Detailed reports from German “death factories” and harrowing witness accounts – Poles tried to convince the Allies to stop the Holocaust but it was all in vain.
This article, by Piotr Włoczyk, was published in Polish in the “Do Rzeczy” weekly magazine in 2021 and later translated and published in English on Sovereignty.pl. To read the full article in English, please click here.
“Recent reports bring a horrifying picture of the situation in which Polish Jews found themselves. The new methods of mass slaughter implemented in the last few months confirm the fact that the German authorities intend to systematically exterminate the Jewish population of Poland, as well as the many thousands of Jews whom the German authorities have deported to Poland from the western and central regions of Europe, including from the German Reich itself” – Edward Raczynski, Polish Foreign Minister, wrote in December 1942 to the governments of the signatory states of the United Nations Declaration. “The Polish government considers it its duty to transmit to the governments of all civilized countries the following, fully documented, information received from Poland in recent weeks, which clearly shows the new extermination methods used by the German authorities.”
“Raczynski’s Note” was the first official report on the Holocaust being carried out by the Germans. The Polish government-in-exile was anxious not only to report on the Holocaust, but also to trigger a determined reaction. As Minister Raczynski emphasized in the note, in addition to condemning the crime, the Poles expected the Allies “to find effective measures that would deter Germany from continuing its methods of mass extermination.”
The Polish government-in-exile created the note based on materials provided to London by the courier and emissary of the Polish Underground State – Jan Karski (actually Jan Kozielewski – “Karski” was only an alias). Karski’s report on the Holocaust was commissioned by Prof. Cyril Ratajski, the Government Delegate for Poland. It was an account of a visit to the Warsaw Ghetto, as well as the transit camp in Izbica, which Karski entered disguised in the uniform of a guard of the Ukrainian SS auxiliary formation.
“I saw terrible things. The railroad ramp, the deportation from the camp,”…