The Rescue Board
February 19, 2020
On January 23 Rebecca Erbelding spoke about her book, The Rescue Board. Erbelding has her PhD in American History from George Mason University and her work has been profiled in The Washington Post, New York Times, and The New Yorker. Her work has also been featured on the History Channel, NPR, and other media outlets.
When Erbelding came to Central she spoke about the untold story of American’s efforts to save Jews in Europe. Mr. Wilson reached out to her because one of the men in her book was a Central graduate, John “Jack” Pehle. While Pehle was attending Central he was on the O book staff. He graduated Creighton with an English degree then when to Yale. In March of 1944 Pehle was appointed as the War Refugee Board’s director.
On January 16, 1944 Pehle and his boss, Treasury Secretary Henrey Morgenthau Jr, had a meeting with President Roosevelt. He walked out of the meeting the head of the War Refugee board. In 1944 Pehle and a small band of United States Treasury Department officials got the power of the U.S government to aid the Jews. As the head of the War Refugee Board he helped tens of thousands of Jewish men, women and children. Even with all that Pehle did he is not in the Nebraska or Central Hall of fame.
He didn’t seem like a hearo. He didn’t even see himself that way. But he has it inside him all along.” Erbelding said.
What was the War Refugee board? It was a U.S executive agency to aid civilians from the Axis Powers. The U.S government and most citizen choose to ignore the Holocaust and focus on winning the war, but people like John Pehle was not okay with that.
“the war Refugee board was the only time in American history that the US government founded a non-military government agency to save the lives of civilians being murdered by a wartime enemy.” Said Erbelding
Erbelding’s book goes into more detail of what some Americans did for the Jews that the Government did not plan to do. The people in the book had a strong belief that the United States needed to help, and they were determined to help.
“Although the U.S could and should have done more for the Jews what the Rescue Board did was important” said Erbelding