Though the delegation was reluctantly received by Vice-President Henry Wallace, President Franklin D. Roosevelt avoided meeting the rabbis, both out of concerns regarding diplomatic neutrality, but also influenced by the advice of some of his Jewish aides and several prominent American Jews. Many thought the protest would stir up anti-Semitism and claimed that the marchers, many whom were both Orthodox as well as recent immigrants (or first-generation Americans), were not representative of American Jewry. Shortly before the protest reached the White House, FDR left the building through a rear exit to attend an Army ceremony, and then left for a weekend in the country. Disappointed and angered by the President's failure to meet with them, the rabbis stood in front of the White House where they were met by Senator William Warren Barbour and others, and refused to read their petition aloud, instead handing it off to the Presidential secretary, Marvin McIntyre.
The march garnered much media attention, much of it focused on what was seen as the cold and insulting dismissal of many important community leaders, as well as the people in Europe they were fighting for. The headline in the Washington Times Herald was, "Rabbis Report 'Cold Welcome' at the White House." Editors of the Jewish Daily Forward commented, "Would a similar delegation of 500 Catholic priests have been thus treated?"
One of the participants was Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, later to be one of the most important and famous American Orthodox rabbis.
'Rabbi Of Rabbis' Dies: Mordecai Waxman served the same Long Island pulpit for 55 years, but his influence was felt by the world
Aug 16, 2002; Ain, Stewart The Jewish Week 08-16-2002 Rabbi Mordecai Waxman of Great Neck, L.I., a giant of Conservative Jewryand the only...