Women’s rights activist Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947) spoke out strongly for U.S. action to help Jews who were persecuted by the Nazis.
As president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which led the World War One-era drive for women’s right to vote, Mrs. Catt opposed European immigration, arguing that new immigrants would be anti-suffrage.
In the 1930s, however, Catt emerged as a leading voice for aid to German Jewry.
She called for a U.S. boycott of the Berlin Olympics, spearheaded a nationwide petition to the League of Nations asking for intervention on behalf of German Jewry, and spoke at anti-Nazi rallies. After the German annexation of Austria in March 1938, Catt urged the Roosevelt administration to send American ships to bring German and Austrian Jews to the United States.
Mrs. Catt also endorsed the Bergson Group’s 1941-1942 campaign for creation of a Jewish army, and supported postwar efforts to open Palestine to Jewish refugees.