British embassy in Moscow: "Soviet Extraordinary State Committee for investigating war crimes of German fascist aggressors have the archives of Auschwitz concentration camp"
Source: PRO file FO.370/1348
I understand from French Embassy that Soviet Extraordinary State Committee for investigating war crimes of German fascist aggressors have the archives of Auschwitz concentration camp. These archives which state name, place and date of birth, nationality and in some cases descriptions of persons sent to this camp, contain some 4,200,000 names. French estimate that there are several hundred English names in the lists probably mostly R.A.F. aircrews.
2. Most of the prisoners are stated to have been liquidated, to have died or to have commited [sic] suicide but it is possible that some at any rate of those sent to the camp just before its liberation may have escaped into Poland, Russian occupied Germany or Eastern Europe.
3. It has taken a special French Mission of two experts some two months to get half way through their examination of the lists. You will appreciate therefore that it would be impossible for this Embassy to undertake a work of such magnitude without special staff. I should be grateful if you would let me know whether you are interested in these archives and if so what you would wish done about them. Meantime I shall not approach Soviet authorities.
[minutes on the file]
Typewritten minute on jacket from A C Johnston, Dec 14, 1946, comments:
As far as we can see at the moment, we can make no use of this list. But as we have in the Nuremberg collection lists of internees at some of the other camps it would be interesting to have the one of Auschwitz as well. ? ask Moscow if the Soviet Committee would let us have a Photostat copy of the entire list."
He submitted a suitable draft telegram. But D A B minuted in handwriting, Dec 16, 1946 that it would be too expensive to microfilm the archive, and suggested passing the buck to the Admiralty, War office and Air Ministry. (Who did nothing)