• Switzerland edition
 
Swiss knew of Shoah in 1942, documents show
Document showing order made in 1942 by Swiss President Philipp Etter to tighten immigration controls. Image: DDS

Swiss knew of Shoah in 1942, documents show

Published: 28 Jan 2013 10:43 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Jan 2013 10:43 GMT+01:00

A report aired by SRF on its Sunday evening newscast said the government was aware of German leader Adolf Hitler’s extermination plan and the existence of German concentration camps as early as 1942, based on documentary evidence.

At the time, however, Switzerland was throwing asylum seekers out of Switzerland, even though that was placing them in danger.

The information is in the hundreds of letters, telegrams and detailed reports collected by Swiss diplomats and sent to the federal cabinet during the Second World War.

The government also received information about the Nazi activities through photos, SRF reported on Sunday, which also marked Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The day commemorates the millions of Jewish victims of Nazi crimes during the war.

On January 27th 1945 Soviet troops liberated prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp, one of the most notorious death camps run by the Nazis.

 “We can prove that the information about the murder of Jews was known in Bern as of May 1942,” Sascha Zala, director of  Diplomatic Documents Switzerland (DDS), told SRF.

The previously unpublished documents were received by Eduard von Steiger, federal justice and police minister.

Despite the concerns of Swiss diplomats, a federal decree was issued in August 1942 that tightened immigration.

“In future, increased mass rejections of foreign civilian refugees must take place, even if the affected residents may face serious difficulties,” the decree said.

Switzerland’s refugee policy changed as the international situation of the time worsened, said Zala, a political historian.

The policy, initially tied to arguments about economic migrants, turned into a discourse about aliens “with clearly racist elements,” he said.

SRF said some of the diplomatic documents relating to the “Shoah,”are now published on the internet “as a witness to the darkest chapters of world history”.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

2013-01-28 16:18:58 by smeghead
I think everyone knew about this at the time (all countries) I remember my father telling me, but no one belived it.
Today's headlines
Helicopter and plane in near-miss in Zurich
Photo: Thilo Hilberer

Helicopter and plane in near-miss in Zurich

A passenger aircraft preparing to land at Zurich airport on Tuesday morning was forced to abort its landing to avoid an unauthorized air ambulance, media reports said on Thursday. READ  

Death threats for young socialist's flag swap plan
Molina suggested party members fly a flag white for peace instead. Photo: Balachandar Radhakrishnan

Death threats for young socialist's flag swap plan

A young politician who called for people to renounce nationalism and militarism by not displaying the country’s distinctive flag on Swiss National Day, August 1st, has received death threats. READ  

Festival fish throwing deemed 'unacceptable'
The fishy tradition dates back a century. Photo: Paul Asman/Jill Lenoble

Festival fish throwing deemed 'unacceptable'

An animal protection organization has called on Zurich’s guild of fishermen to stop throwing dead fish in the streets as part of a traditional parade during the annual Sechseläuten spring festival. READ  

Switzerland fetes 100 years of national park
The Swiss National Park was created in 1914. Photo: Caroline Bishop

Switzerland fetes 100 years of national park

The village of Zernez in the canton of Graubünden will lead celebrations for the 100th birthday of Switzerland’s only national park on August 1st, Swiss National Day. READ  

Geneva Conventions talks tabled for Palestine
Burkhalter and Abbas meet on a state visit in 2013. Photo: AFP Photo/Abbas Momani

Geneva Conventions talks tabled for Palestine

The Swiss foreign ministry said on Wednesday it is in talks about holding an international conference sought by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas focusing on protecting civilians in Gaza. READ  

Swiss man arrested in India over Maoist links
The man was detained in Kerala, India. Photo: Vinoth Chandar

Swiss man arrested in India over Maoist links

Authorities in India arrested a 24-year-old Geneva man on Monday after he attended a memorial for a communist activist in Kerala. READ  

Federer forced to tear down kids' play area
The star has an ongoing dispute with his neighbours. Photo: Sang Tan/Pool/AFP

Federer forced to tear down kids' play area

Authorities have demanded that Swiss tennis champ Roger Federer remove a children’s play area in the garden of his holiday home after neighbours objected. READ  

Zurich taxis charge world’s highest fares
Taxis in Zurich cost more than in 17 other major cities. Photo: eGuide Travel

Zurich taxis charge world’s highest fares

Taxis in Zurich are the most expensive in the world, according to a new survey. Hailing a cab in the Swiss city will cost you more than other major cities including Paris, London and New York. READ  

UBS turns in strong profits despite disputes
UBS achieved a 15 percent net profit rise. Photo: Martin Abegglan

UBS turns in strong profits despite disputes

Leading Swiss bank UBS turned in a strong profit performance in the second quarter, but highlighted on Tuesday the stark risks financial institutions face from campaigns by tax and regulatory bodies. READ  

Swiss-EU relations on discussion table in Rome
Burkhalter and Renzi are meeting in Rome. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Swiss-EU relations on discussion table in Rome

Switzerland’s relationship with the EU is on the agenda today as Swiss President Didier Burkhalter meets Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on an official visit to Rome. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Zurich taxis charge world’s most expensive fares: new survey
National
Swiss bus driver charged with careless driving in fatal Norway crash
National
European Union rejects Swiss bid to rejig freedom of movement deal
Tech
Hackers exploit 'holes' in Swiss online banking systems: IT experts
Sport
Video of Bern football player's spectacular own goal goes global
Tech
Switzerland stays on top of innovation rankings for fourth year
National
Roger Federer and Lindsey Vonn play tennis at Jungfraujoch (VIDEOS)
Business & Money
Competition commission launches probe into Swiss car leasing 'fiddle'
Health
Down's syndrome cases in Switzerland more than double
National
American family files hefty lawsuit over deadly Swiss balloon crash
Features
Graubünden's panoramic Bernina Express celebrates rail history
National
Study rates Zurich as world's fifth most expensive city for expats
National
Swiss-based human brain project directors hit back at research critics
Business & Money
Switzerland gets the edge on EU with China free trade agreement
National
Entries for new Swiss national anthem competition swell over 200
National
Zurich-based helicopter firm denies role in Schumacher medical leak
Culture
Montreux Jazz Festival debuts live internet streaming of concerts
Features
Tour of Bern’s historic fountains tells story of Switzerland's capital
National
Swiss media lament football team's 'cruel' and 'bitter' defeat
International
The Local expands its reach with the launch of new website in Denmark
Sport
Jubilant press hails hat-trick hero Shaqiri as 'Swiss Messi'
National
New website study reveals inequality in Swiss disposable income
Travel
Switzerland’s largest ski area 4-Vallées breaks up over lift dispute
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,167
jobs available