FDR opposed repealing anti-Jewish Vichy laws in North Africa
Among the more remarkable documents of the Holocaust is a scroll, created in North Africa in 1943, called “Megillat Hitler.” Written in the style of Megillat Esther and the Purim story, it celebrates the Allies’ liberation of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, which saved the local Jewish communities from the Nazis. What the scroll’s author did not realize, however, was that at the very moment he was setting quill to parchment, those same American authorities were actually trying to keep in place the anti-Jewish legislation imposed in North Africa by the Nazis.But it is clear that he was not the champion of human rights some think he was. He betrayed Jews in Africa just as much as in Europe. For all we know, WW2 could probably have been won much more easily if a president with much more morale than FDR had was in power at the time.
On November 8, 1942, American and British forces invaded Nazi-occupied Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. It took the Allies just eight days to defeat the Germans and their Vichy French partners in the region.
For the 330,000 Jews of North Africa, the Allied conquest was heaven-sent. The Vichy regime that had ruled since the summer of 1940 had stripped the region’s Jews of their civil rights, severely restricted their entrance to schools and some professions, confiscated Jewish property, and tolerated sporadic pogroms against Jews by local Muslims. In addition, thousands of Jewish men were hauled away to forced-labor camps. President Franklin Roosevelt, in his victory announcement, pledged “the abrogation of all laws and decrees inspired by Nazi governments or Nazi ideologists.”
But there turned out to be a discrepancy between FDR’s public rhetoric and his private feelings.
On January 17, 1943, Roosevelt met in Casablanca with Major-General Charles Nogues, a leader of the new “non-Vichy” regime. When the conversation turned to the question of rights for North African Jewry, Roosevelt did not mince words: “The number of Jews engaged in the practice of the professions (law, medicine, etc) should be definitely limited to the percentage that the Jewish population in North Africa bears to the whole of the North African population… The President stated that his plan would further eliminate the specific and understandable complaints which the Germans bore toward the Jews in Germany, namely, that while they represented a small part of the population, over fifty percent of the lawyers, doctors, school teachers, college professors, etc., in Germany, were Jews.” (It is not clear how FDR came up with that wildly exaggerated statistic.)
What this suggests is that FDR didn't enter the war with full sincerity about routing evil, and if he was willing to leave anti-Jewish laws in North Africa, then he wasn't sincere about helping the Jewish community either. It even tells that he was basically siding with the Islamic entity in North Africa.