There has been constant controversy surrounding the response that the president took during the plight of the Jews in Europe. There are facts on both side of the equation, but it is clear that the president was one of the first to recognize that Hitler was a monster. It is also a fact that despite tremendous opposition from the left and right the United States welcomed more of the oppressed than all of the other countries combined.
There was a great deal of anti-Semitic sentiment in the State Department, and even in the Congress but Jewish officials like Rabbi Wise had access to the White House ,and at times the president was ridiculed because he was favorable to the Jews. The criticism that he did little to save the Jews stems from the observation that once America was involved in the war few resources went into providing safe haven for those trapped in Europe. The two most controversial topics are the fate of the Jewish passengers on the ocean liner St. Louis. Jewish passengers left Germany and were denied permission to land in Cuba. Many felt the President should have allowed them to find safe haven in America. Eventually they were forced to return to Germany where most of them perished.
The other source of criticism was the constant plea by American Jews for the president to order the rail lines toward Auschwitz to be bombed. The belief in the White House was that nothing could alter the war plan and the end of the war would save more Jews than scattered attempts to help them. As in the case of Pius XII there are confusing facts that make a clear definition impossible.