While much of the literate world celebrates World Book and Copyright Day on Sunday 23 April, Jewish people will also mark the start of Yom Hashoa – Holocaust Memorial Day - and with it the publication of yet another book describing how their mass near-extermination may have been limited, if not altogether stopped.
Human Rights after Hitlerby UK-based academic Dan Plesch details the work of the United Nations War Crimes Commission, an organisation that from 1943-1948 helped national governments with the trials of war criminals in Europe and East Asia.
Dr Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies at SOAS, University of London, maintains that fresh material opens “new questions about the failure of the Allies to help the Jews whom they publicly stated to be at risk of murder, and provides further material against Holocaust denial”.
In chapter 3, ‘When the Allies Condemned the Holocaust: Early Condemnations of Nazi War Crimes’, he highlights the failure of the Allies to help the Jews whom they publicly stated to be at risk of murder. He also provides further material against Holocaust denial.
Further, Dr Plesch points out that the Wannsee Conference of Nazi officials on the Final Solution took place in January 1942 and that by the end of the same year the extermination of the Jews was publicly condemned in specific detail by the Americans, British, Soviets and others. This was well-documented history that overturns the conventional view of the Holocaust not being accepted until the camps were liberated at the end of the war, he says.
There were also well-researched accounts being publicised by the Polish government in London as early as the summer of 1942, months before Stalingrad and two years before D-Day. These included open and public condemnations of killing that documented the use of poison gas and descriptions of killing centres in Poland.