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International Holocaust Remembrance Day | January 27, 2021

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

TRU History – Truman Signs Directive 225

Dear Friends,

I heard a remarkable story last week from an unexpected caller. I knew I wanted to share this with you, and I can’t think of a better time than today, International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The caller was a gentleman from Florida. He introduced himself as “Harry” and said that he wanted to make a donation to the STAY TRU Capital Campaign.

“You see, I’m named for Harry Truman,” he told me. “During World War II, my parents were sent to concentrations camps – Auschwitz and Dachau.” Against all odds, they found each other after the camps were liberated, then were moved – along with millions of refugees – into a displaced persons camp. The situation wasn’t hopeful. In Germany alone, there were 7 million refugees with no home to return to.

And then, in darkness: Hope. On December 22, 1945, President Truman issued Directive 225, allowing many more displaced persons to be admitted to the United States. In fact, between 1945 and 1952, some 80,000 of the 200,000 refugees entering the U.S. were Jewish displaced persons.

And that, in a nutshell, is how I came to be speaking over the phone with Harry from Florida. His American story began with being welcomed to this country by what is now known as the “Truman Directive.”

If I were to name one sentiment we hear more than any other from folks it’s this: “I owe my life to Harry Truman.” For many European Jews struggling to survive the horrors of World War II, Truman was a symbol of hope.

Today, Harry still stands as a beacon of hope for our nation and for humanity. His values, his character and his courageous leadership can serve as a standard for each and every one of us.

Thank you for helping us share the life and legacy of America’s 33rd President, today and every day.

With sincere thanks,

Alex Burden
Executive Director

PRESIDENT HARRY S. TRUMAN

“THIS IS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR AMERICA TO SET AN EXAMPLE FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD IN COOPERATION TOWARD ALLEVIATING HUMAN HISTORY.”

TRU HISTORY: Visit the Truman Library Digital Archives to Read Directive 225.