Man Who Warned of Holocaust Dies
By CLARE NULLIS, Associated Press Writer
Dec 03, 2001
GENEVA (AP) — Gerhart Riegner, who tried to alert the world about the planned Nazi Holocaust and later led the World Jewish Congress, died Monday. He was 90. Riegner died of pneumonia in a Geneva hospital, according to his spokeswoman Edda Bournot.
Riegner was known for his cable of Aug. 8, 1942, describing Adolf Hitler’s plan to deport an estimated 4 million Jews to Eastern Europe to anihilate them. The telegram was sent to the U.S. vice consul in Geneva, asking him to inform the U.S. government of the plan and to transmit the contents to Stephen Wise, president of the World Jewish Congress.
It was based on a phone call Riegner received in Geneva from a Jewish activist who said a German businessman had been told him of a plan “to transfer all the Jews of Europe — 3.5 to 4 million — to the East in order to exterminate them and resolve for once and for all the problem of Jews in Europe.”
The State Department tried to verify Riegner’s telegram with the Vatican and the Red Cross. Both said they knew of mistreatment and deportations of Jews, but not of a mass extermination plan. […]