British Governmental Guidance of British Media --BBC-- during the Holocaust
But there are flowers even in a desert. Barbara Rogers is a British woman historian, who deserves credit for researching British information policy during World War 2, and as to when the UK government learned about the function of Auschwitz. This is important for several reasons. One is that if the government found out only at a late date, then this could be used as an excuse for the refusal or failure of Britain and other allies to do anything to stop the mass murder process. It is also important for establishing that the BBC's Goebbels-like role now in working to create an anti-Israel public opinion, both in Britain and throughout the world, is not the honest effort of an independent news service, but the work of a UK government agency.
Barbara Rogers reports [in History Today, October 1999] that "the Ministry of Information's Planning Committee" ruled "on July 25th, 1941, that propaganda should not deal with Jews." That means that the British media were not supposed to report Jewish suffering as such, although Jewish suffering and the massacre of Jews could be reported as pertaining to generalized "persons," "civilians," "Poles," "Russians," etc. Remarkably, the American Communist Party followed a similar policy. Look at the war movie scripts of John Howard Lawson, an American Communist film writer. Look at books by Michael Sayers and Albert E Kahn, such as Plot against the Peace (New York 1945) [which has valuable information in it nonetheless]. A year later, in June 1942, Brendan Bracken, Minister of Information, issued a booklet Bestiality Unknown in any Previous Record of History. This contained information describing Auschwitz in general terms. On 1 July 1942, the Polish Fortnightly Review reported some of the same information, including mention of poison gas and crematoria. But there was no mention of Jews, on account of the abovementioned ruling. Nevertheless, at a press conference on 15 July 1942, Bracken announced that 700,000 Jews had already been murdered in Poland and that this was the "beginning of wholesale extermination of the Jews." [The Polish Fortnightly Review was published by the Ministry of Information of the Polish Government-in-exile, which was in fact supervised by the British minister, Bracken.]
However, Rogers reports:
It is notable that no editions of Polish Fortnightly Review mention Auschwitz-Birkenau after August 1942 until May 1st 1945, as the war ended, when a whole edition was devoted to reporting eyewitness accounts of Polish women's experiences in Birkenau. . . This begs the question of why news should have ceased when atrocities against Jews peaked.
She also refers to a memorandum of 8 December 1942 by Rabbi Perlzweig [Maurice Perlzweig?] and Jewish organizations sent to President Franklin Roosevelt and the UK Foreign Office,
that almost two million Jews of Nazi Europe had been exterminated through mass murder, starvation, deportation, slave labor and epidemics in ghettos, penal labour colonies and slave reservations created for their destruction. The report stated that 'five million Jews inside Nazi-occupied territory are threatened with total extermination under the terms of an official order by Hitler calling for the complete annihilation of the Jews of Europe' . . . 'resettlement in the East' was a euphemism for mass murder. . .Barbara Rogers then asks:
Why then was information on Auschwitz-Birkenau suppressed during the war? . . . The plight of the Jews was considered low priority and subordinate to news concerning the war effort. . . Information was also withheld to . . . avert criticism of the government's inaction and forestall pressure to permit refugees access to Palestine. . . That was then, but why is information on Intelligence files concerning the Holocaust still embargoed for several years to come?It is hard to believe that Britain's superb intelligence resources did not keep the London government informed of the massacres of Jews almost from the very beginning. Maybe that's why the Intelligence files are still sealed.
It is interesting that Rogers' research confirms in general what Shmul Zigelboym wrote in letters published in the Zigelboym Bukh, and quoted here in previous posts. It is also interesting that, according to Rogers, the British government wanted to "forestall pressure to permit refugees access to Palestine." That is, the Land of Israel, the internationally designated Jewish National Home, could not be home for the Jews when they most needed a home. This implies that Jews were allowed to die --allowed to be murdered-- for the sake of the Arabs.
For those who still cherish the image of the BBC as a "news service," bear in mind that when the British government restricted information about the Holocaust, that the BBC was an obedient government tool, as both Barbara Rogers and Shmul Zigelboym make clear. Hence, when the BBC belittles or disregards Jewish suffering at the hands of Arab terrorists, or magnifies Arab suffering, or invents Arab suffering, or mourns Arafat's death, or pretends that there is a historical people called "palestinians," then the sound and film equipment are the equipment of the BBC but the voice is the voice of the Foreign Office.
Barbara Rogers, "Auschwitz and the British," History Today, October 1999
_________. "British Intelligence and the Holocaust: Auschwitz and the Allies Re-examined," The Journal of Holocaust Education, vol. 8, no. 1 (Summer 1999), pp 89-106.
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Coming: More on Britain and the Holocaust, George Antonius as more British than Arab, ancient Jewish monuments in Zo`ar [Tso`ar], now in the kingdom of Jordan, etc.