TORONTO, Aug. 22, 2017 /CNW/ - A Canadian Holocaust historian has uncovered evidence that Nazi SS Chief Heinrich Himmler was deceived into ending the Final Solution in November, 1944—nearly six months before VE Day—thereby sparing as many as 300,000 Jews.
In a new book, In the Name of Humanity (Allen Lane/Penguin Random House Canada, August 22, 2017), Toronto-based historian Max Wallace documents the secret negotiations between Himmler, the architect of the Nazi genocide, and a Swiss rescue committee led by an Orthodox Jewish woman, Recha Sternbuch, and her husband Isaac. Together, they enlisted the former President of Switzerland, Jean-Marie Musy, to negotiate with Himmler to save the remaining Jews of Europe.
In autumn, 1944, with the Nazis facing imminent defeat, Musy and the Sternbuch committee — abetted by the Vatican and western intelligence — took advantage of Himmler's desperate desire to forge a compromise peace with the West so that Germany and the Allies could turn against Stalin to defeat Bolshevism.
Cultivating his delusion, Musy met with Himmler in early November 1944 and convinced him that the Allies would be open to a separate peace with Germany but only if the Nazis ended the exterminations.
Wallace discovered a cable from the Sternbuchs dated November 20, 1944 in the archives of a New York-based Orthodox Jewish organization revealing that less than three weeks after meeting Himmler, Musy had secured a promise from the SS chief to "cease extermination in concentration camps." On November 22, a second cable reveals that the Vatican had received a promise that the "slaughters will cease." Three days later, Himmler ordered the destruction of the Auschwitz-Birkenau murder apparatus and issued a decree prohibiting "the further killing of Jews."
Historians had long assumed the Nazis destroyed the crematoria and gas chambers to hide the evidence of their crimes ahead of the approaching Russian forces. But these cables — along with declassified documents discovered in the archives of the War Refugee Board — reveal that the order was almost certainly linked to these negotiations.
Max Wallace is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist. From 1996-2000, Wallace worked for Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation documenting the video testimonies of Holocaust survivors. He later served as the Executive Director of the Anne and Max Bailey Centre for Holocaust Studies.
SOURCE Penguin Random House Canada Limited
For further information: Kaitlin Smith at Penguin Random House Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-957-1563.