Golda Meir Sought Bombing of Auschwitz, New Research Shows
On September 3, 1941, the Nazis gassed to death 850 prisoners in Auschwitz. During the next three years, an estimated 1.75-million prisoners, most of them Jews, were murdered in the gas chambers there.
Researchers from The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, based in Washington, D.C., recently discovered documents in American and Israeli archives revealing the role of Mrs. Meir in the bombing controversy.
A report on the documents, "Golda Meir and the Campaign for an Allied Bombing of Auschwitz," has been posted on www.WymanInstitute.org.
Prof. Henry Feingold, author of The Politics of Rescue: The Roosevelt Administration and the Holocaust, 1938-1945, and president emeritus of the Labor Zionists of America, provided the following statement to the Wyman Institute: "These documents shed new light on efforts by Labor Zionists in Europe and Palestine to bring about the bombing of Auschwitz. This information needs to be included in accounts of the Jewish response to the Nazi genocide."
In an exchange of correspondence uncovered by the Wyman Institute, Mrs. Meir forwarded one of the European messages to the Histadrut's U.S. representative, Israel Mereminski, in July 1944 together with an appeal to ask U.S. officials to undertake "the bombing of Oswienzim [Auschwitz] and railway transporting Jews" to the death camp [Typographical error in the original telegram. "Oswiecim" was the Polish name for Auschwitz].
Meir's appeal was cosigned by another Histadrut official, Heschel Frumkin.
The August 1944 issue of Jewish Frontier, the U.S. Labor Zionist journal, featured an unsigned editorial calling for "Allied bombings of the death camps and the roads leading to them..." The editorial was highly unusual; almost all appeals for bombing the death camps were made through private channels. Although Mereminski is not known to have been involved in writing editorials for Jewish Frontier, he was a senior figure in Labor Zionist activity in America and was closely acquainted with its editors; it seems likely that his contacts with Meir, Frumkin, and the War Refugee Board on this issue played a role in bringing about the editorial.
Dr. Rafael Medoff is Director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.