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Jews on selection ramp at Auschwitz, May 1944
In the decades since the Holocaust, some national governments, international bodies and world leaders have been criticized for their failure to take appropriate action to save the millions of European Jews, Roma, and other victims of the Holocaust. Critics say that such intervention, particularly by the Allied governments, might have saved substantial numbers of people and could have been accomplished without the diversion of significant resources from the war effort.
The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was a genocide during World War II in which Nazi Germany, aided by local collaborators, systematically murdered some six million European Jews—around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe—between 1941 and 1945. Jews were targeted for extermination as part of a larger event during the Holocaust era, in which Germany and its collaborators persecuted and murdered other groups, including Slavs, the Roma, the "incurably sick", political and religious dissenters such as communists and Jehovah's Witnesses, and gay men. Taking into account all the victims of Nazi persecution, the death toll rises to over 17 million.
In international law, a sovereign state, sovereign country, or simply state, is a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.
A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, often a state.
Other researchers have challenged such criticism. Some have argued that the idea that the Allies took no action is a myth—that the Allies accepted as many German Jewish immigrants as the Nazis would allow—and that theoretical military action by the Allies, such as bombing the Auschwitz concentration camp, would have saved the lives of very few people.Others have said that the limited intelligence available to the Allies—who, as late as October 1944, did not know the locations of many of the Nazi death camps or the purposes of the various buildings within those camps they had identified—made precision bombing impossible.
Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.
The issue of why Auschwitz concentration camp was not bombed by the Allies during World War II continues to be explored by historians.
In three cases, entire countries resisted the deportation of their Jewish population during the Holocaust. In other countries, notable individuals or communities created resistance during the Holocaust.
In three cases, entire countries resisted the deportation of their Jewish population during the Holocaust. In other countries, notable individuals or communities created resistance during the Holocaust which helped the Jews escape some concentration camps.
While the Polish government-in-exile managed to raise awareness of the Jewish genocide among the Allies by December 1942,this did not result in any on-the-ground action by Allied nations to either stop the ongoing slaughter of millions of Jews and other minorities, or to save and absorb refugees. Rather, the Allies focused their efforts exclusively on conducting a wholesale military campaign in order to defeat the Third Reich.
The Allies of World War II, called the United Nations from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.
By 1939, about 304,000 of about 522,000 German Jews had fled Germany, including 60,000 to British Mandate Palestine (including over 50,000 who had taken advantage of the Haavara, or "Transfer" Agreement between German Zionists and the Nazis), but British immigration quotas prevented many from migrating. [ citation needed ]In March 1938, Hitler annexed Austria and made the 200,000 Jews of Austria stateless refugees. In September, Britain and France granted Hitler the right to occupy the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia, and in March 1939, Hitler occupied the remainder of the country, making a further 200,000 Jews stateless.
Mandatory Palestine was a geopolitical entity established between 1920 and 1923 in the Middle East roughly corresponding the region of Palestine, as part of the Partition of the Ottoman Empire under the terms of the British Mandate for Palestine.
The Haavara Agreement was an agreement between Nazi Germany and Zionist German Jews signed on 25 August 1933. The agreement was finalized after three months of talks by the Zionist Federation of Germany, the Anglo-Palestine Bank and the economic authorities of Nazi Germany. It was a major factor in making possible the migration of approximately 60,000 German Jews to Palestine in 1933–1939.
Anschluss refers to the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany on 12 March 1938. The word's German spelling, until the German orthography reform of 1996, was Anschluß and it was also known as the Anschluss Österreichs.
In 1939, British policy as stated in its 1939 White Paper capped Jewish immigration to Palestine (then a British mandate) at 75,000 over the next five years, after which the country was to become an independent state. Britain had offered homes for Jewish immigrant children and proposed Kenya as a haven for Jews, but refused to back a Jewish state or facilitate Jewish settlement, contravening the terms of the League of Nations Mandate over Palestine.
The White Paper of 1939 was a policy paper issued by the British government under Neville Chamberlain in response to the 1936–39 Arab Revolt. Following its formal approval in the House of Commons on 23 May 1939, it acted as the governing policy for Mandatory Palestine from 1939 until the British departure in 1948, the matter of the Mandate meanwhile having been referred to the United Nations.
The Kindertransport was an organised rescue effort that took place during the nine months prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. The United Kingdom took in nearly 10,000 predominantly Jewish children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Free City of Danzig. The children were placed in British foster homes, hostels, schools and farms. Often they were the only members of their families who survived the Holocaust. Most importantly, the program was supported, publicized and encouraged by the British Government, which waived some immigration requirements.
Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya, is a country in Africa with 47 semiautonomous counties governed by elected governors. At 580,367 square kilometres (224,081 sq mi), Kenya is the world's 48th largest country by total area. With a population of more than 52.2 million people, Kenya is the 27th most populous country. Kenya's capital and largest city is Nairobi while its oldest city and first capital is the coastal city of Mombasa. Kisumu City is the third largest city and a critical inland port at Lake Victoria. Other important urban centres include Nakuru and Eldoret.
Before, during and after the war, the British government obstructed Jewish immigration to Mandatory Palestine so as to avoid a negative reaction from Palestinian Arabs. In the summer of 1941, however, Chaim Weizmann estimated that with the British ban on Jewish immigration, when the war was over, it would take two decades to get 1.5 million Jews to Palestine from Europe through clandestine immigration; David Ben-Gurion had originally believed 3 million could be brought in ten years. Thus Palestine it has been argued by at least one writer, once war had begun—could not have been the saviour of anything other than a small minority of those Jews murdered by the Nazis.
The British Government, along with all UN member nations, received credible evidence about the Nazi attempts to exterminate the European Jewry as early as 1942 from the Polish Government-in-exile. Titled "The Mass Extermination of the Jews in German Occupied Poland", the report provided a detailed account of the conditions in the ghettos and their liquidation.Additionally the Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden met with Jan Karski, courier to the Polish resistance who, having been smuggled into the Warsaw ghetto by the Jewish underground, as well as having posed as an Estonian guard at Bełżec transit camp, provided him with detailed eyewitness accounts of Nazi atrocities against the Jews.
These lobbying efforts triggered the Joint Declaration by Members of the United Nations of 17 December 1942 which made public and condemned the mass extermination of the Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland. The statement was read to British House of Commons in a floor speech by Foreign secretary Anthony Eden, and published on the front page of the New York Times and many other newspapers. am on 17 December 1942, on the UN Joint Declaration, read by Polish Foreign Minister in-exile Edward Raczynski, and the second during May 1943, Jan Karski's eyewitness account of mass Jewish executions, read by Arthur Koestler. However, the political rhetoric and public reporting was not followed up with military action by the British Government- an omission that has been the source of significant historical debate. See also: Auschwitz bombing debateBBC radio aired two broadcasts on the final solution during the war: the first at 9
Denmark was the only Nazi-occupied country that managed to save 95% of its Jewish residents. Following a tip-off by a German diplomat, thousands of Jews were evacuated to neutral Sweden.
A general strike was organized on February 25, 1941, against the anti-Jewish measures and activities by the Nazis. By February 27, much of it had been suppressed by the German police. Although ultimately unsuccessful, it was still significant in that it was the first direct action against the Nazis' treatment of Jews.
The Nazis built the majority of their death camps in German occupied Poland which had a Jewish population of 3.3 million. From 1941 on, the Polish government-in-exile in London played an essential part in revealing Nazi crimes [ circular reference ] Though its representatives, like the Foreign Minister Count Edward Raczyński and the courier of the Polish Underground movement, Jan Karski, called for action to stop it, they were unsuccessful. Most notably, Jan Karski met with British Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden as well as US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, providing the earliest eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust. Roosevelt heard him out however seemed uninterested, asking about the condition of Polish horses but not one question about the Jews.providing the Allies with some of the earliest and most accurate accounts of the ongoing Holocaust of European Jews. Titled "The Mass Extermination of the Jews in German Occupied Poland", the report provided a detailed account of the conditions in the ghettos and their liquidation.
The report that the Polish Foreign Minister in-exile, Count Edward Raczynski sent on 10 December 1942, to all the Governments of the United Nations was the first official denunciation by any Government of the mass extermination and of the Nazi aim of total annihilation of the Jewish population. It was also the first official document singling out the sufferings of European Jews as Jews and not only as citizens of their respective countries of origin.The report of 10 December 1942 and the Polish Government's lobbying efforts triggered the Joint Declaration by Members of the United Nations of 17 December 1942 which made public and condemned the mass extermination of the Jews in German-occupied Poland. The statement was read to British House of Commons in a floor speech by Foreign secretary Anthony Eden, and published on the front page of the New York Times and many other newspapers. Additionally BBC radio aired two broadcasts on the final solution during the war which were prepared by the Polish government-in-exile. This rhetoric, however, was not followed up by military action by Allied nations. During an interview with Hannah Rosen in 1995, Karski said about the failure to rescue most of the Jews from mass murder, "The Allies considered it impossible and too costly to rescue the Jews, because they didn't do it. The Jews were abandoned by all governments, church hierarchies and societies, but thousands of Jews survived because thousands of individuals in Poland, France, Belgium, Denmark, Holland helped to save Jews."
In the absence of international intervention, it fell upon individual Poles and local underground organisations to assist Jewish escapees. This was challenging as the Nazis issued the death penalty for anybody 'hiding a Jew, feeding a Jew or selling food to a Jew,' which frightened many people out of helping Jewish escapees as well as created a fertile ground for blackmailers.Additionally the Nazis incentivised denunciations by rewarding the reporting of Jewish escapees with additional food rations. Nonetheless, many individuals did risk their lives to feed and house the over 300,000 survivors within Nazi occupied Poland. Most effective, was the underground organisation Żegota, the Council to Aid Jews, which although founded by Catholics, became a successful joint Catholic-Jewish operation with around 100 cells. Polish sociologist Tadeusz Piotrowski estimates that about 50,000 Jews who survived the war in German-occupied Poland were aided by Żegota in various ways – food, supplies, smuggling, shelter, financial, legal, medical, child care, and help against blackmailers.
Nonetheless, the Nazis decimated the Polish Jewry by 90%, killing 3 million people, half of all Jewish Holocaust deaths.Additionally the Nazis ethnically cleansed another 1.8-2 million Poles, bringing Poland's Holocaust death toll to around 4.8-5 million people.
After the war Poland defied both Britain and Stalin, allowing Jewish emigration to British Mandate Palestine. Around 200,000 Jews availed themselves of this opportunity, leaving only around 100,000 Jews in Poland.
Norway and Denmark had a Jewish population of 10,000 between them. Acting on a Swedish offer of refuge, Denmark saved almost all its Jewish citizens, while Norway only managed to save about half.After the liberation of the concentration camps, Sweden accepted thousands of survivors for medical treatment.
Of the five neutral countries of continental Europe, Switzerland has the distinction of being the only one to have promulgated a German antisemitic law.(Excluding city-states, the five neutrals were Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey.) The country closed its French border to refugees for a period from 13 August 1942, and did not allow unfettered access to Jews seeking refuge until 12 July 1944. In 1942 the President of the Swiss Confederation, Philipp Etter as a member of the Geneva-based ICRC even persuaded the committee not to issue a condemnatory proclamation concerning German "attacks" against "certain categories of nationalities".
According to Peter Novick, "Americans, including many American Jews, were largely unaware of what we now call the Holocaust while it was going on; the nation was preoccupied with defeating the Axis."Some awareness of Germany's harsh treatment of Jews in Europe, especially Poland, existed; H. R. Knickerbocker wrote in 1941, "Poland must come in a separate category since there Hitler has apparently set out to exterminate the 3,000,000 Jews without the restraint he seems to have put on himself elsewhere ... the obvious intent of the Germans in Poland is to wipe out the Jews altogether, and the wonder is that any at all are living today." By the end of 1942 the US government had adequate evidence to conclude that a campaign to annihilate the Jews of Europe was underway. Like the other Allies, the United States decided not to bomb the Auschwitz extermination camp out of commission, even as American heavy bombers staged several attacks nearby. (See Auschwitz bombing debate.)
The United States also refused to grant temporary refuge to Jews fleeing Europe. In the wake of the Great Depression, the United States had a highly restrictive immigration quota system, but even the limited quota spots were not filled.The Department of State refused to fill 90% of the quota spots that might have been available for European Jews.
In 998 press conferences, during more than a decade in office served wholly within the Nazi era, President Roosevelt never delivered the "appeal to the German people" regarding the Reich's treatment of Jews that he said he would.It was Treasury official Josiah DuBois authored the "Report to the Secretary on the Acquiescence of this Government in the Murder of the Jews" that documented State Department efforts to thwart Jewish immigration from Europe. It was DuBois's report that furnished Treasury Secretary Morgenthau with the ammunition he needed to force Roosevelt into creating the War Refugee Board.
Before, during and after World War II, The New York Times maintained a general policy to minimize reporting on the Holocaust.To this end, it placed such reportage deep inside its daily editions, while obscuring in those stories the special impact of the Nazis' crimes on Jews in particular. The New York Times did however publish the Joint Declaration by Members of the United Nations of 17 December 1942 on its front page which was a joint declaration by eleven Allied nations publicly condemning the mass extermination of the Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland.
In November 1938, two weeks after Kristallnacht , United States Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes proposed the use of Alaska as a "haven for Jewish refugees from Germany and other areas in Europe where the Jews are subjected to oppressive restrictions." Resettlement in Alaska would allow the refugees to bypass normal immigration quotas, because Alaska was a territory and not a state. That summer Ickes had toured Alaska and met with local officials to discuss improving the local economy and bolstering security in a territory viewed as vulnerable to Japanese attack. Ickes thought European Jews might be the solution.
In his proposal, Ickes pointed out that 200 families from the dustbowl had settled in Alaska's Matanuska Valley. The plan was introduced as a bill by Senator William King (Utah) and Representative Franck Havenner (California), both Democrats. The Alaska proposal won the support of theologian Paul Tillich, the Federal Council of Churches and the American Friends Service Committee.[ citation needed ]
But the plan won little support from American Jews, with the exception of the Labor Zionists of America. Most Jews agreed with Rabbi Stephen Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress, that adoption of the Alaska proposal would deliver "a wrong and hurtful impression...that Jews are taking over some part of the country for settlement." The plan was dealt a severe blow when Roosevelt told Ickes that he insisted on limiting the number of refugees to 10,000 a year for five years, and with a further restriction that Jews not make up more than 10% of the refugees. Roosevelt never mentioned the Alaska proposal in public, and without his support the plan died.[ citation needed ]
The Évian Conference was convened at the initiative of Franklin D. Roosevelt in July 1938 to discuss the problem of Jewish refugees. For ten days, from July 6 to July 15, delegates from thirty-two countries met at Évian-les-Bains, France. However, most western countries were reluctant to accept Jewish refugees, and the question was not resolved.[ citation needed ] The Dominican Republic was the only country willing to accept Jewish refugees—up to 100,000.
The UK and the US met in Bermuda in April 1943 to discuss the issue of Jewish refugees who had been liberated by Allied forces and the Jews who remained in Nazi-occupied Europe. The Bermuda Conference led to no change in policy; the Americans would not change their immigration quotas to accept the refugees, and the British would not alter its immigration policy to permit them to enter Palestine.
The failure of the Bermuda Conference prompted U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, the only Jewish member of Franklin D. Roosevelt's cabinet, to publish a white paper entitled Report to the Secretary on the Acquiescence of this Government to the Murder of the Jews.This led to the creation of a new agency, the War Refugee Board.
The International Committee of the Red Cross did relatively little to save Jews during the Holocaust and discounted reports of the organized Nazi genocide, such as of the murder of Polish Jewish prisoners that took place at Lublin. At the time, the Red Cross justified its inaction by suggesting that aiding Jewish prisoners would harm its ability to help other Allied POWs. In addition, the Red Cross claimed that if it would take a major stance to improve the situation of those European Jews, the neutrality of Switzerland, where the International Red Cross was based, would be jeopardized. Today, the Red Cross acknowledges its passivity during the Holocaust and has apologized for this.
In 1936, German-Japanese Pact was concluded between Nazi Germany and the Japan.However, on December 6, 1938, the Japanese government made a decision of prohibiting the expulsion of the Jews in Japan, Manchukuo, and the rest of Japanese-occupied China. On December 31, Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka told the Japanese Army and Navy to receive Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. Diplomat Chiune Sugihara granted more than 2,000 transit visas and saved 6,000 Jewish refugees from Lithuania.
General Hideki Tojo and Lt. Gen. Kiichiro Higuchi observed Japanese national policy as headquarters of the Kwantung Army against German oppositions.
The pontificate of Pius XII coincided with the Second World War and the Nazi Holocaust, which saw the industrialized mass murder of millions of Jews and others by Adolf Hitler's Germany. Pius employed diplomacy to aid the victims of the Nazis during the war and, through directing his Church to provide discreet aid to Jews, saved thousands of lives.Pius maintained links to the German Resistance, and shared intelligence with the Allies. His strongest public condemnation of genocide was, however, considered inadequate by the Allied Powers, while the Nazis viewed him as an Allied sympathizer who had dishonoured his policy of Vatican neutrality. In Rome action was taken to save many Jews in Italy from deportation, including sheltering several hundred Jews in the catacombs of St. Peter's Basilica. In his Christmas addresses of 1941 and 1942, the pontiff was forceful on the topic but did not mention the Nazis by name. The Pope encouraged the bishops to speak out against the Nazi regime and to open the religious houses in their dioceses to hide Jews. At Christmas 1942, once evidence of the industrial slaughter of the Jews had emerged, he voiced concern at the murder of "hundreds of thousands" of "faultless" people because of their "nationality or race". Pius intervened to attempt to block Nazi deportations of Jews in various countries from 1942–1944.
When 60,000 German soldiers and the Gestapo occupied Rome in 1943, thousands of Jews were hiding in churches, convents, rectories, the Vatican and the papal summer residence. According to Joseph Lichten, the Vatican was called upon by the Jewish Community Council in Rome to help fill a Nazi demand of one hundred pounds of gold. The Council had been able to muster seventy pounds, but unless the entire amount was produced within thirty-six hours had been told three hundred Jews would be imprisoned. The Pope granted the request, according to Chief Rabbi Zolli of Rome.Despite the payment of the ransom 2,091 Jews were deported on October 16, 1943, and most of them died in Germany.
Upon his death in 1958, Pius was praised emphatically by the Israeli Foreign Minister and other world leaders. But his insistence on Vatican neutrality and avoidance of naming the Nazis as the evildoers of the conflict became the foundation for contemporary and later criticisms from some quarters. Studies of the Vatican archives and international diplomatic correspondence continue.
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The international response to the war crimes of World War II and the Holocaust was to establish the Nuremberg international tribunal. Three major wartime powers, the US, USSR and Great Britain, agreed to punish those responsible. The trials brought human rights into the domain of global politics, redefined morality at the global level, and gave political currency to the concept of crimes against humanity, where individuals rather than governments were held accountable for war crimes.
Towards the end of World War II, Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of Polish-Jewish descent, aggressively pursued within the halls of the United Nations and the United States government the recognition of genocide as a crime. Largely due to his efforts and the support of his lobby, the United Nations was propelled into action. In response to Lemkin's arguments, the United Nations adopted the term in 1948 when it passed the "Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide".
Many believe that the extermination of Jews during the Holocaust inspired the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948. This view has been challenged by recent historical scholarship. One study has shown that the Nazi slaughter of Jews went entirely unmentioned during the drafting of the Universal Declaration at the United Nations, though those involved in the negotiations did not hesitate to name many other examples of Nazi human rights violations.Other historians have countered that the human rights activism of the delegate René Cassin of France, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968 for his work on the Universal Declaration, was motivated in part by the death of many Jewish relatives in the Holocaust and his involvement in Jewish organisations providing aid to Holocaust survivors.
The Final Solution or the Final Solution to the Jewish Question was a Nazi plan for the genocide of Jews during World War II. The "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" was the official code name for the murder of all Jews within reach, which was not restricted to the European continent. This policy of deliberate and systematic genocide starting across German-occupied Europe was formulated in procedural and geo-political terms by Nazi leadership in January 1942 at the Wannsee Conference held near Berlin, and culminated in the Holocaust, which saw the killing of 90% of Polish Jews, and two thirds of the Jewish population of Europe.
Nazi Germany built extermination camps during the Holocaust in World War II, to systematically kill millions of Jews, Slavs, Poles, Roma, Soviet POWs, political opponents and others whom the Nazis considered "Untermenschen" ("subhumans"). The victims of death camps were primarily killed by gassing, either in permanent installations constructed for this specific purpose, or by means of gas vans. Some Nazi camps, such as Auschwitz and Majdanek, served a dual purpose before the end of the war in 1945: extermination by poison gas, but also through extreme work under starvation conditions.
Jan Karski was a Polish World War II resistance-movement soldier, and later a professor at Georgetown University.
The Polish government-in-exile, formally known as the Government of the Republic of Poland in exile, was the government in exile of Poland formed in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of September 1939, and the subsequent occupation of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union, which brought to an end the Second Polish Republic.
"Polish death camp" and "Polish concentration camp" are misnomers that have been a subject of controversy and legislation. Such terms have been used by news media and by public figures in reference to concentration camps that were built and run during World War II by Nazi Germany in German-occupied Poland.
The history of the Jews during World War II is almost synonymous with the Jewish persecution and murder of unprecedented scale in modern times in political Europe inclusive of European North Africa. The massive scale of the Holocaust which happened during World War II heavily affected the Jewish nation and world public opinion, which only understood the dimensions of the Final Solution after the war. The genocide, known as HaShoah in Hebrew, aimed at the elimination of the Jewish people on the European continent. It was a broadly organized operation led by Nazi Germany, in which approximately six million Jews were murdered methodically and with horrifying cruelty. During the Holocaust in occupied Poland, more than one million Jews were murdered in gas chambers of the Auschwitz concentration camp alone. The murder of the Jews of Europe affected Jewish communities in Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Channel Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.
The Auschwitz Protocols, also known as the Auschwitz Reports, and originally published as The Extermination Camps of Auschwitz (Oświęcim) and Birkenau in Upper Silesia, is a collection of three eyewitness accounts from 1943–1944 about the mass murder that was taking place inside the Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland during the Second World War. The eyewitness accounts are individually known as the Vrba-Wetzler report, Rosin-Mordowicz report, and Polish Major's report.
The Holocaust in German-occupied Poland was marked by the construction of death camps by Nazi Germany in Poland. The Third Reich's World War II genocide, known as the Holocaust, took the lives of three million Polish Jews, half of all Jews killed during the Holocaust. Scholars disagree on whether to also classify up to three million ethnic-Polish victims of German genocide as Holocaust victims. The extermination camps played a central role in Germany's systematic murder of over 90% of Poland's Jewish population.
Crimes against the Polish nation committed by Nazi Germany and collaborationist forces during the invasion of Poland, along with auxiliary battalions during the subsequent occupation of Poland in World War II, consisted of the systematic extermination of Jewish Poles and the murder of millions of (non-Jewish) ethnic Poles. The Germans justified these genocides on the basis of Nazi racial theory, which depicted Jews as a constant threat and regarded Poles and other Slavs as racially inferior Untermenschen. By 1942 the Nazis were implementing their plan to kill every Jew in German-occupied Europe, and had also developed plans to eliminate the Polish people, through mass murder, ethnic cleansing, enslavement, and assimilation into German identity of a small minority of Poles regarded as racially valuable. During World War II the Germans not only murdered millions of Jewish and non-Jewish Poles, but ethnically cleansed millions more ethnic Poles through forced deportation, supposedly to make room for racially superior German settlers.
The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust 1941–1945, published in 1984, is an influential book by David S. Wyman, former Josiah DuBois professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Wyman was the chairman of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. The Abandonment of the Jews has been well received by most historians, and has won numerous prizes and widespread recognition, including "the National Jewish Book Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Award, the Present Tense Literary Award, the Stuart Bernath Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the Theodore Saloutos Award of the Immigration History Society, and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award."
Holocaust trains were railway transports run by the Deutsche Reichsbahn national railway system under the strict supervision of the German Nazis and their allies, for the purpose of forcible deportation of the Jews, as well as other victims of the Holocaust, to the German Nazi concentration, forced labour, and extermination camps.
Responsibility for the Holocaust is the subject of an ongoing historical debate that has spanned several decades. The debate about the origins of the Holocaust is known as functionalism versus intentionalism. Intentionalists such as Lucy Dawidowicz argue that Adolf Hitler planned the extermination of the Jewish people as early as 1918, and that he personally oversaw its execution. However, functionalists such as Raul Hilberg argue that the extermination plans evolved in stages, as a result of initiatives by bureaucrats who were responding to other policy failures. The debate has settled to a large degree as historians have conceded that both positions have merit.
Leon Feiner was a Polish-Jewish lawyer, an activist of the General Jewish Labour Bund in Poland and between November 1944 and January 1945 the director (prezes) and vice-chairman of the Council to Aid Jews "Żegota".
Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Poland were established during World War II in hundreds of locations across occupied Poland. Most Jewish ghettos had been created by Nazi Germany between October 1939 and July 1942 in order to confine and segregate Poland's Jewish population of about 3.5 million for the purpose of persecution, terror, and exploitation. In smaller towns, ghettos often served as staging points for Jewish slave-labor and mass deportation actions, while in the urban centers they resembled walled-off prison-islands described by some historians as little more than instruments of "slow, passive murder", with dead bodies littering the streets.
The Joint Declaration by Members of the United Nations was a statement issued on December 17, 1942, by the American and British governments on behalf of the Allied Powers. In it, they describe the ongoing events of the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe.
Raczyński's Note was the official diplomatic note of the government of Poland in exile from December 10, 1942, signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Raczyński regarding the extermination of the Jews in German-occupied Poland. It was the first official report on the Holocaust, informing the Western public about these crimes. It was also the first official speech of one of the governments in defense of all Jews persecuted by Germany – not only citizens of their country.
The Mass Extermination of Jews in German Occupied Poland was a brochure published by the Polish government-in-exile on 10 December 1942 and was sent to the foreign ministers of the 26 governments who had signed the Declaration by United Nations. It was the first official document informing the Western public about the Holocaust in German-occupied Poland.
Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, The Great Democracies' Disgrace on Arutz Sheva.