Auschwitz And The Allies The Gilbert Thesis

Auschwitz And The Allies The Gilbert Thesis-4
Beginning in the late spring of 1944, representatives of Jewish organizations in the United States, Europe, and British Mandatory Palestine began urging Allied officials to take military action to interrupt the mass murder of Jews in Auschwitz.About thirty different Jewish officials were involved, at one time or another, in advocating such Allied intervention.

Beginning in the late spring of 1944, representatives of Jewish organizations in the United States, Europe, and British Mandatory Palestine began urging Allied officials to take military action to interrupt the mass murder of Jews in Auschwitz.About thirty different Jewish officials were involved, at one time or another, in advocating such Allied intervention.Two days later, before Rosenheim heard back from Mc Cloy, he sent Aguda representative Meir Schenkelowski to Washington to promote the proposal in person. was already bombing German oil factories in the industrial section of Auschwitz. No documents have been found to indicate that the bombing requests reached President Roosevelt himself. On June 29, John Pehle relayed Harrison’s request to Assistant Secretary Mc Cloy.

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The Jewish leaders addressed their appeals to American, British, and Soviet diplomats, as well as to the Polish and Czech governments in exile.

Only one official of one organization specifically opposed any of these methods. Leon Kubowitzki of the World Jewish Congress urged the use of ground troops, and opposed bombing Auschwitz from the air, because of the danger of civilian casualties in the camp.

Mc Cloy further wrote that bombing the railways was “impracticable” because it would require “the diversion of considerable air support essential to the success of our forces now engaged in decisive operations…” In fact, the Allies were already operating in the skies above Auschwitz and did not have to be “diverted” from elsewhere in order to reach the death camp.

Since April 4, Allied planes had been carrying out photo reconnaissance missions in the area around Auschwitz, in preparation for attacking German oil factories and other industrial sites in the region, some of which were situated just a few miles from the gas chambers and crematoria. Gruenbaum explained the rationale for bombing Auschwitz and the railways leading to it, and asked to send a telegram to that effect to the War Refugee Board.

Long before the first Jewish request for military intervention was made, senior officials of the War Department had decided that they would have nothing to do with aiding refugees.

In response to the creation of the War Refugee Board, the War Department assured the British government (which was opposed to Allied intervention on behalf of the Jews): “It is not contemplated that units of the armed forces will be employed for the purpose of rescuing victims of enemy oppression unless such rescues are the direct result of military operations conducted with the objective of defeating the armed forces of the enemy.” Internal War Department memoranda the following month stated unequivocally that “the most effective relief which can be given victims of enemy persecution is to insure the speedy defeat of the Axis.” This attitude would govern the War Department’s response to Jewish requests in the months to follow.

Although some internal Jewish Agency documents prior to June 1944 had mentioned mass murder in Auschwitz, the information was not fully understood or absorbed by all the members of the executive.

Ben-Gurion said in the June 11 meeting that he opposed asking the Allies to bomb it because “we do not know what the actual situation is in Poland.” Another JAE member, Emil Schmorak, opposed requesting bombing because “It is said that in Oswiecim [the Polish name for Auschwitz] there is a large labor camp.

On June 18, 1944, Jacob Rosenheim, president of a New York-based Orthodox Jewish organization, Agudath Israel, wrote to the War Refugee Board, urging bombing of the railways.

WRB director John Pehle relayed Rosenheim’s request to Assistant Secretary of War John Mc Cloy. officials known to have considered the bombing proposal. Minister to Switzerland, Leland Harrison, sent a telegram to Secretary Hull, recommending the bombing of railways leading to Auschwitz and giving precise locations of desired bombing targets.

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