What did the Allies know, and when did they know it?

New scholarly research based on previously restricted archives concludes the Allies knew about the Nazi death camps no later than 1942 and indicted hundreds of Nazi “foot soldiers of atrocity” while the Holocaust was still underway. This finding overturns the popular myth that the Allies didn’t discover the death camps and didn’t appreciate the scale and scope of the Holocaust until the end of the war. What these records show is,

“In 1942, the American, British and Soviet governments led their allies in a public declaration ‘that explicitly condemned Hitler’s ongoing extermination of European Jews’ and … that condemnation was far stronger than commonly believed. ‘The records overturn one of the most important accepted truths concerning the Holocaust: that, despite the heroic efforts of escapees from Nazi-occupied Europe, the allies never officially accepted the reality of the Holocaust and therefore never condemned it until the camps were liberated at the end of the war,'”

the author of the study wrote. But his research failed to explain the Allies’ inaction. “One possibility, he said, is that ‘significant parts of the governments in the United States and the United Kingdom were directly opposed to doing anything to help the Jews or to support war crimes prosecutions.'”

The research is based on records of the U.N. War Crimes Commission, which was disbanded in 1948. “‘Ultimately thousands of soldiers were tried for war crimes after World War II,’ the book says.” But it also says “the commission’s files contain indictments against thousands of Nazis who were then allowed to go free.” And anyone with even modest familiarity with Holocaust history is struck by how light the sentences were for many of the lower-tier Nazi monsters involved in the day-to-day carrying out of the Nazi regime’s hideous schemes. In addition, it is well known that the Allies were asked by refugee groups, and refused, to bomb the extermination camps and rail lines leading to them, arguing at the time that they needed to concentrate their resources on military targets. Read the story here.

Photo: The silence of the lambs

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