Canadian Holocaust historian Max Wallace has uncovered evidence that Nazi SS leader, Heinrich Himmler, was deceived into bringing the Final Solution to an abbreviated end, on condition that he would become the leader of a united Allied-German front against the Soviet Union.
In his newly released book In the Name of Humanity: The Secret Deal to End the Holocaust, Wallace details the extraordinary story of how an Orthodox Jewish woman, Recha Sternbuch, and her husband, Isaac, enlisted the help of former Swiss President Jean-Marie Mucy to negotiate with the principal architect of the annihilation of the Jews. Wallace’s book claims that this deal was performed on behalf of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis and was condoned by Allied intelligence and Vatican officials.
With the likelihood of Nazi defeat growing steadily, as US and Allied forces pushed into mainland Europe from the West and the Soviets drove toward Germany from the East, Musy and Sternbuch took advantage of Himmler’s desperation. Himmler had convinced himself that with Adolf Hitler ailing and head of the Luftwaffe and nominally Nazi Germany’s second-in-command Herman Goring increasingly sidelined that he, as the highest-ranking available Nazi, would be uniquely positioned to negotiate a settlement with Allied forces, in addition to forming an alliance to block the advance of Bolshevism.
The Swiss statesman convinced Himmler that the deal hinged on the immediate cessation of the destruction of European Jewry – the result of which, so the book shows, was the order to dynamite Auschwitz’s gas chambers and crematoria on November 24, 1944 – two months before the Soviet Red Army liberated the death camp. The received wisdom until now, is that the Nazis destroyed evidence of killing on an industrial scale in an attempt to hide their crimes and understanding that they would likely soon be overrun.
Wallace’s book is the result of 17 years’ research and unearths critical evidence in Yeshiva University and the War Refugee Board’s archives. One key piece of evidence is a cable, dated November 20, 1944, which reported that talks between Switzerland’s former president and Himmler led to “a promise to cease extermination in concentration camps.” A few days later, Himmler ordered an end to any “further killing of Jews” and the gas chambers were put out of use. The same telegram also seems to show that the Vatican knew of the deal, and the author suggests that further proof lies in the secret Vatican archives – more of whose records are set to be made available to researchers later this year.