The systematic mass extermination of Jews in Nazi-occupied
territories as a program of German state action was revealed as early
as September, 1942. The authenticity of the extermination program was
established by the directed investigations of consular agents of the
United Nations in neutral lands.
By the end of 1942, it was estimated that more than
two million Jews had been killed. The extermination program of the Nazis
was achieved through mass deportations in caravans, where the victims
died of suffocation or starvation; through extermination centers where
the victims died of asphyxiation by gas in gas chambers; by fumes from
sulphur mines; by carbon monoxide from army trucks; through mass cremation;
through mass machine gunning; through planned starvation.
Five months ago, in response to appeals of an aroused
humanity, to which the voices of great leaders of religious thought
and statesmen of vision gave their support, the United Nations issued
a denunciation of the Nazi policy of mass murder, and pledged themselves
to take practical measures. Since the declaration was issued, months
have passed, and its implementation has yet to be achieved.
But the holocaust of murder continues unabated. As
the failure of Total War is driven home to Nazi leadership, the frustration
of their hope of world conquest turns them in fury to the murder of
all Jews who are helpless in their grasp. In addition to the Jews who
already have been done to death, total extermination threatens all those
who remain in Nazi-occupied Europe.
Our deepest sympathy goes out to all peoples suffering
from the hardships of Total War, and especially to those peoples of
all denominations suffering under the heel of the Nazi oppressors. But
it is our duty to point out that of all the peoples that have suffered
and are suffering under the oppression of the Nazi aggressors, the Jews
are the only people who have been singled out and marked for total extermination
by Nazi Germany.
The daily accounts of mass murders accumulate in all
their heartrending details. These accounts have shaken the Jewish community
to its depths.
Those who linger in helpless captivity, awaiting the
dreadful call for departure to ghetto or concentration camp where death
awaits them, are thrown into the depths of unutterable despair by the
thought that they are regarded as merely the wastage of a cruel world,
that they are unclaimed and unwanted, that their kinsmen from afar are
unable to aid them, and that there seems to be no shadow of hope for
The threat of retribution after the war and the excoriation
of their horrible deeds have not served to turn the Nazi leaders from
their determined policy of mass murder. The condemnation of the civilized
world has not arrested the mounting tragedy. It is submitted, therefore,
that the United Nations cannot afford to close their eyes to this appalling
So far as is known, the United Nations have as yet
taken no decisive action to rescue as many of the victims marked of
death as could be saved. Public opinion is far ahead of Government decision.
The moral indignation of great American communities, of their religious
and labor leaders, was climaxed by an appeal for action by the United
Nations on March 1, 1943, in New York, at a mass demonstration.
At this meeting, a detailed program of rescue was
submitted and approved and forwarded to the Government of the United
States. What was registered as the meeting on March 1st was endorsed
by similar demonstrations which followed in other cities. The American
press and assemblies of Christian religious organizations have joined
in the demand upon the Government for action. Elsewhere throughout the
democratic world the public clamors for immediate action.
The Bermuda Conference was in a measure prompted by
all these public manifestations of humanitarian interest. It is submitted,
therefore, that it becomes the duty of the United Nations to return
a planned program of determined action, looking toward the release of
a substantial number of Jews from Nazi Germany, the creation of sanctuaries
for them in Allied and neutral countries, and the feeding under appropriate
guarantees of those who are compelled to remain imprisoned within Nazi-occupied
In the belief that it may contribute to such a program,
the following proposals are respectfully submitted:
The United Nations should approach the German Government, and the governments
of the states it now partly dominates or controls, through the Vatican
or neutral governments like Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Argentina,
with a view to securing their agreement to the release of their Jewish
victims and to the emigration of Jews to such havens of refuge as may
The United Nations should, without delay, take steps to designate and
establish a number of sanctuaries in Allied and neutral countries to
accommodate substantial numbers of Hitler`s victims and to serve as
havens of refuge for those Jews whose release from captivity may be
arranged for, or who may find their way to freedom through efforts of
The procedure that now prevails in the administration of the existing
immigration under the established quotas, should be revised and adjusted
to war conditions, in order that refugees from Nazi-occupied territories,
within such quotas, may find sanctuary here.
Subject to provisions for its national security, England should be asked
to provide for receiving a reasonable number of victims escaping from
Nazi-occupied territories and to provide for their accommodation for
The possibilities in several British territories, both in Africa and
in the Caribbean, should be explored without delay. Sanctuary has already
been afforded to thousands of refugees in these territories and there
is room for many more, if not for permanent settlement, at least for
The United Nations should urge the Republics of Latin America to modify
such administrative regulations that now make immigration under the
law extremely difficult, and to endeavor to find temporary havens of
refuge for a substantial number of refugees.
Overriding pre-war political considerations, England should be persuaded
to open the doors of Palestine for Jewish immigration and the offer
of hospitality made by the Jewish Community of Palestine should be accepted.
The United Nations should provide financial guarantees to all such neutral
states as have given temporary refuge to Jews coming from Nazi-occupied
territories and to provide to their feeding and maintenance and eventual
evacuation. The neutral states should be guaranteed that the refugees
will not become a public charge and that they will be transferred to
permanent sanctuaries as soon as possible.
In order to do away with the lack of identity many stateless refugees
present, and to get them sponsorship and protection, an arrangement
similar to that which existed under the League of Nations should be
established and the Stateless refugees should be given identification
passports analogous to the "Nansen" passports.
In view of the fact that mass starvation is the design of the Nazi regime,
the United Nations should take appropriate steps without delay to organize
a system for the feeding of the victims of Nazi oppression who are unable
to leave the jurisdiction and the control of the Axis.
It is submitted that the United Nations are urged to establish an appropriate
inter-governmental agency, to which full authority and power should
be given to implement the program of rescue here outlined.
In support of these proposals an appendix is attached.
In the name of humanity and of the ideals which the
Armed Forces of the United Nations have arisen to defend, we respectfully
submit this appeal in the hope that effective action will be taken without
JOINT EMERGENCY COMMITTEE FOR EUROPEAN JEWISH AFFAIRS
American Jewish Congress
American Jewish Committee
Jewish Labor Committee
American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs
Synagogue Council of America
Union of Orthodox Rabbis of America
Agudath Israel of America, Inc.