NEW YORK, April 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Allied forces under the command of Dwight Eisenhower repeatedly thwarted a Red Cross relief effort that could have saved Anne Frank and tens of thousands of other concentration camp inmates near the end of World War II, according to documents uncovered by a Holocaust historian.
In In the Name of Humanity: The Secret Deal to End the Holocaust (Skyhorse Publishing; April 17, 2018), historian Max Wallace — a New York Times bestselling author and former interviewer for Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation — discloses newly discovered documents revealing that General Dwight Eisenhower's Supreme Allied Headquarters ignored repeated pleas in March of 1945 to supply fuel and vehicles to the International Red Cross to deliver food and medical supplies to the concentration camps after the SS gave permission for the relief shipments.
When the British Army liberated Bergen Belsen, on April 15, 1945, they discovered stacks of corpses of the nearly 20,000 Jews who had died of starvation and disease in the weeks before liberation, including Anne Frank and her sister Margot, who had succumbed to a typhus epidemic that had swept the camp in late winter. Although the liberators claimed they had no prior knowledge of Bergen Belsen or its horrors, Wallace discovered documents in the archives of the War Refugee Board revealing that high-ranking Allied officials—including US Secretary of War Henry Stimson—received a briefing in Washington on February 20, 1945, about the imminent humanitarian catastrophe facing Bergen Belsen and other camps and authorized immediate action to save the inhabitants.
The documents—discovered by Wallace in the archives of the War Refugee Board—reveal that Eisenhower's headquarters ignored this directive for weeks and would only agree to supply the Red Cross fuel for "for transport relief to POWS and not for [concentration camp inmates.]" Wallace argues that if the Red Cross refief efforts had not been thwarted, tens of thousands of inmates, including Anne Frank, likely could have been saved.
"The ultimate blame for every concentration camp death ultimately rests with the Nazis whose despicable policies placed them there," writes Wallace. "But the tragedy of Bergen Belsen illustrates that even at this late stage in the war, the fate of the European Jews had still hardly made a dent in the conscience of the Allied leaders."
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SOURCE Skyhorse Publishing