Catalogue ref: FO 371/42806
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This source is a private exchange of notes between the Prime Minister and his private secretary.
Churchill wrote the first part of this note. His Private Secretary (possibly here Jack Colville) wrote the second part.
In 1942 Hitler’s armies had carved out a huge empire in Eastern Europe. During their invasions German forces had taken large number of European Jews as prisoners. At first they were forced into ghettoes, used in slave labour or simply shot.
There were many demands for the government to take action on the Jewish issue. Some called for an evacuation programme. Others wanted the RAF to bomb the camps (see the opener source to this investigation).
The decision not to bomb the camps proved highly controversial then and now. There were major difficulties. The location of the camps meant that bombers would have to fly long distances across well-defended German territory. Losses among bomber crews were very high and this mission would probably have resulted in high casualty rates. Another problem was the difficulty of locating the camps and actually hitting them. Wartime bombing was extremely difficult and bombs were often many miles off target.
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