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International Response to Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Holocaust

Jan. 30, 1933 – Hitler Appointed Chancellor


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1934 – Nazi Rally in Buckeberg


Nazi Rally Buckeberg.jpg

1935 -Nuremberg Laws on German Citizenship

1. A Reich citizen is a subject of the State who is of German or related blood, who proves by his conduct that he is willing and fit faithfully to serve the German people and Reich.

2. Reich citizenship is acquired through the granting of a Reich Citizenship Certificate.

3. The Reich citizen is the sole bearer of full political rights in accordance with the Law.

1936 – Olympic Games held in Berlin

Despite calls to boycott the Olympics, the United States participated. Avery Brundage, president of the American Olympic Committee (AOC)-

“The Olympic Games belong to the athletes and not to the politicians.”

July 14, 1938 – Decisions Taken at the Evian Conference

d) That the Governments of the countries of refuge and settlement should not assume any obligations for the financing of involuntary emigration;

Nov. 9-10, 1938 – Kristallnacht



May 1939 – The White Paper of 1939

It has been urged that all further Jewish immigration into Palestine should be stopped forthwith. His Majesty’s Government cannot accept such a proposal. It would damage the whole of the financial and economic system of Palestine and thus affect adversely the interests of Arabs and Jews alike. Moreover, in the view of His Majesty’s Government, abruptly to stop further immigration would be unjust to the Jewish National Home. But, above all, His Majesty’s Government are conscious of the present unhappy plight of Jews who seek a refuge from certain European countries, and believe that Palestine can and should make a further contribution to the solution of this pressing world problem. In all these circumstances, they believe that they will be acting consistently with their Mandatory obligations to both Arabs and Jews, and in the manner best calculated to serve the interests of the whole people of Palestine, by adopting the following proposals regarding immigration- –

(1) Jewish immigration during the next five years will be at a rate which, if economic absorptive capacity permits, will bring the Jewish population up to approximately one-third of the total population of the country. Taking into account the expected natural increase of the Arab and Jewish populations, and the number of illegal Jewish immigrants now in the country, this would allow of the admission, as from the beginning of April this year, of some 75,000 immigrants over the next five years

(2) The existing machinery for ascertaining economic absorptive capacity will be retained, and the High Commissioner will have the ultimate responsibility for deciding the limits of economic capacity…

(3) After the period of five years, no further Jewish immigration will be permitted unless the Arabs of Palestine are prepared to acquiesce in it.

(4) His Majesty’s Government are determined to check illegal immigration, and further preventive measures are being adopted…

1939 – Churchill condemns the White Paper of 1939

“There is much in this White Paper which is alien to the spirit of the Balfour Declaration…I select the one point upon which there is plainly a breach and repudiation of the Balfour Declaration – the provision that Jewish immigration can be stopped in five years’ time by the decision of an Arab majority…there is the end of the vision, of the hope, of the dream.” pp. 5-7

Nov. 28, 1938 – For a Diplomat’s Murder Nazi Germany Takes an Awful Revenge on its Jews, Life Magazine, Nov. 28, 1938.

1939 – The S.S. St. Louis

The United States refused to admit over 900 Jewish refugees who had sailed from Hamburg, Germany, on the St. Louis. The ship was forced to return to Europe.

Aug. 23, 1939 – Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact

The Government of the German Reich and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics desirous of strengthening the cause of peace between Germany and the U.S.S.R and proceeding from the fundamental provisions of the Neutrality Agreement concluded in April 1926 between Germany and the U.S.S.R., have reached the following agreement-


Both High Contracting Parties obligate, themselves to desist from any act of violence, any aggressive action, and any attack on each other, either individually or jointly with other powers.


Should one of the High Contracting Parties become the object of belligerent action by a third power, the other High Contracting Party shall in no manner lend its support to this third power.


The Governments of the two High Contracting Parties shall in the future maintain continual contact with one another for the purpose of consultation in order to exchange information on problems affecting their common interests…

1941 – The German “Final Solution”

Nuremberg document PS-710

Reich Marshal of Greater German Reich Göring to Chief of Security Police and Security Service Heydrich

Berlin, July [31], 1941

Complementing the task already assigned to you in the decree of January 24, 1939, to undertake, by emigration or evacuation, a solution of the Jewish question as advantageous as possible under the conditions at the time, I hereby charge you with making all necessary organizational, functional, and material preparations for a complete solution of the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe.

In so far as the jurisdiction of other central agencies may be touched thereby, they are so to be involved.

I charge you furthermore with submitting to me in the near future an overall plan of the organizational, functional, and material measures to be taken in preparing for the implementation of the aspired final solution of the Jewish question.

Jan. 1, 1942 – Declaration by the United Nations

A Joint Declaration by the United States, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, China, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Poland, South Africa, Yugoslavia

The Governments signatory hereto,

Having subscribed to a common program of purposes and principles embodied in the Joint Declaration of the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland dated August 14, 1941, known as the Atlantic Charter.

Being convinced that complete victory over their enemies is essential to defend life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as well as in other lands, and that they are now engaged in a common struggle against savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world,


(1) Each Government pledges itself to employ its full resources, military or economic, against those members of the Tripartite Pact -and its adherents with which such government is at war.

(2) Each Government pledges itself to cooperate with the Governments signatory hereto and not to make a separate armistice or peace with the enemies.

The foregoing declaration may be adhered to by other nations which are, or which may be, rendering material assistance and contributions in the struggle for victory over Hitlerism.

Done at Washington

January First, 1942

[The signatories to the Declaration by United Nations are as listed above.]

The adherents to the Declaration by United Nations, together with the date of communication of adherence, are as follows-

Mexico June 5, 1942

Philippines June 10, 1942

Ethiopia July 28, 1942

Iraq Jan. 16, 1943

Brazil Feb. 8, 1943

Bolivia Apr. 27, 1943

Iran Sept. 10, 1943

Colombia Dec. 22, 1943

Liberia Feb. 26, 1944

France Dec. 26, 1944

Ecuador Feb. 7, 1945

Peru Feb. 11, 1945

Chile Feb. 12, 1945

Paraguay Feb. 12, 1945

Venezuela Feb. 16, 1945

Uruguay Feb. 23, 1945

Turkey Feb. 24, 1945

Egypt Feb. 27, 1945

Saudi Arabia Mar. 1, 1945

Lebanon Mar. 1, 1945

Syria Mar. 1, 1945

Feb. 1942 – The Struma



Struma was a ship chartered to carry Jewish refugees from officially Axis-allied Romania to British-controlled Palestine during World War II. On February 23, 1942, with its engine inoperable, the ship was towed from Istanbul through the Bosporus out to the Black Sea by Turkish authorities with its refugee passengers aboard, where it was left adrift. Within hours, it was torpedoed and sunk by the Soviet submarine SC 213 on February 24, killing 768 men, women and children, with only one survivor. This was amongst the largest maritime losses of civilian life during World War II.

Sep. 23, 1942 – British Home Secretary Herbert Morrison in War Cabinet Papers 66/29/18

The general policy has been not to admit during the war additional refugees to the United Kingdom unless in some quite rare and exceptional cases it can be shown that admission of the refugee will be directly advantageous to our war effort. Any departure from this rigid policy is liable to fresh claims and additional pressure for the admission to the United Kingdom of persons who are in danger or distress, and I am convinced that it would not be right to make any general departure from the principle that the United Kingdom is unable during the period of the war at any rate, to accept additional refugees.

Mar. 1943 – British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden at a meeting at the White House

The whole problem of the Jews in Europe is very difficult. We should move very cautiously about offering to take all the Jews out of a country like Bulgaria. If we do that then the Jews of the world will be wanting us to make similar offers in Poland and in Germany.

Also present- Secretary of State Cornell Hull, President Franklin Roosevelt, and British ambassador to the U.S. Lord Halifax. Nobody objected to this statement.

Mar. 23, 1943 – Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple pleads with the House of Lords to save the Jews

We at this moment have upon us a tremendous responsibility. We stand at the bar of history, of humanity, and of God.

Apr. 19, 1943 – The Bermuda Conference

The British and the Americans meet to discuss the refugee problem and decide to do nothing.

Apr. 4, 1944-Jan. 14, 1945 – The Allies take aerial photographs of Auschwitz but decide not to bomb it

This is one of a series of aerial reconnaissance photographs of the Auschwitz concentration camp taken between April 4, 1944 and January 14, 1945 by a de Havilland Mosquito photo-reconnaissance aircraft operated by the South African Air Force. The Allies had the range and capability to bomb Auschwitz from May 1944, but chose not to.


Aerial Photograph Auschwitz.jpg

July 1944 – Winston Churchill wrote-

There is no doubt this is the most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world, and it has been done by scientific machinery by nominally civilised men in the name of a great State and one of the leading races of Europe. It is quite clear that all concerned in this crime who may fall into our hands, including the people who only obeyed orders by carrying out the butcheries, should be put to death after their association with the murders has been proved.

Sep. 1944 – British bombed railroad lines of Auschwitz

Apr. 5, 1945 – Letter from President Roosevelt to King Ibn Saud

Your Majesty will recall that on previous occasions I communicated to you the attitude of the American Government toward Palestine and made clear our desire that no decision be taken with respect to the basic situation in that country without full consultation with both Arabs and Jews. Your Majesty will also doubtless recall that during our recent conversation I assured you that I would take no action, in my capacity as Chief of the Executive Branch of this Government, which might prove hostile to the Arab people.

Nov. 19, 1945 – President Herbert Hoover in an Interview with the Scripps-Howard Press

My own suggestion is that Iraq might be financed to complete this great land development on the consideration that it be made the scene of resettlement of the Arabs from Palestine. This would clear Palestine completely for a large Jewish emigration and colonization. A suggestion of transfer of the Arab people of Palestine was made by the British Labor Party in December, 1944, but no adequate plan was proposed as to where or how they were to go.

There is room for many more Arabs in such a development in Iraq than the total Arabs in Palestine. The soil is more fertile. They would be among their own race which is Arab-speaking and Mohammedan. The Arab population of Palestine would be the gainer from better lands in exchange for their present holdings. Iraq would be the gainer for it badly needs agricultural population…

Today millions of people are being moved from one land to another. If the lands were organized and homes provided, this particular movement could be made the model migration of history. It would be a solution by engineering instead of by conflict.

I realize that the plan offers a challenge both to the statesmanship of the Great Powers as well as to the goodwill of all parties concerned. However, I submit it and it does offer a method of settlement with both honor and wisdom.

Postcard of Adolf Hitler and the Mufti of Jerusalem Meeting in Berlin


Hitler and the Mufti.JPG

Feb. 14, 1945 – King Ibn Saud and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, USS Quincy


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President Franklin D. Roosevelt on board the USS Quincy (CA-71) meets with King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia in the Great Bitter Lake, Egypt, on February 14, 1945. The King is speaking to the interpreter, Colonel William A. Eddy, USMC. Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, USN, the President’s Aide and Chief of Staff, is at left.

Hannah Senesh


Hannah Senesh.jpg

Hannah Senesh (Hebrew- חנה סנש‎) (July 17, 1921 – November 7, 1944) was a Hungarian Jew, one of 37 Jews living in Palestine who were trained by the British army to parachute into Yugoslavia during the Second World War in order to help save the Jews of Hungary, who were about to be deported to the German death camp at Auschwitz.

Senesh was arrested at the Hungarian border, imprisoned and tortured, but she refused to reveal details of her mission, and was eventually tried and executed by firing squad.

Oct. 4, 1946 – Statement by President Truman

It will be recalled that, when Mr. Earl Harrison reported on September 29, 1945, concerning the condition of displaced persons in Europe, I immediately urged that steps be taken to relieve the situation of these persons to the extent at least of admitting 100,000 Jews into Palestine.(2) In response to this suggestion the British Government invited the Government of the United States to cooperate in setting up a joint Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, an invitation which this Government was happy to accept in the hope that its participation would help to alleviate the situation of the displaced Jews in Europe and would assist in finding a solution for the difficult and complex problem of Palestine itself. The urgency with which this Government regarded the matter is reflected in the fact that a 120-day limit was set for the completion of the Committee’s task.

The unanimous report of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry was made on April 20, 1946, and I was gratified to note that among the recommendations contained in the Report was an endorsement of my previous suggestion that 100,000 Jews be admitted into Palestine. The administration immediately concerned itself with devising ways and means for transporting the 100,000 and caring for them upon their arrival. With this in mind, experts were sent to London in June 1946 to work out provisionally the actual travel arrangements. The British Government cooperated with this group but made it clear that in its view the Report must be considered as a whole and that the issue of the 100,000 could not be considered separately…

In the light of the situation which has now developed I wish to state my views as succinctly as possible-

1. In view of the fact that winter will come on before the Conference can be resumed I believe and urge that substantial immigration into Palestine cannot await a solution to the Palestine problem and that it should begin at once. Preparations for this movement have already been made by this Government and it is ready to lend its immediate assistance.

2. I state again, as I have on previous occasions, that the immigration laws of other countries, including the United States, should be liberalized with a view to the admission of displaced persons. I am prepared to make such a recommendation to the Congress and to continue as energetically as possible collaboration with other countries on the whole problem of displaced persons.

3. Furthermore, should a workable solution for Palestine be devised, I would be willing to recommend to the Congress a plan for economic assistance for the development of that country.

In the light of the terrible ordeal which the Jewish people of Europe endured during the recent war and the crisis now existing, I cannot believe that a program of immediate action along the lines suggested above could not be worked out with the cooperation of all people concerned. The administration will continue to do everything it can to this end.


(1) Department of State Bulletin of October 13, 1946, pp. 669-670.

(2) For text of Mr. Harrison’s report to the. President, see Department of State Bulletin of September .10, 1945, p. 456; and for the statement of the President, see Department of State Bulletin of November 18, 1945, P. 790.


June 12, 1948 – San Francisco Chronicle reports- House Approval Is Voted for Admitting 202,000 Refugees

WASHINGTON, June 11- The House today stamped its approval on a bill to open the Nation’s doors to 202,000 homeless Europeans, many of whom face death or political persecution if they return to their native lands.

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