The play, “Fiddler on the Roof,” recounts the story of Jewish persecution in Eastern Europe and Russia.
On May 22, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant wrote to Congress:
“In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives… requesting me to join the Italian Government in a protest against the intolerant and cruel treatment of the Jews in Romania, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State relative to the subject.”
President Chester A. Arthur had stated, December 4, 1882:
“Our long-established friendliness with Russia…has prompted me to proffer the earnest counsels of this Government that measures be adopted for suppressing the proscription which the Hebrew race in that country has lately suffered.”
President Benjamin Harrison stated, DECEMBER 9, 1891:
“This Government has found occasion to express…to the Government of the Czar its serious concern because of the harsh measures now being enforced against the Hebrews in Russia.
“By the revival of anti-semitic laws, long in abeyance, great numbers of those unfortunate people have been constrained to abandon their homes and leave the Empire by reason of the impossibility of finding subsistence within the pale to which it is sought to confine them.”
President Harrison continued:
“The immigration of these people to the United States – many others countries being closed to them – is largely increasing…
“It is estimated that over 1,000,000 will be forced from Russia within a few years.”
He went on:
“The Hebrew is never a beggar; he has always kept the law – life by toil – often under severe and oppressive civil restrictions.
“It is also true that no race, sect, or class has more fully cared for its own than the Hebrew race.”
President Harrison concluded:
“This consideration, as well as the suggestion of humanity, furnishes ample ground for the remonstrances which we have presented to Russia.”
On December 2, 1895, President Grover Cleveland wrote to Congress:
“Correspondence is on foot touching the practice of Russian consuls…to interrogate citizens as to their race and religious faith, and upon ascertainment thereof to deny to Jews authentication of passports of legal documents for use in Russia…
“Such a proceeding imposes a disability…and…is an obnoxious invasion…It has elicited fitting remonstrance.”
President Theodore Roosevelt addressed Congress, December 6, 1904:
“It is inevitable that such a nation should desire eagerly to give expression to its horror on an occasion like that of the massacre of the Jews in Kishenef.”
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