Publications Index | Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’s Internet Archive

Socialist Review Index (1993–1996) | Socialist Review 179 Contents

Socialist Review, October 1994

George Coombs


Witness to murder


From Socialist Review, No. 179, October 1994.
Copyright © Socialist Review.
Copied with thanks from the Socialist Review Archive.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Recent years have seen an alarming escalation in the activities of neo-fascist organisations in England, Germany and other parts of Europe. Among the many disconcerting aspects of their activities is the attempt, orchestrated by revisionist historians like David Irving, to play down or deny the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis during the Second World War.

Controversy will continue as to whether more could have been done by the Allied powers, such as bombing the railway tracks leading to Auschwitz and other death camps, but considerable material suggests that the reality of the Holocaust was widely known.

The 8 May 1943 edition of Picture Post reported that there were ‘signs in this country of an anti-Jewish campaign sponsored on German lines and backed by German broadcasts.’ This statement is part of an article on a conference organised by the National Council for Civil Liberties in London. The conference focused on anti-semitism.

The Inter Allied Commission is quoted as saying, ‘Two million Jews have been killed or deported. Five million more are in danger of death.’ This is a clear indication of the scale of Nazi activity against the Jews, and of widespread awareness in a popular magazine like Picture Post.

Hitler is described by:

‘His aim is the extermination of the Jewish people by hunger, disease and mass murder. Not content with forcing them into foul ghettos and degrading occupations, he has, like a modern but more terrible Herod, declared their death.’

The article also says:

‘The vast majority of the people of this country are horrified by the extermination of the Jews in Europe. Most are impatient at the slowness of the Allied governments in devising some means of getting more refugees away from the countries where they face death.’

But the massacres continued. On 12 December 1942 Anthony Eden made a statement in the House of Commons condemning the Nazi policy of extermination directed mainly against the Jews and promised retribution. But the massacres continued.

Eden’s statement is recorded in the booklet Terror in Europe published by the National Committee for Rescue from Nazi Terror. The booklet also contains an account by Alexei Tolstoy of his enquiries into atrocities perpetrated in the Northern Caucasus. There is the testimony by a member of the Polish underground who witnessed mass murder of Jews in a death camp.

The final item is an excerpt from a speech delivered to a mass meeting in San Francisco by Thomas Mann in which he quotes Goebbels as stating in a radio speech:

‘It is our objective to exterminate the Jews. Whether we win or are defeated we must reach this aim. Should the German armies be forced to retreat they shall, on their way, wipe the last Jew off the face of the earth.’

This clearly demonstrates the level of fanatical irrationality present within the Nazi war machine. It is acutely disconcerting to be aware that Goebbels was known to have made a statement like this, at this time.

Finally we consider a broadcast made by Watson Thompson over the national network of the Canadian Broadcasting Company on Easter Sunday, 25 April 1942, in which he says, ‘Since the Nazi terror began two million of the seven million Jews of Europe have died and the killing still goes on.’

Thompson claims the victims have been killed by every known form of execution including ‘gassing ... in specially prepared extermination centres,’ shooting and electrocution. In his broadcast he mentions 700 Jews who were locked in a rabbi’s house and bombed by a low flying plane.

These documents not only refute the revisionists’ claims regarding the Holocaust, they point to a lack of decisive action by appropriate authorities to assist the plight of the Jewish people.

Socialist Review Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 30 June 2017