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

News Directive on Reporting the Concentration Camps

The importance of disseminating news on the liberated concentration camps.

BBC ARCHIVE
WRITTEN DOCUMENT 1945

[Page 1 of 2]

CONFIDENTIAL

FROM: Director of European News Department

GENERAL DIRECTIVE
19th Apri1 1945

There has never been a greater opportunity than there is now to reveal to the
world the essential truth about Nazism - Buchenwald and Belsen. Nobody can
comfortably deny it any longer as an "atrocity story;" the whole frightful
business has been uncovered by the advance of the Americans and the British, the
pictures are seen and the Germans themselves are being made to look at this
monstrous cruelty which they have permitted. It is vitally important that the
European Service gives the facts and gives them in such a way that their meaning
is understood. It is not enough to report once Ed. Murrow's story; this is only
the beginning. It is necessary to repeat these things and to show that this is
not something isolated, the work of a few sadistic prison governors which we may
denounce and forget; it is not even to be compared with the atrocious cruelties
practised by the Germans on people in the countries they occupied. This is the
basis of Nazism itelf, without which it could not have survived. This is not a
brutality brought about by the war; it has been going on since 1933; it is what
the war is about. This was the regime of terror that Nazism extended to Austria
and Czechoslovakia and the other countries in Europe and which they hoped to
extend over the whole world. This was the regime that Quisling and the quislings
worked to extend and maintain. All kinds of covers have been used to conceal it
- patriotism, justifiable national aspriations, liebensraum, ideologies, all of
which have found, and still find, people to believe in them - but the truth
remains that this regime of which Buchenwald is the real expression, was
essentially the negation of civilisation, freedom, and of, life itself, and this
is why the world finally and rightly rose against it.

All this is not political warfare aimed against Germany; it is something which
has to be understood by everybody and which the European Service must talk about
in every language that it uses. Now that these appalling things have been
uncovered we have to make sure that everyone goes through these concentration
camps, as the German people are going through them and as we who look at the
newspaper photographs and the newsreels are going through them, and that
everyone understands the significance of these things.

A special news report is being written today by the Diplomatic Correspondent in
which these facts will be brought out and it is requested that all editors make
a great effort to see that this material is broadcast. Commentators should be
put onto this subject.


For today's news points see "MORNING NOTES"


D. E .RITCHIE

DER/ID
[Page 2 of 2]

19th April 1945
FROM: A.D.Eur.N.D. [BBC Job Title]

MORNING CONFERENCE POINTS

The European Service must give the fullest possible attention today to the
concentration camps. Bullock will write a special report which should be run at
some length. At least we are able to see what has been happening in Germany since
1933. Main points:- pictures in the British press and on cinema news reels,
details of Belsen, dispatches from Fraser and Ward, German civilians made to bury
the dead, French university professors in Buchenwald return to Paris.

Establish the war guilt. This was the system which the quislings supported and
was the basis of the Nazi régime. Show that this was the justification of the
war. It is the answer to those who did not believe atrocity stories.

The SHAEF message to German merchant seamen must be kept running today.
Tunstall's piece on Hamburg most valuable; it will be abbreviated into a short
news note. Naval correspondent will also write on Heligoland, the heavy R.A.F.
attack on which may be connected with Hamburg.

A very interesting Times dispatch from a prisoner taken in the Commando raid on
St. Nazaire. He names some noted Allied prisoners and describes the scenes
before liberation.

Polish Editor will write on Stalin's son and Polish prisoners.

GERMAN POCKETS
Again play up all available news.


SAN FRANCISCO
Stettinius press conference.


OTHER POINTS
British-American food conference.
Republicans pledge loyalty to Truman.
Benes dismisses Ingr.


DONALD EDWARDS


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Document Type | New Directive

19 April 1945

Document version

Writtenin

1945

Synopsis

BBC news programmes are directed to make the liberation of the concentration camps and the mass atrocities committed there the main news items of the day. The horrendous crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis are declared to be one of the justifications for the war with Germany.

Did you know?

Anglo-American troops first reached concentration camps in April 1945 and British soldiers entered Belsen only two days before this directive was made. It was images and reports from camps such as Belsen and Dachau that alerted people to the horrors of the Nazi regime and its racial policies.

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