New documents. Only the Poles tried to save the great-grandmother of Yair Lapid from death in Auschwitz …
from: Miziaforum’s Blog
Recently resurfaced document:
Washington 9, D.C.
2640 16th Street, N.W.
(hand written note):
delivered to Dr Levin, June 16th, 44
June 13, 1944
To Minister Marek Sylwin Strakacz,
Consul General of the Republic of Poland
in New York
Thereafter I am disclosing the contents of Mr. Sternbuch‘s telegram from Bern, dated 12 of this month, with a request to communicate it in strictly confidential way to the “Agudath” organization and the Union of Orthodox Rabbis:
“From April 20th we do not know the whereabouts of Vittel internees. Probably untrue rumors proclaim that they are in Drancy near Paris. The American representatives in Bern and Swiss representatives in Berlin failed to elucidate the matter. The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Auswaertiges Amt) announced on April 28th that they did not know the case, and in the middle of May delivered a list of 163 names to the Swiss envoy, explaining that the persons on the list had been deported to an unknown destination. The Swiss envoy will pursue the case to obtain more information.
I have no idea what else we can do. Maybe by giving specific names in Berlin we should try to propose an immediate exchange? They all have Palestinian certificates and could travel directly from Lisbon to Palestine without further burdening South America. Please induce any possible pressure from the American missions in Madrid, Lisbon and Bern to immediately request the information on their place of stay and suggest an exchange.
The holders of Paraguayan and Salvadorian passports In Slovakia and Hungary are left without any protection, because these countries have not designated protecting powers [according to Geneva convention – trans. annotation]. Please ensure that Sweden and Switzerland take care of them.
From April we receive desperate letters and telegrams about the deportation of Jews from Hungary and Slovakia to Poland – of course for extermination. They often deport 10,000 to 15,000 people a day. About 300,000 people have been deported so far.
We asked in American and English missions for bombardment of the relevant railroad junctions (Kaschau-Pressov), but so far with no result.
The whole caring actions by the Commissioner, compassion and so on, are pointless unless radical steps are taken.
I am asking for an immediate intervention with President Roosevelt, with Churchill, and possibly in Moscow, in order to get the bombardment as soon as possible, it could still save some of these people.
The responsibility for denying this request is enormous.
Please treat the above information as strictly confidential.”
Ambassador of the Republic of Poland
“They often deport 10-15 thousand people a day. Of course, for extermination. So far, about 300,000 people were deported. We asked in American and English missions for bombardment of relevant railway junctions (Košice – Prešov) but so far without result” – this shocking account was enclosed in a telegram sent by the Polish ambassador in the USA in June 1944.
It was written by Jan Ciechanowski, Polish ambassador in Washington. The addressee was the Consul General in New York, Sylwin Strakacz. A top secret document from the times of the Holocaust in Hungary and Slovakia is a paraphrase of one of the so-called Sternbuch cables. It was revealed on Twitter by journalist Michał Potocki, the same one who in August last year (2017), together with Zbigniew Parafianowicz, described the scheme to save Jews invented by Polish diplomats in Bern. He claims that he found it while working in the archives.
What does this document contain? Ciechanowski writes to Sylwester Strakacz, Polish Consul General in New York. He asks for an urgent transfer of the document to Jewish organizations – Agudath Israel and the Union of Orthodox Rabbis. They have to act! They have to go to the Allied governments and tell them to drop bombs. This is to stop the transports arriving daily from the ghettos of Hungary and Slovakia. As we know, one of them will include Hermina Lampel née Lederer (1878-1944), the great-grandmother of the leader of the Israeli opposition, Yair Lapid. The populist politician will accuse of her perishing… the Poles.
In 1944, the case no longer concerns Poland – most of the Polish Jews have already been annihilated by the Germans. Now another struggle against time is taking place, and the activities of Polish diplomats are exclusively humanitarian. Will it be possible to stop transports from the south? It seems simple. The tracks to Auschwitz are already within the scope of air-force of the USA, Great Britain and the USSR.
The requests in American and English missions were most probably submitted by the Jewish family of Sternbuch and her organization Vaad Hatzalah in Bern, the capital of neutral Switzerland. Their message would never have reached America if they had not access to Polish ciphers made available to them by Alexander Ładoś, Polish envoy in the Swiss capital. The report, sent from the attic of the Berno Polish mission, arrives to Washington, and there Ciechanowski immediately puts it in motion. Strakacz hands it over to Jewish representatives, and they are to bring it to the attention of President Roosevelt.
Izaak Sternbuch begs: “I am asking for immediate intervention with President Roosevelt, Churchill and possibly in Moscow in order to get the bombardment as soon as possible. Some of these people could still be saved,” he writes. He also asks on behalf of Jews in Slovakia and Hungary who have passports from Paraguay and El Salvador – these countries are not represented, and the holders of these passports, largely counterfeit by the Ładoś diplomats, are now in danger of death. Perhaps it is not possible for them to know that both countries – under the pressure of Poland and the Holy See – had recognized the documents fabricated in Bern.
From further history we know that only some of these passport holders survived, and attempts to convince any of the Allies came to naught. The only country that was interested in destroying railway junctions was Poland. But Poland did not have any means in the late spring of 1944 to do so. The American, British and Soviet air-force bombarded everything, but not the tracks to Auschwitz.
So dear Mr. Lapid, it looks that the only ones who tried to save your great-grandmother were hated by you Poles…