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In January 1943, the American legation in Switzerland sends information to
Sumner Welles, Undersecretary of State, confirming reports of mass executions
of Jews in Poland.
PARAPHRASE OF TELEGRAM
FROM: AMERICAN LEGATION, BERN
TO: Under Secretary of State, Washington, D.C.
DATE: January 21, 1943
The following is for your information and to be transmitted to Rabbi Stephen
Wise, if you so determine. Reference Department's 2314 of October 5.
"It has now been confirmed from different sources that mass executions have
taken place in Poland and it is reported from one source that 6,000 are killed
daily. The Jews are required, before execution, to strip themselves of all
clothing, which is then sent to Germany. The remaining Jews in Poland are now
confined to approximately fifty-five ghettoes - in the old ghetto insofar as
the larger towns are concerned, and in small places transformed into ghettoes
in other localities. Some Jews, both Polish and those deported from other
countries, are in labor camps in Silesia and Poland. No news is received from
the ghettoes, although occasional reports are received from some people in the
labor camp and in the Resienstadt. The ghetto in Poland is comparatively worse
than the Resienstadt, insofar as
those remaining and working there are concerned. The Resienstadt is a
self-governing Jewish community under Edelstein, Stricker, Friedmann, Zucker,
among others. No delegate is allowed to be sent to the Resienstadt by the
International Red Cross. Reports about the situation in Germany indicate as of
the end of November and the middle of December, that deportations are
continuing. Special agents of the Gestapo, having completed the job of
arranging deportations from Vienna, have been sent to Holland and Berlin for
the purpose of speeding up
the job in those localities. Female war workers in Berlin, whose parents have
already been deported, were suddenly deported after arrest, and occasionally
parents returned from work to find their children have been deported during
their absence. About 2000 are in hiding, and there have been many cases of
suicide. People who have been arrested, and whose deportation is pending are
put in buildings which have neither furniture nor beds. Twenty-one members of
the German Community Council and members of the German Jewish Representation
who were arrested on November 9, and held as hostages have disappeared, and it
is reported that eight of them have been shot in reprisal for the fleeing of
some Jews from the locality.
Jews in Czechoslovakia, Germany and Austria are not allowed to buy live fish,
poultry, vegetables or rationed food stuffs, and under a new order, the local
authorities are empowered to withdraw their rationing cards. Thus, Jews in
Berlin are unable to buy milk, meat or eggs. It is reported from Prague and
Berlin that no Jews will be left in either city by the end of March.
Fildermann has filed a special report from Rumania stating that in the fall of
1941, 130,000 Rumanian Jews were deported to Trananistria. Of these, 15,000
came from the district of Dorohoi, 30,000 from Gernauti, 45,000 from
Bessarabia, and 40,000 from other parts of Bucovina. During the summer of 1942,
6,000 were deported from other parts of Rumania. These deported people have
been distributed among ninety places in five districts, and some of them are
confined to ghettoes which are comparatively free Jewish settlements, while
others are in labor camps. The living conditions are indescribable. They are
deprived of all money, food stuffs and possessions, and are housed in deserted
cellars, and occasionally twenty to thirty people sleep on the floor of one
unheated room. Disease is rift, particularly spotted fever. These conditions
have resulted in the death of approximately 60,000 while 70,000 are starving.
Fildermann insists that the community requires urgent assistance, because the
Jews in old Rumania have been ejected from most provisions and property has
been confiscated, and the have been deprived of money and are therefore unable
to provide large amounts.
This report is signed by Richard Lichthim and Gerhars [sic] Riegner of Geneva,
and is dated January 19, 1943."
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