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The previously unpublished documents were received by Eduard von Steiger, federal justice and police minister.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

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
FC Basel beat Liverpool in 1-0 home victory
Basel's goal-scoring forward Marco Streller (left) vies with Liverpool's Spanish defender Jose Enrique during match. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

FC Basel beat Liverpool in 1-0 home victory

FC Basel defeated English side Liverpool 1-0 in a Champions League game played on Wednesday night to a cheering home crowd at St. Jakob Park. READ  

Woman's potato fall 'not restaurant’s fault': court
Photo: The Local

Woman's potato fall 'not restaurant’s fault': court

A woman who was seriously injured after stepping on a potato in a self-service restaurant in the canton of Zurich has failed to get a court to back her complaint, while a judge warned that it was up to customers to watch where they were walking. READ  

Foreign women have rising share of newborns
Photo: Waltraud Grubitzsch/AFP/Getty Images

Foreign women have rising share of newborns

More than one in three babies were born in Switzerland last year to foreign mothers, a proportion that has doubled in the past 20 years, according to government figures. READ  

National tax planned to cut water micropollutants
The Terre Sainte sewage treatment plant in the canton of Vaud. Photo: Canton of Vaud

National tax planned to cut water micropollutants

Starting in 2016, an annual tax of up to nine francs ($9.43) per resident will help finance equipment in around 100 sewage treatment plants across Switzerland to prevent microscopic pollutants from flowing into lakes and rivers. READ  

UBS pays €1.1-billion bail in French 'tax fraud' case
Photo: UBS

UBS pays €1.1-billion bail in French 'tax fraud' case

Swiss banking giant UBS has made a €1.1-billion ($1.4-billion) bail payment for allegedly helping rich French clients to hide money in Switzerland, a lawyer for the bank said on Tuesday. READ  

Senior dupes European court in suicide snafu
Photo: AFP

Senior dupes European court in suicide snafu

The European rights court on Tuesday withdrew its criticism of Switzerland's assisted suicide laws after it emerged an octogenarian who filed the initial complaint had duped both the court and her lawyer in the case. READ  

Wawrinka knocked out early at Japan Open
The top seeded Swiss struggled to make his mark. Photo: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP

Wawrinka knocked out early at Japan Open

Tatsuma Ito followed the winning example of Japanese compatriot Kei Nishikori as the number 103-ranked local dumped top seed Stan Wawrinka out 7-5, 6-2 in the first round of the Japan Open tennis tournament on Tuesday. READ  

Swiss group's bid for cat quotas creates buzz
Photo: Joel Dietle

Swiss group's bid for cat quotas creates buzz

A proposal by a Swiss animal protection group to set a limit of one cat per household in Switzerland is attracting international attention. READ  

Basel tackle Liverpool in Champions League duel
FC Basel coach Paulo Sousa: "We'll be stronger." Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

Basel tackle Liverpool in Champions League duel

Liverpool are confident that they can put a frustrating run of domestic form behind them when they face FC Basel in Switzerland in Champions League Group B football action on Wednesday. READ  

Bern police seek help after boy dies in woods
Köniz church, near where the body was found. Photo: Ikiwaner/Wikimedia Commons

Bern police seek help after boy dies in woods

Police in the canton of Bern on Monday launched a bid for help from the public after the body of a 15-year-old boy was found in the woods near Köniz. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Scientific study rings alarm over wellbeing of Swiss cows with bells
Business & Money
Switzerland's residents top world financial wealth list: Allianz report
National
Saint Maurice abbey in Valais celebrates 1,500 years of history
National
Streaming movie video service Netflix arrives in Switzerland
National
Professional Chilean base jumper dives to death in Swiss Alps
Education
ETH Zurich remains top university in Europe: QS world rankings
National
Switzerland's housing vacancy rate jumps: new federal figures
National
Swiss football club fires team masseuse over explicit sex video
National
Geneva police arrest easyJet passenger over hand luggage row
Business & Money
Latest forecasts for Swiss economic growth turn less bullish
Sport
Formula One legend Schumacher to continue treatment at Swiss home
National
Former federal planning official calls for nine Swiss cantons
Features
The Local gets the lowdown on mushroom picking in Switzerland
National
Virgin boss Richard Branson's son rescued from peak of Matterhorn
National
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter's commute turns Twitter sensation
Features
High-tech cameras give dizzy view of Eiger's north face (VIDEO)
Politics
Baden municipal council strips 'nude selfies mayor' of duties
Business & Money
Switzerland stays atop competitiveness table for sixth year
National
Federal parliament secretary agrees to step down over nude selfies
National
Swiss residents pick Swedes as ideal European soul mates: survey
National
Zurich officials call project to move prostitutes to 'sex boxes' a success
National
Swiss gays recognized as parents of child born to surrogate mother
Health
Increase in mountain bike accidents keeps Swiss hospitals busy
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

2,122
jobs available