Last night, Rabbi Kalmanowitz called me at home from
New York and asked me to deliver to you the following message:
A cable from Sternbuch, transmitted through the Polish
embassy, contains the information that on August 26 deportations of
Jews from Budapest have begun. Twelve thousand Jews have already been
deported to Oswiecim, in Upper Silesia. Sternbuch, in his own name and
on the suggestion of the Rabbi of Neutra suggests that further deportations
be interfered with the immediate bombing of the railroad junctions between
Budapest and Silesia, viz: Kaschen Presow – Zilina- Galanta –
Leopoldorf – Caca – Rudki, as well as the railroad junction
at Graz (Austria).
The Polish charge d'affaires, M. Kwapiszewski, has
promised to Rabbi Kalmanowitz to transmit a copy of the cable to WRB,
but in view of possible delays, the Rabbi wanted my assurance that this
matter will be placed before the Board at yesterday's conference.
While supporting Sternbuch's and the Rabbi of Neutra's
request regarding this matter and, is ready, despite the Sabbath, to
take a train today to Washington, if this should appear necessary in
the interest of insuring immediate action.
To the above, I should like respectfully to add the
The thought of bombing the railroad junctions between
Hungary and Silesia to interrupt the flow of deportations is indeed
elementary. You will recall that the thought has been clearly hinted
at by McClelland, in 4041 from Bern, dated June 24.
I am aware of the fact that a somewhat similar idea
was rejected some time ago by the Department of War – a rejection
which quite likely stems from the habitual reluctance of the military
to act upon civilian suggestions.
It is submitted, however, that the WRB was created
precisely in order to overcome the inertia and – in some cases
– the insufficient interests of the old-established agencies in
regard to the saving of Jewish victims of Nazi Germany. Repeatedly we
refused to take a “no” for an answer when it came from the
Department of State. There is nothing in the officials of the Department
of War that would make them more sacrosanct or freer from error than
the officials of the Department of State.
In the matter of the “Free Port” which,
whatever its merits, was certainly not a matter of life and death, Mr.
Pehle went to the President.
To be faithful to our task, it would appear most appropriate
if the Board took the identical course in connection with the Hungarian
In the light of the present air superiority of the
United Nations, I am certain that the President, once acquainted with
the facts, would realize the values involved and, cutting through the
inertia-motivated objections of the War Department, would order the
immediate bombings of the objectives suggested.
[Signed] B. Akzin
P.S. I have promised the Rabbi to see to it that you
get this message without delay. I therefore take this unconventional
way of sending it straight to your office, not through channels. A copy
of the memo goes to my chief, Mr. Lesser.