Blogger Margo Tanenbaum wrote a thorough review of Is It Night or Day? on her site called “The Fourth Musketeer.” She offered an excellent suggestion for the Afterword of the book. Originally, I had considered including a brief discussion about the 1930s immigration policies in the U.S. However, I decided that I wanted to underscore that there has been a history of child immigration to this country. But now I think it would be valuable to add some information about the U.S policies at the time of my mother’s immigration. I hope to make that change in the paperback edition, which will be released in 2011.
Thanks, Margo. Here is an excerpt of her review:
“Edith was one of 1,200 children sponsored by an American rescue organization composed of Lutherans, Quakers, and Jews that took place from 1934 to 1945. Approximately a dozen children from one to sixteen years were brought in monthly through this program, a pitiful figure compared with what the United States could have done during that period.
“Although young Edith was admitted through this program, the United States’ record on admitting Jewish refugees during this period is shameful. While 1,200 children may sound like a lot to some of the novel’s readers, this represents a tiny number compared to the number of refugees desperately seeking asylum in the United States and elsewhere. Although not mentioned in the author’s Afterword, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt lobbied diligently for the Child Refugee Bill, which would have allowed 10,000 Jewish children a year for two years to enter the United States above the usual German quota, but Congress refused to pass the bill, despite the fact that families had already been found to take in the children. I would have liked to see the author mention in her afterword how little was actually done by the U.S. regarding the refugees, including perhaps a brief discussion of the Evian Conference in 1938 (the year Edith leaves Germany). During that nine-day meeting, convened by the United States to discuss the Jewish refugee question, delegates offered sympathy for the Jews, but only one country, the Dominican Republic, offered to grant large numbers of Jews sanctuary. In fact, the conference was ultimately a victory for Nazi propaganda; ‘Nobody wants them,’ claimed the German newspaper Völkischer Beobachter after the Evian Conference.”
Click here to read the whole review: