The Swiss government knew about the Nazi program to wipe out Jews in 1942 — earlier than previously known — according to documents publicized by a Swiss television station.
A report aired by the German-language station SRF on Jan. 27 said the government was aware of Hitler’s extermination plan and the existence of German concentration camps as early as 1942, the year that Germany decided on its so-called “final solution” for the Jews.
Switzerland, which was neutral throughout World War II, was nonetheless throwing asylum seekers out of Switzerland
that year as it tightened immigration quotas.
The information revealed was in hundreds of letters, telegrams and detailed reports collected by Swiss diplomats and sent to the federal cabinet during World War II. The government also received information about the Nazi activities through photos, SRF reported.
“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, told SRF.
Several thousand Jewish refugees managed to enter Switzerland illegally during the war, according to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, in addition to 30,000 Jews who entered legally. — jta