Franklin Mott Gunther on struggles obtaining transit visa for Romanian Jews in 1941



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  1. English
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So far one of the principal difficulties for Jews wishing to flee the perils of Romania was that the Turkish Legation here was not empowered to give a transit visa unless the applicant could show a visa for Palestine or Syria which the British have not given us authority to grant, and which is not accorded to residents of enemy occupied countries such as Romania.

I was therefore struck yesterday when my Turkish colleague called to say that he had strongly urged by telegram upon his Government the desirability of conferring with the British, and, out of courtesy, with the French, to see whether there was not some way to arrange temporary lodgings in barracks in Syria or Palestine for the unfortunate Jews still left in Romania. [...]

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I am wholly in accord with his proposal which, if adopted, might save many innocent lives and spare extreme human suffering. I have no illusions, however, that the Romanians will ever let these poor people out of their clutches with more than the clothes on their backs.


  • Updated 5 years ago
The United States of America were neutral during the first two years of the Second World War. They were brought into the conflict by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941 and became one of the decisive belligerent nations, defeating Japan in the Pacific and heavily contributing to the war effort against the Axis powers, e.g. during the Allied landings in North Africa, Italy and France. American forces invaded German territory early in 1945. On the eve of the Second World War...