War Refugee Board

  • WRB
Type of Entity
Corporate Body

Dates of Existence

Founded in 1944-01-22


The War Refugee Board was an ad hoc agency created on 1944-01-22 by Executive Order 9417. Its purpose was to circumvent obstruction by the U.S. State Department and rescue Jews. The impetus for the Board came from Josiah DuBois, John Pehle and Randolph Paul. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been lobbied by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morganthau Jr. to create the Board. This proposal was opposed by Secretary of war Henry Louis Stimson and secretary of State Cordell Hull. In addition, rescue legislation was pending in the Senate, crafted by the Bergson Group. The Board was funded largely by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and not by the government. Approximately 200,000 Jews and other victims of Nazi persecution were rescued through the Board’s efforts. Under John Pehle’s leadership, this entity encouraged liberal immigration policies, pushed neutral nations to promote rescue, and advocated havens in the hopes of mitigating Nazi atrocities. In vain, it urged the bombing of Auschwitz.


  • Founded in the United States.


  • Dictionary of the Holocaust : Biography, geography, and terminology / E.J. Epstein, P. Rosen. – Westport, 1997. – p. 332