David Ben-Gurion: the first Denier?
Much discussion has taken place in recent years on why the Allies chose not to bomb Auschwitz. In point of fact they did bomb Auschwitz (or rather Monowitz, Auschwitz III) a number of times, but made no effort to target alleged extermination places. This despite that fact that since May 1944 they were in possession of excellent aerial photos of Auschwitz-Birkenau and sketch maps from escapees detailing alleged extermination sites.
Ironically, among the strongest critics of such a plan was the Executive of the Jewish Agency, the proto-Israel government, chaired by David Ben-Gurion.
The reason? Because Auschwitz was a labor camp.
Provisional and partial translation of the minutes of the meeting of the Executive of the Jewish Agency held June 11, 1944.
Present: Ben-Gurion – Chair, Mr Gruenbaum, Dr. Senator, Rabbi Fischmann, Mr Kaplan, Dr Schmorek, Dr Joseph, Mr Schapira, Mr Ben-Tzvi, Dr Hantke, Dr. Granovsky, Mr Eisenberg
1. Matters of rescue
2. Discussion of Mr. Gruenbaum with Mr Pinkerton on matters of rescue
3. The department of immigrant absorption
Item 2, Discussion of Mr. Gruenbaum with Mr Pinkerton on matters of rescue.
Mr Gruenbaum: Sent to the members of the board a protocol of his discussion with the US Consul General on matters of rescue. Among other things he (Gruenbaum) suggested that the Allies should bomb the communication lines between Hungary and Poland. If they destroy the railway line, it would be impossible to carry out, for a definite period of time, their vicious plans. Mr Pinkerton promised to transmit the suggestion to the War Refugee Board.
Mr Gruenbaum also suggested that airplanes of the Allies should bomb the death camps in Poland, such as Auschwitz , Treblinka etc. Mr Pinkerton argues that if this were done the Allies would be blamed for the murder of Jews, so he asked for the suggestion to be put in writing. Mr Gurenbaum promised to consult with his colleagues on the matter.
According to the news available, every day thousands of Jews are being murdered in the death camps. Only the ‘Ordnung-Dienst’ remain alive for a short period of time. They do no wait long before they kill the victims.
Even if we assume that they will bomb the camps while there are jews in them, and some of them will get killed, the others could disperse and save themselves. By destroying the building they will not be able to murder, by means of the techniques they use, for months. We have received news today that, in the course of ten days, 120 000 Jews were expelled from Hungary
Ben-Gurion: We don’t know what really is the situation in Poland, and it seems that we could not offer (propose ) anything with regard to this matter.
Rabbi Fischman: Concurs with Ben-Gurion’s opinion.
Dr Schmorek: Here we hear that in Auschwitz there is a large labor camp. We cannot take upon ourselves the responsibility of a bombing which would cause the death of a single Jew.
Dr Joseph: He too opposes the suggestion to ask the Americans to bomb the camps, and so to murder Jews. Mr Gruenbaum does not speak as a private individual, but as the representative of an institution. He (Joseph) thinks that the institution to which we are linked should not suggest such a thing
Dr Senator: Concurs with the view of Dr. Joseph. It is regrettable that Mr Gruenbaum spoke of it with the American Consul.
Ben-Gurion: The view of the board is that we should not ask the Allies to bomb places where there are Jews.
(The Myth of Rescue, by Willian D. Rubinstein pp179-180 and Newton, FDR and the Holocaust, pp 271-2)
In fact, if we believe that aerial photos released in the late 70s by the CIA, the Americans are supposed to have bombed Auschwitz-Birkenau on 13 September 1944. But no one has any idea why, it has been weakly suggested it was a mistake as Birkenau was never identified as a target, as point of fact I believe the only heavy raid on Auschwitz-Monowitz was in late August and it was not attacked on 13 September