The Secret History of World War II
- This series sheds new light on key events of World War II. The stories are based on some of the more than 3 million files declassified under a 1999 executive order.
By Mark Fritz
July 1, 2001
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — A newly discovered document that reads like a rough draft of the Final Solution provides the earliest evidence yet that the United States knew the Nazis planned to eradicate the Jews, and that Hitler’s executioners vowed to speed the slaughter “in proportion to the USA increasing its attacks on the Reich.”
The November 1941 document, a pilfered German order sent to Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, clearly signals Hitler’s intent to broaden the persecution, plunder, and ultimate extermination of Jews. It also suggests that the US entry into the war influenced the timetable for terminating an entire people.
The commission plans to release a report on the significance of the document this week.
Most of the new documents in this country are from the OSS. They literally recreate the war in real time, with the persecution of Jews unfolding amid global chaos and killings of every conceivable kind. The flimsy narrative that surfaces early in the records comes to a screaming climax with the 1945 liberation of the death camps and the OSS interrogations of German guards who ripped off prisoners’ ears for entertainment, and of Nazi doctors who removed vital organs, then sewed the patients back up just to see what would happen.
Revelations that were treated at the time with considerable skepticism proved tragically true when Allied troops found evidence that Jews were baked in ovens, gassed in showers, starved into sickness, worked to death, and bulldozed into holes. […] A majority of Soviet soldiers defeated by the Nazis in battle were executed rather than held as POWs.
Jews deported to Poland and Terezin were sent there to be killed, Breitman said, and American diplomats suspected as early as late 1941 that Jews deported to the East were to be annihilated.
Mark Fritz’s email address is [email protected]