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United Nations: Statement on the Murder of European Jews

(December 17, 1942)

The reports that reached the West about the systematic murder of European Jews led to an initiative by the Polish government-in-exile to condemn the genocide. This UN statement, issued December 17, 1942, was the international body's only condemnation of German actions toward the Jews during the Holocaust. The statement was widely reported by the Western press.

“The attention of the Governments of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxemborg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the USA, the United Kingdom of Great Britian and Northen Ireland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Yugoslavia, and the French Committee of National Liberation, has been drawn to numerous reports from Europe that the German authorities, not content to denying to persons of Jewish race in all the territories over which their barbarous rule has been extended the most elementary human rights, are now carring into effect Hitler's often repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people in Europe. From all the occupied countries Jews are being transported, in conditions of appaling horror and brutality, to Eastern Europe. In Poland, which has been made the principal Nazi slaughterhouse, the gettoes established by the Nazi invaders are being systematically emptied of all Jews except a few highly-skilled workers required for war indestries. None of those taken away are ever heard of again. The able-bodies are slowly worked to death in labour camps. The infirm are left to die of exposure and starvation or are deliberately massacred in mass executions.

The number of victims of these bloody cruelitis is reckoned in many hundreds of thousand of entirely innocent men, women and children.

The above-mentioned Governments and the French National Committee condemn in the strongest possible terms this bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination. They declare that such events can only stengthen the resolve of all freedom-loving people to overthrow the barbarous Hitlerite tyreny. They reaffirm their solemn resolution to ensure that those responsible for this crimes shall not escape retribution, and to press on with the necessary practical measures to this end.”

Sources: Yad Vashem; History of the United Nations War Crimes Commission, 1948L p. 106.