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Albany in Delaware County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

James Grover McDonald

1886 - 1964

 
 
James Grover McDonald Marker side 1 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jerry Klinger, August 11, 2022
1. James Grover McDonald Marker side 1
Inscription.  
Diplomat James G. McDonald grew up in Albany and taught history at Indiana University by 1910. Representing the Foreign Policy Association, he met with Nazi officials in 1933, including Adolph Hitler who was quickly rising to power. McDonald warned U.S. leaders about “Impending tragedy” for European Jews and began advocating for refugees fleeing Nazi persecution.

As the League of Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees (1933-35) and the chair of President Roosevelt’s refugee advisory committee (1938-45), McDonald battled xenophobia, antisemitism, and restrictive quota systems to find asylum for thousands of persecuted Jews. In 1949, President Truman appointed McDonald the first U.S. Ambassador to the new State of Israel.
 
Erected 2022 by Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, Indiana Historical Bureau, Indiana Jewish Historical Society, and the Delaware County Historical Society.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: HeroesWar, World II.
 
Location. 40° 17.973′ N, 85° 
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14.377′ W. Marker is in Albany, Indiana, in Delaware County. Marker is on South Broadway Street south of West State Street (Indiana Route 28), on the left when traveling south. Located adjacent to the Albany public library. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 105 S Broadway St, Albany IN 47320, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Granville (approx. 4.4 miles away); American Legion Post No. 227 Veterans Memorial (approx. 5.4 miles away); Glass Capital of Indiana (approx. 5.4 miles away); Redkey World War II Veterans Memorial (approx. 5.7 miles away); Benjamin E. Rubrecht (approx. 5.8 miles away); First Indiana Gas Well (approx. 6½ miles away); Patriotic Sacrifice Forever Remembered (approx. 7.3 miles away); Smithfield (approx. 9.2 miles away).
 
More about this marker. First permanent historical marker recognizing and honoring Ambassador James G. McDonald.
 
Regarding James Grover McDonald. James Grover McDonald was a humanitarian, Ambassador, and human rights activist.

He transformed world awareness to understand that refugees were not political issues or incidents but human rights concerns that affected all of humanity. McDonald focused on the Jewish human rights issues because they were the primary focus for
James Grover McDonald Marker side 2 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jerry Klinger, August 11, 2022
2. James Grover McDonald Marker side 2
extermination by the Nazi powers.

1951-52, James McDonald wrote "A Credo," a succinct explanation of his motivation for doing what he did. He reflects his motivations as being fundamentally rooted in Christian and American values.

“To me, the threat of Jewish extermination in Germany was a threat also to all Christians, indeed to all freedom of religion and all democratic ideals and principles. The threat to Jews was not only a hideous wrong but also created a world problem of overwhelming significance. Hence it was that only for the sake of the Jews but for the larger cause of freedom, justice, and equal treatment of all human beings, everywhere, whatever their race, religion, or nationality, I – a blonde “Aryan” offspring of Scotch-Canadian and Midwest American stock, a teacher and student by profession and inclination – became a champion for Jewish aspirations and equal human rights.

…It was an irresistible call.”

McDonald recognized that the Jews were the "canaries in the coal mine" of humanity. What happened to them would happen to other groups designated for selective oppression.

He was personally responsible for the saving of 2,200 Jews from the Holocaust. Because of his influential role in international affairs, his efforts led to the saving of over 20,000 Jews from Germany sent to Latin America.

McDonald attempted
James Grover McDonald Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jerry Klinger, August 11, 2022
3. James Grover McDonald Marker
Ambassador McDonald's gravesite in the Strong Cemetery, Albany, Indiana.
to influence President Roosevelt to respond to the Jewish humanitarian crisis unsuccessfully.

McDonald gained Truman's confidence and was able to overcome the U.S. State Department's deep antisemitism and animosity toward Jews and the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

A street in Netanya, Israel, is named in his honor. The Indiana State marker is the first permanent historical honor and recognition of McDonald in the world.

McDonald has been described by some as the American Raoul Wallenberg.
 
Also see . . .
1. James Grover McDonald. Wikipedia link
So convinced was he that the Jews were marked for destruction in Germany that he appealed to the international community to help settle them outside the Reich - but had very little success. As Deborah Lipstadt wrote in her review of the diaries, now published as a book, Advocate for the Doomed, "McDonald, unlike many of his contemporaries, tried to make a difference in what would become a unique story of doom and destruction."
(Submitted on August 12, 2022, by Jerry Klinger of Boynton Beach, Florida.) 

2. A Voice Among the Silent. A Voice Among the Silent: The Legacy of James G. McDonald is the first documentary to shine light on James McDonald’s remarkable efforts to warn the world of Adolf Hitler’s plan for
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the Jews. The incredible story of McDonald’s foresight was almost lost to history until his meticulously kept diaries were discovered in 2003. (Submitted on August 12, 2022, by Jerry Klinger of Boynton Beach, Florida.) 
 
Additional keywords. Holocaust, Humanitarian; Israel
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 18, 2022. It was originally submitted on August 12, 2022, by Jerry Klinger of Boynton Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 215 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 12, 2022, by Jerry Klinger of Boynton Beach, Florida. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.
 
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Mar. 2, 2024