We don’t want your Jews, but here take ours, please. What a vile, horrific message. Yet undeniably this was the message given to Nazi Germany. There were organizations who opposed the persecution and extermination of the Jews. But the world powers, Great Britain and France, not only broke their promises to come to the aid of Poland but along with Russia, Slovakia, the United States and many more blocked the escape of Hitler’s victims. Knowing the carnage and almost certain death they were forcing them back to. Some of these nations rounded up and deported Jews from their own countries to appease the Nazis. While another on this list actually paid the Nazis to dispose of the Jews in their nation. Unfathomable atrocities were committed by Hitler but he could not, and did not, act alone. Nor did he act without permission. My grandmother use to say “apathy is a glove that protects and keeps the hand of evil warm”. Hitler was evil, everyone else was….?
By 1942 the Nazis had murdered 1,274,166 Jews. 713,555 of them died in the Treblinka death factory in Poland. When France and Great Britain failed to act on promises made, they signed those death warrants. These promises was sealed in a solemn treaty between Poland and France in May of 1939 “that in the event of German aggression against Poland, France would launch an offensive against the Germans, no later than fifteen days after mobilization". British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain stated in the House of Commons on March 31, 1939, “in the event of any action which clearly threatened Polish independence, His Majesty's Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish Government all support in their power”. It took the defeat of Poland six months later to induce the British and French governments to declare war. This was a betrayal that led to one of the most brutal occupations in history, losing roughly six million of its citizens to mass murder and deportation at the hands of Germans and Russians. Among these were three million Polish Jews, whose society, language, and way of life were almost eradicated in the gas chambers of the Nazi camps. Germany requested unoccupied France roundup and transport Jews to the third Reich. The French were uncomfortable, being seen rounding up French Jews but were willing to send all foreign Jews. In the early morning of July 6, 1942 the French police started rounding up foreign Jews for transport. Upon receiving word that the Germans only wanted adults the French police forcibly removed the children from their families. The parents were sent to Auschwitz while the Children were sent to a compound just outside Paris. In August the French received permission to ship the children. 4,100 Jewish children were sent to Auschwitz by the French Police. Reportedly all were murdered. In 1942 the Slovakian Foreign Minister approached the German ambassador. He offered the Slovakian Jews as German slave labor. The German Ambassador stated that these Jews rarely lived long enough to justify the expense of transporting them. The Slovakian government then offered to pay the Germans 500 Reich marks for each Jew taken. The deal was struck. In 1942 over 60,000 Slovakian Jews were sold to the Third Reich, by their own government. Little is known about their fate but one can imagine. European Jews were desperate for ways to leave Europe. For the most part there were few options. No country was willing to take Jewish immigrants. However some countries would give them transit visas. Many Jews hoped to go to Palestine, under British mandate, but Britain allowed few Jews to enter Palestine. This inaugurated an era of the "coffin ships" as all the vessels chartered were rickety, unseaworthy boats, crammed 5 to 10 times their normal capacities, and their destination was, in most cases, fatal. The real threat however came from the British. Many British warships engaged in preventing Jewish refugees from