421, Box 14, Folder 1,
Varian Fry Papers, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York)
Chagall received his visa from Hiram Bingham. In addition, Bingham hid Chagall in his private residence.
“Monday, March 3 ”/“Afternoon”
“A letter from the [U.S.] Consulate at Lyon today, in reply to mine. They admit that the German-Austrian and Polish quotas are closed there, but write that ‘at the present time there is no prospect of a great improvement in quota conditions being made quickly. Additional staff for the Lyon Consulate has been requested repeatedly and because of present-day difficulties no further help has been secured. Until this help comes it is unlikely that the quota deadline can be advanced materially.
“I have cabled New York to bring pressure on the State Department to authorize staff increases at the Lyon Consulate and have written the Consul at Lyon to tell him what I have done.
“Fortunately Marseille is not Lyon. I have come to the conclusion that the American Consulate at Marseille is a good deal more generous and a good deal more liberal in its outlook than the State Department. Chagall’s experience proves it, I think. The Museum of Modern Art asked the State Department to grant him an ‘emergency’ visa last November. Not knowing this, I took him to the Marseille Consulate in January and got him an immigration visa with no affidavits at all. In fact, all he had in his dossier was a letter from me guaranteeing him politically. It was not until February 10 that the Consulate received the Department’s authorization to grant Chagall a visa. Meanwhile, he had already had his visa a full month.
“In other words, it took the Department three months to grant him an ‘emergency’ visa, whereas the Consulate only required a day or so to give him an ordinary immigration visa.”
- Varian Fry (draft manuscript, pp. 461-462, Box 14, Folder 1, Varian Fry Papers, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York)
“The Museum of Modern Art asked the State Department to grant him [Marc Chagall] an ‘emergency’ visa last November. Not knowing this, I took him to the Marseille Consulate in January and got him an immigration visa with no affidavits at all. In fact, all he had in his dossier was a letter from me guaranteeing him politically. It was not until February 10 that the Consulate received the Department’s authorization to grant Chagall a visa. Meanwhile, he had already had his visa a full month.
“In other words, it took the Department three months to grant him an “emergency” visa, whereas the Consulate only required a day or so to give him an ordinary immigration visa.”
- Varian Fry (unpublished manuscript, p. 462, Box 14, Folder 1, Varian Fry Papers, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York)
“In fact, so far as I know, the Marseille consulate is the only on in France where the German-Austrian and Polish quotas are open. But we are lucky to have at that American consulate here one or two thoroughly decent and hardworking consuls who do their utmost within the laws of the United States to help rather than hinder the refugees.
“The truth is that some of our consuls have been away from Washington so long that they have forgotten they are public servants and have assumed the attitude of rich private citizens living abroad who do not care to be disturbed.
“I am going to disturb them. I am going to write them letters and find out why those quotas are still closed.”
- Varian Fry (unpublished manuscript, Box 14, Folder 2, Varian Fry Papers, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York)
“Johannes Schnek’s dossier has at last arrived from Paris, but the affidavits are too old to be any good. Nevertheless Harry Bingham has agreed to give him a visa if I can get the man who originally gave the affidavits to cable the Consulate that they are still valid. I am cabling New York via Switzerland.
“The Consulate got some more German quota numbers today.”
- Varian Fry (unpublished manuscript, p. 553, Box 14, Folder 3, Varian Fry Papers, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York)
“The order for Vochoc’s arrest was signed by the new police chief, de Rodellec du Porzic, a Breton naval officer and great friend of Darlan, who appointed him. It was based on a telegram from the Ministry of the Interior.
“After spending the night in an armchair at the prefecture, Vochoc was taken this afternoon to the little village of Lubersac, Corrèze, near Perigneux—and the demarcation line. The prefecture says he is to be put in résidence forcée there, but the Czechs think it is only a step on the way to Germany, as Arles was a step for Breitscheid and Hilferding.
“The entire Consular corps of Marseille, headed by Hugh Fullerton, the American Consul-General, went to the prefecture today to protest against Vochoc’s arrest. Getting no satisfaction there, Fullerton sent Hiram Bingham to Vichy to ask Admiral Leahy to intervene. Apparently the American authorities can be militant enough when the rights and safety of consuls are concerned, even when the consuls are ‘aliens.’ Too bad they can’t be equally militant in defense of a simple American citizen like me, or the poor devils of refugees who have spent the last eight years fighting Hitler, and now seem likely to pay with their lives for it.
“I knew Vochoc so well, and worked with him so long, that his arrest has shaken me even more than the extraditions of Breitscheid and Hilferding. He is a member of the Legion of Honor and always wears the rosette in his buttonhole. Surely France will not hand over the Germany a man who has received a decoration for his services to France!
“Surely?” (Dated “Wednesday, March 19 .”)
- Varian Fry (unpublished manuscript for Surrender on Demand, p. 483, Varian Fry Papers, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York)
“State Dept rejects visa applications but doesn’t admit it. Result: applicants wait weeks and months in vain hope visa will be granted when they should be busying themselves getting other visas.”
- Varian Fry (hand-written note, Varian Fry Papers, Box 11, “Surrender on Demand,” Notes 2 of 2, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York)
Quotes by Dr. Frank Bohn of the AF L/CIO
“He’s [Bingham] the Vice-Consul in charge of visas, and the son of the late Senator from Connecticut. I believe his brother’s the editor of Common Sense. Anyway, he has a heart of gold. He does everything he can to help us, within American law. On the other hand the Consul-General is pretty nervous, although I think he sympathizes with what we’re trying to do.”
- Dr. Frank Bohn, quoted in Fry, V. (1945). Surrender on Demand (pp. 10). New York: Random House.
Quote by Charlie Fawcett, Fry’s Assistant
“You know the American Consulate didn’t like us very much. Hugh Fullerton was the Consul General and his instructions were to get us out as quickly as he could. And then when he became director of the hospital in Paris, the American Hospital, I became quite friendly with him, and he said—he sort of apologized, he said, You know, there was nothing I could do. Had to follow instructions.”
“Harry Bingham was our friend. He really helped us.”
- Charlie Fawcett, one of Fry’s important assistants
Quotes by Daniel Bénédite, Fry’s Assistant
“[Lion Feuchtwanger] avait été libéré d’un camp d’internement sur l’intervention personnelle d’un vice-consul des Etats-Unis, Hiram Bingham, qui n’hésitait pas à se compromettre au point d’héberger le suspect à son domicile.”…
Si le consul général des Etats-Unis à Marseille, Hugh Fullerton, diplomate amène et distingué mais circonspect et conservateur comme la plupart de ses collaborateurs, n’appréciait pas particulièrement l’activité quelque peu brouillonne de Varian, celui-ci pouvait compter sur l’amitié compréhensive d’un des vice-consuls, Hiram Bingham. Ainsi, il y avait un antidote pour chaque poison.”
- Daniel Bénédite, assistant to Varian Fry, Emergency Rescue Committee
“Credit must be given to the intelligent and understanding cooperation of the American consular officials in Marseille, notably Hiram Bingham and Myles Standish. Without their aid we could not have been so successful at this time. They minimized formalities instead of creating barriers to the departure of refugees, and did everything in their power to help those ready to go in general showed a sympathetic attitude toward candidates for immigration.” […]
“The United States Consul continued to cooperate with us in minimizing delays in issuing visas and in arranging necessary interviews well in advance, so that prospective passengers could leave by the first available vessel.”
- Danny Bénédite, Marseille, November 6, 1941, Administrative Report: The Stages of the Committee’s Development [draft], Emergency Rescue Committee, p. 7
“These tasks had to be carried out very quickly, since, in the interests of safety, the shipping companies revealed the dates of sailings only four or five days in advance and part of the work had to be done within those days. Many of our protégés who lacked American visas, exit visas, tickets and funds on days when sailings were announced, were nevertheless able to go. Some received their American visas an hour before sailing time and were given their tickets on the dock.”
- Danny Bénédite, Marseille, November 6, 1941, Administrative Report: The Stages of the Committee’s Development [draft], Emergency Rescue Committee, p. 8
Quotes by Miriam Davenport
“There were two more influential, albeit not publicized, backers of Varian’s work: in the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt, the President’s wife, and, in Marseilles, the American Vice-Consul, Hiram Bingham.”
- Miriam Davenport, member of the Emergency Rescue Committee
“After some minutes of ringing changes on these themes—interrupted at intervals by apologetic police protestations that they were only following orders, that they had no authority to change their orders, that their superior had given them firm instructions, etc.—I caught sight of Hiram Bingham’s imposing figure pacing the lobby not far off, bless him! His towering height and prematurely white hair made everyone else in the lobby look insignificant. In triumph, I was able to conclude, ‘And, Messieurs, if you have any doubts about the truth of my statements, you have only to look over there where the American Consul is carefully observing this scene, so great is his interest in the outcome!’
“That did it. There was a short police huddle. Then one broke away to tell me that they would telephone to their chief. On his return, he told me that the chief had agreed to give us ten minutes to get a new doctor’s certificate for Mr. Mehring and, if we succeeded, they would leave him free.”
- Miriam Davenport, member of the Emergency Rescue Committee
Quote by Lena Fishman, Assistant to Varian Fry:
Lena Fishman was Jewish and a valued member of the Emergency Rescue Committee in Marseille. She stayed back to help other refugees escape. She was able to leave Marseille and enter Spain and Portugal on one of Vice Consul Hiram Bingham’s visas.
“P.S. I did get that time my immig. Visa and was home at 10.45. It was really swell of Mr. Bingham. I shall send him some red ribbons for it since they seem to have difficulties in getting them.”
- Lena Fishman (letter to Varian Fry, dated February 12, 1941, Varian Fry Papers, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York)
Quotes by Lion Feuchtwanger:
“Then I spoke, explaining the dangerous situation in which we found ourselves. Many of us were wanted by the Nazis and were under prosecution in Germany. Several of us had death sentences hanging over us. In the Nazi newspapers and radio speeches many of us were referred to as the ranking enemies of the regime. We were lost if we fell into the hands of the Nazis.”
- Lion Feuchtwanger, The Devil in France
Translation of Feuchtwanger Diary 1940 - Selected Entries
(Original German version courtesy of Feuchtwanger Memorial Library, Specialized Libraries and Archival Collections, University of Southern California)
Marseille, Monday 22 July
…Bingham is an awkward, friendly, puritanical, dutiful, somewhat sad New Englander, who is very attached to his wife. He very much misses her and his children who have been removed to America. The servants are bad and not very friendly. Bingham tells about all the work that emigrants are making for him. He is always tired and exhausted…
Marseille, Sunday, 28 July
…With Bingham personal understanding is getting better. Towards evening, however, while I am speaking with him, he gets a telephone call from his consul-general, which puts him into a sharp conversation. It's about a quite unimportant matter, but he is totally troubled, and I fear that my own thing will be unfavorably influenced by this coincidence. Nevertheless, he explains very confidentially about his difficult position in the Consulate, and our personal relations improve.
Marseille, Monday 29 July
At noon Lilo arrives. In the camp on the day of my abduction French officers, who were supposed to bring me away, were looking for me. When they can't find me, there is great excitement and poor Wolf is suspected of an abduction in collaboration with the Nazis. Everything a bit dark. Lilo's husband is in Sanary[French town where Feuchtwanger had been living for 8 years -- ed]. In our house a certain Joachim, a refugee is also lodging. In the evening Bingham is in a happier mood. For the moment, his clash with the consul-general has had no consequences. General conversation about national economic problems.
Sunday, 4 August
…Bingham hints that I should leave, he fears that it will be too dangerous for him if I stay too long in his house. After that he made a portrait of me. I read. Worked. Bingham expresses regret and explains that of course he still wants to keep me here.
Monday, 5 August
…Just after she [Marta- ed] left, my tent friend Wolf [a fellow transit camp internee - ed] telephones. That's very pleasant. It's also good that the maid believes that the caller is Golo Mann and not Wolf, because Bingham is not supposed to know that with the exception of Golo Mann, no one knows that I am living in his house.
Wednesday, 7 August
Slept very badly. Wonderful weather. Standish and his wife are there for breakfast, I am awkward. Then, quite unexpectedly, Lilo arrives with her husband…She says it is too dangerous for me to return to Sanary and advises that I should dog Bingham as long as possible and that I should try hard to obtain a fake French document. But Mr. Brousse, through whose intervention that might work, is not here. In the afternoon, spoke to kind Loewenbein, but he also had no advice. In the evening Standish is here again; he wants to speak with a flyer about whether he would perhaps fly me to Portugal.
Saturday, 10 August
…At noon come Bingham and Standish. The latter explains that it won't work with the fake papers, they cost 50,000 Franks…
Sunday, 11 August
… At noon Bingham brings the man from the American Federation of Labor [Frank Bohn? - ed]. He explains that with regular procedures there is absolutely nothing that can be done. But he wants to put a smuggling boat at my disposal. Everything very adventurous but not quite hopeless.
Marseille, Monday, 12 August
Wonderful weather. Slept OK. The prospect of escape lifts my mood, but the impending hardships and dangers make me nervous. Worry about whether I can take Marta with me. But Bingham takes it as obvious. Worked a bit.
Saturday, 17 August
…I try to suggest to Bingham that he should give me a visa with the name Wetcheeck. He goes along with it and is happy that he thought of it himself. We have a lively conversation.
…Then Bohn phones, and shares that the boat will indeed go, wants gas from the Wolfs. Bohn and another American from his people, Fry, eat here in the evening. Many problems emerge. Gabbed quite a lot with Bingham.
Thursday, 29 August
Bingham in a bad mood. I did not sleep long enough. A lot of unpleasant little things to think about. Then Wolf arrives and reports that the whole story with the exit visa and Toulouse has gone out the window and that they will probably be keeping careful watch on Mrs. Wetcheek and Mrs. Feuchtwanger.
Big panic. Back and forth, what should one do if someone comes to Bingham inquiring about Wetcheek and so forth. A half hour later he calls, everything is over. It turns out that it certainly is not so simple but rather that the people with our passes have been arrested and now a big bribe must be paid to the police. Then Heinrich Mann arrives and reports in a depressed manner that the story about the boat come to naught again. Then I'm supposed to meet an influential communist, but instead of that Kantorowicz stands in for him. Very tired. Evening with Bingham and Fry who comes late. I let the meal pass by without inquiring what exactly is wrong. Then I ask, and it turns out that the boat is not going and never will go. Instead of this, Fry suggests that we should under his protection simply go over the Spanish border illegally. The plan immediately takes shape and I quickly agree without delay. A lot of individual technical difficulties, but I am in a good mood because finally there is a tangible plan…
Other Quotes About Bingham:
THIS GOVERNMENT DOES NOT REPEAT NOT COUNTENANCE ANY ACTIVITIES BY AMERICAN CITIZENS DESIRING TO EVADE THE LAWS OF THE GOVERNMENTS WITH WHICH THIS COUNTRY MAINTAINS FRIENDLY RELATIONS.
- Cordell Hull, US Secretary of State, cable telegram to all consuls in France warning them directly against helping refugees
"I want particularly to be able to thank you personally for your sympathetic help to the many men and women, including members of my own family, who have turned to you for assistance...Yours Very Sincerely, Thomas Mann."
- Author Thomas Mann, whose family Harry had helped to
escape, in a letter to Harry Bingham, Marseilles, 1940
"Hiram Bingham, who did not hesitate to issue visas for our entire family. I learned later that he helped many people who were in danger from the Germans. His courage and generosity cost him much. The Germans complained of his activities to the Vichy government, who then complained to Washington.”
- Lillian Stuart Smith, survivor whose family was saved by Harry Bingham
"I do want you to know that Hiram Bingham had me (when I was a 15-year old boy in Marseille working for the Quakers) into his office and told me how he would issue my family a visa to the US after we had obtained the release of my father from the Gurs Concentration Camp...I could write a treatise about what Consul Hiram Bingham did to save refugees during his posting as US Consul at the American Consulate in Marseille, France in the 1940-1941 period. He definitely helped to save my life and that of my parents and sister."
- Ralph Hockley, survivor whose family was saved by Hiram Bingham
"I and my entire immediate family (six persons in all) had received the life-saving visas dated Feb. 7, 1941...I was just 10 years old at the time and do not remember any details other than a sense of relief that we were going to be able to escape the impending disaster having already had three 'brushes' with the Gestapo... Our parents - Salomon and Gitta Schachter accompanied by four children aged 17, 10, 8, and 7 were able to embark on Feb 17 by way of the Antilles and reach US territory, the Virgin Islands in March. Our parents are gone now, but there are quite a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren scattered in many parts of the United States and Canada, and some of us now reside in Israel...To paraphrase my mother's saying: ‘When he reaches Paradise he will find a multitude of greeters welcoming him and thanking him!’"
- Rabbi Joseph Schachter
“Stamp to Honor Diplomat Who Helped Jews” (Valley News, May 27): When I saw that headline I could hardly believe my eyes. Then memories came streaming in, because I owe this kind man so very much—my life, in fact. How could it have happened that I had lost touch with him and never had the chance to tell him what he meant to me? And now it is too late.
But I want to go back in my mind to the first day when I met Consul Hiram Bingham IV, who defied U.S. policy by helping Jews escape the Nazis in the early years of World War II.
Marseilles—I had been interned by the Vichy government in the infamous Gurs internment camp since 1940, while my wife, Liesel, was stuck in Brussels, where we had lived before the war, and in spite of all my efforts, I had not been able to get her out into Pétain’s (unoccupied) France.
Toward the end of 1940, I was surprised to receive letters from the American consul in Marseilles, asking me to present myself at the consulate as soon as possible. When I went to the consulate, there was a block-long line of people waiting for visas to come to America. I showed my invitation to the guard and was immediately admitted.
Ascending the stairs, a tall, good looking gentleman greeted me, introduced himself and with his hand on my shoulder said how glad he was to see me. I was completely flabbergasted. He took me to his office and immediately asked whether I wanted an immigration visas, a visitor’s visa or an emergency visa. My response was that I wanted an immigration visa.
He then gave me a slip to go t a doctor to have my health certified. I returned to the consulate immediately with my doctor’s certificate, and Consul Bingham issued the visa. “Don’t you want to see my papers?” I asked Consul Bingham, and his response was, “Not necessary, I know all about you.”
At that point I raised the question of how to get my wife, Liesel, who was by then in Paris, into unoccupied France. She had previously been refused a permit, and her papers had been confiscated. However, with the help of the French Underground, she finally made it to Marseilles on April 4, 1941.
Now we needed an immigration visa for her. When we returned to the consulate, we were shown into an office where we met Consul Standish. We never saw Consul Bingham again, but heard a rumor that he had been relieved of his office since he had apparently ignored the U.S. State Department’s suggestion to keep the number of U.S.-bound immigrants as low as possible.
Now we are reminded of this wonderful, kind person by the issuance of the first in a series of U.S. postal stamps under the name of “Distinguished American Diplomats” with this picture.
I owe my life with everlasting gratitude to Consul Bingham and will never forget him.
- Hans L. Schlesinger, visa recipient who lives in Hanover,
article in Valley News, July 2, 2006
In 1985, at the age of 80, M. Friedrich Heine wrote the following letter in English to Hiram Bingham IV.
Fr. Heine. Wendelinusstrasse 38 . 5358 Bad Munstereifel, Scheuren
April 28th 1985
Dear Mr. Bingham,
Mr. Urrows was kind enough to send me your address.
Most probably you will not remember me: in 1940 I have been in Marseille and there I had the good fortune to meet you quite a few times.
Thanks to you and your understanding of the situation, probably more than 1,000 refugees have been saved.
I am now over 80 years of age and the events I refer to are known to very few people nowadays -- but I still have the memory of those days and of your so very great help.
I'm very happy indeed that I have the good chance to tell you, how grateful I am still to you.
[signed] Fr. Heine
“Without Harry Bingham, Varian Fry’s work would have been completely stymied. Fry needed someone at the Consulate to facilitate issuing visas and to help track down all the people on the emergency list. Harry Bingham not only issued visas and helped find the people, but he also harbored some of the people on the emergency list in his home.”
- Elizabeth Berman, Research Curator, Varian Fry Exhibit at U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and author of two magazine articles about Varian Fry (6/25/2003)