A remarkable passage from this lecture:
Clearly Roosevelt squirmed, but just as clearly he dissembled, even to his closest aides. For example, in early 1942, he told Felix Frankfurter not to worry — that the Jews were being dispatched to Eastern Europe not to be killed, but to build fortifications against a Soviet counter-attack. Roosevelt knew better. On August 22, 1942, Roosevelt told reporters that the Nazi atrocities “give rise to the fear that . . . the barbaric and unrelenting character of the occupational regime will become more marked and may even lead to the extermination of certain populations.” Was Roosevelt using code language? “Certain populations?” Who was kidding whom?
When German documents turned out not to confirm the extermination of the Jews, the story of the coded language had to be invented to explain this. Now we’ve gotten to the point of claiming that even the allies spoke in code in order to whitewash Germany. Even Roosevelt’s statement to the reporters clearly contradicts the notion that extermination was already happening then.
The chronology in this passage is also badly distorted. Walter Lacqueur’s The Terrible Secret sources Roosevelt’s statements to Frankfurter to the latter’s letter to Stephen Wise of 16 September, 1942, not to early 1942. Lacquer mentions a message of 20 July 1942, and then states that “when three months later [sic!] Professor Felix Frankfurter voiced his apprehensions about the fate of the Jews to President Roosevelt he was told not to worry, the deported Jews were simply being employed on the Soviet frontier to build fortifications” (p. 94). As Lacquer specifically states, Roosevelt’s public statements of 22 August came before, not after, his private statement to Frankfurter.