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Posted Thursday, October 15, 1998


Top British Academic Expert again Challenges Word "Holocaust"

Thursday, October 15, 1998

MI6 "concealed extermination of Jews for a year"

By Hugo Gordon in Washington

BRITISH intelligence knew by the late summer of 1941 that Nazi Germany was systematically exterminating Europe's Jews but concealed it for nearly a year, according to a new American honk.

German police messages intercepted and decoded at Bletchley Park show that M16 and Winston Churchill were aware that Jews were being killed on a huge scale in conquered Soviet territory in August and September 1941, and were being loaded on to trains and taken for execution in Russia and Poland, says Professor Richard Breitman of American University, Washington.

In Official Secrets, due to have been published yesterday, Prof. Breitman cites a Ministry of Information document, dated Jan 22, 1942, that said: "The Germans clearly pursue a policy of extermination against the Jews." It quoted an official German document that said: "The only things Jewish that will remain in Poland will be Jewish cemeteries."

Prof. Breitman said: "The British analysts were decoding the railway radio messages and could see where each transport was going."

Asked about British conduct in late 1941 and much of 1942, he said: "I believe that Britain... in a political and diplomatic sense could have done more than it did."

Prof. Breitman's book is based on a few German police decodes he forced out of the National Archives in Washington in November 1996 under the Freedom of Information Act and on a mass of decodes released in May last year by the Public Record Office in Britain. He says Churchill deserves credit for recognising the evils of Nazism early and taking huge risks to defeat it, and he acknowledges that he "inevitably dealt far more with larger questions of military and diplomatic strategy and of the Allied partnership than with specific decisions about the rescue of Jews".

But he is sharply critical of Britain's "failure to use the information from the German police decodes either during the war or in postwar trial proceedings".

Prof. Breitman was helped to research Official Secrets by Dr John Fox, lecturer in Holocaust and genocide studies at the Hebrew and Jewish studies department of University College, London.

But he disagreed with some of Prof. Breitman's conclusions. "One has to be very, very careful about what one means when one talks about what the West or the British knew," he said.

"It is important to distinguish between what the intelligence authorities knew and what the rest of the British government machinery was not allowed to learn for over a year. This state of affairs, which is generally unknown, leads to a great deal of misinformed criticism of British policy at the time.

"My differences with Richard are that I say the Bletchley analysts and Winston Churchill knew of mass murder of Russian Jews. They did not know of the Holocaust. Holocaust is a postwar categorisation."

Dr Fox discovered that Bletchley first told the Foreign Office what it knew about the Final Solution in October 1942, after the War Crimes Commission had been set up to gather evidence for prosecutions.

The Russians were given the German police decodes and cipher codes seven months earlier, in March. 

© Daily Telegraph 1998

More on John Fox [ 1 ] [ 2 ]


Andrew Gimson in Berlin writes: German prosecutors are investigating a Nazi doctor who experimented on prisoners in Auschwitz.

Dr Hans Münch, 87, could face charges of murder after an interview in Der Spiegel in which he praised Dr Josef Mengele, his Auschwitz colleague, who carried out experiments on children.

Our opinion

THIS WEBSITE posted a summary on the Bletchley Park decodes of SS and German police messages many months ago. While it is true to say that from August 1941 onwards the British codebreakers were reading the SS messages about their massive shooting of Jews on the Russian front, it is also fair to point out to the American Professor Breitman that his country did nothing about entering the war against Hitler until, uh, certain events around December 1941.

We shall publish our own dossier including letters written by the above-mentioned Münch shortly.

The above news item is reproduced without editing other than typographical

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