Press/Journalists

Press Release nr01-76
Press Release ยท Monday, July 2, 2001

Washington, DC

Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group
Thomas H. Baer, Public Member

Richard Ben-Veniste, Public Member

John E. Collingwood, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Elizabeth Holtzman, Public Member

Steven Garfinkel (Chair), National Archives and Records Administration

Stewart F. Aly, Department of Defense

William H. Leary, National Security Council

David P. Holmes, Central Intelligence Agency

Paul A. Shapiro, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Eli M. Rosenbaum, Department of Justice

Marc J. Susser, Department of State


Press Release
July 2, 2001
Early Intelligence Record on Nazi Final Solution
Discovered in Documents Declassified under
Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act
Contact:
Giuliana Bullard, IWG
703-532-1477
Susan Cooper, NARA
301-837-1700

Washington, D.C. . .Documents declassified under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998 are shedding new light on what the American and British intelligence communities knew of Hitler's plans for the Jews early in World War II. By March 20, 1942, a surreptitiously obtained document appears in the files of the United States Coordinator of Information (COI), a predecessor to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the Central Intelligence Agency. The document is a translated copy of a despatch filed by a Chilean diplomat on November 24, 1941, which the COI received some time later from British intelligence. It clearly discusses the Nazi intent to eradicate European Jewry.

The report, by the diplomat stationed in Prague, tells of the Nazi plan for the destruction of "Semitism," the "eradication" of the Jews of Europe. It was delivered to David Bruce, head of the Secret Intelligence Branch of the COI, who forwarded it to an administrative assistant to William J. Donovan, who served as Coordinator of Information before heading the OSS. There is no indication on the document whether other Americans may have seen it.

The document was part of a release in June of 2000 at the National Archives of 400,000 pages of OSS records by the Interagency Working Group (IWG), a group that coordinates the government-wide effort to declassify federal records related to Nazi and Axis war crimes. Other related documents in the records of the OSS that add details to the story are currently being opened under the Act. IWG historians have completed an historical an