|Historian and author Neil Rolde will give a free talk at the Skidompha Public Library in Damariscotta, ME on Thursday, March 20 at 7 PM. Mr. Rolde will be discussing and signing copies of his book, Breckinridge Long: American Eichmann??? Topics include State Department Assistant Secretary Breckinridge Long’s role in denying visas to Jews and other refugees looking to escape Nazi Germany during World War II including Anne Frank’s family; Mr. Rolde’s own family experiences; and the role that Frances Perkins played in circumventing these restrictive immigration rules.
During the Holocaust, while the Nazis were exterminating thousands of Jews daily, the U.S. State Department official in charge of matters concerning all European refugees was Breckinridge Long. He was suspicious of Eastern Europeans, fearing more immigrants would spoil existing cultural values and bring with them communist ideals.
“He’s an example of the banality of evil, I wanted to highlight his own accounts of his life written in all his diaries, and the times in which he lived, to give people a comprehensive look into his character,” said author Neil Rolde.
Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor from 1933-1945, pushed to reform immigration quota policies made more restrictive during the Great Depression, and Long approved of attempts to push Perkins out of the cabinet.
Perkins remained one of the voices in the FDR administration that encouraged Jewish immigration and continued to do all that she could to help. This talk will discuss her role in assisting Jews to emigrate from Europe in the years before World War II.
About the Author:
Neil Rolde, a Frances Perkins Center board member, is an American historian and author of sixteen books. He has won book awards from the Maine Historical Society, the Maine Humanities Council, and the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Most of his books involve the history of his beloved Maine and its people. Mr. Rolde represented York, Maine in the Maine House of Representatives from 1974-1990. He was the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 1990 and has served on many state boards and commissions, including the Maine Health Care Reform Commission, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, the Maine Humanities Council, and the Maine Arts Commission.