Chapter 4: Selected Topics of the Holocaust
As mentioned previously in this guide, the records from the Allied COMINT agencies hold information on a wide array of incidents and certain aspects of the Nazi campaign of extermination. However, a historian could not write a complete general narrative of the Holocaust based solely on these records. The information from the records is, for the most part, episodic and partial. Where in those few instances there is much detail, the information is often concentrated in a single aspect of a larger event.
For some these limitations may appear a disappointment. However, historians recognize them as part of the landscape of the process of historical reconstruction of events by utilizing data from a number of sources. For historians of the war and the Holocaust, the body of records composed of the messages decoded by the Allies is another source of information. By itself, the information from decodes is not a “secret key” to understanding the war or the Holocaust. Instead, these decodes must be combined with information from all other sources to produce the narrative fabric that is history. In some cases, the decodes can add a new or telling aspect to a story already familiar, provide the insightful anecdote or quote, or allow the historian to add an exclamation point to a thesis.
This chapter of the guide is intended to demonstrate how some of the available information from Allied cryptanalysis of Axis and neutral messages can contribute additional information to the history of the Holocaust. This section will begin with a general review of the course of the Holocaust and what the information from decodes sometimes can add to it. This will be followed by some selected topics for which there is some substantial information from COMINT sources. These include the refugee phenomenon and the growing strife in wartime Palestine, Vichy and the Jews, the destruction of Hungary’s Jews, Japanese attitudes and treatment of the Jews in the Far East, and Swiss and German wartime trade and transfer of stolen gold and other personal and national assets.
Before beginning this chapter, one general observation should be made. It is that Allied communications intelligence discovered nothing of the prewar and early wartime high-level Nazi planning for the general campaign against Europe’s Jews and other groups targeted for elimination. This situation also was true for most of the large-scale wartime plans, such as the massacres in the western Soviet Union or the death camps. There were few exceptions to this trend, most notably the intercept and decryption of German police messages that indicated that Italian Jews were soon to be subjected to roundup and deportation to camps in October 1943. Usually, though, Nazi planning, preparations, and orders to carry out these operations were not communicated in a means such as radio that could be intercepted by the Allied monitoring stations. Plans and orders were delivered by courier or were communicated orally at meetings and thus denied to Allied monitors. As a result, information that could have warned of an impending operation was missed. Generally, the communications that supported activities such as the German Police massacres in the western USSR were intercepted only after the latter had begun. The intelligence that was recovered came from a variety of communications sources: message traffic from neutral, Allied and Axis diplomats, Axis security forces, anti-Axis partisan groups, and Axis and Allied covert intelligence networks.
A. The General Course of the Holocaust and Allied Communications Intelligence
Immediately after the conquest of Poland in September 1939, German security elements moved to implement hostile policies directed against targeted segments of the Polish population and Jews in general. A limited number of German Police messages reported such events as the mass arrest of Polish officers near Warsaw and the transfer of 2,000 Jews from the town of Nasielesk to Novydvor (both towns about twenty kilometers north of Warsaw).1 Yet, information about anti-Jewish actions in Poland remained sparse, and there were no further decrypts of police messages in 1940 and 1941 from Poland.2 The lack of intercepts of radio messages suggests that the telephone and telegraph network in Poland had been repaired by the Germans shortly after the occupation had begun.
During the second half of 1941, the Nazis made a number of decisions about the course of the plan to exterminate the Jews. In late July, Reich Marshall Herman Goering signed a memorandum that authorized the SS to plan for “the complete solution to the Jewish question within the German sphere of influence in Europe.” The memo further called for a Final Solution of the Jewish question.3 In October 1941, SS chief Heinrich Himmler banned any further Jewish emigration from German-occupied Europe. In November 1941, the first massacres of German Jews, who had been deported to the east, occurred in the Baltic cities of Riga and Kovno (Kaunas).
On 20 January 1942, in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee, Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Reich Security Head Office, chaired a meeting of senior German officials from the SS, other security offices, the General Government (western Poland), occupied Poland, the German Foreign Office, and the Ministry of Justice to work out the details for the final solution of all European Jews. The German officials discussed policies that had been in effect for some time inside the Reich, and laid out a general plan for coordinating similar plans for countries allied to the Axis, as well as for occupied Europe. The decisions reached at this meeting were not revealed outside of Nazi leadership circles. Germany’s allies were uninformed of any impending changes. This secrecy is suggested by a fragment of a Japanese diplomatic message from about the time of the Wannsee Conference. A 28 January 1942 message to Tokyo from the Japanese minister in Sofia, Bulgaria, stated that the “German policy towards the Jews is well known. It is seen that the aim is their complete elimination from the European continent (perhaps to the Island of Madagascar)."4 But if the German policy decisions had not been publicized at the time, the results of those policies already were being felt in the occupied territories of Europe and the Soviet Union.
The first indications from COMINT sources of large-scale efforts to annihilate Jews and others came shortly after the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. The Nazi policy for several groups living in Russia was one of extermination. This policy had been established by the Nazi leadership some months before the invasion. In a speech to German military leaders in March 1941 during the planning for Operation Barbarosa, Hitler had explained that the upcoming campaign in the Soviet Union would be different than all others, that a war of extermination was at hand, and that Russia was to be cleared of all racial groups that were not Aryan. The slaughter of Jews would be complemented with the policy of allowing the hundreds of thousands of Russian prisoners of war taken in the early part of the campaign to die of starvation, neglect, and disease.5
In the wake of the invading Wehrmacht formations came police and SS units charged with killing “undesirables” such as communist party officials, COMINTERN (Communist International) personnel, commissars, and Jews in official positions. (Whether all Jews were included in the original orders is unclear. Some latitude may have existed, but within a short time Jews everywhere in the occupied Soviet Union were targeted for death.)6 Some of these formations were known as Einsatzgruppen. There were four of these groups whose manpower totaled about 3,000. They were composed of a mixture of SS and Sicherheitdienst (SD or Security Service) personnel. The four groups were assigned regions of operations. Einsatzgruppe A operated mostly in the Baltic region; Einsatzgruppe B, worked near Smolensk in the western Russian Federated Republic along main axis of attack for German Army Group Center; Einsatzgruppe C operated area Kiev in the central Ukraine; and Einsatzgruppe D worked in the southern USSR along the Black Sea coast and the Crimea. Working in conjunction with these groups were some SS brigades, such as the Reiter and Cavalry Brigades. The largest single element of these forces was the German Police. Over thirty reserve and regular German Police battalions, numbering about 12,000 policemen, participated in the massacres in Russia. As far back as the Wilhelmian Empire, German police had existed as paramilitary organizations organized into regional or municipal formations. These formations were known as Ordnungspolizei (Orpo) or Order Police. Referred to originally as Uniformed Police, these formations were easily integrated into the German military and traditionally had performed rear area security duties early in the war.7
Because of the vast distances involved and the inadequacy (and destruction) of the Soviet domestic telegraph and telephone cable communication system, the police and SS units exterminating the Jews and other groups relied on HF radio communications to send their action reports and administrative messages back to SS and Police headquarters. Within a month of the invasion, GC&CS, thanks to the British army intercept station at Beaumanor, and partly through the intercept and the cryptanalytic work by the covert Allied site in southern France, P.C. Cadix, was producing decrypts and translations of the German reports about many of the massacres. The police and SS reports were specific about the numbers and categories of victims: Jews, “Bolsheviks,” partisans, “bandits,” and Russian soldiers are listed in the police unit reports sent to higher headquarters.8
The first intercept that referred to a massacre probably was an 18 July 1941 radio message from the Police Regiment Center (that is, assigned to Army Group center) that reported the execution of 1,153 Jewish “plunderers” near the town of Slonim in Belorussia.9 And the numbers of victims moun-ted as the police and other groups moved east into the Soviet Union. On 3 August the SS Cavalry brigade reported it had liquidated some 3,274 partisans and “Jewish Bolshevists” (judische Bolschewisten).10 On 7 August 1941 the same brigade reported that it had executed some 7,819 people since the invasion had begun, while an accounting of all actions in the sector where Army Group Center operated totaled some 30,000 executions.11 On 11 September 1941 Police Regiment South reported to Police and SS Headquarters that it had liquidated 1,548 Jews.12 One of its subordinate battalions, the 314th, had shot 69 Jews.13 Within a short period, the German units were supplemented by formations composed of ethnic groups such as Ukrainians, Lithuanians, and others in the newly conquered territories. There is also a suggestion that Germany’s lesser allies contributed to the massacres. A June 1942 Japanese message from Budapest noted that Hungarian troops serving in the rear near Kharkov in the Ukraine had been “successful in mopping up some 38,000 “guerillas."14
Complementary information about the effects of similar large-scale massacres or liquidations from elsewhere in the occupied Soviet Union was provided by a Japanese diplomatic message from Berlin in late February 1942. It contained a partial list of “population changes” in the Baltic States that the Germans had occupied. The Japanese reported that in the first six months more than 180,000 civilians had been interned or executed. In Estonia it was estimated that the male population between the ages of 20 and 35 had declined about 45 percent.15
In late 1941 the Nazis began implementing some of the legal and administrative machinery to carry out effectively their plans for exterminating Europe’s Jews, including those in occupied countries. German police decrypts carried information about the rail transport of German Jews from cities such as Berlin and Bremen, to ghettoes in occupied territories to the east in cities like Kaunas, Lithuania, and Minsk in the Ukraine.16 Other reports from neutral and Axis diplomats carried a small amount of information on conditions in various countries. In Vienna a Japanese report from late February 1942 mentioned that 10 percent of the workers in the area were kept in concentration camps and that the police were watching all for suspect activity.17 A report from the Chilean consulate in Prague, dated 24 November 1941, carried information on the legal proscriptions against German Jews: revocation of citizenship for German Jews living overseas and limits to property transfer and sales. The report also mentioned that Jews in the Protectorate would be sent to Poland or to Terezin [Theresienstadt] in Czechoslovakia.18
At the same time, another critical part of the Nazi direct extermination plan began to operate — the death camps. The Nazi system of camps, known generally as concentration camps (Konzentrationslager) had been started within a year of Hitler’s accession to power. The early camps were used to incarcerate all “anti-social elements” and political opponents to the Nazi regime. These included Jews, communists, Social Democrats, trade union representatives, religious dissenters, homosexuals, ordinary criminals, and others. Over the years the camp system expanded and diversified into various functions. The most infamous, and largest, was Auschwitz, which actually was a complex of about forty separate camps. Auschwitz had been started in mid-1940 as a labor camp. In the fall of 1941, the Nazis began building the first “special treatment” (sonderbehandlung) camp, Birkenau. Birkenau represented the most sinister part of the Nazi plan for eliminating the Jews. On 8 December 1941, the extermination camp (Vernichtunslager) at Chelmo, Poland, went into operation. The less direct methods of extermination, such as starvation and overcrowding that had been employed in the ghettos like Warsaw and Lublin, had proven too slow for the demands of the Nazi hierarchy. The death camps were set up to speed along the Final Solution.
The camps communicated periodic reports to SS and Police headquarters in Berlin by radio. The SS had set up a radio network over which its gene-ral administrative communications were transmitted. The SS had their own version of the Enigma cipher machine, which they used to encrypt messages that reported the conditions and the population counts of the various camps. The GC&CS, which broke this SS Enigma cipher in late 1940, gave the network, and the key used to encrypt these communications, the cover name of Orange. This radio net carried most of the early reports from the concentration camps sent in 1942. Each camp sent a daily report, or a monthly report, listing for each day the tally of laborers from various ethnic and national groups. An example of a typical report, sent on October 3, 1942, detailed the totals and subtotals of the slave labor population from Auschwitz, which was identified by the single letter “F” (derived from the last letter of the camp’s radio callsign, in this case “OMF"). There were eight columns of numbers that broke down in this way: “Total at the beginning of the day,” “Increase,” “Decrease,” “Total at the end of the Day,” “Jews,” “Poles,” Unknown,” and “Russians.” These reports tallied only the slave labor population and not those being executed upon arrival at the death camps. The numbers from the available messages usually reported significant changes to a camp’s population. For example, a report from Auschwitz for September 1942 shows a loss at the end of the month of about 32 percent of the total labor population. A report from Dachau for November 1942 shows an increase in the labor force of about 2.5 percent.19
Only recently have scholars discovered that the SS also radioed information to Berlin regarding the extermination totals of Jews in the death camps. An article published in the late 2001 issue of Holocaust and Genocide Studies described a message sent from the SS leader in Lublin to the SS commands in Cracow and Berlin on 11 January 1943.20 This message, located in the PRO in HW 16/23, enumerated the numbers of Jews eliminated as part of Operation Reinhard (Einsatz Reinhar[d]t) at four death camps in the General Government (Lublin, Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka) for both the last two weeks of December 1942 and for the year 1942. The total number of persons eliminated for 1942 was 1,274,166. This number agreed with (and probably was) the basis for a statistical report of Reinhardt’s effectiveness that had been commissioned by the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in December 1942. It appears the British analysts who had decrypted the message missed the significance of this particular message at the time. No doubt this happened because the message itself contained only the identifying letters for the death camps followed by the numerical totals. The only clue would have been the reference to Operation Reinhard, the meaning of which — the plan to eliminate Polish Jewry that was named after the assassinated SS General Reinhard Heydrich — also probably was unknown at the time to the codebreakers at Bletchley.21
From February 1942 to about February 1943, these radio messages continued to be sent from the camps to SS headquarters. However, there were limitations to what could be learned from these decrypts. Not all the camps set up by the Germans in the east reported by radio; nor did the camps set up by minor Axis powers and Vichy France that were used to hold Jews for transport to the Nazi death and labor camps to the east. By early 1943, these SS reports completely ceased to be sent by radio. It is likely that the SS leadership was concerned about the security of the information that was transmitted in these messages, not unlike Daluege’s worries about Police messages in October 1941. By this time it is possible that telephone or telegraph lines had been run out to the camps and messages could be sent without the worry of eavesdropping. Later in the war, as conditions in Eastern Europe worsened with the Russian advance, the SS may have returned to using radios to communicate. GC&CS broke a few messages about the camps encrypted in the new SS Enigma key given the cover name “Grapefruit.” But these decrypts remained few in number.22
From early 1942 until the end of the war, the SS organized and oversaw a system in which Jews from occupied Europe, and from Axis-aligned countries, were transported to the various labor and death camps in Eastern Europe. Adolf Eichman’s special bureau within the SS main security office that dealt with the evacuation of Jews worked with the German Foreign Ministry to facilitate this system. The transport of mass numbers of Jews required the cooperation of national governments and their local security or paramilitary forces. The scope and effectiveness of these cooperative arrangements varied according to country. Generally, Jews living in those regions under the German direct administration (the General Government), German military occupation (France, Serbia, and Salonika), and the Reichskommissariate (Netherlands) were affected the most. Ironically, countries allied or associated with Germany had more latitude when it came to policy towards their Jewish populations, though this does not mean that their Jewish populations ultimately suffered less grievously. In countries like Hungary and Italy, resident Jewish populations temporarily were spared being rounded up and sent to the camps. Before the war, the regimes in Rome and Budapest had imposed their own anti-Semitic measures that aimed at restricting the Jewish presence in national economic, social, and cultural activities. While more restrictions were added during the war, there were no large-scale incarcerations in concentration camps; nor were there any major deportations. However, these reprieves ended when German SS and police units arrived in Italy shortly after its surrender in July 1943 and Hungary in May 1944.23
The first non-German Jews transported to the death camps came from the Slovak Republic in early 1942. (German Jews deported to the Baltic States and Polish Jews from the General Government regions of Poland already were in the process of being sent to the first death camps.) Beginning in the summer of 1942, Vichy officials started the deportation of foreign Jews from France to the camps in the east. (See Section C, Vichy Regime and the Jews, for a description of world reaction to this roundup.) By the fall of 1942, trains transporting Jews to the camps at Auschwitz now included Czech and Dutch Jews. Decrypts of German police messages indicated that these trains sometimes were accorded priority routing through the German rail system.24
In 1943 the Nazi roundup of Jews extended to more countries in occupied Europe. By March of that year, allied cryptologists were intercepting messages from a number of sources that indicated that the Nazi plan was in full operation. In the southern Balkans, it was learned that Bulgarian authorities had gathered up about 14,000 Jews from occupied Thrace and put them in the concentration camps at Gorna Dzhumaja and Dupnitsa. In Macedonia, Jews living in Skopje and Bitolj had been “stripped of their belongings” and left out in the open near the latter town, and that many infants had died, presumably due to exposure to the cold. Other Jews from the region were shipped to the death camps by rail.25 A Japanese report from May mentioned that some 4,500 Jews from Thrace who had been interned previously by the Bulgarians had been shipped to Poland.26
Because it had aligned with Germany, Bulgaria was allowed to garrison adjacent stretches of territory in neighboring Greece and Yugoslavia that contained large numbers of ethnic Bulgarians. Bulgaria carried out a campaign of expulsion against all foreign ethnic groups living in the newly acquired lands. The Bulgarians expelled some 30,000 Turks from Thrace and as many as 500,000 Greeks who lived in the region. Jews amongst the expelled ethnic groups lost their Bulgarian citizenship and were shipped to the death camps.27 Vichy diplomatic cables from Sofia noted that there was much popular opposition to the wholesale removal of the Jews from these territories. According to the French diplomats, the Bulgarian government had explained to their mission that, since Jews, as a group, desired Germany’s defeat, it had arrested them as “enemies of the nation."28 Still, Sofia resisted the wholesale surrender of Bulgarian Jews to the Nazi killing machine.
In Romania during mid-1941, some 200,000 Jews were deported to Transniestria, the Romanian-occupied region of the Ukraine. There about 120,000 Jews were slaughtered by the Romanian occupation authorities. However, in November dictator Ion Antonescu ended deportations of Romanian Jews to the region. During the roundup of Jews in Hungary in 1944, Bucharest’s diplomats worked to obtain passports and aid to Romanian Jews trapped there.29 Still, approximately some 425,000 Romanian Jews perished during the war. This was about half of the prewar population.
A Japanese report from Budapest regarding conditions in Greece mentioned that, since the German occupation, Greek Jews had been forced to wear a yellow star. The Japanese also estimated that some 50,000 to 70,000 Jews had been sent to Poland and another 25,000 to 30,000 had been exiled.30 Ultimately about 80 percent of all Greek Jews died during the war.
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, by June 1943 messages from the Dutch communist underground to Moscow that were intercepted by British Radio Security Service revealed that there was substantial local opposition to the early May roundup of Dutch Jews. A 4 June message described how only 10 percent of the Jews in Amsterdam had appeared for registration prior to deportation to the east. The city’s Jewish Council responsible for supervising the registration had failed to bring in the number required by the Nazis for deportation to the east. Finally, on 26 May the Germans sealed off the center of Amsterdam and rousted out whatever Jews they could find.31 Some Dutch Catholic clerics protested the roundups. Another translation reported that a pastoral letter was read on 16 May to protest the roundup and deportation. The letter countered German arguments that the struggle against the Soviet Union was the equivalent of victory for Germany. The letter added that, “…those who fight against bolshevism, which is condemned so sharply through [one word missing], must not suppress Christianity as this is being done by the National Socialists."32
The Nazi drive to transport Europe’s Jews to the camps continued in other countries. In Italy, in late July 1943, a coup in Rome unseated Benito Mussolini, who had been the Fascist dictator since 1923. Secret negotiations followed and Italy signed an armistice with the Allies. On 3 September Allied troops crossed over from Sicily and began the slow drive north up the Italian peninsula. Hitler rushed additional troops and security forces into Italy and propped up a rump Fascist regime in northern Italy under a recently rescued Mussolini. In late September 1943, Heinrich Himmler ordered the roundup and deportation of Jews living in Rome and dispatched SS General Karl Wolff to oversee the operation. Due to an unexpected cryptanalytic window of opportunity — the exploitation of an SD Enigma key beginning in late August 1943 — the British were able to monitor this operation from September through October 1943.33
The German police attaché in Italy, SS Major Herbert Kappler, who also performed duties for the Gestapo and SD, was placed in charge of the actual operation to round up Rome’s Jews. He had reported to Berlin in early September that some Jews had attempted to escape Rome on a train with Spanish diplomats. He added that these Jews had bought Spanish, Portuguese, and Mexican passports from the Vatican.34 Initially, Kappler had attempted to extort the Jewish community in Rome. The Irish minister in Rome reported to Dublin on 6 October that Rome’s Jews were required to supply the Germans with fifty kilograms of gold within twenty-four hours, or else 200 Jewish youth would be sent as hostages to Germany. According to the message, the “Vatican offered help,” though no specific aid from that source was mentioned.35 The message also noted that the Germans were looting the houses of wealthy Italians and taking silver, paintings, antiques, furniture, and jewelry. Presumably those being robbed were Jewish, though it is unclear from the translation who was targeted. By the second week of October, SS General Ernst Kaltenbrunner cabled Kappler with the order to evacuate the Jews from Italy without delay. He added that it was no longer a question of using the Jews for labor, or even trusting the local Italian authorities to do the job. The longer the delay, the better chance that Jews would move to the houses of sympathetic Italians and then disappear.36
The roundup began on 16 October. It was carried out by 365 German policemen from the Sicherseitspolizei and Ordnungpolizei.. Italian police units were not used by the Germans because of their “unreliability.” Kappler reported to Berlin that 1,289 Jews had been arrested. After releasing those of mixed blood, mixed marriages, foreigners, and family servants, some 1,002 were retained. Interestingly, Kappler reported that there was much passive resistance by Italian citizens.37 A report by Irish diplomats on 18 October that claimed, “All Jews in Rome, including women and children have been arrested,” clearly had exaggerated the results of the initial German police dragnet.38 Actually, this first sweep arrested about a sixth of Rome’s Jewish population. On 18 October the train with 1,007 Italian Jews left Rome.39 A report from the Argentine ambassador from early November estimated that the Germans, using a municipal “Civil register” had imprisoned some 5,000 Jews, including men and women eighty years old and infants.40 Arrests by the German Police in Rome would continue for months afterwards. In early February 1944, the Japanese ambassador to the Vatican, Harada Ken, reported to Tokyo that, on 4 February, police raided buildings adjoining the Church of San Paolo's, which enjoyed extraterritoriality status under the Lateran Treaty. Harada reported that some sixty people were arrested, including Italian army officers, Jews, and draft dodgers. According to Harada, the Vatican had “expressed regret” over the incident and, in a letter to Rome’s diplomatic community, promised that indemnity proceedings would be started soon.41 Ultimately, about 20 percent of all of Italy’s Jews were victims of the Holocaust.
At about the same time that the German police began seizing Italian Jews, in Denmark there occurred one of the rare examples of an effective national humanitarian effort on behalf of its Jews. In early October the German occupation forces in Denmark planned a nationwide roundup of Danish Jews. The Danes, including their monarch King Christian, had publicly supported the Jewish population since the Germans had occupied the country in April 1940. When news of the impending German sweep became known, the Danish underground carried off the escape of virtually all of Denmark’s 9,000 Jews to Sweden. The Germans reacted to this virtually empty bag of Jews with extreme embarrassment. German Foreign Office instructions to its press representatives overseas contained the broad statement that as of 2 October “…they [the Jews] have been eliminated from the public life of Denmark and have been prevented from further poisoning the atmosphere. In conversations, please do not go into the subject deeply (my italics). Up to now, a few hundred full-blooded Jews have been deported to Germany."42
In late 1943, as the Axis forces retreated west all along the front before the resurgent Red Army, the Nazi authorities were faced with the problem of destroying the evidence of the earlier massacres perpetrated by the Einsatzgruppen, police and SS formations. In October 1943 intercepted and decoded radio messages of the SD revealed that the Germans were in the process of exhuming the sites of mass executions and destroying the remains. The texts of the intercepted messages were written in the obtuse language that the Germans used for all matters pertaining to the Holocaust. These messages indicated that such work, executed by Sonderkommandos (Special Detachments), and included cleaning up “special places of work” in the Baltic region southwest of Leningrad, near the cities of Novgorod and Pskov. Interestingly, in trying to identify the murder sites, SS officials had to rely on information from Latvian and Russian collaborators.43
One of the most important sources of information about the death camps, specifically Birkenau at the Auschwitz complex, was the Vrba-Wetzler report of June 1944. Rudolph Vrba and Alfred Wetzler were two young Jews who had escaped Auschwitz in the spring of 1944. They made it safely to Slovakia where they composed a report of what they had learned while inmates at the camp. There had been some prior knowledge of Auschwitz from other sources, but the Vrba-Wetzler report contained many new details. The report was carried to Budapest and then on to Bern, Switzerland. There a copy was shown to the OSS regional chief, Allen Dulles, who, according to reports, was so shocked by it that he wired Washington about its contents.44 Another copy was cabled to the Czech government-in-exile in London. The cable was intercepted by the British censors and turned over to GC&CS. A copy of it was sent to Arlington Hall Station as part of the standard exchange program, but it did not reach the U.S. Army until early January 1945.
Among the details the two escapees provided were the daily food ration level (300 grams or about 11 ounces), the treatment policy for ill slave laborers (sent to the Krankenbau, literally sick place or infirmary), the procedures for gassing those selected for immediate extermination, numbers and nationalities of those exterminated, the procedure for killing “Aryan” prisoners (by shooting), the creation of a half million false discharge documents to cover those who actually had been gassed, and a list of the SS camp leaders who were responsible for these acts, as well as people identified as “criminals” who also participated in killing Jews.45 (See attached document No. 1 for a complete copy of the Vrba-Wetzler cable to London.)
More information about the camps was learned when some in the east were overrun by the advancing Red Army. In July 1944 Russian troops libera-ted the Majdanek concentration camp near Lublin, Poland. The German administrators had not had the time to dismantle the camp and destroy its records, most of which were captured intact by the Russians. Journalists from Allied and neutral countries were invited to view the camp. Reports carried in Soviet newspapers estimated the number killed at Majdanek at over a million. After a review of the captured records, it was realized the Soviet estimate was much too high. Later estimates ranged between 175,000 and 235,000. In mid-September 1944, the French ambassador to Moscow, Roger Garreau, cabled the French Committee of National Liberation (FCNL) in Algiers with a report on the newspaper stories about the camp. He pointed out to the FCNL that of the executions for March 1944 at the camp over 6 percent were French nationals. He also observed that the current publicity given “to the enormity of the crimes committed” was not enough. He urged that the committee consider publishing the reports about the camp.46
As Nazi Germany’s military situation continued to deteriorate during 1944, fears grew in the Allied and neutral capitals that the Germans would accelerate the extermination of Jews and others in the remaining camps, or that they would move prisoners from the various slave labor camps into what was left of the Third Reich’s territory. What had happened to Hungary’s Jews seemed to set a precedent for what might come elsewhere in Europe. There a special SS detachment had arrived and organized the deportation of Hungary’s Jews to Auschwitz and later marched thousands of other Jews to slave labor factories in the Reich. (See Section D of this chapter for a description of the action against Hungary’s Jews.) In mid-1944, some countries had begun diplomatic measures to protect their own citizens, Jewish and Gentile, held by the Germans or residing in Germany as foreign workers. In other cases, neutral nations were asked by private groups to intervene with Germany to save the remaining Jews held in Nazi-occupied Europe.
In May of 1944, the Portuguese charge d'affaires in Vichy cabled Lisbon that during a meeting at the German embassy he had been told that orders were soon to be given to return to France those Portuguese workers who had been forcibly sent to Germany. At the same time, the Germans told the charge that a visa for a collective passport for Jews would be granted in another ten days. How these plans turned out is not clear from the intercept; nor is it certain specifically what group of Jews was referred to in the cable.47 In June, the Romanian ambassador to Hungary signaled Bucharest that several thousand ethnic Romanians living in northern Transylvania were being rounded up to be sent to Germany and Hungary as forced labor. At least 50,000 ethnic Romanians already had been conscripted into labor battalions throughout Hungary. The ambassador reported that many towns in the region of Transylvania had been “denuded of population.” He was going to protest these forced drafts to the German ambassador and the Hungarian prime minister.48 In the summer of 1944, the Irish and Spanish ambassadors in Berlin had brought to the attention of the German Foreign Ministry the precarious situation of numerous Jews held in a camp in Vittel, France. Many of the remaining Jews were from South America and supposedly were being held to counter any possible actions against German civilians interned in those countries since 1942.49
In mid-October 1944, the Spanish ambassador to the United States reported that he had met with a committee of American rabbis, who had been recommended by Congressman Sol Bloom (D-NY), the chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee. The rabbis delivered a memorandum that stated, “Reliable sources indicated that German authorities intended to exterminate all those who are interned in Concentration Camps.” The rabbis asked that the Spanish government intervene with German authorities to respect internment laws of countries and international law. The Spanish ambassador, Cardenas De Silva, added his own comment to Madrid that any action by Spain would bring about a “very favorable atmosphere for our government and would change public opinion in this [USA] country."50 The next week, the Irish ambassador in Washington reported that he had been asked by Leon Kubotinski, an official of the World Jewish Congress, if the Irish government could follow the example of the Swedish diplomatic mission and help save some of Hungary’s threatened Jews.51
In January 1945 the Jewish Agency for Palestine asked the Czech government-in-exile to send a message to its representative in Stockholm to be relayed to the Soviet ambassador, Madame Alexandra Kollontay. The message, intercepted by the British, asked that the Soviets initiate some surprise military action to seize the German death camps in Poland before the Germans executed the thousands of Jews and “other anti-fascists” still held in them.52
By early March 1945, other countries, such as Brazil, France, Turkey, and Italy, had heard rumors that Jewish nationals held in the concentration or internment camps were in danger. In many cases, these governments had been informed that the Germans had separated Jewish prisoners of war from the other prisoners. These countries appealed to neutral nations to intervene with the International Red Cross for help.53 Reich Foreign Ministry officials responded to these claims by issuing a statement that there was “no truth to the claim” that Jewish prisoners of war are treated differently than others. Jewish persons, the statement said, were separated from other prisoners for the sake of “camp discipline."54 Right up to the Nazi surrender, fears persisted of a possible last spasm of extermination of Jews held by the Germans. A number of neutral countries, including Sweden, Switzerland, and the Vatican, made demarches with Germany to not carry out this extreme measure.55 A 17 April 1945 message from the Apostolic delegate in Lausanne, Switzerland, to the Vatican, reported that Italians held in concentration camps in northern Italy in the late summer of 1944 had been transferred to Auschwitz and other “unascertainable destinations.” The report added that the International Red Cross had gotten German assurance that these transfers had been suspended.56
In mid-February 1945, the Allied armies stood prepared to cross the last major river obstacles to Germany: the Rhine River in the west and the Oder in the east. On 18 February 1945, the few remaining diplomatic posts of the Third Reich received an extremely long (19 pages) message that contained a statement from the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. He instructed his diplomats to seek out a secret channel to relay the points in the address to “important English and American personalities.” The speech possibly was done on Ribbentrop’s own initiative. It was a rationalization of Nazi Germany’s war against the world. Among other points, it claimed that, in reality, Germany’s war all along had been a crusade against world Bolshevism. He further claimed that Germany had liberated many ethnic groups from their oppressors and that Nazism had a “positive attitude to Christendom.”
As for the effort to exterminate world Jewry, Ribbentrop had this to say: The question of the Jews is a German domestic affair which, if Germany doesn’t want to fall to Communism, must be solved in Germany. The Jewish Question in other countries does not interest Germany, in fact, in Germany we are even of the viewpoint that we can cooperate with other countries in the solution of the world’s Jewish problem.57
B. Jewish Refugees, the Holocaust and the Growing Strife in Palestine
The history of the Holocaust is notable for the duration and intensity of the resulting refugee flood. From the earliest days of Nazi rule in Germany in 1933, until the very end in 1945, Jewish refugees from the Holocaust were an ongoing concern for many countries. In some nations, such as France, the Jewish refugee presence aggravated already tense domestic antipathies towards foreigners and Jews. This domestic strife led to further restrictions against foreign Jews. This large number of those fleeing Nazi oppression would test the immigration policies in other countries, such as the United States and Britain, whose refusal to either increase or waive quotas on refugees sealed the fate of further thousands of Jews.
In the first years of the Nazi regime, American and British cryptology discovered little on the refugee issue. It was not until early 1939 that American codebreakers began to pick up any reflections of the refugee problem. These hints came mostly from intercepts of messages from Japanese diplomatic legations around the world, but mostly in Europe, who were reporting to Tokyo on efforts by Jews to leave Germany and annexed Austria. This preponderance of Japanese diplomatic messages as a source for information is an important point. Knowledge on the part of American intelligence officials about the plight of Jewish refugees was filtered through the biases of Tokyo’s diplomats.
In one Japanese message from Washington to Tokyo of 17 January 1939, the Japanese ambassador recounted that, in late 1938, President Roosevelt and Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes had made public statements criticizing German treatment of the Jews. The U.S. State Department had followed up with a note including the same charges to the German Foreign Ministry. The Japanese ambassador reported that Berlin had responded to Ickes' statements and requested that Washington advise it of one instance in which an American citizen had been mistreated. Berlin added that if Washington could produce one case in which treaty rights had been violated it would settle it. According to the Japanese, in this case, Washington had conceded that no Americans had been maltreated during the period in question. To the Japanese ambassador in Berlin, the American concession had suggested that the issue was resolved.58
Through the first nine months of the war, at least until June 1940, Allied COMINT revealed that Japanese steamship lines, notably Nippon Yusen Kaisha, were some of the prime carriers of Jewish refugees from European ports to destinations, which, in many cases, were located in the Far East.59 In one instance in early 1940, the Japanese shipping lines encountered difficulties from Portuguese authorities. It seemed that Jewish passengers had received limited visit visas from Lisbon, but upon landing they had stayed instead of departing for other destinations. To fix the problem, the Portuguese demanded that, from now on, Japanese shipping officials either get permission for extended visas or not allow Jewish passengers to leave the ships when they docked.60 These sea routes for refugees ended with the German invasion of France and the Low Countries in May 1940.
From the next year, until June 1941, one of the remaining principal avenues of escape for refugees was across the Soviet Union to its Pacific ports, principally Vladivostok. Typically, Jewish refugees, mostly Poles and Germans, obtained visas from Japanese diplomats in the USSR or a nearby country. They then secured transit papers from Soviet authorities and traveled east along the length of the Trans-Siberian Railroad to the Pacific coast port of Vladivostok. From there the refugees would embark to Japan for further transit to ports in the United States, Latin America, or to the substantial and established Jewish settlement in Shanghai. From the translations it is not certain how many Jews eventually escaped over the Siberian route. Some historians suggest that as many as 30,000 Jews fled by this route, the majority of whom ultimately arrived in Shanghai.61
One of the interesting sidelights of this overt “underground” railroad was the contribution of the Japanese consul in Kaunas, Lithuania, Chione Sugihara. Sugihara was a diplomatic official who also doubled as an intelligence officer. He was stationed first in Koeningsberg and later in Kaunas. He issued nearly 2,000 visas to Polish and German Jews, often against Tokyo’s explicit orders, from late 1939 into 1940.62 He accomplished this before the consulate was closed after the occupation of Lithuania by the U.S.S.R.63
Another interesting aspect to the refugee phenomenon was the increasing number of Jews who emigrated or fled to the British Mandate of Palestine during the war. Palestine had been part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries. A small Jewish population had lived in Palestine. In 1917 British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour declared that the government favored the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, provided that nothing would be done to “prejudice” the non-Jewish communities already there. After the First World War, the League of Nations made Palestine a Mandate under British control. For the next two decades, there was a growing antagonism between Jewish immigrants and settlers and the indigenous Arab population. The British, in their 1939 White Paper, had set a limit of 70,000 Jewish immigrants as a concession to the local Arab population. However, Arab leaders in the region, and especially in Palestine, complained to London that many more Jews than allowed for by the paper’s limit had arrived during the war. An intercepted message from the Japanese diplomatic mission in Ankara reported an Arab claim that over 100,000 Jews had entered Palestine between 1939 and 1943.64
As early as 1942, the Japanese reported additional Arab concerns caused by the formation of the Jewish Brigade in the British 8th Army, the establishment of a Jewish police force of some 36,000 personnel, and agitation by the communist Jewish labor organizations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.65 Later Japanese reports dated in early 1944 from the Japanese embassy in Ankara stated that an agent who had recently returned from Palestine noted that the Jewish underground had been building up arms caches that included machine guns. These had been smuggled in from Egypt or purchased from British or Polish soldiers garrisoned in Palestine. The Jewish underground also had set up secret factories for manufacturing more arms and ammunition. Because of these Jewish efforts, the agent suggested that the British probably would “be lenient” when looking into Arab acquisition of arms in order to placate the latter. The report ended with the observation that there would be large scale “disturbances” in the future.66 In February 1944 the Saudi Arabian consul in Jerusalem described a gunfight between British police and Jewish terrorists in Haifa in which twelve policemen were killed. The terrorists also entered a church and murdered a well-known British scholar. The same consul reported that there were other “incidents” in Tel Aviv. The Saudi diplomat added that the cause of the recent attacks stemmed from a Jewish agency demands for the abrogation of the White Paper, due to take effect in May.67
Early in 1944, members of both houses of the United States Congress drafted resolutions that called for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine and the abrogation of the British White Paper. The Arab nations of Egypt, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia were opposed to these proposals since they would open Palestine to virtually unlimited Jewish immigration. Arab diplomats in Washington especially were upset over the attacks on the Arab people and the American lawmakers' casual dismissal of their rights to the same land. In February the Iraqi minister in Washington reported that he and his Egyptian counterpart had met with Undersecretary of State Edward Stettinius to protest the proposed resolutions in the House and Senate. Stettinius assured the Arab diplomats that President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull were committed to leaving the solution of the problem of Palestine until after the war. Despite this assurance, the Arab ministers informed their capitals that they intended to monitor the situation.68
On the other side of the Palestine question, a cable from the French ambassador, Henri Bonnet, to Paris in early April 1945, recounted a meeting between embassy staff and a Mr. Akzin [sic], a representative from the Jewish Agency for Palestine. Mr. Akzin was sounding out the position of the French regarding Zionist representation at the upcoming San Francisco United Nations Conference. He was hoping that the issues of immigration and the formation of a Jewish State in Palestine could be settled. The French reminded Akzin that these problems were not included in the purpose of the conference. Akzin told the French that the various sponsors of the conference, except for Great Britain, seemed either not opposed to or in favor of such a representation.69
C. The Vichy Regime and the Jews
The historical experience of the Jews in France differed from that of the rest of modern Europe. This difference stemmed from the changes brought about by the French Revolution of 1789, which made French Jews the first national Jewish population emancipated from the medieval legal and administrative strictures of ghetto life. Prior to 1789, Jews living in Paris were considered foreigners. Elsewhere in France, their status varied: there were legal restrictions in the east, while some Jews in some communities in southwest France could vote in the Estates General. Statutes passed in 1790 and 1791 by the Revolutionary government granted Jews full civil rights throughout France.
During the 19th century, Judaism in France identified with the values of the revolution and Republican France. Many Jews adopted a secularized identity — officially members of a distinct religion, but living with a French cultural and ethnic identity. However, in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Jews came under attack from an increasingly polemical conservative wing of French politics, which included the Jews as a target of their general attacks against the liberal tendencies of the Third Republic. The French right, which combined a strong nationalism with a radical socialism, made anti-Semitism a major part of its platform.70 The Dreyfus affair (1894-1906), in which a Jewish French Army officer was accused falsely of treason and then exonerated, seemed to be the lightning rod for the forces of anti-Semitism in France. The most powerful of these voices, Charles Maurras and his Action Francaise, emerged in the midst of the drama, and would continue to make anti-Semitism a part of extreme conservative opinion for many more decades. In the end, though, the supporters of Dreyfus won. The anti-Semitic storm abated, and soon the worst aspects of it were forgotten temporarily with the spirit of the union sacree' of the First World War.71
However, by the 1930s the situation in France had become again difficult for Jews. A combative French nationalism had emerged in reaction to France’s postwar economic and political decline. It had, as one of its foundations, a widespread xenophobia. Caught in this backlash against foreigners were Jews of foreign ancestry living in France. Many French Jews could trace their ancestry for generations. But another sizable segment of the Jewish population, perhaps as many as 75,000 or so, had arrived in France as part of the flood of 300,000 immigrants and refugees that lasted during the postwar period from 1919 until the very eve of the Second World War. Some 55,000 of these arrived after 1933 as a result of the Nazis taking power in Germany.72 With a France weakened by its war losses and the Depression, and rent by internal political strife between extremes on the left and right, Jews, especially foreign Jews, would be doubly vulnerable if a reactionary, nationalist regime ever came to power. Unfortunately for the Jews in France, this occurred after France surrendered in June 1940. The Third Republic collapsed and Marshal Philippe Petain became chief of state. The seat of the French government moved to Vichy in the unoccupied southern part of the country.
Since the beginning of the Second World War, Allied code-breaking agencies had been attacking successfully a number of French codes and ciphers. The new Vichy regime continued to use the fallen Third Republic’s prewar diplomatic and colonial office cryptographic systems for its overseas communications. Some of the most lucrative sources of French communications were those to Washington, D.C., and capitals in Latin America. These messages were sent via the transatlantic cable that had terminals in the United States. The retransmission of these cables required that a copy be turned over to the U.S. cable censors. With so much traffic in hand, French codes were exploited relatively early after the formation of the Vichy regime.73 American codebreakers soon found references to the anti-Jewish laws in Vichy diplomatic and colonial cable and radio traffic.
By the fall of 1940, the first Statutes des Juifs were promulgated by Marshal Philippe Petain’s regime. These laws were designed to remove Jews from public service and various skilled professions such as architecture, law, and medicine. Jews also were excluded from the press and other media. The restrictions carried in these statutes would be continuously refined, expanded, and then reissued over the next two years.
In October 1940 Vichy informed colonial administrators throughout the French empire to start registering government employees of Jewish descent for a later determination whether they would be retained past a 19 December deadline previously set in the statutes.74 Vichy regulations provided some exemptions to the groups targeted for removal, mainly for military veterans, among others. However, Vichy’s requirements for identifying Jews actually were more rigorous than even those of their German overseers. As one intercept went, Vichy told its colonial administrators that if certain Jews claimed they were not practicing their religion, then the civil servants were to consult birth certificates or even go scour Jewish cemeteries for proof of ancestry.75
From COMINT sources it is not certain how many Jews were discharged from various governmental positions within France and its overseas colonies. In late October 1942, a messge from the Japanese naval attaché in Vichy reported that, according to SS sources, Laval’s policies were being resisted by the eighty or so Jews left in the various government departments. In August 1942 in Indochina, the governor-general, Admiral Jean Decoux, reported that nearly 700 military personnel stationed throughout the colony had been released from duty under the Vichy exclusion laws. However, this number, besides including Jews, also counted members of “secret” societies, such as the Masons, and German members of the French Foreign Legion.76 However, it does not appear that any Jews from France’s colonies were returned to France.
Free French propaganda targeted the Vichy regime over its treatment of Jews. In early 1942 the Vichy French minister in Havana, Cuba, recommended to Vichy that it press Havana to deny visas to refugee French Jews arriving in that city. He reported that a number of these refugee Jews had been contributing to the spread of propaganda hostile to the Vichy regime. He noted that Free French representatives in the city were pressuring Jewish refugees to make critical statements about Vichy. Visas to the United States were so scarce that the Free French officials had insinuated to the refugees that the only way to get a visa was to agree to make such statements. The Vichy diplomat noted that the campaign was subtle and referred to the possible influence on the refugees by fellow Jews who had “important financial means."77 Later, in August 1942, the same minister queried Vichy for a current statement that contained the whole body of legislation relating the Jews.78
In the summer of 1942, France, under pressure from the German occupation authorities, began to round up Jews for shipment to the so-called “resettlement sites” in the east. In reality, this was the start of the dispatch of Jews in France to the death and labor camps to the east. Vichy’s role in this event was notable for its cooperation with the German occupation authorities: as German officials would report, French officials were exemplary in their roundup. On one occasion, Vichy administrators even offered SS General Heydrich to include, in the roundup, Jews from the unoccupied part of France over which the Germans had little control! 79
The Vichy leadership always could find ample rationale for its actions. In late September 1942, the Vichy representative to Washington, Henry Haye, received a long cable from Vichy, under the signature of Pierre Laval, who held both offices of the Vichy prime minister and foreign minister, which explained the government’s actions regarding the Jews. The message revealed much about the long-standing nationalist French attitude towards foreign Jews and the supposed influence of them on the social and political life of France. In it, Laval claimed that the war had created an “excessive” percentage of Jews in a “region” of France that already had contained a high number of them. These “people without a country” (apatrides) were an element that was “manifestly dangerous” to France. Faced with a variety of tribulations, Laval claimed that the foreign Jews were especially susceptible to outside propaganda and would be a source of disturbances. The only solution, according to Laval, was repatriation to Eastern Europe, the “land of their origin.” Laval claimed that this “operation” was not a persecution. He lambasted other countries that dared to criticize France, notably the United States, which had “close[d] their doors to Jewish immigration.” 80 [See attachment 6 for the translation of the full text of Laval’s statement.]
Laval’s September statement added new rationalizations for Vichy policy that he previously sent to his ambassadors in Latin America on how to respond to the criticism from that region. In one earlier message for the Vichy mission to Brazil, he said that France could not “permit the prolongation of the stay on its soil of [alien?] Jews whose principle [sic] occupations are black marketing and Communistic propaganda.” He would go on, “None of them works, but each consumes and diminishes by so much the [supplies?], which are indispensable to the French."81
The Allied codebreakers recorded the inter-national reactions to Vichy’s policy and performance in regard to the Jews. As a result of the roundup, the cable lines and airwaves between Vichy and foreign capitals, especially Washington, were filled with desperate appeals by Jews in the U.S. and Latin America seeking information about relatives who awaited a decision on their fate while interned in French concentration camps at Drancy, Rivesaltes, Casemeuil, Gurs, and other sites. Pleas for exit visas for the interned Jews came through the Vichy mission in Washington, DC, which relayed the requests from the consulates in other American cities, such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.82 In other cases, important individual Americans, such as Congressman Samuel Dickstein (D-NY), chairman of the House Immigration and Naturalization Committee, personally interceded in appeals for exit visas. Also, influential Jewish organizations, such as the World Jewish Congress and the Jewish Relief Society intervened on behalf of Jews stranded in Marseilles and in North Africa.83
Allied COMINT also recorded the international tide of protest heaped on France as a result of the roundup of the Jews. The sharpest rebukes were contained in the reports from French diplomats in Latin America. They itemized for Vichy the many protests against the deportation of Jews from the mostly Catholic populations of the region. As one French diplomat in Argentina noted, the most influential paper in that country had editorialized that France, once the fatherland to Saint Louis and Joan of Arc, was now “an anti-Christian country."84 In a message intercepted by the Canadian Examination Unit, the French ambassador in Brazil asked Vichy for a clarification of charges in the British and American press that the French clergy and press have attacked the deportations. “Because of the repercussions these two [last] allegations can have in strongly Catholic countries, I should like to be sent the true facts of the matter."85 Other diplomats reported how the Western press services reported on the arrests and deportations of Jews, and “incidents,” such as the arrest of a school headmaster in Lyons who refused to turn over a list of Jewish children of whom he had taken charge.86
In Washington, Ambassador Haye reported on 31 October that the Polish ambassador stationed there had passed along the complaint of the Polish government-in-exile in London about the deportation of Polish Jews and veterans who had fought in the French army in 1940. The Pole also protested to Vichy the recent obligatory mobilization of Polish workers for work in Germany.87 In a response to Haye’s cables, Vichy dismissed the protests and claimed that, since there were no diplomatic relations between Vichy and the Polish government-in-exile, there was no need to answer the ambassador’s complaints. Vichy did allow Haye to verbally assure the Poles that no Polish workers from the unoccupied zone would be mobilized. The situation of the Polish Jews was not even mentioned in the dispatch.88
Other countries complained to Vichy regarding the treatment of their nationals by the Vichy authorities. In one case, the Mexican government strongly objected to the seizure of the property of a Jewish Mexican national living in Nice. The Mexican diplomats also objected to the harassment of this person by French police. The French offered to appoint a Mexican administrator to oversee the liquidation of the individual’s property. The Mexican ambassador reported that Vichy had ignored earlier protests regarding the treatment of its citizen. He urged the foreign ministry in Mexico City to make the strongest statement possible and consider commercial reprisals against Vichy. The Mexican ambassador also informed his superiors that Vichy was seizing the property of Jewish citizens of the United States and Turkey, as well as restricting their activities.89
The Vichy regime would continue to be unmoved by foreign criticism. Marshal Petain appeared to believe that he was acting in the best interest of the French state. But he would be chastised by no less an authority than the Pope’s representative. At a late July luncheon at a hotel in Vichy, Petain commented to the Apostolic Nuncio, Cardinal Valerio Valeri that he was consoled by the fact that the Pope understood and approved his policy on the Jews. Valeri had to correct Petain. According to a report by the Ecuadorian minister to Vichy that was intercepted by the British, the Nuncio told Petain at the luncheon that he was mistaken about the Pope. The “Holy Father does not approve of it."90 Valeri later asked for another meeting in which he delivered the Pope’s plea to stop the persecutions. Even the personal protest of the Pope to Marshal Philippe Petain, the chief of state, stirred “Le Marechal” only to limit the on-going deportations to foreign Jews living in the occupied zone of France.91 Vichy’s attitude remained fixed. Another intercepted cable of 13 September carried the revealing statement that, “It is a matter of purifying France of the foreign Jews.” The same cable carried another remark attributed to a Vichy official that “nothing would divert the French Government from the policy it is following about the Jewish question."92
An emotionally charged case that arose during the deportations concerned the fate of about 5,000 (maybe as many as 8,000) children of foreign Jews left in France as orphans after their parents had been “sent east.” The governments of both the United States and Vichy France took up the issue. In late August 1942 the U.S. charge d'affaires, Pinkney Tuck, had approached Laval about the orphaned children. Laval played a cynical game with the Americans. His administration leaked an offer it claimed to have made to the United States: that France would send all of its Jews to America if Washington would grant them exit visas. This leak was probably a ploy to embarrass the U.S., for it appears that Laval never intended to allow the children to leave. He already had turned down an offer by the Dominican Republic to take in many of the children.93 He soon released a statement that France would solve this problem in a “humane” manner and not separate the children from their parents. But France would not stop deporting the foreign Jews. Privately, though, Laval continued to play with the Americans. He insisted that no fanfare would accompany the children’s arrival in the U.S. The situation became more confused when stories were published that claimed that children of French workers sent to Germany as forced labor were to go to the United States.94
On 30 October the Vichy ambassador in Washington, Henry Haye, met with Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, who assured Haye that the U.S. would not “make one believe” that the children belonged to French workers. Welles added that the State Department publicly would explain that not all of the orphans were Jewish so as to calm the fears of unidentified “groups of Americans” that “too many Jews” were coming into the country."95 Despite a public statement by Secretary of State Cordell Hull that “negotiations were going along satisfactorily,” the French had backed off from releasing the children. Ultimately, Quaker relief workers managed to get about 350 of the children out, but the rest remained in France. Many reasons have been put forward for Vichy’s clumsy and cynical handling of the issue — the foreign Jewish children helped meet the German quotas for Jews and protected French Jews; it made administrative sense not to separate families; or Laval’s desire to avoid further tension with German occupation authorities.96
With the Allied invasion of French North Africa in November 1942, the communications intelligence window to the roundup and incarceration of foreign Jews in mainland France closed. Axis covert intelligence agents, located in Spanish-controlled Tangier, reported that the Jews, along with communists, and Allied national internees in the newly liberated regions of French North Africa, had been freed from the numerous concentration and labor camps established by Vichy.97 The number of Jews held in French detention camps in North Africa numbered about 15,000 out of a population of around 295,000.98 The Axis agents also reported that the prohibitions against the Jews in governmental service and the schools had been lifted. Interestingly, though, the removal of these sanctions only occurred months after the Allies had liberated French North Africa. The new regime in North Africa under Admiral Jean Darlan and General Henri Giraud had refused to abrogate the Statutes des Juifs immediately after liberation. One of their claims was that to remove the laws would incite the Arab population. However, Moslems as a group steadfastly and consistently had refused to participate in Vichy’s anti-Jewish program. In fact many of the Moslem elite openly had supported the Jews.99
After the Allied invasion of North Africa, Vichy’s propaganda organs continued to crank out a range of pieces that emphasized the claim that there were Jewish connections with communist front groups that, in turn, were working for the eventual Bolshevik takeover of France’s former colonies. Vichy’s propagandists in their effort to discover any Jewish connection with the Free French, also pointed out the fact that the wife of General Georges Catroux, one of General De Gaulle’s principal subordinates, was Jewish.100
An interesting sidelight to the liberation came from the intercepts of the messages from the French Committee for National Liberation to its High Commissioner in Algiers that indicated that many Jews in North Africa had resisted the reinstatement of the provisions of the Cremieux Decree, an 1870 law that conferred French citizenship specifically on Jews in Algeria. Many Algerian Jews felt that the decree created animosity between them and the Arab population, and “preferred to recover their citizenship as did every other group."101
For the rest of the war, the only hints from Vichy communications as to the fate of Jews in its territories came out of Indochina. There, in January 1945, Governor-General Decoux had decided to drop the various repressive statutes instituted under the Vichy regime. Among others, the bans against secret societies and the anti-Jewish statutes were repealed. The French administration in Hanoi had claimed that it had instituted the laws only because of pressure from Vichy. Now that Vichy had vanished, the colonial administration saw no need for the strictures. The governor-general’s administration in Hanoi restored former university and lycee professors, employees, and officials to the positions they held prior to the decrees. As the colony’s chief political officer noted to a Japanese official, all of this only came “after it had become obvious that Vichy was virtually extinct."102
As for the Holocaust in France, ultimately 90,000 Jews from that country were sent to the camps in the east. Fewer than 3,000 returned. While Allied COMINT revealed their roundup and transport to holding camps in France, it did not record their ultimate fate in the East.
D. The Destruction of Hungary’s Jews, 1944
If one were to look at a map of Europe in early 1944 to see what havoc had been wreaked on its Jewish population, there would have been much devastation. One of the few exceptions in this landscape of death was the Jewish community of Hungary with its approximate 800,000 members. Hungary’s Jewish community could hardly have been unaware of what had happened elsewhere in Europe. Information on the fate of Jews elsewhere in occupied Europe had been flowing to Budapest for some time, but had been largely ignored or discounted as not being relevant to the situation in Hungary.103 Ultimately, Hungarian Jewry suffered enormous losses after the Nazi extermination machinery was turned on them. This happened in the last year of the war in Europe when the power of the Nazi regime was falling before Allied military assaults from east, south, and west. The reduction of Hungary’s Jews is also remarkable because it happened in full view of the outside world, mainly before Budapest’s community of foreign diplomatic missions and nongovernmental organizations, such as the Red Cross, which reported on the initial roundups in the countryside and the final onslaught in Budapest itself.
That the fury of the Holocaust was visited late on Hungary’s Jewish population was the result largely of that country’s role in the war as a limited ally of Germany. Hungary had aligned itself with Nazi Germany for opportunistic reasons. This alliance allowed Hungary to annex land from neighboring Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Romania. Hungary had long-standing territorial claims and historic concerns over sizable ethnic Magyar populations living in all three countries. Hungary also picked up a sizable ethnic Romanian population when it received Transylvania. The price for this cooperation was that Hungary got involved in the battle between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Within the context of the gigantic campaign on the eastern front, Hungary’s limited territorial aims were meaningless; hopelessly entangled with Berlin’s fate, Budapest had to go along with the war against Moscow and, ultimately, the Nazi plan for the liquidation of its Jews.
Hungary’s prewar Jewish population was a little over 400,000. The government had implemented a number of restrictive measures against its Jews through a series of decrees from 1938 to 1941. The early laws applied only to Jews defined by their religion. In August 1941 Hungary’s first law that defined Jews in racial terms was adopted. This definition applied even to Jews who had been baptized into Hungary’s Christian churches, though the law was not ironclad. This ruling increased Hungary’s Jewish population by about another 100,000. By 1941 Hungary’s Jewish population totaled about 800,000. This was nearly double its prewar number. Much of the increase was due to Hungary’s territorial expansion; lands annexed from its neighbors contained many Jews. Other Jews had fled to Hungary with the illusion that it would remain a haven. Still, the full effect of the implementation of these anti-Semitic measures was mitigated for almost three years until early 1944. Much of this restraint was due to the critical position that many Jews held in Hungary. To a large extent they constituted a large segment of Hungary’s professional and middle class and were considered indispensable to its economy.104
The Nazi leadership was never pleased with Hungary’s unenthusiastic prosecution of the war and of the “Jewish Question.” Even as early as October 1943, Japanese diplomats reported that Hungary might “follow in Italy’s footsteps.” Germany, they reported, was unhappy with Hungary and convinced that Premier Milkos Kallay was backed by a “Jewish financial clique."105 This tolerance appeared to Berlin as just another example of Budapest’s overall lukewarm participation in the war and implementation of German racial policies.106 So, in mid-March 1944 Hitler personally presented the Hungarian regent and dictator, Admiral Miklos Horthy, with the choice of German military occupation or the formation of a German-approved government dominated by Hungarians friendly to Germany. The new prime minister (and foreign minister) was Dome Sztojay, the former Hungarian minister to Berlin. A number of German officials moved into Hungary and directed that country’s military, economic, and security activities. Horthy agreed to form a new government on 22 March.
A German SondereinsatzKommando (a special task force) was formed in Germany under Adolph Eichmann to organize the roundup and destruction of the Hungarian Jews. Among the first efforts by the Germans and their Hungarian allies was the enforcement of more stringent economic measures against Jewish businesses and investments. In early April, Japanese diplomats in Budapest notified Tokyo of these new measures.107 Three months later they noted that by June all of the stock held by Jews in Hungary’s mining and heavy industrial firms had been transferred to the Hermann Goering Werke. The Japanese also reported that the massive deportations had been efficient and estimated that some 200,000 Jews were on their way to Poland. Already, they noted, this action was being “praised” as reducing Jewish influence in Hungary.108 Regarding the deportation, a Hungarian diplomatic dispatch to Ankara, Turkey, from 12 June contained the curious statement that Hungarian Jews were being sent to Germany to work, and that, because “Jews are willing to go to a strange place to work if not cut off from their families, the members of families are sent with them.” The Hungarian officials in Turkey were assured that the conditions for the Jews in Germany were “satisfactory."109 Between the middle of May to the middle of July, the first massive deportation of Jews by the SS task force was completed.
Not all Hungarians approved of the new government or the deportations. In April some Hungarian diplomats in Finland, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden refused to recognize the newly installed, German-supported government. As a result of this opposition, some of these diplomats were removed from their positions or stripped of Hungarian citizenship. In another case, during the roundup of Jews in June, the Hungarian minister to Switzerland sent a message to Baron Apor, the Hungarian representative to the Vatican, begging him to publicize the danger to the Jews.110 Presumably, Baron Apor was to alert some element within the Papacy to the crisis in Hungary.
An ancillary issue that arose during the first operations by the SS was the status of foreign Jews living in Hungary. During the summer deportations, the diplomatic missions of Vichy France, Romania, and Switzerland were ordered by the Hungarian government to facilitate the departure of their nations' Jews from the country.111 In the fall, more countries would intervene on the behalf of their Jewish nationals trapped in Hungary and threatened by the Nazi dragnets.
In late July there was a lull in the deportations. After the failed attempt on Hitler’s life, the Germans backed off from pressing Horthy’s regime to continue further, large-scale deportations. Smaller groups continued to be deported by train. At least one German police message decoded by GC&CS revealed that one trainload of 1,296 Jews from the town of Sarvar in western Hungary had departed for Auschwitz on August 4.112 In late August Horthy refused Eichmann’s request to restart the deportations. Himmler ordered Eichmann to leave Budapest. During this time, some foreign missions and nongovernment organizations began modest rescue efforts of the remaining Hungarian Jews. For example, the International Red Cross (IRC) was working on an agreement with so-called “competent” Germans to reroute 600 Hungarian Jews originally destined to be transferred to Bergen-Belsen on 30 June. The IRC was planning to move these Jews into Switzerland. From there they would travel through France to arrive in Spain.113 This latter message probably referred to a train with 1,684 Jews aboard who had paid a ransom to flee Hungary. A member of the Budapest Jewish Refugee Committee, Rezso Kastner, had arranged with local SS officials for this train to be part of a trade of a “Jews for trucks” deal. On 30 June, Eichmann, angry over the proposed plan, ordered the train diverted to Bergen-Belsen.
Later that month, Swiss diplomats were arranging a transfer of Jewish children to hospitals in Switzerland and Sweden. In late September, Swiss diplomats in Budapest reported that the Germans had layered on various conditions for the rescue of these Jewish children. These included the stipulation that the first train out of Budapest contained only “Aryan” children (possibly a reference to baptized Jews). The Jewish children were to be added to a group of refugees slated for Palestine. (It is possible that the Swiss originally intended to send these children to Tangier, but that the plans were changed. Instead, they were to go to Switzerland.114) However, the Nazis and Hungarian authorities stipulated that the children could not leave until a general deportation of Jews from Budapest to the Hungarian provinces had begun. The Swiss diplomats said they could not agree to this last condition. However, on 12 October, despite the holdup of the train with the Jewish children, the Swiss recommended to Bern that the train with the Christian children, of whom 40 percent were converts, be sent. “We recommend saving as many children as possible,” the diplomats informed Bern.115 However, from the limited COMINT it is unknown if this particular rescue initiative was successful.
In September Hungarian authorities relaxed some restrictions on the Jews living in Budapest. At the same time, some Hungarian politicians and diplomats began secret surrender negotiations with the Allies. German intelligence knew about these maneuvers both from sympathizers within the Horthy regime and their own intercepts of Hungarian diplomatic messages that contained surrender overtures to the Allies.116 In eastern Hungary, the military situation for the Axis had turned critical. In early October the Red Army had crashed into southern Hungary and was only a hundred miles from the city. The Germans moved swiftly to retrieve the situation, and on 15 October a sudden coup spearheaded by a commando team commanded by the SS Sonderkommando’s Oberst Urbannfuhrer Otto Skorzeny toppled Horthy’s regency. The OSS reported that German officials planned to remove all Hungarian national gold, estimated at some 30 million Reichmarks, to the Reichsbank branch in Dresden.117
Meanwhile, the Red Army’s advance into Poland forced the SS to close the camp complex at Auschwitz. The Germans were in need of slave labor for the underground plants producing jet aircraft and the various V-missiles. A decision was made to use Hungary’s remaining Jews in these and other assembly plants.118 Eichmann returned to Budapest on 17 October to oversee the new deportations. With rail transport unreliable and scarce because of Allied air attacks and military priorities, the only way to get these Jews to Germany was by forced march across central Europe’s autumn and winter landscape. The Hungarian minister of interior announced that Jews would be “mercilessly” treated. The Portuguese reported that all Jewish homes had been closed and that Budapest was “still in a state of siege."119 The situation ameliorated by the 21st when exemptions to the deportation decrees were allowed to Jews who had married Aryans or had received the protection of foreign legations.120
There were few illusions among outside observers as to what would happen to these Jews. On 24 October the Portuguese minister to Budapest reported to Lisbon that 60,000 Jews, men and women, were going to be deported. He added that 14,000 had already left for Vienna, Austria, in a forced march of twenty kilometers a day with “minimum” rations. “It is evident,” he reported, “that the great majority will die even before crossing the frontier."121 In the days to come, the Portuguese legation’s messages would be one of the principal sources of communications intelligence about the Hungarian Holocaust.
In October the foreign delegations banded together to try to save as many Jews as possible. They had already done this once before in the summer, but the forced exodus of the remaining Jews under impossible conditions, and a new inhospitable Hungarian regime, was a spur to further action. Other countries, such as Mexico, considered granting visas for Jews to escape.122 One of the major problems for the diplomats was the question of recognition of the puppet regime under Ferenc Szalasi. Szalasi, a cashiered army officer, who previously had led the Arrow Cross, had replaced Horthy after the German coup. As the Portuguese minister reported, it was known that Horthy had been forced to sign a decree renouncing plans for an armistice with the Allies. Most of the foreign delegations were uncertain what to do. The Swedish diplomatic mission was reluctant to accommodate Szalasi. For some time it had been handing out numerous “protective passports” to Hungarian Jews. Raoul Wallenberg, the third secretary of the Swedish delegation and son of the Swedish banking family, was the central figure handing out the passports, arranging for food supplies, and interceding on behalf of detainees.123 The Papal Nuncio to Budapest decided, on his own, to recognize Szalasi, because of “the great interests of the Catholic Church” in Hungary. He also was concerned about his Jewish “protégés…who would be the first victims of the eventual rupture in relations."124 According to Portuguese diplomats in the Vatican, that country had not recognized the Szalasi regime, though papal representatives were hoping that “events will take it upon themselves to resolve this contradictory situation before it becomes necessary to make its [Vatican] attitude clearer and more coherent."125 The other delegations, however, were awaiting instructions from their capitals.126
The actions by Raoul Wallenberg have earned him a justly deserved high regard in the annals of the rescue of victims of the Holocaust. The Allies could not exploit high-level Swedish diplomatic messages that would have contained information about conditions in Budapest and information about Wallenberg’s rescue efforts.127 The only reference to Wallenberg in Allied SIGINT translations appears in an intercepted Spanish diplomatic message from Washington to Madrid that referred to his appointment to Budapest.128 Diplomatic messages from other delegations in Budapest refer to unnamed Swedish representatives attending meetings by the neutral diplomats as the latter tried to coordinate a rescue policy. It is likely that some or all the reported comments at these meetings made by the unnamed Swedish delegates(s) can be attributed to Wallenberg.129
However, the foreign delegations saw much of their work defeated when the German and Hungarian security forces arrested Jews who held these protective passports. As the Portuguese reported, the Germans did not respect the passports because, in their view, the Jews had not surrendered Hungarian citizenship when they received the papers. The Portuguese ambassador somberly informed Lisbon that he and the Swedish minister were “equally incapable at this moment of averting the impending tragedy."130 Furthermore, by mid-November 1944, the Hungarian government planned to abolish the extraterritoriality of the foreign legations in Budapest. It claimed that it could no longer protect the diplomats' premises. In practical terms, any effort by a third country to try to save Jews would have to be conducted between Berlin and its foreign ministry.131
Still, some diplomats continued to press relief efforts. In Berlin, the Portuguese ambassador, acting under instructions from Premier Antonio Salazar, took the matter to the German Foreign Office State Secretary Adolf von Steengracht. Steengracht told the ambassador that Germany or Hungary would not admit that any Jews holding foreign passports or protection cards would receive protection from the deportations. The German went on to state that the situation for Hungary’s Jews was similar to that experienced earlier by Germany’s Jews. Either they leave the country or they remain subject to the laws set for the Jews. Steengracht went on that Germany would not assume responsibility for Hungarian actions. He denied the ambassador’s claim that Germany controlled Hungary. He ended the meeting by stating that Germany would not intervene in the matter.132
By late November, the Szalasi regime, in order to organize and facilitate the final deportation, established five categories of Jews: (1) Jews with protective passes were to be concentrated in certain houses and they would be approved to leave pending permission from Berlin to transit Germany; (2) so-called “borrowed Jews” (Leih Juden), who were to be handed over to Germany for labor service; (3) remaining Jews — children, elderly, pregnant women — were to be put in a ghetto; (4) clergy and persons with special military or other honors were to be separated, but not in a ghetto; and (5) Jews from neutral nations who were to leave by 1 December.133
The conditions for the Jews who remained in Budapest remained hard and dangerous. Left to the depredations of the Germans and the Arrow Cross, another 10,000 would die. Some of those who received protective passports would reach safety in Switzerland and other neutral countries. But by war’s end, Hungarian Jewry had been largely destroyed. A German diplomatic message of 30 December from Edmund Veesenmayer, the main Nazi official in Hungary, reviewed the results of Eichmann’s special task force. A total of 493,000 Jews had been deported from Hungary. Of these, some 440,000 had been shipped out. Another 42,000 had been sent to build fortifications or work in munitions plants. In the Ghetto in Budapest, about another 100,000 remained, mostly “old men, women as well as Jewish children."134
E. Japan and the Jews in the Far East
During the war years, the Jewish communities in the Far East living under the Japanese occupation — principally the 30,000 in Shanghai, but also small communities in other Chinese cities and throughout the Netherlands East Indies and Philippines — lived under an administrative policy that was noteworthy for its generally neutral attitude. (Another group lived in French Indo-China, but they were subject to Vichy’s anti-Jewish laws and suffered removal from government positions and had prohibitions placed on their activities. See Section C.) Although a small number of Jews suffered maltreatment at the hands of individual Japanese officials, few were imprisoned or restricted because of their identity. In these latter cases, the Jews were singled out because they were stateless persons, having been stripped of their Polish or German citizenship by Nazi policy, not necessarily because they were Jews. Overall Japanese policy and actions towards Jews as a group was one that could be characterized as studied even-handedness. The Japanese did not single out the Jews for special attention or restrictions because of their “ethnic” or religious uniqueness. On the other hand, the Jews shared equally in the suspicion that the Japanese held for all neutral and non-Japanese nationals living within the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.
The Japanese view of the Jews probably grew out of the complicated mixture of racism, nationalism, and fear of foreign conspiracy and secret control of international events that dominated Japanese national attitudes towards all foreigners, especially those living in western countries.135 Significant anti-Semitism first appeared in Japan after World War I and was probably part of the extremist, anticommunist reaction against the Bolshevik Revolution that strongly emphasized the Jewish “nature” of the revolution, its ideology, and its leaders. With the signing of the German-Japanese Anti-COMINTERN Pact in 1936 and the Tripartite Treaty of September 1940, anti-Semitism gained a more formal footing in some of Tokyo’s ruling circles. Meanwhile, the Japanese public was exposed to a campaign of defamation that created a popular image known as the Yudayaka, or the “Jewish peril."136
Still, attitudes among individual Japanese diplomats and politicians varied greatly towards the Jews and the attendant myths about them like that of Jewish worldwide political and economic influence. For example, in October and November 1937, Japanese diplomats in Paris reported to Tokyo that part of the West’s opposition to Japan’s invasion of China came from “English, American, and French Jewish plutocrats.” These bankers were intent on supplying China with arms, and were willing to sustain this support “in a long struggle."137 An earlier Japanese diplomatic message from Paris had reported that the Jews were also making use of local newspapers to stir up opposition to Japan. This message also mentioned that a Japanese national in Paris had deplored the change that had occurred since the “days of the Russo-Japanese War when the Jewish financial clique was trying to help Japan in retaliation against Russia."138
On the other hand, in 1939 the Japanese ambassador to Berlin, Baron Oshima Hiroshi, reminded Tokyo of Japan’s debt to certain Jews who had helped it during the war with Russia in 1905. On 16 January 1939, he cabled Tokyo about one Jew, unnamed, who had fled Nazi Germany for Britain and was in dire personal straits. Oshima admitted that there was little that Tokyo could do for this man. However, Oshima noted that the person performed valuable intelligence work for Japan during the 1905 war by notifying it of the sailing of the Tzar’s Baltic Fleet, and that his steamships (presumably this individual owned a shipping line) had been used to gather intelligence from Russian ports. Oshima suggested that this individual should be given some sort of token of Tokyo’s gratitude.139 In another similar case that same month, Tokyo’s ambassador to Washington, Kensuku Horinouchi, went out of his way to assure an American acquaintance that a German Jew, Kurb Singer, a professor of economics teaching at a university in Tokyo, had not been removed from his position because he was a Jew. The ambassador insisted that Jews were not discriminated against in Japan. Horinouchi suspected that the professor had been let go for some other reason and that he was cabling Tokyo to find out what had happened.140
These few examples illustrate the difficult problem of attempting to generalize the variety of opinions held by Japanese diplomats and other officials towards the Jews. The majority of the Japanese political, diplomatic, and military leadership probably did not embrace the philosophical, theological, racial, or pseudo-scientific bases that underpinned the Western, and primarily European, versions of anti-Semitism. On the other hand, many Japanese officials appear to have been impressed enough by the claims of Jewish worldwide political and economic influence to try to use it to Japan’s advantage. Based on Western signals intelligence sources, in this case almost exclusively Tokyo’s diplomatic message traffic, the Japanese attitude towards world Jewry was revealed in further detail as a subtle, complex, and contradictory structure that combined a suspicion of everything foreign with a pragmatic, opportunistic effort to exploit a “Jewish card” in relations with Western countries, especially the United States.
In the late 1930s, the Japanese were examining various political and economic tactics by which to exert some leverage on American leaders regarding problems such as Pacific-wide security arrangements, trade relations, and the ongoing war with China. In late 1939, for example, Japanese diplomats in Washington had urged Tokyo to establish guidelines for the Imperial Army that would avoid or minimize damage to American economic interests in China.141 Tokyo’s politicians suggested another approach to take with Washington. The plan was to organize a liaison effort with American Christian missionaries in China so as to remove that source of friction with Washington.142
Along the economic front, Japanese officials in occupied China and the puppet regime in Manchukuo had tried various measures to lure foreign investment capital from the U.S. so as to ease relations between Tokyo and Washington. One tack, revealed by intercepted messages, was to tie the investments to a policy of eased immigration for European Jews to Shanghai.143 In late 1939 to early 1940, a series of intercepted Japanese diplomatic messages revealed that a private Japanese citizen with quasi-official connections to Tokyo and a prominent Jewish manufacturer from New York had developed a similar plan that included a subsidy for Jewish immigrants to Shanghai. However, both plans went nowhere as they ran aground on the reefs of heightened mutual suspicion between Tokyo and Washington.144
The Japanese also were interested in exploiting the possibilities offered by individual Jews with whom they believed held a certain influence in international affairs. One such person was Sir Victor Sassoon, an investment banker and leading citizen of the long-standing Sephardic Jewish community in Shanghai. (Jews from the Iberian Peninsula originally were referred to as Sephardic Jews. Later, the term included all Jews from North Africa or the Middle East. In the late 19th century, a large number of Sephardic Jews from Iraq had immigrated to Shanghai and established the community there.) In 1939 Sassoon traveled to the United States on a business trip. Translations of intercepted Japanese diplomatic messages revealed that Tokyo had alerted its diplomats to watch Sassoon at his every stop, record what he said, and with whom he met. In fact, in New York City, an individual, termed a “secret agent,” made a covert contact with Sassoon’s private secretary to determine the businessman’s purpose for the trip. It turns out this “agent” was a United Press correspondent who told the Japanese that Sassoon was staying at the Ritz Towers for about a month. Apparently the banker was looking into building a manufacturing facility in New Jersey.145 On his return trip to Shanghai, Japanese diplomats in Honolulu reported Sassoon’s comments at a press conference there regarding the situation in China.
After the start of the war in the Pacific and with the resulting closer workings with the other Axis powers, the Japanese were pressured by the Germans to do something about the Jewish communities under their control — principally Shanghai. The Japanese were aware that Berlin’s cancellation of German citizenship of all Jews who had left Germany that affected several thousand Jews in Shanghai. And in May 1942, an intercept of a message from the Japanese embassy in Berlin revealed that Alfred Rosenberg, Nazism’s “philosopher” and Minister to the Occupied Eastern Territories, had urged the Japanese to do something about the Jews living in their territories before they became a “problem.” He was particularly anxious to limit their free travel through the rest of southern Asia.146
Yet, the Japanese refused to go along with the German demands. In late January 1942, even as the German authorities met at Wannsee to finalize the mechanisms for the Holocaust, Tokyo’s policy was, as some of their diplomats said, “to go easy in our policy towards the Jews."147 In mid-March 1942, the Japanese policy towards the Jews was set out in a message broadcast from Tokyo to all diplomatic stations in the Far East. The message declared that the fundamental policy towards Jews, as set out in a Japanese Diet declaration in 1938, would be only partly modified to account for the Axis alliance. Jews would still be considered as any other group of foreigners, although the distinction of “Jewishness” would be based on race and culture. But this distinction applied only to stateless refugees — which meant German and Polish Jews. Any expulsion of Jews from Japanese-controlled territory was considered contrary to the stated Japanese national policy of the Common Brotherhood of Mankind (Hakko Ichiu — literally “8 roofs, 1 house"). Therefore, Tokyo’s official policy was this: Jews holding citizenship of any country would be accorded treatment comparable to citizens of that country. Jews without citizenship would be considered stateless, in the same category as White Russian émigrés. This group of Jews would be under surveillance because of their “racial characteristics.” Another category of Jews, those who could be considered “useful” to Japan because of their political or economic influence, would receive the same treatment that they received prior to the war.148
For the duration of the war, the Japanese held to this policy in the lands that they occupied. Aside from some isolated incidents of harassment by individual Japanese occupation functionaries and a small number of Jews who were interned in detention camps in Malaysia and the Netherlands East Indies, the Japanese treated the Jews no differently than other neutral or national groups.149 In the Philippines, the Japanese military occupation administration issued a general warning to Jews believed to have been involved in black market operations, price manipulation, and espionage. A German report from its embassy in Tokyo noted that the Japanese threatened drastic actions against anyone involved in these activities, “irrespective of the nationality of the persons concerned."150
True, Jews in Shanghai were legally circumscribed in their daily activities. Yet these restrictions were the same the Japanese had ordered for all neutral nationals.151 In French Indochina, the Japanese requested that the French institute similar restrictions of Jews and citizens of neutral countries who held anti-Axis opinions. They also asked French authorities to keep Jews and neutrals under surveillance and that the Vichy colonial regime limit any influx of “such people” into Indochina.152 Japanese concerns about Jewish attitudes towards them (and the Axis in general) grew more anxious, especially as the course of the war turned against Tokyo.153 Overall, though, the Japanese remained scrupulously correct in their treatment of the Jews.
Interestingly, the Japanese official attitude was tested in mid-1944. In May, Baron Oshima Hirose, the Japanese ambassador to Berlin, reported to Tokyo that he had been invited by the German Foreign Office to participate in a forum sponsored by the international anti-Jewish front to be held in June or July in Krakow, Poland. The theme of the forum was “The Role of the Jew in Contemporary World Politics.” Participants would include scholars of the “Jewish question” such as ethnologists, historians, economists, and others. The Germans were anxious to secure the attendance of representatives from neutral countries in order to “underscore the international character of the meeting."154
Oshima reported that a number of high-ranking individuals from occupied Europe were going to participate in the forum. These included Premier Tuka of Slovakia, a General Bonnard from France, the interior minister of Hungary, and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.155 The Baron cautioned Tokyo about participating in this forum. He mentioned that Japan’s current racial policy precluded it. “The Germans do not consider the Jewish question as one related to the human race, but the proposition…is not held generally.” The ambassador added that the Allies would make much propaganda from Japan’s participation. Yet he mentioned that the “Jewish question” was going to play a greater role in European politics. Also, for purposes of solidarity with the Axis, Japan should attend as an observer.156 Tokyo agreed with Oshima’s reasoning and told him to do as he had suggested. However, because of the Allied invasion in Normandy, the conference was postponed until the fall of 1944. This conference never convened.157
During the war, the biggest problem facing the Jewish communities in the Far East was the constant shortage of supplies and money for the relief of the tides of refugees that had arrived at the various cities since 1939. Throughout the war, Japanese officials in Chinese cities were reminded to allow Jewish relief organizations to operate and that Tokyo’s officials were to cooperate with the agencies in their efforts. They were to cooperate even if suspicious of their “direction and leaderships."158 Interestingly, in September 1944 Swiss diplomats in Shanghai reported that the Japanese were reluctant to allow the International Red Cross to intervene and help the Jews in the city. The Swiss added that the Japanese claimed that Jewish organizations were adequately helping the refugees. The Swiss representative finally noted that he had refrained from passing along individual complaints from the refugees about mistreatment by certain [Japanese] officials since it might jeopardize his work with prisoners of war and interned civilians.159
This relief work was especially difficult in Shanghai because of the nearly 20,000 refugee Jews who had arrived at the city during the previous few years. Allied intercept of Swiss, Vichy French, and Japanese diplomatic messages from that city offered glimpses into the various efforts to get funding from donations and remittances from Jewish relief agencies, primarily those in the United States.160 For example, from late 1943 to late 1944, the stateless Polish population in that city, including many Jews, was in dire straits. Both the Polish government-in-exile and Vichy France — many Poles were living in the French Concession — provided relief funds for various aid groups and individuals in Shanghai.161
A number of Jews, maybe as many as 15,000, and made up probably of a large number of stateless persons, were living in a restricted area in Shanghai already heavily damaged by the fighting between Japanese and Chinese forces in 1937. In late July 1945, during several American 14th Air Force bombing attacks on the city, stray bombs had hit this section killing some 30 inhabitants and injuring another 300. Because of the damage, the Japanese allowed many of these Jews to relocate to other sections of the city. They also allowed the American Joint Relief Committee to extend war relief funds to those affected by the bombing. 162
By the end of the war, the Japanese attempted to press a propaganda theme that pointedly contrasted their treatment of the Jews in Asia to that of the Nazis in Europe. Some of Tokyo’s diplomats and other government officials seemed to believe that this distinction would gain them influence among Jews around the world. Following this line of reasoning, then, these Japanese officials believed that Jews in the United States and Great Britain would influence government policy favorably towards Japan.163 However, the Japanese consul-general in Harbin informed Tokyo on 6 March 1945 that the Jews in his region looked upon the impending defeat of the Germans as “divine punishment,” and believed that the Japanese had no hope of victory.164 The idea that the Japanese could persuade Jews from around the world, based on their fair treatment of the latter, to influence Allied policy, comes full circle to the prewar belief of the Japanese about Jewish influence, which was as mistaken in 1945 as it had been in 1939.
For whatever reasons, it was true that the Japanese had treated the Jews in their territories equitably, but Tokyo had an entire hemisphere of atrocities and war crimes for which it had to answer.
F. Nazi Gold: National and Personal Assets Looted by Nazis and Placed in Swiss Banks, 1943 — 1945
The expression “Nazi Gold' has become a popular, shorthand reference that covers a number of illicit wartime economic activities carried out by Nazi Germany in collusion with neutral countries like Sweden, Portugal, Spain, and, most importantly, Switzerland. These activities included the expropriation of personal wealth from Jews by the Nazis; the seizure of national gold holdings by the Germans; its processing and shipment to Switzerland as payment for purchases of war material from other neutrals; and the exchange of German Reichmarks into more acceptable currencies such as Swedish kroner or Swiss francs. It also refers to the wartime activities by private and public Swiss banks, notably the Swiss National Bank in Bern, which purchased the German gold, as well as the postwar expropriation of the assets from dormant accounts of Holocaust victims by these banks and other financial institutions.
In the fifty years after the end of World War II, a number of separate efforts in Europe and the United States coalesced and refocused attention on the issue of settling the claims of Holocaust victims whose private assets were stolen by the Nazis or expropriated by Swiss financial corporations. While this aspect of the issue was prominent in the daily news during the mid-to late 1990s, the related problem of national gold looted by the Nazis and transferred to Swiss banks resurfaced, as well. In 1997 the National Security Agency released to the National Archives over 300 Swiss diplomatic translations dealing with the Allied-Swiss negotiations over this issue that produced the Washington Accord of May 1946. These translations were used in the U.S. government’s report U.S. and Allied Efforts to Recover and Restore Gold and Other Assets Stolen or Hidden by Germany During World War II — Preliminary Study.165 However, there also was some wartime cryptologic intelligence that related to the Nazi looting. This section will discuss briefly that wartime information. Those interested in the postwar negotiations between the Allied Committee and Switzerland should refer to the U.S. government study cited above, pages 63-88.
From the beginning of the war, Great Britain was aware of the importance of the economic, industrial, and financial underpinnings of the Nazi war machine. Germany could benefit from trade in strategic raw materials such as chrome from Turkey, wolfram (tungsten) from Spain, and iron ore from Sweden. Germany also purchased industrial products from Sweden and Switzerland. It was the potential industrial and financial support that Switzerland could provide to Germany that most concerned Great Britain and, later, the United States. Switzerland’s industries could produce war material from finished steel to actual military equipment such as optics, ammunition, and guns. In the financial sphere, the Swiss banking structure could facilitate currency exchanges, gold transactions, international fund transfers, asset liquidation, and the formation of front corporations to acquire restricted raw material and other contraband.
To manage the war on the economic front, the British formed the Ministry of Economic Warfare in 1939. The United States established the Board of Economic Warfare in December 1941 that replaced the Economic Defense Board. The Allies also made a number of administrative actions and declarations that expanded the boundaries of economic restrictions against the Axis. Beginning in April 1940, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8389 that froze Norwegian and Danish assets in the United States. Many European country’s assets, except for those of the United Kingdom, were included in this order. This was followed by declarations against trade by hostile firms and individuals, and transfers of property in occupied countries. On 22 February 1944, the United States declared that it would not recognize the transfer of gold by the Axis. Project Safehaven, established in the late summer of 1944, was the Allies' major effort to curtail all Axis economic, financial, commercial activity outside occupied territories during the war. It also was charged with ensuring that German assets would be available for reparations, and that looted properties would be returned to its rightful owners. Safehaven also was meant to prevent the Nazis from accumulating funds to finance any postwar resurgence. Included in these many aims were more detailed instructions to restrict the flow of capital and gold from Germany for the purchase of war material.166 Despite this and similar efforts by Great Britain, it is estimated that Nazi Germany still confiscated some 579 million dollars in gold from eleven countries and that about 300 million dollars' worth had gone to Swiss banks (figures in 1945 dollars).167
It should be noted that Allied concern with neutral trade in war-related material with the Axis was not restricted solely to Switzerland. Other neutrals, such as Spain, Portugal, Turkey, and Sweden also were pressured during the war to cease favorable currency trading and the export of raw materials and manufactured items that the German war machine could use.168 In the case of Sweden, Japanese diplomats reported in late March 1945 that Stockholm had protested to Washington about the February announcement of an American so-called “blacklist” that included about 550 Swedish firms accused of trading with the Axis. The United States government declared that it would prohibit any trade with any of these firms, or any other firms that traded with those on the list. According to the Japanese diplomats, the Swedish minister of Commerce had detailed the discovery and crackdown on Swedish firms that were involved in the transfer of German capital. By mid-March, the Japanese reported that the Americans had softened their stance on Swedish trade.169
Most of the communications supporting substantive trade and financial negotiations and agreements between Berlin and Bern, and other European neutral capitals, were done in ways that were generally inaccessible to Allied communications monitoring: cables, telephones, couriers, or direct talks. What signals intelligence had been obtained about German-Swiss economic activity came from Allied intercept of Axis and neutral diplomatic and commercial radio traffic. One prominent source about these talks and transactions was the communications of the ubiquitous Japanese diplomats, in this case, the Japanese minister in Bern, Kase Shunichi. The Japanese had a vested interest in the commercial and economic talks between the Germans and Swiss because they, too, were affected directly by Allied efforts to curtail Axis economic activity. The Japanese purchased war material in neutral and Axis-dominated Europe. Japan often paid for its purchases in gold or used Swiss francs.170 So when the German and Swiss representatives met to discuss trading activity, payment, and Nazi accounts, the Japanese took an interest in the outcome and reported what they learned to Tokyo.
Another SIGINT source was the intercept of the messages of the German Reichsbank’s foreign transactions by the monitoring stations of the GC&CS and RSS. Their take was turned over to a small effort within GC&CS mounted against commercial traffic that had been started in 1938. With the beginning of the war, this section significantly expanded and subsequently settled in working spaces near the GC&CS diplomatic effort in London. Surprisingly, most of the effort was aimed at commercial message traffic either sent in the clear or that used publicly available commercial codes such as the Bentley system. In the case of the Reichsbank, the messages were transmitted in the Peterson Code, another popular and publicly available commercial code.171
A third source of information was the translations of the diplomatic and commercial dispatches provided to the OSS in Bern — the previously mentioned Boston Series from source George Wood (a.k.a. Fritz Kolbe). Some of the messages that Kolbe turned over to Allen Dulles were cables from German diplomats in Switzerland who reported on financial and trade negotiations, and messages from Emil Puhl, the vice president of the Reichsbank, who often journeyed to Switzerland and conducted meetings with Swiss bank representatives regarding economic and financial activity such as gold and currency exchange transactions.
Interestingly, the Germans also had a COMINT source that allowed them, in turn, the limited ability to monitor Allied efforts to curtail German trade and financial activities within Switzerland. Three German cryptanalytic bureaus — the Forschungamt (Directorate of Research) controlled by Herman Goering; the codebreaking office (Chiffrierabteilung) of the German Armed Forces Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht), or OKW/Chi; and the German Foreign Ministry’s Pers Z — were able to exploit a number of U.S. Department of State cryptographic systems during the war. This ability came through a combination of physical compromise of some State Department cryptographic systems and pure cryptanalysis of some other codes and ciphers. Specifically, the Germans were able to read cables secured in the Department’s Black and Brown Codes, and the O-2 Strip Cipher System, though mostly from the latter.172
Beginning in early 1943, and continuing through December 1944, the OKW/Chi exploited cables from over fifty overseas U.S. diplomatic facilities. The intercept was done by two German monitoring stations at Treuenbrietzen near Berlin and Lauf-an-der-Pebnitz near Nuremberg. The Germans had a limited ability to read the American minister’s messages, and it sometimes took time for the intercept to be turned into a reportable form. These intercepts were decrypted and translated into German. The resulting translation, known as a ‘VN' (for Verlaessliche Nachrichten or “Trustworthy Reports") was circulated among the membership of the Nazi hierarchy. According to Nazi officials, useful intelligence was retrieved from the messages. One official recalled that as many as three or four of the dispatches from the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, Leland Harrison, were included in the daily summaries known informally as the “Brown Sheets,” or they were included in he German High Command’s (OKW) daily briefing.173
The traffic between the overseas diplomatic missions and Washington covered a number of topics of interest to Berlin: Allied proposals to restrict German trade with Switzerland, limits to bank accounts opened by German nationals, the status of efforts on behalf of Jewish refugees, postwar asylum to war criminals, assignments of OSS personnel, and intelligence gathered by the Allies in Switzerland.174 Among the many messages were State Department reports on the plight of Jews in Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania.175 Also intercepted were several U.S. intelligence reports sent by Harrison to Washington about the German financial and economic situation, such as the effect of the Allied bombing offensive on Reichsbank note circulation and gold reserves, and the smuggling of German, French, and Italian currency into Switzerland.176
It is not known what, if any, specific use was made of these decrypts by the Germans. Considering the time frame, especially during late 1944, of negotiations between Emil Puhl, the vice-director of the German Reichsbank, and various Swiss banking and trade officials, it is possible that, because of the VNs, the German bankers were aware of some of the concurrent talks between the Allies and the Swiss to limit Berlin’s trade and financial activity.
The Bretton Woods Conference of July 1944, known as the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, approved a resolution that called on neutral countries to take measures to prevent movement or the disposition of stolen assets from occupied countries within their jurisdictions.177 On 11 October 1944, the Japanese reported that, because of the pressure from the Allies to enforce the Bretton Woods Agreement, the Swiss, as well as the Bank for International Settlements, were instituting several restrictions on the opening of new accounts and were establishing limits on the functions of current accounts. Furthermore, the Swiss Banking Association had sent a notice to its members to take action that would block the movement of capital from Axis to neutral countries. The Japanese believed that there was “some room” in interpreting the limits of the new rules, but they held out little hope since the “Swiss were exceedingly weak-kneed towards the British and Americans."178 In a cable from the previous day, which the Americans had intercepted and decrypted, Kase had noted in its final paragraphs that “of course the Germans have a good deal of money tucked away in secret, in various types of currency, and of course, in gold and so on. I understand that there is already an (? enormous amount?) of money hidden around under Swiss names."179 Another Japanese official, Kojiro Kitamura, the Yokohama Specie Bank representative in Berlin, who was in Switzerland at the time, added that while the Swiss banks were refusing to make remittances of Axis funds to Spain and Portugal, the Germans had set up Swiss “straw men” in whose names the remittance could be made. 180
In December 1944 Kase sent two messages to Tokyo describing a series of meeting he had with Puhl who, at the time, was in Switzerland for negotiations with the Swiss National Bank on a variety of economic and financial issues. One of the points of discussion, in which the Japanese had an interest, was a Swiss proposal to restrict foreign currency transactions. Kase reported several further comments that Puhl had made to him. Among other things, Puhl had told Kase that the acquisition of viable currencies, such as Swiss francs and Swedish kroner, was almost impossible. The German also mentioned that the Bank for International Settlements was insisting more strongly that credit to Germany be withdrawn.181 In a message sent to Tokyo a week later, Kase revealed more comments from Puhl and the president of the Swiss National Bank, Ernst Weber. Kase was told that, due to the problem of currency payments to Germany, the Swiss were going to pay for German commodities with gold purchases to a “proportionate degree,” but not with “looted gold.” (This latter expression was included in the Japanese message in English.) Puhl also mentioned that a Swiss seizure of the assets of German firms in Switzerland would be a “last resort” to settle back payments. Puhl added that such remaining German assets in late 1944 amounted to no more than 100 million Swiss francs. Puhl mentioned to Kase that there must be a good deal of money in funds related to the “Party,” presumably Nazi, and other “obscure funds,” but that every bit is held under Swiss names.182
Interestingly, a Boston translation provided a slightly different aspect to the December 1944 Puhl-Weber meetings. In a message from the German mission in Bern to Berlin, it was pointed out that the Swiss bankers were still in favor of a free currency exchange and purchase of foreign currency balances. The bankers “would not give up the advantages of a free currency…unless they were forced to by the [Swiss] Federal Council for political reasons.” The German message also added in the next paragraph:
The negotiations with Mr. Weber and the directorate of the Swiss National Bank were conducted in the same atmosphere of confidence that has always prevailed. The National Bank recognized that since July of this year the Reichsbank has exercised the restraint in payment of gold which the National Bank recommended earlier. The National bank is now agreed to take over in December and in January a considerable sum from the Reichsbank’s gold deposit in Bern. It is also agreed to replenish the gold deposit in Bern in which connection the National Bank will itself undertake to move the gold over the Frontier in the interest of camouflaging operations.[my italics]183
In late January 1945, the United States, United Kingdom, and eventually, France, put together a delegation to go to Switzerland to negotiate the cessation of all trade between Germany and Switzerland, and gain agreement from the Swiss to adhere to Safehaven objectives.184 The delegation was headed by Lauchlin Currie, a special assistant to President Roosevelt. Currie had served in several positions in the Roosevelt administration going back to the early days of the New Deal. Among these was as a monetary expert in the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board. Another major figure in these negotiations, from the Washington end of the negotiations, was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Harry Dexter White, who was prepared to push for severe measures against the Swiss.185
Japanese diplomats in Bern reported that although the Swiss population generally seemed to be enthusiastic about the arrival of the Allied Economic Delegation, many government and banking officials privately were upset with the Americans. Kase reported that Bern had received no official communications from Washington about the delegation and its purpose and only had learned about it from a U.S. State Department press release. Bern feared the pressure this delegation would cause by raising expectations of a complete rupture of all economic activity with Germany. Some Swiss bankers also suspected that the Allies were trying to eliminate the possibility that some Nazi groups might use their funds in Switzerland to continue the fight even after Germany fell.186
In particular, the head of the Swiss National Bank, Ernst Weber, saw two more issues above and beyond that of Swiss trade with Germany: stolen gold and the privacy of personal accounts. Weber dismissed the idea of a flight of German funds out of Switzerland. He was not concerned about any large purchase of Swiss francs, since that was limited to payments for living expenses of Germans residing in Switzerland. However, Weber insisted that the “Jewish plutocracy,” composed of those who had escaped to the U.S., was pressuring the American government to recover all stolen Jewish property. Weber further believed that not all of the stolen wealth was still in Switzerland. He opined that there was proof that “great quantities” of it had gone to Spain, Portugal, and Argentina, and that the Allies should investigate this possibility before all others.187
The other major issue for Weber was that of privacy of Swiss bank accounts, a legal arrangement that went back to 1934. Weber conceded that there would be great pressure from external sources, principally the United States, and internal groups such as Swiss socialists, to reveal the identities of account holders. Weber told Japanese minister Kase that the Swiss were prepared to be stubborn; if a reversal of policy would be unavoidable, then maybe a deal involving some sort of distinction in types of funds and accounts could be made with the Allies.188
On 16 February 1945, the Swiss Federal Council agreed, under certain conditions, to block German assets in Switzerland. This agreement was not unlike similar Swiss decrees promulgated in 1940 that blocked assets of combatants such as France, Belgium, Italy, etc.189 On 8 March 1945, Switzerland and the United States reached an agreement that stipulated general controls on German monetary activity, hidden enemy assets, and an accounting of German assets in Switzerland. Although Currie considered his efforts a success, revelations from various intelligence sources, including intercepts, of continued Swiss purchases of German gold and new meetings in April between Swiss banking officials with Emil Puhl cast a pall on later U.S.-Swiss relations.190
In late February 1945, a German diplomatic official in Bern provided a different version of the same meeting’s substance. After meeting with Walter Stucki, a high-ranking member of the Swiss Foreign Office and former representative to Vichy, the German filed a report on the effects on German trade and financial activity caused by the Swiss agreement to Allied demands. Stucki had told the German that the Allies had “showed their fists.” Currie had demanded that is was time for Switzerland to “take its stand on the side of the Allies.” The Americans demanded some “spectacular” display of Swiss compliance. The Swiss were threatened with the loss of navicerts (certificates issued by the Allies that allowed the transport of Swiss goods on the Rhine River) and transportation through Allied territory unless they made a complete break in economic relations with Germany. Stucki reported that the Swiss Federal Council had decided not to attack Germany “from behind” by banning exports or transit of goods from Italy through Switzerland to Germany. Switzerland would not follow the Swedish example.191
The German reported that the Federal Council also had received a demand from the president of the Italian Republic, Ivanhoe Bonomi, to cease all transit of Italian coal through Switzerland to Germany. Bonomi claimed that the source of the coal, the northern Italian Fascist rump state, was not a country but German-occupied territory, and that the Gotthard Agreement of 1909 guaranteeing transit through Switzerland therefore did not apply. Stucki reported that the Federal Council was close to stopping all such traffic from Italy. Stucki also told the German that the Federal Council was prepared to block all German funds or balances in accounts to insure that the assets would not be used for a new war. Since late 1944, the Allies considered this demand to be sine qua non in any arrangement with Switzerland. The German considered the net effect of Switzerland’s agreements would end any further basis for economic activity between the two countries.192
In early April 1945, Puhl returned to Bern for new negotiations. He reported to Berlin that he had “practically” broken the blockade on German-Swiss commercial and monetary transactions concluded by Currie’s delegation in the previous month. Later that month, Puhl also persuaded the Swiss National Bank to purchase some gold for German payments to Switzerland. How much total gold the Swiss purchased was not clear. Ministry of Economic Warfare intercepts indicate that Puhl, during this period, had transferred about 1.5 tons of gold to the Swiss National Bank, Bern, and the Bank for International Settlements, Basel, Switzerland.193 However, Puhl was not certain if the Bank for International Settlements would take it owing to some “unspecified objections from Basel."194
Almost two weeks later, Kitamura reported another conversation he had with Puhl regarding the Allied discovery of the hidden cache of gold, art, and stolen art and personal possessions in the Merkers salt mines in Thuringia in southwest Germany. Puhl complained that the early press claims of 100 tons of gold were exaggerated. Kitamura went to report to Tokyo that he was given to understand from Puhl that the Reichsbank had deposited gold in various other hidden places in southern Germany along the Swiss border.195
After the war, Puhl’s activities with the Swiss, which constituted a major circumvention of the agreements achieved by the Currie mission to Switzerland, became a significant issue between the United States and Switzerland. During the Swiss-Allied negotiations in the spring of 1946 in Washington, the Swiss Legation informed Bern that, as long as the issue of German assets in Swiss banks remained unresolved, American suspicions about control of them would remain. There was even a concern that these assets could be used to fund a fifth column of Nazi sympathizers or secret atomic research.196
In the summer of 1946, the Allied-Swiss Accord was finalized. The Swiss promised to liquidate German assets and distribute them on a 50-50 basis with the Allies. Switzerland also was to make available to the Allied Gold Pool some $58.1 million on demand in gold. The United States promised to unblock Swiss assets and discontinue the “black lists” of Swiss firms and individuals. However, the issue continued to percolate and the Nazi Gold problem would return fifty years later to haunt the Swiss.
- PRO HW 16/1, GB 221: Police W/T decrypts: 7 November 1939, 18 November 1939
- Philips, 16
- Quoted from Lena Yahil, The Holocaust: The Fate of European Jewry (New York: Oxford, 1987), 254-5
- MND Translation, Sofia to Tokyo, 1 February 1942, SIS #29056, RG 457, HCC, Box 303.
- Gerhard Weinberg, A World at Arms, 190
- Breitman, 44-5
- There were a number of German police organizations, among them the Schutzpolizei (Schupo), or civil police, the Sicherheitspolizei (Sipo), or security police that included the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo), or Secret State Police, and the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo), or criminal investigation police. The most prominent police organization was the Ordnungspolizei (Orpo), or uniformed police. The uniformed police were organized into military style battalions and worked with the SS units and the Einsatzgruppen on the Russian front. These police units performed a number of functions in Germany and occupied Europe. The Sipo worked with other Reich security services against partisan activity behind German lines and in occupied Europe. The Kripo was concerned with criminal activity and escaped POWs. There was a technical branch of the Orpo that performed direction-finding operations against Allied agents using radios. The Sipo was involved in the German program of controlled Allied agents who had been “turned” and were then forced to send phony radio reports to their handlers in London, a technique known as Funkspiel or radio deception.
- For descriptions of the atrocities, see the GCCS History, Vol. XIII, The German Police, 83-6, and Appendix B, 234-6; Hinsley, Vol. II, 671-3. Breitman carries the most detailed narrative, 54-68.
- ZIP/G.P.D. 292R/18.7.41, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 1386, “German WWII Police and SS Traffic.”
- ZIP/G.P.D. 309R/2/4.8.41, RG 457, HCC, Box 1386, “German WWII Police and SS Traffic.”
- ZIP/G.P.D. 316R/24/7.8.41, RG 457, HCC, Box 1386, “German WWII Police and SS Traffic.”
- ZIP/G.P.D. 353/114/9.41, RG 457, HCC, Box 1386, “German WWII Police and SS Traffic.”
- ZIP/G.P.D. 335R/18/26.8.41, RG 457, HCC, Box 1386, “German WWII Police and SS Traffic.”
- “Magic” Diplomatic Summary, 14 June 1942, Item A.7. NARA, RG 457, Entry 9019, Box 1.
- MND Translation, Berlin to Tokyo, 21 February 1942, SIS #30111, RG 457, HCC, Box 304.
- German Police Decodes, 17 November 1941, No. 35, ZIP/GPD 467/30.11.41, and 20 November 1941, ZIP/GPD 575/25.12.41, PRO HW 16/32
- MND Translation, Vienna to Tokyo, 20 February 1942, SIS #30047, RG 457, HCC, Box 304.
- RG 226, Entry 210, Box 386, Folder 6, “Q,” or Intercepted Diplomatic Messages
- ZIP/GPCC66/3.10.42, “F,” 16649 on 1 September and 11310 on 30 September and ZIP/GPCC82/3.12.42, “D,” 8878 on 2 November and 9092 on 30 November. PRO, HW 16/10
- For a full study of this important radio message, see Peter Witte and Stephen Tyas, “A New Document on the Deportation and Murder of Jews during ‘Einsatz Reinhardt' 1942.” Holocaust and Genocide Studies (Vol. 15, No. 3, Winter 2001), 468-486. One item of interest was the discrepancy in the spelling of Heydrich’s first name. Heydrich preferred to have his first name spelled “Reinhard,” but his official SS files and SS Service Lists carry him as “Reinhardt” Heydrich.
- Hinsley, Vol. 2, 673
- Losses in the Jewish populations of minor Axis powers varied. Bulgaria lost about 15%; Romania nearly half; Hungary also almost half of its prewar population; and Italy lost slightly more than a quarter of its Jews. Source: Poliakov and Wulf, 229
- ZIP/GPDD 259b, transmitted 7 October 1942, PRO HW 16/21
- ZIP/ISOSICLE 3980, 28 March 1943, Sofia to Berlin, PRO HW 19/238
- MND Translations, Sofia (Roux) to Vichy, 16 March 1943, SIS # 71491, RG 457, HCC, Box 356; and Sofia (Yamaji) to Tokyo, 12 May 1943, SIS #83190. NARA RG 457, HCC, Box 364
- Message 4019, Sofia to Berlin, 29 March 1943, PRO HW 19/236
- MND Translations, Sofia (Roux) to Vichy, 27 March 1943, SIS # 78424, RG 457, HCC, Box 359; and Sofia to Vichy, 17 March 1943, SIS #79537. NARA RG 457, HCC, Box 366.
- See MND Translation, Budapest to Bucharest, 15 July 1944, SIS #144554. NARA RG 457, HCC, Box 440.
- MND Translation, Budapest to Tokyo, 8 June 1943, SIS # 87928. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 370.
- Service 16 to Moscow, ISCOT # 1078, 4 June 1943 (translated on 19 March 1945), National Cryptologic Museum Library.
- Service 16 to Moscow, ISCOT # 1077, 2 June 1943 (translated on 19 March 1945), National Cryptologic Museum Library.
- The exploitation of this SD key, which was never given a cover name, continued into February 1944.
- Kappler to Berlin, 24 September 1943, decode No. 6728. RG 226, entry 112, Box 1.
- MND Translation, Rome (Irish Minister) to Dublin, 6 October 1943, SIS # 123490. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 415. It is not clear what was the nature of the Vatican’s aid, or from where in the Vatican hierarchy (if from there at all) this offer originated. The role of the Vatican during this roundup has been the subject of much controversy. A number of Catholic clergy and institutions, as well as many individual Italians, aided Jews by offering sanctuary or the means to escape the Nazi dragnet. These actions appear to have happened spontaneously, or at the least, without any explicit instructions from the Vatican leadership. There is no evidence from the translations that any official policy of rescue originated in or was coordinated by the Papacy or its office even though it was informed of the impending German actions. See Susan Zuccotti, Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy (New York: Yale University Press, 2000), 175-201. A more critical view of the Papacy’s role during the roundup is offered by John Cornwell in Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (New York: Penguin Books, 2000), 297-318. The archived decrypts and translations contain no evidence that conclusively can resolve the controversy over the Vatican’s official policy towards the Final Solution.
- Kaltenbrunner to Kappler, 11 October 1943, Decode No. 7458. NARA, RG 226, Entry 112, Box 1.
- Kappler to Berlin, 16 October 1943, Decode No. 7668. NARA RG 226, Entry 112, Box 1.
- Vatican to Dublin, 18 October 1943, Baker Cable # 471, GCCS to Signal Security Agency. NSA Records Center (NCRC) Microfilm, Box 112, Reel 5155.
- ZIP/ISOSICLE 7754, 21 October 1943, PRO HW 19/238.
- “Magic” Diplomatic Summary, D.S. # 592, 8 November 1943. NARA, RG457, “Magic Diplomatic Summaries, Box 8.
- MND Translation, Vatican (Harada) to Tokyo, 8 February 1944, SIS #11352,. NSA RG 457, HCC, Box 400.
- MND Translation, Berlin (Auswaertig) to Nanking (Circular), 11 October 1943, SIS # 99145, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 382.
- ZIP/ISOSICLE 7639, Berlin to Crimea Area, 12 October 1943 and ZIP/ISOSICLE 7654 (combined with 7684), 13 October 1943, PRO HW 19/238.
- Laqueur, 98-9.
- MND Translation, Bern (Czech Representative) to London (Czech Government), 26 June 1944, SIS # 160126, NARA RG 457, HCC, Box 460.
- MND translation, Moscow (Garreau) to Algiers (Diplofrance), 17 September 1944, H-145841, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 441.
- Vichy to Lisbon, 26 May 1944, Baker Cable 2611 (1 July 1944). NCRC Microfilm, Box 112, Reel 5158; MND translation, Vichy to Lisbon, 23 May 1944, SIS # 126576, NARA, HCC, Box 419.
- Budapest to Bucharest, 9 June 1944, Baker Cable 2769 (19 June 1944). NCRC Microfilm, Box 112, Reel 5158; “Magic Diplomatic Summary, D.S. # 819, 22 June 1944, NARA, RG 457, Magic Diplomatic Summaries, Box 11.
- MND Translation, Berlin to Dublin, 5 July 1944, SIS # 133600, RG 457, HCC, Box 427; and Dublin to Berlin, 12 September 1944, SIS # 143682. NARA RG 457, HCC, Box 438.
- MND Translation, Washington to Madrid, 11 October 1944, SIS #145262, NARA RG 457, HCC, Box 440. Spain was a nonbelligerent during the war and generally sympathized with the Axis, even sending a division of “volunteers” to fight in Russia. In 1944 the Allies pressured Spain with a partial blockade of essential materials such as gasoline and demanded, among other things, the expulsion of all Axis espionage agents (the knowledge of which was derived partially from decrypts of Japanese and German diplomatic and agent communications). After the war, in many European and American countries, there were calls for the overthrow of Franco and his regime. Cardenas' personal attitude towards Jews was mixed. In November 1943 he had advised Madrid that he would not attend a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Joint Distribution Committee, an international Jewish relief agency. He told Madrid that members of the Committee in Spain had “made several verbal promises which they repeatedly refused to keep.” However, he added that aid should be extended to Spanish Jews wishing to go to Algiers or Palestine. “Magic Diplomatic Summary, D.S. # 606, 22 November 1943. “Magic Diplomatic Summary, Box 8.
- MND Translation, Washington to Dublin, 18 October 1944, SIS # 127365, NARA RG 457, HCC, Box 420.
- MND Translation, London (Czech Government) to Stockholm (Czech Representative), 27 January 1945, H-169498, NARA RG 457, HCC, Box 470. In late 1944, the numbering system of the multinational diplomatic translations was changed. The numbering sequence remained, but all such translations now carried the prefix “H.”
Decades after the war, some individuals have speculated that the Allies could have bombed the railroads leading to the Auschwitz complex, thereby saving thousands of Jews. A review of this argument can be found in The Bombing of Auschwitz: Should the Allies Have Attempted It? Edited by Michael J. Neufeld and Michael Berenbaum. (New York: St. Martins' Press, 1999).
- MND Translations, Rio de Janerio (Exteriores) to Lisbon, 12 March 1945, H-171950, RG 457, HCC, Box 474; Washington (Bonnet) to Paris, 15 March 1945, H-172526, RG 457, HCC, Box 475; Rome to Berne, 17 March 1945, H-173117, RG 457, HCC, Box 477; and Ankara to Berne, 17 March 1945, H-173502, RG 457, HCC, Box 477. Also, see Hinsley, Vol. 3, 735 fn, which cites GPD translations 4068/10 and 4085/10 for information on rumors of movement of Jewish inmates from concentration camps.
This “special treatment” of Jewish POWs affected American soldiers, too. In late 1944, American POWs of Jewish origin from the 106th Infantry Division, who were captured during the Battle of the Bulge, were separated from their Gentile comrades and sent to Berga, a satellite camp of Buchenwald, where they were forced to perform slave labor. This incident was the subject of the Public Broadcasting Corporation’s documentary by Charles Guggenheim, “Berga: Soldiers of Another War.” Also see Mitchell Bard's, Forgotten Victims: The Abandonment of Americans in Hitler’s Camps (CO: Westview Press, 1994).
- MND Translation, Berlin to Circular (all Stations, Kabul recipient), 28 March 1945, H-176446, NARA RG 457, HCC, Box 481.
- MND Translation, Vatican City (Secretary of State) to Washington (Apostolic Delegate), 27 March 1945, T-2325, and Lausanne (Zapelli) to Vatican City (Secretary of State), 17 April 1945, T-2574. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 520.
- Lausanne (Zappelli) to Vatican (Secretary of State), 17 April 1945, T-2574, Ibid.
- Berlin to Dublin, 16 February 1945, H-168493, NARA RG 457, HCC, Box 1032, “Collection of Multinational Diplomatic Translation of White House Interest.” Shortly after this message was translated and disseminated, officials in the United States wanted to release its contents to the Soviet Union. However, Churchill, Menzies, and the Foreign Office disagreed with the suggestion. See PRO “Signals Intelligence passed to Prime Minister Churchill,” PRO HW 1, Box 145, Folder 3562, 2 March 1945.
- MND Translation, Washington (Horinouchi) to Tokyo, 17 January 1939, SIS #3494, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 286. The text of the German response, signed by Ernst von Weizsaecker, State Secretary in the German Foreign Office, is contained in the telegram of 3 January 1939, from the U.S. Charge, Germany, to the State Department. The line in the German response referred to by the Japanese is “To date the American Embassy has not informed the [German] Foreign Office of a single case in which, in its opinion, such treaty rights had been violated by German measures. If such cases should be brought to its attention by the American Embassy, the German Government for its part is prepared to examine and settle them on the basis of prevailing treaty provisions.” Foreign Relations of the United States, 1939. Vol. II, General, the British Commonwealth, 574-6.
Prior to the war, FDR had made some limited efforts to facilitate Jewish immigration from Germany and Austria, such as combining German and Austrian quotas. But President Roosevelt never pressed for a policy to accept a much larger number of refugees. Most likely he was constrained by public opinion and a Congress that was overwhelmingly against easing immigration quotas. See Robert Dallek, Franklin Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981), 166-168.
- MND Translation, Lisbon to Tokyo, 13 February 1940, SSA #6191, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 288, and Tokyo to Berlin, 23 July 1940, SS #9395, Box 290.
- MND Translation, Lisbon (Yonezawa) to Tokyo, 13 February 1940, SIS #6191, Ibid.
- MND Translation, Shanghai to Tokyo, 16 May 1942, SSA #37068, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 310. This message estimated that there were 20,000 German-Jewish refugees in the city in early 1942.
- See MND Translation Kaunas to Tokyo, 24 August 1940, SSA #10179. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 383. This case involved a Polish Jew who had applied for an American visa through a relative in New York.
- Sugihara was more than just sympathetic with the plight of Polish Jews. According to an OSS/SSU report from 1946, Sugihara was providing intelligence to covert agents of the Polish Intelligence Service. He had two Polish assistants in Kaunas. Sugihara forwarded the intelligence to a Polish contact in Riga, Latvia, who, in turn passed the information to London. An OSS report quoted a Sipo assessment of Sugihara as “a friend of England and Poland.” Strategic Services Unit, Washington, D.C., X-8989, “Japanese Wartime Collaboration with the Polish Intelligence Service.” RG 226, Entry 212, Box 6.
- MND Translation, Ankara to Tokyo, 18 June 1943, SSA #86854, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 369.
- “Magic” Diplomatic Summary, 14 September 1942, Section A.1. NARA, RG 457, “Magic Diplomatic Summaries, Box 2.
- MND Translation, Ankara to Tokyo, 3 March 1944, SIS #112744, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 399.
- Jerusalem to Riyadh, 23 February 1944. Baker Cable 1691, GCCS to SSA, 4 March 1944. NCRC Microfilm. Box 112, reel 5157.
- Washington to Baghdad, 11 February 1944. Baker Cable 1450, GCCS (Randolph) to SSD (G-2), 14 February 1944. NCRC Microfilm, Box 112, reel 5157.
- MND Translation, Washington (Bonnet) to Paris (Diplomatie), 6 April 1945, H-176818, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 481. During the San Francisco Conference that created the United Nations, the Signal Security Agency laid on additional intercept coverage of communications supporting the various national delegations. For more on this, see Stephen Schlesinger, “Cryptanalysis for Peacetime: Codebreaking and the Birth and Structure of the United Nations.” Cryptologia Vol. 19, No. 3 (July 1995), 217-234.
- Michael R. Marrus and Robert O. Paxton. Vichy France and the Jews (New York: Basic Books, 1981), 29.
- Ibid., 30-32; Eugene Weber. The Hollow Years: France in the 1930s (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1994), 101-110.
- Marrus and Paxton, 36
- For example, see “Vichy Codes,” 13 July 1944, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 59, Folder 1490 and “Army Translations of Decodes of French (Vichy) Cipher Messages, 1941-43,” 4 June 1941, RG 457, HCC, Box 830, Folder 2415.
- MND Translation, Vichy to Brassaterre (Circular), 27 November 1940, SSIS #24673, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 300.
- Vichy to Tokyo, 20 October 1942, Japanese Naval Attaché msg (SRNA) Nr-295-6 RG457, E8013 Box 1. MND Translation, Saigon to Vichy, 1 August 1942, SIS #54807, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 332.
- MND Translation, Havana to Vichy, 26 March 1942, SIS # 32962, RG 457, HCC, Box 306, and Magic Diplomatic Summary, 11 April 1942, RG 457, Entry 9006, Box 1.
- “Magic” Diplomatic Summary, 15 August 1942, D.4. NARA, RG 457, Magic Diplomatic Summaries, Box 1.
- Marrus and Paxton, 232
- MND Translation, Vichy to Washington, 30 September 1942, SIS #51208, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 328.
- MND Translation, Vichy to Washington, 9 June 1942, SIS #48570, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 324.
- MND Translations, Washington to Vichy, 12 October 1942, SIS #53265, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 330; and Vichy to Washington, 30 October 1942, SIS #54269, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 332.
- MND Translations: Washington (Henry Haye) to Vichy, 3 July 1942, SSA #40795, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 314; Washington (Henry Haye) to Vichy, 24 March 1942, SSA 32801, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 306; and Washington (Henry Haye) to Vichy, 30 October 1942, SSA #54317 NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 332.
- MND Translation, Buenos Aires (Latournelle) to Vichy, 12 September 1942, SSA #49376, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 325.
- MND Translation, Rio de Janerio (St. Quentin) to Vichy, 5 September 1942, SIS #53628, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 331.
- MND Translation, Vichy to Ottawa, 15 September 1942, SIS #49790, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 326.
- MND Translation, Washington to Vichy, 31 October 1942, SIS #54154, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 331.
- MND Translation, Vichy to Washington, 6 November 1942, SIS #54845, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 332.
- MND Translations, Vichy (Reyes) to Mexico City, 12 August 1942, SIS #44826, RG 457, HCC, Box 320, and Vichy (Bosques) to Mexico City (Office of Foreign Relations), 23 September 1942, SIS #51152, RG 457, HCC, Box 328.
- Q Translation, 12 October 1942, NARA, RG 226, Entry 210, Box 402, File 11734, “Intercepts of Foreign Diplomatic Messages.”
- Ibid., also Washington (Henri Haye) to Vichy, 5 August 1942, SIS #44111, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 319.
- MND Translation, Washington (Henry Haye) to Vichy, 13 September 1942, SIS #48810, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 325.
- MND Translation, Vichy to Ciudad Trujillo, 6 September 1942, SIS #49158, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 325.
- MND Translation, Washington (Henry Haye) to Vichy, 16 October 1942, SIS #53004, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 330. Also see Marrus and Paxton, 266-68.
- MND Translation, Washington (Henry Haye-Picot) to Vichy, 30 October 1942, SIS #54170, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 331.
- Marrus and Paxton, 268.
- German Clandestine Message ( SRI), Tangier to Berlin, 10 February 1943, CG3-2008. NARA, RG 457, Entry 9022, German Intelligence/Clandestine Agents Messages. It is estimated that some 14-15,000 Jews were interned in 6 camps in Morocco and Algiers.
- Marrus and Paxton, 191-2.
- Ibid., 194-5
- MND Translation, Vichy to Tokyo, 1 July 1943, SIS #89663, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 372; and DNB Propaganda Broadcast to Vichy, 4 January 1943, SIS #63664. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 344.
- MND Translations: Mission Francaise (Hoppenot) to High Commissioner, Algiers, 21 March 1943, SIS #75893, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 356; and 23 March 1943, SIS #76229, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 356.
- MND Translation, Hanoi (Matsumoto) to Tokyo, 30 January 1945, H-165861, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 466.
- Laqueur, 138-142; Hilberg, 823-4
- Raul Hilberg, 803.
- “Magic” Diplomatic Summary, D.S. #560, 7 October 1943. NARA, RG 457, Magic Diplomatic Summaries, Box 7.
- In October 1942, Japanese diplomats in Budapest reported that Hungarian prime minister Miklos Kallay had spoken twice on the need for Hungary to concentrate on the war and intensifying its anti-Jewish policy. However, the Japanese noted that many Hungarians considered Romania as Hungary’s primary enemy. See MND Translation, Budapest to Tokyo, 30 October 1942, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 332.
- MND Translation, Budapest (Taraoka) to Tokyo, 1 April 1944, H-131364, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 425.
- MND Translation, Budapest to Tokyo, via Berlin (Oshima), 7 July 1944, H-127152, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 420.
- MND Translation, Budapest to Ankara, 26 June 1944, H-157807, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 456.
- MND Translations: Budapest to Tokyo, 1 April 1944, H-131363, Geneva to Vatican City, 15 July 1944, H-131282. NARA, RG457, HCC, Box 425.
- MND Translations: Budapest to Berne, 12 July 1944, H-133584, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 427; and Budapest to Bucharest, 15 July 1944, H-144554, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 440.
- PEARL/ZIP/AT 1194/ 14 August 1944, PRO, HW 16/70.
- Multinational Diplomatic Message Summaries (SMM), Budapest to Bern, 11 August 1944, 8218. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Boxes 882-891.
- MND Translation, Bern (Politisches) to Budapest, 11 September 1944, H-144451, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 440. See Hilberg, 859. The Papal Nuncio to Budapest handed out 20,000 passports, but these went to “baptized” Jews. Eventually, between 15,000 to 16,000 exit permits to Palestine were granted by the Reich and the Hungarian regime.
- MND Translations: Budapest to Berne, 23 September 1944, H-145264 and Budapest (Schweizerische Gesandtschaft) to Bern, 12 October 1944, H-146293. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 440.
- Wilhelm Flicke, War Secrets of the Ether. (Fort George G. Meade, MD: Office of Training, 1959), 224-5. Flicke claims that the Germans had been exploiting Hungarian diplomatic messages since 1943.
- “Disposition of Hungarian Gold,” Circle Report, RG 226, Entry 210, Box 144, “Classified Sources and Methods.”
- Hilberg, 856
- “Magic Diplomatic Summary, D.S. #943, 24 October 1944, NARA, RG 457, Magic Diplomatic Summary, Box 13.
- “Magic Diplomatic Summary, D.S. #952, 2 November 1944. NARA, RG 457, magic Diplomatic Summaries, Box 14.
- MND Translation, Budapest to Lisbon (Branquinho), 24 October 1944, H-147668, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 444.
- MND Translation, Mexico City to London, 2 October 1944, H-146223, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 440.
- Scattered pieces of signals intelligence during the war indicate that the Wallenberg family was involved in some efforts to broker separate peace initiatives among the combatants. A Venona translation from 13 April 1942 (the final version of the translation issued in May 1976) states that either Jacob or his brother Marcus had met with a British correspondent who had suggested that the Swede “get into touch with English financiers on the question of concluding an Anglo-German peace based on a return to the position up to 1939.” According to the Soviet agent, Wallenberg declined the offer and asked it be made directly to the British diplomatic mission in Stockholm. Venona Translation 3/MBF/T2201, 6/5/76. In March 1944, Japanese diplomats in Stockholm reported that the “persons most instrumental in arranging the contacts between the Finns and Russians were the Wallenbergs.” MND Translation, Stockholm to Tokyo, SSA #115968, 10 March 1944. NARA, RG 457, HCC, box 402.
- MND Translation, Budapest to Lisbon, 23 October 1944, H-147752. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 444
- MND Translation, Vatican (Portuguese Charge d'Affaires) to Lisbon, 1 December 1944, H-158058. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 456.
- MND Translation, Budapest to Lisbon, 23 October 1944, H-147752. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 444.
- “Cryptanalytic Short Titles.” 19440201. NARA, RG 457, HCC, box 941, File 2740; Alvarez, 176; “List of Cryptanalytic Short Titles,” 1 February 1946. Army Security Agency. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 935, Folder “Short Titles.”
- MND Translation, Washington to Madrid, 20 October 1944, H-146824. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 442.
- MND Translations: Budapest to Lisbon, 23 October 1944, H-147752, NARA, RG 457, HCDC, Box 444; Bern (Politique) to Budapest, 7 November 1944, H-153452, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 451; and Budapest to Madrid, 14 November 1944, H-154424, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 452.
- MND Translation, Budapest to Lisbon, 17 October 1944, H-146360. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 442.
- MND Translations: Budapest to Madrid, 15 November 1944, H-154425, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 452; and Budapest to Madrid, 16 November 1944, H-153555. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 451.
- “Magic Diplomatic Summary,” D.S. 970, 20 November 1944. NARA, RG 457, Magic Diplomatic Summaries, Box 14.
- MND Translation, Budapest (Schweizerische Gesandtschaft) to Bern, 23 November 1944, H-153272. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 451.
- MND Translation (Boston), Unknown (Veesenmayer) to Berlin, 30 December 1944, T-1810. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 519.
- For an overview of the origins of Japanese attitudes and many beliefs about Jews, see David Kranzler, Jews, Nazis, and the Japanese: The Jewish Refugee Community of Shanghai, 1938-1945 (Hoboken, NJ: KTAV Publishing House, 1988, second edition), 177-209.
- Herbert P. Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (New York: Perennial Books, 2001), 280-1.
- Japanese Diplomatic Translations, Paris (Sugimura) to Tokyo, 2 November 1937, SIS # 813. NARA, RG 457, Red Machine Translations, Box 1.
- Japanese Diplomatic Translations, Paris (Sugimura) to Tokyo, 5 October 1937, SIS #80, NARA, RG 457, Red Machine Translations, Box 1.
- MND Translation, Berlin (Oshima) to Tokyo, 16 January 1939, SIS #3504, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 286.
- MND Translation, Washington (Horinouchi) to Tokyo, 17 January 1939, SIS #3608, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 286.
- MND Translation, Tokyo (Nomura) to Washington, 20 October 1939, SIS #5099, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 287.
- MND Translation, Tokyo (Nomura) to Washington, 18 October 1939, SIS #5064, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 287.
- MND Translation, Tokyo (Nomura) to Washington, 16 November 1939, SIS #5294, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 287.
- MND Translations: Washington (Horinouchi) to Tokyo, 24 November 1939, SIS #5330, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 287; and Tokyo (Nomura) to Washington, 10 January 1940, SIS #5801. NARA. RG 457, HCC, Box 287.
- MND Translation, New York to Tokyo, 18 February 1939, SIS #3710 and New York (Wakasugi) to Tokyo, 10 February 1939, SIS #3644. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 286.
- MND Translation, Tokyo to Berlin, 12 December 1941, SIS #26279, RG 457, HCC, Box 301; and Magic Diplomatic Summary, 11 May 1942, RG 457, Entry 9006, Box 1.
- MND Translation, Sofia to Tokyo, 28 January 1942, SIS #29056, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 303.
- MND Translations: Tokyo to Hanoi (Circular to all stations), 13 March 1942, SIS #31162 and 31209. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 305.
- For incidents against Jews in Shanghai, see Kranzler, 493-501. For the listings of internment camp populations by nationality, see Japanese Army Translations, Singapore to Saigon, J-102875F-J, 3 September 1945 and Sapong to Saigon, J-104386A-6, 2 September 1945, RG 457, Entry 9032, Boxes 1269 and 1271.
- MND Translation, Tokyo (Vollhardt) to Berlin, 29 January 1943, SIS #63844, RG 457, HCC, Box 344.
- MND Translations: Tokyo to Saigon, 17 December 1942, SIS #62124 NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 342; and Tokyo to Nanking (Circular), 7 January 1943, SIS #61872, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 342.
- MND Translation, Tokyo to Saigon, 17 December 1942, SIS #62124 NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 342.
- MND Translation, Shanghai to Peking, 24 May 1943, SIS #83737 NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 365.
- “Magic” Diplomatic Summary, D.S. 768, 2 May 1944. NARA, RG 457, Magic Diplomatic Summaries, Box 11.
- Tuka was Slovak Premier Volpetch Tuka. General Bonnard probably was Abel Bonnard, the Vichy minister of education. The interior minister of Hungary was Andor Jaross, who was executed as a war criminal in 1946. The Grand Mufti (jurist) of Jerusalem was Amin al-Husayni, who had fled to Germany in 1939 and made anti-Jewish and anti-British speeches for the Nazis during the war. Al-Husayni also was involved in several projects by the SS to raise Moslem units in Bosnia.
- MND Translation, Berlin to Tokyo, 22 June 1944, SIS #129788, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 424.
- MND Translations, Tokyo to Berlin, 1 July 1944, SIS #129535, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 424; and Tokyo to Berlin, 5 July 1944, SIS #129925. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 424.
- MND Translations, Shanghai to Hsinking and Harbin, 24 November 1943, SIS #106323, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 39; and Shanghai to Hsinking, 12 October 1943, SIS #98986. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 382.
- MND Translation, Shanghai (Fontanel) to Bern (Politique), 30 September 1944, SIS 146354, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 442.
- MND Translation, Bern to Shanghai, 2 October 1944, SIS #143831, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 439. See also New York Times, “U.S. Lets Jewish Unit Repay Shanghai Loan,” 4 October 1943.
- MND Translations Shanghai to Berne, 3 December 1943, SIS #104073, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 391; Berne (Jardin) to Shanghai (French Consul), 18 July 1944, SIS #132299, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 426; and Berne (Verge) to Shanghai (French Consulate), 1 December 1944, H-154218, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 451.
- MND Translation, Shanghai to Tokyo, 1 August 1945, H-199657, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Boxes 514. Japanese Army translation, J88496A-D, G-J (Also notated SRR 117407-9), 27 July 1945, NARA, RG 457, Entry 9005.
- MND Translation, Harbin to Tokyo, 21 October 1944, H-150832, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 448; Japanese Naval Attaché (SRNA), Bern to Tokyo, 31 July 1945, #50801, RG 457, Entry 9013, Box 7.
- MND Translation, Harbin to Tokyo, 6 March 1945, H-175408, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 481.
- U.S. and Allied Efforts to Recover and Restore Gold and Other Assets Stolen or Hidden by Germany During World War II, A Preliminary Study. Prepared by William Slany, May 1997. Also, the Appendix to U.S. and Allied Efforts to Recover and Restore Gold and Other Assets Stolen or Hidden by Germany During World War II. Finding Aid to Records at the National Archives at College Park. Prepared by Dr. Greg Bradsher, NARA, College Park, MD. May 1997. And the Supplement to the Preliminary Study: U.S. and Allied Wartime and Postwar Relations and Negotiations With Argentina, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey on Looted Gold and German External Assets and U.S. Concerns About the Fate of the Wartime Ustasha Treasury. Prepared by William Slany. June 1998.
- For more on Project Safehaven, see Donald Steury, “The OSS and Project SAFEHAVEN,” Studies in Intelligence (Unclassified Edition, Summer 2000, No.9), 35-50.
- Preliminary Study, 66. Figures are given in 1945 values. Current values are determined at a factor of approximately 9.74: 5.6 billion dollars and 3.9 billion dollars, respectively.
- As an example, in late November 1944, the secretary general of the Bank of Portugal allowed for the sale of Swiss francs for escudos by the German Reichsbank. MND Translation, Lisbon (Dietmar) to Berlin, 22 November 1944, T-1625, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 519.
- MND Translation, Stockholm (via Berlin/ Oshima) to Tokyo, 21 March 1945, H-175763, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 481.
- MND Translations, Lisbon (Morishima) to Tokyo, 6 January 1943, SIS #62000, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 342; and Berlin (Yamamoto) to Tokyo (Totsukami), 1 September 1944, SIS #142491. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 437. An interesting but relatively unknown factor in determining the amount of gold in Swiss banks may have been the Japanese penchant for paying for purchases in Europe in gold. How much gold they transported to Europe is unknown. However, a Japanese diplomatic message from Tokyo to Berlin refers to an informal decision to send two tons of gold to Europe for purchases of war material. MND Translation, Tokyo to Berlin, 28 February 1944, SIS #112177, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 399.
- The Peterson Code used by the Reichsbank probably was the 3rd edition published in 1929. The 4th edition was published after World War II. See Peterson International Code — Signal PETCO (New York: Peterson Cipher Code Company, 1929). A copy is available in the library of the National Cryptologic Museum, Fort George G. Meade, MD.
- European Axis Signal Intelligence in World War II as Revealed by “TICOM” Investigations and by Other Prisoner of War Interrogations and Captured Material, Principally German. WDGAS-14, Chief Army Security Agency, 1 May 1946. Volume 7 — Goering’s Research Bureau. 59, 74-5, Volume 6 — The Foreign Office Cryptanalytic Section. 33
- Blue Intelligence Summary No. 45, 19 June 1945, page 3, RG 457, HCC, Box 192;
- For an idea of the spectrum of topics in the cables that the Germans might have seen, refer to Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), Diplomatic Papers, 1943. Vol. I, General (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1963), 824-908 and Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers, Vol. IV, Europe (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1966), 706-800.
- For example, see VN 1831/7.44, issued 27 July 1944 about Jews in Romania; VN 372/8.44, 4 August 1944 about Hungarian Jews; and VN 1837/4.44, 28 April 1944, about the arrival in Istanbul of a Bulgarian ship with Jewish refuges for Palestine. All from RG 457, Entry HCC, Box 205 “German Decrypts of U.S. Diplomatic Messages.”
- See VN 1888/3.1944, 24 April 1944, “Wirkungen des Luftbombardments auf den Reichsbank-Notenumlauf,” ("Effects of the Aerial Bombing on the Circulation of the Reichsbank’s Bank Notes.") RG 457, HCC, Box 206; and VN 615/10.44, 15 October 1944, RG 457, HCC, Box 208.
- Preliminary Report, 18.
- MND Translation, Bern (Kase) to Tokyo, H-145035, 11 October 1944, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 440.
- MND Translation, Bern (Kase) to Tokyo, H-144958, 10 October 1944. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 440. The substance of this statement appeared in a cable from the Yokohama Specie Bank representative in Berlin, Kojiro Kitamura. The Yokohama Specie Bank was Japan’s official overseas government bank.
- “Magic” Diplomatic Summary, D.S. # 940, 20 October 1944. NARA, RG 457, Magic Diplomatic Summaries, Box 13.
- MND Translation, Bern (Kase) to Tokyo, H-158281, 16 December 1944. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 457.
- MND Translation, Bern (Kase) to Tokyo, H-158409, 22 December 1944. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 457. The 100 million Swiss francs were equivalent to about $24 million in 1945.
- MND translation, Boston, Bern (Koecher) to Berlin, 13 December 1944, T-1626, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 519.
- Preliminary Report, 31.
- Preliminary Report, 71. The involvement of Currie and White in the negotiations is significant for another reason: both men were longtime agents for the Soviet secret police organization, the NKVD. In the U.S. Army translations of the NKVD messages from 1943 to 1946, known as Venona and issued by the Army Security Agency, both men figure prominently. Currie, known as PAZh (Page) and White, whose cover names were YuRIST (Jurist) and changed later to LAJER (Lawyer), had been Soviet agents since the 1930s. They had been identified as Soviet agents in Venona translations and by other agents turned witnesses or informants for the FBI and Justice Department. From the Venona translations, both were known to pass intelligence to their handlers, notably the Silvermaster network. White also was known to exert substantial influence on Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau. Another Soviet agent was V. Frank Coe, cover name PIK (Pick), a Treasury official who had been involved in the Safehaven program. It is not certain if the actions by Currie, White, or Coe during the negotiations with the Swiss were in any way affected by their role as Soviet agents. Nor is it known if they reported to Moscow about the U.S. government’s efforts to restrict Swiss-German financial activity. For further information on the roles of these three men, see Allan Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev, The Haunted Wood (New York: Random House, 1999), 157-169.
The Soviets had other sources reporting about the German assets in Switzerland. Venona translation No. 205 from 21 June 1945, Washington to Moscow, contained the contents of an Office of Strategic Services report to a U.S. Treasury representative in England. The report listed a number of Germans who were involved in assisting the transfer of Nazi funds to unspecified foreign banks.
Soviet goals probably did not differ much from those of the other Allies when it came to limiting Nazi economic activity in Switzerland. Moscow would have been interested in seeing Swiss trade with the Germans end thereby reducing the effectiveness of the German military facing them in Eastern Europe. Preliminary Report, 33.
- MND Translation, Bern (Kase) to Tokyo, 29 January 1945, H-164327, NARA RG 457, HCC, Box 465; and Bern (Politique) to Washington, 27 January 1945, H-165648. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 466.
- MND Translation, Bern via Berlin (Kase) to Tokyo, 6 February 1945, H-166117, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 466. In the postwar period, the Allied Gold Commission met with a number of nations that had been neutral during the war, but had traded with Germany. A summary of these meetings can be found in U.S. and Allied Wartime and Postwar Relations and Negotiations With Argentina, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey on Looted Gold and German External Assets and U.S. Concerns About the Fate of the Wartime Ustasha Treasury. Supplement to Preliminary Study on U.S. and Allied Efforts to recover and Restore Gold and Other Assets Stolen or Hidden by Germany During World War II. Coordinated by Stuart Eizenstat, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs. Prepared by William Slany, Historian, Department of State. June 1998.
- Ibid, MND Translation.
- MND Translation, Berlin to Tokyo, 19 February 1945, H-168142, NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 469.
- Preliminary Study, 35.
- Translation, Bern (Schnurre) to Berlin, February 1945, Boston Series, T-2624. NARA, RG 457, HCC, Box 521
- Ministry of Economic Warfare Translations, CS 58695, Parts I and II, and CS 58638, Part II, NARA, RG 226, Entry 19, Box 143, XL 10464.
- MND Translation, Bern to Berlin (Auswaertig), 6 April 1945, H-215456. Mandatory Declassification Review #42560 (National Security Agency), 12 March 2003.
- “Magic Diplomatic Summary, D.S. #1120, 19 April 1945. NARA, RG 457, Magic Diplomatic Summaries, Box 16.
- The Allies were convinced that the Germans had hidden stolen assets in places other than Merkers. An Operation Sparkler was a plan to locate and seize these cahes. In September 1946, a series of raids were conducted, but the results were meager. Thanks to Miriam Kleiman at NARA for this source. RG-319, Records of the Army Staff, Vols 1- 7. MND Translation, Washington to Bern, H-215680, 27 November 1945 and Washington to Bern, 26 November 1945, H-218258. NARA, RG 457, “Swiss Gold,” Box 1.