RebelJew has an incisive post on rabbis – Chabad rebbes prominent among them – who told their followers to remain in Europe rather than escape to life and freedom in America or Israel:
Around the Chabad observance of Yud Shvat (the yahrzeit of the 6th Rebbe), much discussion is expended on the Holocaust, anti-Zionism, mesiras nefesh, and particularly, the ultra-frum response that kept hundreds of thousands from fleeing Europe. The 6th Rebbe of Chabad indeed advised that, given the proper service of Jews, there might be no war.…Other gedolim advised their followers to stay, counseling that a secular Zionist Israel or a free America would cause damage to the people's frumkeit. Similarly, at Chaf Dalet Teves, the yahrzeit of the first Chabad Rebbe, much discussion centers on the fact that the first Rebbe supported the oppresive Czar over the forces of egalite' under Bonaparte.
As a justification in these cases, Chabadniks will point out that frumkeit remained strong in Russia, but it did not in France. Similarly, they felt it was better for the people to die in Europe than to live in America and risk diminishing their Jewish observance.…
RebelJew points out that France at the time of Napoleon was not "frum," and that nothing much is left of pre-war European Jewish learning, while yeshivot flourish in Israel and are supported by the government there, and America has an exponentially growing, flourishing haredi community.
He also writes:
However, my question is on the logic. Since when do we push away pikuach nefesh vadai on a safek (perhaps they will lapse in frumkeit). Would not a better course have been to save themselves and the people and then attend to them in the new places with extra kiruv, extra leadership, as has occurred thoughout the history of Judaism? Now, we get to the real point. Did these Rabanim not have faith in their own ability to lead? Did they prefer millions of dead Jews or Jews living in squalor and oppression to having to face up to their own insecurity in their abilities to shepherd the flock? Was it more important to keep them nursing from pure dogma than to save them from almost certain death?
And this is the question I would like you to answer: Better dead than Reform? Is there any defense for this behavior by Chabad rebbes and other gedolim? I don't think so. Do you?