Jared Kushner’s grandma: ‘The doors were closed to Jews’

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Jared Kushner’s grandma: ‘The doors were closed to Jews’

Rae Kushner, late grandmother of Donald Trump's son-in-law, recalls America's failure to help Jewish refugees fleeing Holocaust

Stephen is the Jewish News' Foreign Editor

Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner

The late grandmother of Trump’s Jewish son-in-law lamented America’s refusal to accept Jews facing persecution, in a video interview that has re-emerged, just days after the new president introduced a travel ban on Muslim countries.

Jared Kushner, who is Donald Trump’s senior advisor and one of his close inner circle, has seen his boss and father-in-law ban refugees fleeing seven Muslim-majority countries on the pretext of national security.

However the interview with Jared’s Polish-born grandmother Rae Kushner, recorded in 1982, may now prompt moral questions for the 36-year old husband of Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.

In excerpts from the transcript, published by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, Rae is heard lamenting America’s failure to offer refuge to Jews fleeing persecution.

“The doors of the world were closed to us,” she says. “You know how hard it was to get to Israel? Boys and girls used to sit in a camp for three or four years before they could go to Palestine.

“To go to America was harder. You sent your papers and you waited for years before you could get a visa.”

She recalls how, as a girl, she was forced to wash the blood away from a public square, after Nazis had executed dozens of intellectuals, and made to load the dead bodies into a wagon.

She also recalled America’s decision to turn away Jews fleeing on board the St Louis, which had to return to Europe, where the Nazis murdered most of the passengers.

“For the Jews, the doors were closed. We never understood that. Even President Roosevelt kept the doors closed. Why? The boat, St. Louis, was turned back. What was the world afraid of? I don’t understand.”



Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: