The ‘MP for Refugees’ emerges

On 13 April 1933  Eleanor stood up in the House of Commons during the

Adjournment Debate on Foreign Affairs and presciently warned of the

dangers of Hitler’s newly appointed regime:

‘...Since I have been a member of the House I have seldom been in a

debate in which feeling seemed to be so unanimous. And no wonder,

for blind and thoughtless indeed must anyone be who does not see

in the events in Germany an omen for the rest of the world. A spirit

has come over Germany. One speaker called it a new spirit, but I

would rather call it a re-emergence of an evil spirit which bodes very

ill for the peace and freedom of the world…. One may doubt as to the

extent to which the responsible authorities in Germany have organised

or merely connived at what is happening, and to what extent the people

of Germany in general approve or are merely cowed into submission,

but there is one dreadful fact beyond doubt, and that is that the party

which is guilty of these excesses is now in uncontrolled power in

Germany, and is inflicting cruelties and crushing disabilities on large

numbers of law-abiding German citizens, whose only offence is that

they belong to a particular race or religion…

Hansard, House of Commons, vol. 276, col.2760 -3, 13 April 1933.

By late 1938 Eleanor was deeply involved in the Czech refugee crisis


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