The Blog of the Frances Perkins Center

Thank her for the Sound of Music

In Biography on March 25, 2009 at 8:01 am
The Sound of Music CD cover

The Sound of Music CD cover

Well, that’s maybe going a bit far. But Frances Perkins was the official who helped the Von Trapp family achieve asylum in the United States during World War II.

While the Roosevelt Administration dropped the ball when it came to allowing the Jewish and other threatened refugees (the Von Trapps were not Jewish)  from Europe to immigrate to the U.S. in large numbers, Secretary Perkins was successful in helping many escape to safety here — not as many as she would have liked but still a significant number. It was frustrating to her that she couldn’t convince FDR to increase the quotas. However, his Administration was grappling with an isolationist electorate that was also worried about German spies, and he and they decided not to fight that battle. Tragically.


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