Eisenhower and the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps

A powerful letter of Dwight D. Eisenhower, never before offered for sale, brings to light his vital role in Jewish rescue and recovery at the close of World War II


In 1945, Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower witnessed the extreme brutality of Nazi concentration camps and sought ways to make the horrors of the Holocaust widely known around the world. 

Twenty years later, on May 28, 1965, Eisenhower, then retired from the presidency, was invited to be the guest of honor at New York’s Park Avenue Synagogue for a Friday evening service commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the liberation of the camps. 

Eisenhower 1965 letter

Eisenhower and the Holocaust

As the synagogue bulletin for the event said, “As a result of the decisions made by General Eisenhower during the fateful months of 1945, tens of thousands of Jews were restored to health and human dignity and given a fresh opportunity to begin life anew in other lands.”

On that night, Eisenhower was honored with a gift from the Park Avenue Synagogue, presented by Rabbi Judah Nadich: a Jerusalem Bible bound in silver with an inscription upon it expressing the sentiments of the occasion. Nadich, who had been the senior Jewish chaplain in the European theater of operations and was later appointed by Eisenhower to serve as his first advisor on Jewish affairs, gave a stirring address, honoring Eisenhower’s and his principled leadership during the war. Listen here:

Shortly after that evening, Eisenhower wrote a letter to Sidney Rydell, an official of the synagogue, conveying his gratitude for the ceremony and the gift: “I was truly very deeply touched by the presentation to me of the Jerusalem Bible in commemoration of the events of twenty years ago.”

This signed letter is not only rare, but a poignant link between Eisenhower and the vital role he played during the Holocaust. It was acquired directly from the descendants of the recipient and has never before been offered for sale. We are honored to be the ones to do so. 

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