Last night, the U.S. Senate passed legislation authored by Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) to examine the treatment of German Americans, Italian Americans and other European Americans during World War II as well as Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. The legislation passed as an amendment to the Immigration Reform Bill. Senator Feingold made the following statement on the legislation’s passage today:
“I am pleased that the Senate overwhelmingly voted for an official government study of how German Americans, Italian Americans, and Jewish refugees were treated by our government during World War II. I first introduced this legislation in 2001 after hearing from a group of German Americans in Wisconsin who were concerned that this sad chapter in our nation’s history had gone unnoticed for too long. It was only decades after World War II that they felt comfortable coming forward to ask for this acknowledgement. I thought it was only appropriate for a country that prides itself on equality and justice to acknowledge and learn from its mistakes.
“Americans are rightly proud of our victory in World War II, but while there has been study of the internment and relocation of Japanese Americans during World War II, few people know about our government’s failure to protect the basic rights of German and Italian Americans. We also must understand why, as the United States heroically battled fascism, our government turned away thousands of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany, delivering many of them to their deaths at the hands of the Nazi regime. By passing my legislation, we can learn from these tragedies while some of the people who survived these injustices are still with us.” [Link]
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