Anne Applebaum [op-ed, June 9] recalls how Melvin J. Lasky, the liberal anti-communist intellectual and author, used his pen to combat totalitarianism after World War II.

What is not widely remembered, however, is that during the war itself, Mr. Lasky was one of the few writers to publicly criticize the Roosevelt administration for its refusal to rescue Jews from Hitler.

In the pages of the New Leader (of which he was literary editor) on Oct. 23, 1943, Mr. Lasky wrote an extraordinary j'accuse that he titled "The Shame of a World." He condemned the Allies' response to the Nazi genocide as "sympathetic mumbo-jumbo and do-nothingism." Millions of Jews were being murdered, and the most they could expect was "obituary notices" from "eloquent and self-righteous" Allied political leaders who were motivated "partly out of fear and ignorance, out of weary everyday conservatism, and out of a disgraceful moral emptiness."

"The continent has become a vast cemetery for a whole people," Mr. Lasky wrote. "Relatives and friends will cry and mourn and remember, [but] for the rest, the terrible shame of a world will be forgotten."

He was mistaken.

It will not be forgotten -- thanks to the courageous few who lifted their voices and tried to make a difference.



David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

Melrose Park, Pa.