British Parliamentarians Want Vatican to Act to Save Jews from Nazis
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British Parliamentarians Want Vatican to Act to Save Jews from Nazis

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The question of whether there is any possibility that the Vatican will take concrete action to attempt to halt the Nazi extermination of Jews was raised in Parliament today when a number of members pressed the Government to undertake steps to save as many Jews as possible.

Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden replied that Pope Pius XII was officially informed of the declaration of the Allied Nations on the mass extermination of Jews by the Nazis. He pointed out that the attitude of the Vatican with regard to acts contrary to Christianity and humanity has frequently been stated publicly. Eden also drew the attention of Parliament to the fact that the Pope in his Christmas Eve broadcast condemned persecutions generally.

Queried as to why the British Government refused visas for 2,000 Jewish children in France who have since been deported to Germany, Mr. Eden said that he would prefer to have this question submitted to him in written form for reply at later session of Parliament. He stated that in North Africa many refugees have already been released from concentration camps and that a mixed British-American-French commission is investigating all those whose status is not clear.


Eden disclosed that the British Government is now engaged in studying two sets of proposals designed to aid Jews escaping from Nazi territories. The first deals with aiding them in every way possible in areas under British control. The second aims at securing an international agreement on helping these Jews.

Asked whether the time is ripe to put proposals to the German Government on the subject of permitting the Jews to leave Nazi countries, Eden replied that he did not know of any such proposals being contemplated. He expressed the hope, however, that concrete results will be achieved through the present activities of the British Government. The Government, he added, is equally interested in the fate of both Jewish and non-Jewish refugees from Nazi territories.


At a meeting of the Board of Deputies of British Jews today it was reported that a Jewish delegation had visited Secretary Eden and discussed with him practical steps to follow up the allied declaration, in order to make clear to the Germans and their satellites that they will be held responsible for the lives of the Jews in their countries.

Prof. Zelig Brodetsky, president of the Board, who submitted the report, stated that the delegation also discussed a number of plans connected with saving Jews who can escape from Nazi territories as well as helping those who are in danger of being returned to German-occupied lands from neutral countries. The question of setting up machinery to deal with the implementation of such plans was also discussed, Prof. Brodetsky stated.

Members of the Board of Deputies expressed their dissatisfaction with the statement made yesterday in Parliament by Deputy Prime-Minister Attlee, who said that the question of helping Jews escaping from the Nazis is still under discussion by the United Nations. Some of the members emphasized that the longer these discussions continue, the more Jewish lives are lost.

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