May 1, 1943
By late 1942, the Nazi plan of exterminating the Jews was known to most of the world, and by January 1943, it was estimated that two million Jews had already fallen victim to the Nazi death machine. Troubled by the Allies’ inability to prevent the mass murder of Jews in Europe, Jewish and other religious leaders in Britain and the United States begin to exert influence on their governments to take action. On March 1, 1943, a massive rally is held in New York’s Madison Square Garden with more than 20,000 inside the arena and 10,000 more on the streets outside.
As a result of public pressure, in March 1943 the British government proposes to the United States that the Allied countries hold a special conference on aid for refugees in neutral countries and helping them escape to safer havens. After some delay by the State Department, the United States agrees to hold a joint conference in Bermuda on April 19-30, 1943. The delay is indicative of the attitude of those at the highest levels of the State Department, some of whom either have little concern for the plight of Jews or are overtly anti-Semitic.
Bermuda is chosen because it is difficult to access during wartime, and thus restricts the number of journalists who can attend. The State Department prevents Jewish organizations from sending any representatives to the proceedings, although they are allowed to send rescue proposals in writing.
On May 1st, the day after the Bermuda Conference concludes, a joint communiqué is issued, stating that the “delegates were able to agree on a number of concrete recommendations.” However, none of these proposals is stated explicitly in the release: “since the recommendations necessarily concern governments other than those represented at Bermuda conference…they must remain confidential.”
Despite the statement, it is clear that no widespread action to rescue Jews will be forthcoming. This further bolsters the Zionist argument for a Jewish homeland.
The photo shows a full page advertisement denouncing the Bermuda Conference that appeared in the May 4th edition of the New York Times.