U.S. Knew About Holocaust Sooner
Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol, right, of Spain puts up a shot as Denver Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov of Russia defends during the first half in Game 5 of an NBA first-round playoff basketball game, Tuesday, May 8, 2012, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) / Mark J. Terrill
The translated copy of a November 1941 dispatch filed by a Chilean diplomat serving in Prague, tells of German plans to eradicate the Jews, the National Archives and Records
Administration said Monday.
"It has been decided to eradicate all the Jews and send some to Poland and others to the town of Terezin, whilst looking for a more remote place," Chilean consul Gonzalo Montt Rivas wrote to his government.
By late March 20, 1942, "a surreptitiously obtained" copy of the document appeared in the files of the United States Coordinator of Information, a predecessor to the Office of Strategic Services and CIA, archives officials.
The report was delivered to David Bruce, head of the Secret Intelligence Branch of the Coordinator of Information, and forwarded to an administrative assistant to William J. Donovan, who served as Coordinator of Information. There is no indication on the document whether other Americans may have seen it.
The document was part of a release of 400,000 pages of OSS records by the Interagency Working Group, a group that coordinates the government-wide effort to declassify federal records related to Nazi and Axis war crimes.
"Warnings from the allies to the Jews of Europe of a planned genocide never came," IWG public member Thomas H. Baer said. "The Nazi murders depended on secrecy and subterfuge. Warnings would not have stopped the Holocaust, but they could have saved lives."
During German occupation, Prague was no longer a capital of a country and most foreign diplomats had departed. But the Chilean consul was able to resume his post because of friendly relations between Nazi Germany and neutral Chile, archives officials said.
"His location and good connections provided a unique vantage point for discerning the Nazi agenda and actions in Nazi-occupied territories, a perspective not afforded to most Western diplomats," the archive's statement said.
Officials said the dispatch was prompted by a decree to be issued by Nazi Germany on November 25, 1941, announcing that Jews who had left Germany and were living abroad could not be German subjects and that all remaining assets of these Jews automatically were forfeited to the Reich.
By Pauline Jelinek
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