I saw this and was immediately saddened…
Anne Frank’s father tried to get to U.S. (emphasis added)
Anne Frank’s father tried to arrange U.S. visas for his family before they went into hiding, but his efforts were hampered when Allied and Axis countries tightened immigration policies, according to papers released Wednesday.
Otto Frank also sent desperate letters to friends and family in the U.S. pleading for help with immigration costs as the family tried to escape the Nazi-occupied Netherlands.
“I would not ask if conditions here would not force me to do all I can in time to be able to avoid worse,” Otto Frank wrote to his college friend Nathan Straus in April 1941. “It is for the sake of the children mainly that we have to care for. Our own fate is of less importance.”
The documents show how Frank tried to arrange for his family â€” wife Edith, daughters Margot and Anne and mother-in-law Rosa Hollander â€” to go to the U.S. or Cuba. He wrote to relatives, friends and officials between April 30, 1941, and Dec. 11, 1941, when Germany declared war on the U.S.
But immigration rules were changing under the Nazi regime and in the U.S. There were nearly 300,000 people on a waiting list for a U.S. immigration visa. Besides, since Frank had living relatives in Germany, he would have been unable to immigrate under U.S. policy at the time.
As you know, I’m in favor of almost completely open immigration. I don’t object to having some knowledge of who is coming in, but don’t think our current immigration quotas are very realistic. One of the cases I point out is that often people in other countries are desperately trying to get out of their home countries to avoid persecution, and it is flatly cruel to refuse them.
This puts that opinion into sharper perspective. Almost everyone in my generation read The Diary of Anne Frank as a requirement in school. As young children, we could barely begin to imagine the sheer terror of living in hiding, knowing that capture by the authorities meant death. At most, we were impressed with the idea “never again”. We made a promise to ourselves that we had learned our lesson.
But I don’t think our current immigration policies live up to that promise. Anne Frank could be alive today, if America hadn’t shut our doors. How many people now are desperately trying to get out from under the thumb of autocratic despots, only to be told by the United States that “we’re full”?