According to the report in the New York Times about the Holocaust memorial service in Poland on Thursday, Israeli President Katsav said that the allies “did not do enough” to prevent the killing of Jews in World War II.

Unfortunately, this strikes me as ungrateful. I saw the criticism of FDR at the Holocaust Museum in Washington. I support FDR’s and Churchill’s decision to go slowly on the invasion of Europe to preserve the lives of Allied troops. I can understand Jewish frustration that Jews died while the Allies were organizing D-Day, but the alternative would have been many more deaths of Allied soldiers in the invasion. Jews must take some responsibility for their own fate. One of the Holocaust vignettes I saw on TV was of a Jew who was a barber at Auschwitz, shaving German officers. He said he could have killed one of them, but then he would certainly have been killed himself. He decided it was more important for him to live; why shouldn’t allied troops be allowed to live as well?

The allies also abandoned Eastern Europe to live behind the Iron Curtain for fifty years after World War II. This was mainly because the Allies really needed the Soviet Union in the alliance. The Soviets lost millions of people in the war, but the war in the East sapped German strength, making victory in the West possible, or at least easier. It was another trade off to save the lives of Allied troops. The Jews were not the only ones who suffered; many millions of East Europeans were sentenced to live most of their lives under Communism.

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