En ny studie viser at de allierte satt med langt mer informasjon om gjennomføringen av Holocaust enn det som er kjent. Det handlet om oppsnappet informasjon gjennom avlytting av singaltrafikken. Men informasjonen kom i brokker, og ble ikke sett i sin sammenheng. Etterretningsfolkene var på utkikk etter noe annet.
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 camps.
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.»
Etterretningsfolkene strevde med velkjente problem: En overflod av materiale som skulle bearbeides, og en mangel på analytikere og språkkyndige. Her er det klare paralleller til 911; også den gang forelå illevarslende meldinger, men de ble ikke sett i sin sammenheng.
En utbredt uvilje mot jøder spilte en rolle. Hvor stor er vanskelig å anslå, men at det var en faktor blant mange synes uomtvistelig.
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.»
Ville større oppmerksomhet om Holocaust på alliert side kunnet redde jøder? Meningene er delte. Men nazistene merket seg at de allierte ikke prioriterte jødene. Derfor kunne de gå løs på de ungarske jødene i 1944, på et tidspunkt da de allierte behersket luften totalt.
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.»