British Report on Treatment of German Nationals
The British government published a report in 1939 containing messages from diplomats about conditions in Germany and the treatment of Jews and others. Some of the reports include testimony and eyewitness reports of Nazi persecution of Jews and descriptions of concentration camps by Jews imprisoned in Buchenwald and Dachau. The reports show the British knew a great deal about the mistreatment of Jews, including detailed descriptions of the events on Kristallnacht. They also reveal the attitude of some diplomats toward Jews. Cables also discuss the trial of Martin Niemoeller.
A message dated October 28, 1938, for example, described what happened to a Jewish businessman who was sent to Buchenwald. The businessman was lucky to get out because he said “no Jewish prisoner is ever released unless he can produce evidence that he is able to leave Germany.” He added, “There appears to be no release from this system of deliberate torture of mind and body but death.”
In addition to a descriptions of the events on Kristallnacht, a message was sent from Consul-General Bell to the Reichminister for Justice that said, “the events of the 10th instant have unmistakably and clearly proven to all the world that a judiciary no longer exists in Germany.”
On December 14, 1938, the Consul-General Frankfurt-on-Main, Robert Smallbones, wrote to Sir George Ogilvie-Forbes, Counsellor to the Embassy in Berlin about Kristallnacht:
Smallbones argued the information he forwarded should remain:
After Kristallnacht, Smallbones was later responsible for formulating a plan that allowed German Jews to immigrate to England.
One other interesting comment appeared in a dispatch from the Consul-General in Cologne, John Bell to Ogilvie-Forbes in which he noted that no attacks had been made to his knowledge on “British subjects of the Jewish race.” Jews, however, are not a race. It was Hitler who saw them as defiling the racial purity of Germany and necessitated their extermination. Bell seemed to understand this as he noted that the Nazi Party had made “such a point of racial purity that the Führer must carry his theories to their logical conclusion.”