Thursday, January 27, 2005

  • Thursday, January 27, 2005
  • Elder of Ziyon
by Stephen J. Solarz and Rafael Medoff

(Rep. Solarz served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 1993. Dr. Medoff is director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, which focuses on issues related to America’s response to the Holocaust -

World leaders will gather at Auschwitz, site of the former Nazi death camp, on January 26 to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the Allies’ liberation of the camp. The event will help focus needed attention on the horrors of genocide, then and now. But it will be haunted by the knowledge in 1944, that Allied bomber pilots had Auschwitz within their gun sights, yet were never given the order to attack.

George McGovern was one of those pilots.

McGovern, the former U.S. Senator and 1972 Democratic presidential nominee, recently spoke on camera for the first time about his experiences as one of the American pilots who flew over Auschwitz. In a meeting with interviewers from Israel Television and the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, McGovern recalled his days as the pilot of a B-24 “Liberator” in the 455th Bomb Group, targeting German synthetic oil plants in occupied Poland--many of them within a few miles of the Auschwitz gas chambers.

After the Allies gained control of the Foggia air base in Italy in December 1943, Auschwitz was for the first time within striking distance of Allied planes. In June 1944, U.S. diplomats and Jewish leaders in Switzerland received a detailed report about Auschwitz, prepared by two escapees. They described the mass-murder facilities, and drew diagrams showing where the gas chambers and crematoria were located.

As a result, Jewish organizations repeatedly asked the Roosevelt administration to order the bombing of Auschwitz and the railroad lines leading to the camp. The War Department rejected the proposals as “impracticable,” claiming such raids would require “considerable diversion” of planes needed for the war effort. U.S. officials claimed to have conducted a “study” which found that bombing Auschwitz was not militarily feasible. But no evidence of the alleged study has ever been found.

Ironically, military resources were diverted for various other non-military reasons. Secretary of War Henry Stimson blocked the Air Force’s plan to bomb the Japanese city of Kyoto, because of its artistic treasures, and his deputy John McCloy --who rebuffed many of the requests to bomb Auschwitz-- diverted U.S. bombers from striking the German city of Rothenburg, because of its famous medieval architecture. General George Patton even diverted U.S. troops in order to rescue 150 Lipizzaner horses in Austria.

The administration’s “diversion” argument was just “a rationalization,” Senator McGovern said in the interview. How much of a “diversion” would it have been, when he and other U.S pilots were already flying over the area?

In the summer and fall of 1944, the Allies repeatedly bombed the oil factories near Auschwitz--at a time when hundreds of Jews were being gassed daily in the camp. On December 26, McGovern’s squadron dropped fifty tons of bombs on oil plants in Monowitz, an industrial section of Auschwitz, located less than five miles from the site where an estimated 1.6-million people were murdered during 1942-1944.

“There is no question we should have attempted ... to go after Auschwitz,” McGovern said in the interview. “There was a pretty good chance we could have blasted those rail lines off the face of the earth, which would have interrupted the flow of people to those death chambers, and we had a pretty good chance of knocking out those gas ovens.”

Even if there was a danger of accidentally harming some of the prisoners, “it was certainly worth the effort, despite all the risks,” McGovern said, because the prisoners were already “doomed to death” and an Allied bombing attack might have slowed down the mass murder process, thus saving many more lives.

Some years ago, in a supermarket in my old Congressional district in Brooklyn, I (Stephen Solarz) chanced to meet a woman who had a tattooed number on her arm. When she told me she had been in Auschwitz, I asked her what she thought of the argument that bombing the camp would have been wrong because prisoners would have been killed. She replied: “It would have been our finest hour, because we assumed we would all be killed anyway and this would at least have shown us that the world had not forgotten us and some of the Nazis would certainly have been killed as well.”

“Franklin Roosevelt was a great man and he was my political hero,” McGovern said. “But I think he made two great mistakes in World War Two.” One was the internment of Japanese-Americans; the other was the decision “not to go after Auschwitz ... God forgive us for that tragic miscalculation.”

One hopes the world leaders meeting at the Auschwitz site on January 26 will reflect not only upon the savagery of the Nazis, but also on the role of bystanders, then and now. As Senator McGovern emphasized, the Auschwitz experience should produce “a determination that never again will we fail to exercise the full capacity of our strength in that direction ... we should have gone all out [against Auschwitz], and we must never again permit genocide.”

EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz





For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts in recent years


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Interesting Blogs


#PayForSlay Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria Alice Walker American Jews AmericanZionism Amnesty Amnesty 2022 analysis anti-semitism anti-Zionism antisemitism apartheid Arab antisemitism arab refugees Arafat archaeology Ari Fuld art Ashrawi ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz Bernie Sanders Biden history Birthright book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence CAIR Campus antisemitism Cardozo cartoon of the day CEDAW Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision CJ Werleman Clark Kent coexistence Comix Community Standards conspiracy theories COVID-19 Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum David Miller Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Ellen Horowitz Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Fake Civilians 2019 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features Fervent Embrace fisking flood libel flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry Ghassan Daghlas gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF IfNotNow IJ Benjamin Ilan Pappe Ilhan Omar impossible peace incitement indigenous Indonesia infographic international law interview intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya James Zogby jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter Joe Biden John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Judith Butler Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Know How to Answer Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Mairav Zonszein Malaysia Marc Lamont Hill Marjorie Taylor Greene max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Lynk Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Naftali Bennett Nakba Nan Greer Nasser al-Lahham Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO Nick Cannon NIF Noah Phillips norpac NSU Matrix NYT Occupation offbeat olive oil Omar Barghouti Omri Boehm Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB philosophy poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals RealJerusalemStreets reference Reuters Richard Falk Richard Landes Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Sarah Schulman Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians Seth Rogen settlements sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shelly Yachimovich Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Sovereignty Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman Tlaib TOI Tomer Ilan Trump Trump Lame Duck Test Tunisia Turkey UAE Accord UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra vaccination Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks Winstanley work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zionophobia Ziophobia Zvi

Best posts of the past 6 months


A new, better definition of antisemitism

Blog Archive