On 6/21/09 4:49 PM, "Suzanne Sigman" <s.sig...@comcast.net> wrote:

You know exactly what I cannot resist!  Sent to Commentary, Chatlist
and for rml.com....

To the Editor of Commentary:
To correct two mistaken impressions in this thread: Churchill was no
more “overreacting” to the assassination of Lord Moyne by the Stern
Gang than he was able to assure the bombing of Auschwitz. Churchill
deplored terrorism, regardless of its source; and he did not have
plenary authority over the responsible U.S. Army Air Force.

1) From my book, “Churchill by Himself” (http://xrl.us/behhv6), World
Politics chapter, page 442, from Churchill, House of Commons, 17
November 1944 (Sir Martin Gilbert, “Winston S. Churchill,” VII: 1052):

“If our dreams for Zionism are to end in the smoke of assassins’
pistols, and our labours for its future to produce only a new set of
gangsters worthy of Nazi Germany, many like myself will have to
reconsider the position we have maintained so consistently and so long
in the past. If there is to be any hope of a peaceful and successful
future for Zionism, these wicked activities must cease, and those
responsible for them must be destroyed root and branch.”

Editor’s note: Churchill was a friend of Jews, but not an uncritical
friend. Outraged when his friend Lord Moyne (Walter Guinness), the
Minister Resident in Cairo, was shot with his driver by members of the
terrorist Stern Gang on 5 November 1944, Churchill suggested the
Colonial Secretary, Oliver Stanley, should impress upon Zionist leader
Chaim Weizmann “that it was incumbent on the Jewish Agency to do all
in their power to suppress these terrorist activities.”

2) From Martin Gilbert, “Churchill and the Holocaust,” Holocaust
Museum, Washington, 1993 International Churchill Conference (http://

“On 6 July 1944, in a meeting with Anthony Eden, Weizmann and Shertok
made five urgent and desperate suggestions [the fifth of which was]
‘that the railway line leading from Budapest to Birkenau, and the
death camp at Birkenau and other places, should be bombed.’

“When Churchill was shown this request by Eden, he did something I've
not seen on any other document submitted to Churchill for his
approval: He wrote on it what he wanted done.

“Normally, he would have said, ‘Bring this up to War Cabinet on
Wednesday,’ or, ‘Let us discuss this with the Air Ministry.’ Instead,
he wrote to Eden on the morning of 7 July: ‘Is there any reason to
raise this matter with the Cabinet? Get anything out of the Air Force
you can, and invoke me if necessary.’

“I have never seen a minute of Churchill's giving that sort of
immediate authority to carry out a request.

“There is a vast subtext,of which I have written in my book,
‘Auschwitz and the Allies’....when the request was put to the American
Air Force Commander, General R. Eaker, when he visited the Air
Ministry a few days later, he gave it his full support. He regarded it
as something that the American daylight bombers could and should do.
But as you also know, from the letter which is put up in the Museum,
when the request reached Washington—indeed, on the five separate
occasions when the request reached Washington—it was turned down. On
the second occasion that it reached the Undersecretary for War, John
J. McCloy, he told his assistant to kill it; and it was then
effectively killed. The debate about bombing those particular lines
continued for more than a month after the lines were no longer in use.

“I spoke to a number of those who would have been involved in bombing
the lines, as Churchill had wished, and even bombing the camp
installations, had the deportations not stopped. One thing which
greatly heartened me, from my perspective, from my window as a Jew,
was that all the pilots and air crew I spoke to, who would have had to
do the work, were emphatic that they would have done it, and were
ashamed and angry that they had not been asked to do it.”

“I even found the young man who had taken that aerial photograph of
the camp which is displayed in the Museum, a South African photo
reconnaissance pilot. He was in extreme distress at the thought that,
on the four separate occasions when he flew over the camp with his
camera, he had no idea what it was he was flying over. He flew only an
unarmed plane, but as he said to me very touchingly, ‘Had I known, I
could at least have tipped my wing to show the people there that
someone knew they were there.’

“Churchill had no doubt that a terrible crime had been committed. As
he wrote to Anthony Eden on the day that the escapees' account of the
truth about Auschwitz and the ‘unknown destination’ reached him:

“‘There is no doubt that this is probably the greatest and most
horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world, and
it has been done by scientific machinery by nominally civilised men in
the name of a great State and one of the leading races of Europe. It
is quite clear that all concerned in this crime who may fall into our
hands, including the people who only obeyed orders by carrying out the
butcheries, should be put to death after their association with the
murders has been proved. Declarations should be made in public, so
that everyone connected with it will be hunted down and put to

Richard M. Langworth CBE
Editor, The Churchill Centre

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