No one knows the value of welcoming refugees to the United States better than Wolf Blitzer.
The renowned CNN host is the son of Holocaust survivors who were able to leave Europe after World War II thanks to American visas and help from HIAS. Blitzer’s family settled in Buffalo, New York, where he says locals of all religions gave the new Jewish immigrants a warm welcome.
“My dad always said it wasn’t just the Jewish community that opened the doors and helped my family … The Buffalonians, the Jews and the non-Jews welcomed these refugees into their community, helped them build a new life,” said Blitzer during a recent HIAS virtual event.
But, he warned, such welcomes have become more rare in modern America, . “I hope it comes back that we see these refugees who are so desperate, so needy, and they need help, [and] we welcome them and help them start a new life,” Blitzer said.
Blitzer made his remarks on June 3 while moderating a HIAS virtual event with Mark Hetfield, HIAS' president and CEO, and Daniela Gerson, a journalism professor at California State University, Northridge. The panel discussed "Lies That Matter," a book by Gerson's father, Allan, about his experiences expelling Nazis from the United States as a federal prosecutor after World War II. Gerson’s family also resettled in the United States with HIAS’ help.