Newly released documents from the United Nations show that the Allies had full knowledge the Nazis were killing Jews en masse at least one full year before America even joined the Allied forces in World War II, much earlier than previously thought.
The Independent published an article on Tuesday about the newly published Human Rights After Hitler. The author, Dan Plesch told The Independent, “The major powers commented [on the mass murder of Jews] two-and-a-half years before it is generally assumed. “It was assumed they learned this when they discovered the concentration camps, but they made this public comment in December 1942.”
The documents were being held in an archive by the United Nations War Crimes Commission. They could only be accessed by obtaining permission from the person’s own national government, and also that of the UN Secretary General. Even then, for several years researchers were not permitted to make notes. Former American ambassador to the UN Samantha Power took the action that made the archive available.
Plesch said that according to the documents, first-hand testimonies of concentration camp inmates were smuggled out in order to inform the Allied powers. Plesch said that despite this foreknowledge, the Allied Powers did little to try and help the Jews of Europe escape genocide.
Plesch stated that the efforts of the US envoy to the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC), Herbert Pell, were hampered by anti-Semites in the US State Department. Pell eventually went public with his accusations after the war, forcing the State Department to the prosecute the Nazi leadership at Nuremberg. This also became unavoidable after the highly publicized liberation of the concentration camps in the summer of 1945. Plesch maintains that many in the State Department were concerned that America’s economic relationship with Germany after the war would be damaged if these prosecutions went ahead.
“Among the reason given by the US and British policy makers for curtailing prosecutions of Nazis was the understanding that at least some of them would be needed to rebuild Germany and confront Communism, which at the time was seen as a greater danger,” Plesch wrote in his book.