Jerusalem, 11 November 1996


(Communicated by Iris Rosenberg, Yad Vashem Spokeswoman)

Yad Vashem views favorably any report that reveals to the public the acts of horror that were perpetrated in Europe by the German occupation forces, immediately following the attack on the former Soviet Union in the summer of 1941.

At the same time, Yad Vashem would like to emphasize that the documents from the U.S. National Archives, which The Washington Post quotes and upon which it bases its claim that, apparently, seven million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, are well-known and were published 15 years ago in British Professor P.H. Hinsley’s book, entitled British Intelligence in the Second World War. They can also be found in Yad Vashem’s archives.

In research which has been conducted up until now around the world, including in Israel, which has also been based on these documents, as well as on a great deal of additional information which has been collected since then, researchers have reached the conclusion that the number of Jews who perished in the Holocaust was between 5.8-6.1 million, with all of the pain that this statistic entails. In any case, based on the documentation possessed by Yad Vashem and by others around the world, there is no foundation for the figure of 7 million.

The fact that aside from the SS regular German police and military units also were active partners in the mass murders is not new, as The Washington Post claims. This was known throughout the world, including in Germany.

The claim that these documents prove that the Allies already knew about the systematic annihilation of European Jewry in 1941, is not new either. Nevertheless, it must be added that although it is known that British intelligence had succeeded in deciphering various transmissions by SS and police commanders in the occupied areas, and that via these transmissions it was possible to understand that the murder of Jews was taking place, it is doubtful whether it was possible to conclude that a planned and systematic annihilation was taking place. The fact that systematic murder was taking place only became clear in the West between June and November of 1942.

In any case, even these transmissions are not being revealed for the first time, as is being claimed by The Washington Post, but appear in Prof. Hinsley’s book.

For additional information, please contact Iris Rosenberg at 02-6411723.