WWII: Witnessing the Holocaust | Personal accounts of persecution and genocide by the Nazi regime

News Bulletin Transcript from 1942

Parliament's reaction to news of the Nazis' liquidation of the ghettos.

BBC ARCHIVE
WRITTEN DOCUMENT 1942

Page 1 of 6

Thursday,
17th December, 1942
9.0 p.m.


Here is the news and this is Robert Robinson.

Advance troops of the Eighth Army have cut off and surrounded the rearguards of
the Afrika Korps. Our force took up positions astride the coastal road after a
detour through the desert; in his attempts to break out the enemy has already
suffered severe casualties.

An eight-hour raid on the port of Tunis has partly blocked the canal which gives
access to the sea.

Darlan has said that he is planning to use the French warships at Dakar and
Alexandria against the Axis.

[The next paragraph was crossed out and omitted from the broadcast]

The allies have formally condemned Germany's bestial policy of cold-blooded
extermination of the Jews in Europe. Mr. Eden read the terms of the declaration
in the Commons this afternoon and members stood in silence as a demonstration of
united support for it.

[End of crossed out section]

The Russians are following up the blow they have inflicted on the enemy south
west of Stalingrad; their armies have made progress in other sectors as well.
Our Mosquitoes have attacked railway targets in the Low Countries and our
fighters have shot down two enemy aircraft off the south coast.

Page 2 of 6

At the end of the news the Polish Ambassador will be speaking about the German
atrocities.

The Russians are following up the blow they have inflicted on the enemy south
west of Stalingrad; their armies have made progress in other sectors as well.

Our Mosquitoes have attacked railway targets in the Low Countries, and our
fighters have shot down two enemy aircraft off the south coast.

Mr Donald Nelson has given huge figures for American production in the past
year.

More women are to be withdrawn from the retail trades. The Commons have received
an assurance on the Government's attitude to civil aviation after the war; both
houses have now risen for the Christmas recess.

Tonight's Home Service war commentary will be by Group Captain W. Helmore.

ANTHONY WIGAN.

Page 3 of 6

Today, the Allied Governments have made a joint Declaration on Germany's
cold-blooded extermination of Jews in Europe, and they have reaffirmed that all
responsible for these crimes, ringleaders or actual perpetrators shall be punished.
The terms of the dec1aration were announced in the House of Commons by the Foreign
Secretary, Mr. Eden. It will be read by Frank Phillips:

End CUE: "....as well as represesentatives of the Churches, warmly approved it".

Page 4 of 6

"The attention of the Governments of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, the
Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the United Status of America, Great Britain,the
U.S.S.R., Yugoslavia, and the French National Comittee, has been drawn to numerous
reports from Europe,that the German authorities, not content with denying to
persons of Jewish race in all territories over which their barbarous rule has been
extended the most elementary human rights, are now carrying into effect Hitler's
oft-repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people in Europe.

From all the occupied countries, Jews are being transported, in conditions of
appalling horror and brutality, to Eastern Europe and Poland which has been made
the principal Nazi slaughterhouse. The Ghettos established by the German invaders
are being systematically emptied of all Jews except a few highly skilled workers
required for war industries. None of those taken away are ever heard of again. The
able-bodied are slowly worked to death in labour camps, the infirm are left to die
of exposure or starvation, or are deliberately massacred in mass-executions.

The number of victims of these bloody cruelties is reckoned in many hundreds and
thousands of entirely innocent men, women and children.

The above-mentioned Governments, and the French National Committee, condemn in the
strongest possible terms this bestial

Page 5 of 6

policy of cold-blooded extermination. They declare that such events can only
strengthen the resolve of all freedom-loving peoples to overthrow the barbarous
Hitlerite tyranny. They reaffirm their solemn resolution to ensure that those
responsible for these crimes shall not escape retribution, and to press on with
the necessary practical measures to this end"

The House was obviously deeply stirred. Members listened to the account of German
barbarity in dead-silence. The closing passages of the declaration - those
promising retribution - were cheered.

Then, Mr. de Rothschild rose to speak for the Jewish community.

"May I express" he said "the feelings of great emotion, - the real grateful
feeling - that I feel certain will permeate the Jewish subjects of His Majesty,
both in this country and throughout the Empire at the eloquent and just
denunciation which the Foreign Secretary has just read.

Among these Jewish subjects there are many today who have only been in this
country for a generation or so. They might have been in those Ghettos, in those
concentration camps, in those slaughter-houses. They still have many relations
whom they mourn. "They will be grateful, I am sure, to the Foreign Secretary, and
to the United Nations. I trust that this news - this Proclamtion will through the
BBC percolate throughout

Page 6 of 6

the German infested countries and that it may give some faint hope and courage
to the unfortunate victims of torment, insult and degradation. They have shown
in their misery and in their unhappiness great fortitude and courage and I hope
that when this news comes to them they will feel that they are supported and
strengthened by the British Government and by the United Nations and that they
will be able to continue to show that they are still able to uphold the dignity
of man".

After Mr. Eden had answered a number of questions, a Member suggested that the
House should stand, as a demonstration of its support of the Declaration against
"this disgusting barbarity". The Speaker said it was a matter for the House
itself. Immediately, all the Members present rose to their feet and stood in
silence for a few moments.

In the House of Lords the Allied Declaration was read by the Lord Chancellor. It
was warmly approved by all parties as well as representatives of the churches.


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Document Type | Transcript

17 December 1942

Document version

Writtenin

1942

Synopsis

News from Europe in late 1942 reveals the horrific extent of the Nazi plan for the future of European Jewry, with the closing of the ghettos and the mass transportation of Jews to concentration camps in the east. The BBC reports the reaction in Parliament to this shocking new development.

Did you know?

The BBC's Polish Service had a policy of 'naming and shaming' the perpetrators of wartime atrocities in their regular broadcasts to occupied Poland. In the latter stages of the war the accused would often get wind of the broadcasts and as a result, would sometimes try to escape either reprisal by the Polish resistance or capture by the advancing allies by volunteering for service at the front.

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