At the height of World War II, four lawyers in the U.S. Treasury Department discovered that the highly educated, patrician diplomats in the State Department had covered up reports of the Nazi extermination scheme—and then blocked the rescue of 70,000 Romanian Jews forcibly marched into the Nazi-conquered Ukraine and left to die of starvation and disease.
The Treasury lawyers charged the diplomats with being “accomplices of Hitler.” The outrage of the Treasury lawyers—tough-minded New Dealers from Christian, middle-class backgrounds—at the State Department’s complicity in genocide precipitated a titanic intergovernmental battle. The stakes were nothing less than the fates of countless European Jews (symbolized by an orphaned girl’s struggle for survival in Transnistria), the historical reputation of FDR, and the soul of America itself.
Gregory J. Wallance uses rarely cited archival documents, memoirs, diaries, and transcripts to construct this gripping, nonfiction Washington political thriller. With exceptional narrative prowess, he examines the anti-Semitism and extraordinary heartlessness of the wartime State Department, whose behavior is a cautionary tale for world leaders weighing the costs of intervention to stop genocide.
Wallance, a lawyer and human rights activist, is also the author of Two Men Before the Storm, an acclaimed historical novel about the Dred Scott case. The Boston Globe called this work “an impressive mining of historical records.”