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Sunday, July 31, 2005
Pinpoints Near-Misses by Allies in Fathoming the
National Security Agency account says the Allies
knew of exterminations in the Nazi camps but failed
By Sam Roberts
WHO in Allied governments, the
Vatican and the press knew what about the Holocaust
and when? What could and should have been done to
save Europe's Jews? Ever since World War II, those
questions have been fiercely debated.
In January 1942, the Nazis convened to map their
Final Solution and by the following December the
Allies knew or suspected enough - mostly from
escaped prisoners and other partisans - to issue a
public denunciation of Germany's "bestial policy of
IT is difficult to know
where to begin with this belated mish-mash
of disinformation about the NSA report and
its statements on "the" Holocaust. We have
already commented sarcastically on its
content elsewhere [Radical's
We have never met (or
even heard of) Robert J. Hanyok of
the NSA Center for Cryptologic History in
Maryland. But we do notice that there is
no word even in his story about "gas
chambers". (In fact they are not referred
to anywhere in the intercepts).
The late Professor Sir
Frank Hinsley, a reliable British
historian and expert, and himself a
veteran of the WW2 Bletchley Park
codebreaking operation, would write
explicitly in an appendix to volume II
of the Official History of British
Intelligence in WW2 that there was no
such reference. For this remark he was
excoriated, disciplined, and future
editions of his British official history
had to be altered to omit the scandalous
With the usual New
York Times faith in the accepted
version of events, Sam Roberts, the
journalist who wrote this piece, has
interviewed "experts" from the Holocaust
Museum in Washington and The Wiesenthal
Center, etc. and even the upstart "David
Wyman Institute"; but not any of those
experts who challenge the accepted
The wartime Allies,
familiar with the wiles of the
international Zionists, rightly or wrongly
did not believe the stories being fed to
them by that odious, knee-groping
homosexual, Rabbi Wise, and his ilk; but
Hanyock saw no option but to attribute
their contemporary skepticism to ingrained
The Allies had a
different order of strategic priorities.
Unlike the Zionist zealots and guerrillas
who were fighting and killing British
troops in Palestine even during WW2, they
had decided to win the war first and
listen to these obstreperous whiners
What about Sam Robert's
other errors? He talks of January 1942 --
presumably alluding to the
Wannsee Conference of January 20, 1942
-- as being when the Nazis convened on
their decision to kill all the Jews. This
has long been discredited, even by the
He talks clumsily of
"the death camps liberated by the Allies";
in fact the Anglo-American armies did not
liberate a single camp which has since
then been termed a Nazi extermination
Those (like Auschwitz)
were all overrun by the Red Army -- and
these were the only camps incidentally in
which claims were later made for the
existence of "gas chambers". True, there
were high mortality rates in Dachau,
in 1945, which were captured by the
Americans and British, or rather turned
over by agreement between Heinrich
Himmler's officers and the
advancing Allies; but in the those the
death rates increased immediately
after their liberation by the Americans
and British -- so the less said about
them, perhaps, the better.
As for that January
1943 intercept showing that 1,247,166
Jews had been exterminated in the Lublin,
Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka camps in the
"Operation Reinhardt" plans of the Nazis.
We notice that Sam Roberts puts words into
the document which do not exist: namely,
those four names -- the document refers
only to L, B, S and T, although at least
one of the camps was not known to the
Nazis by that name in WW2 but by
We have diffidently
expressed our own concerns about the
authenticity of that document
elsewhere, and we shall now invite the
Public Record Office to examine it with
the same energy with which they recently
tested the "Himmler-murder"
And one final thing: the
famous Operation was not called
Reinhard (because of the late
Reinhard Heydrich), but
"Reinhardt," after Fritz Reinhardt
the senior Nazi civil servant
(Staatssekretär) at the Reich finance
ministry who directed the programme to
expropriate (i.e., rob) the deported Jews.
But the other version is just another
Holocaust fantasy to which Sam Roberts has
Robert J Hanyock is a 55-year-old
historian, born Jul 2, 1950, with two
addresses in Laurel, Maryland (not far
from Fort Meade, the NSA headquarters).
Now, a United States government analysis
suggests that while the evidence was incomplete,
gruesome details from coded Nazi messages that
Britain intercepted beginning in 1941 could have
confirmed and exposed the scope of German genocide
well before 1945, when Allied troops liberated the
death camps and became witnesses to the horror.
In a striking parallel to assessments of
intelligence gaps before 9/11, the analysis
suggests that the Allies largely failed to
understand the information they had, information
that might not have given advance warning of the
Holocaust, but could have prompted a military
response that could have interrupted the
deportations or mass exterminations or, at least a
propaganda campaign against Nazi atrocities.
The analysis - titled "Eavesdropping on Hell"
and written by Robert J. Hanyok, a historian with
the National Security Agency's Center for
Cryptologic History in Maryland - was quietly
released last month.
In his report and in subsequent interviews, Mr.
Hanyok amplified earlier accounts that intelligence
gleaned throughout the war from German military and
police communication and from foreign diplomats
provided lurid, though often fragmentary and
episodic, accounts of massacres, deportations and
even statistics on the killing in concentration
But the bits of information often arrived
without necessary context.
For instance, one message, declassified in 2000
and barely noticed except in scholarly journals,
was intercepted on Jan. 11, 1943. It specified the
number of Jews killed under "Operation Reinhard" at
four death camps - Lublin, Belzec, Sobibor and
Treblinka - through 1942: 1,274,166.
But, the report notes, "the message itself
contained only the identifying letters for the
death camps followed by the numerical totals."
The only clue that these were death camps would
have been the reference to Operation Reinhard, a
tribute to the SS general Reinhard Heydrich, who
had been charged with organizing the Nazis' plan to
eliminate Europe's Jews.
But that was probably "unknown at the time" to
the British code breakers, the report says. Still,
British analysts obviously considered the message
important. It was classified as "Most Secret" and
marked "To be kept under lock and key: Never to be
removed from the office."
Further, the report said, British and American
efforts to sort evidence were hampered by large
case backlogs and a shortage of translators.
Efforts were further slowed by the two allies'
reluctance to share information about German
communications and, more generally, by more
pressing military priorities for intelligence
And the report suggests that anti-Semitism may
have helped create an atmosphere that affected how
communications intelligence - or Comint - was
"Both President Roosevelt and Prime Minister
Churchill were often hampered in their limited
efforts to alleviate some of the suffering by the
general anti-Semitic sentiment in both nations,"
the report said.
"Just how much British signals-intelligence
analysts, either individually or as a group, held
this attitude is unknown," the report said. "And
how much it affected their reactions to the
intelligence is likewise unknown. But it must be
considered in any discussion about how Comint was
Mr. Hanyok said analysts had been looking for
information about internal security, impacts of
bombing and prisoners or war rather than potential
evidence of war crimes and probably would not have
grasped the enormity of the Nazis' plan.
He also quotes a memorandum from a British
cryptologic official, dated Sept. 11, 1941, that
takes account of German massacres in the Soviet
Union and concludes: "The fact that the police are
killing all Jews that fall into their hands should
now be sufficiently well appreciated. It is not
therefore proposed to continue reporting these
butcheries unless so requested."
Mr. Hanyok attributed the British official's
response to "either his inability to appreciate the
implications of the massacres, or his willingness
to ignore what the Nazis were doing."
The report is haunted by what-ifs, tantalizing
hints, desperate pleas, heroic rescues - belittling
the Vichy government's overtures to resettle 8,000
Jewish orphans in the West - and by what in
retrospect can seem like bureaucratic indifference
in a number of countries.
It also offers a revealing exchange involving
Pope Pius XII, who some historians say did not use
his influence to halt the killing of Jews. The
conversation, relayed by an Ecuadorian envoy, was
between the Vatican ambassador and Marshal
Henri-Philippe Pétain, the French
collaborationist leader. Over lunch at a Vichy
hotel in July 1942, Marshal Pétain said he
was consoled that the pope approved his policy of
deporting Jews. The ambassador corrected him,
saying, "The Holy Father does not approve."
In a subsequent meeting, the ambassador
delivered the pope's personal appeal to stop the
persecutions, but, the report said, Marshal
Pétain agreed "only to limit the ongoing
deportations to foreign Jews living in the occupied
zone of France."
The Germans were careful to plug their own
obvious intelligence leaks. After Churchill,
relying only on intercepts, delivered a radio
address in 1941 denouncing the execution of Russian
"patriots" - without mentioning Jews - the Germans
as "a probable result" switched to a more
sophisticated code and stopped transmitting radio
reports on the executions, Mr. Hanyok wrote.
Could the intelligence, properly interpreted,
have saved lives?
The National Security Agency report says that
while Allied intelligence intercepts allowed the
British to "monitor" roundups of Jews in Rome in
1943, "Allied communications intelligence, by
itself, could not have provided an early warning to
Allied leaders regarding the nature and scope of
"There's a narrow window in which intelligence
would have played any kind of role," Mr. Hanyok
said, "but we didn't see what was happening."
Peter Black, a senior historian at the United
States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington,
said, "Even in the unlikely event that the
decipherers and translators had figured out what
this all meant, there was nothing the Allies could
have done militarily."
Other historians say there were other
"If they announced it, would it have saved
lives?" said Aaron Breitbart, a senior researcher
at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is based in
"I think so, because there would have been
greater pressure to bomb Auschwitz in 1944, at
least the rail lines on bridges. But saving Jews
was not a priority. Jewish leaders were told that
the best way to stop the Holocaust was to defeat
Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of the David S.
Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies at Gratz
College in Pennsylvania, noted that in 1943, the
year after the British and Americans denounced the
mass killings, the Allies convened a conference in
Bermuda and could have allowed more European Jews
"Here they had significant detailed confirmation
of mass murder and, yet, still their response was
to come up with ways to create the impression of
concern but no intention of taking any meaningful
action," Dr. Medoff said. "Some Jews could still
have gotten out. The logical response would have
been for the British to relax their immigration
restrictions in Palestine and to let more Jews into
Even by the last year of the war, the Germans
were aware that the Allies had not been roused to
react. Mr. Hanyok wrote that the extermination of
Hungary's Jews was "remarkable because it happened
in full view of the outside world."
Mr. Hanyok said he had planned to produce only a
brief pamphlet on the historical record of
communications intelligence but wound up working
six years on what became a 167-page book drawn from
British and American archives.
"I was surprised by the amount of material and
the diversity of it," he said.
He dedicated the report to "those cursed with
the memory of this horror and to those who assumed
the burden of its remembrance."
also in The
International Herald Tribune