August 14, 1944
In a letter written to Leon Kubowitzki, head of the Rescue Department of the World Jewish Congress, US Assistant Secretary of War, John J. McCloy states that the War Department will not order the bombing of Nazi Death Camps and their infrastructure. It is explicitly stated in the letter that the decision is not a result of the US armed Forces being unable to do so, but rather that they do not see such an action as a priority for US military resources. McCloy’s statement is a response to a letter Kubowitzki had sent to him just five days earlier.
In the letter, McCloy states:
After a study, it became apparent that such an operation could be executed only by the diversion of considerable air support essential to the success of our forces now engaged in decisive operations elsewhere, and would, in any case, be of such doubtful efficacy that it would not warrant the use of our resources. There has been considerable opinion to the effect that such an effort, even if practicable, might provoke even more vindictive action by the Germans. The War Department fully appreciates the humanitarian motives, which promoted the suggested operation, but for the reasons stated above it has not been felt that it can or should be undertaken, at least at this time.
It is now understood that US forces could have bombed Auschwitz as early as May 1944. On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces entered Auschwitz, liberating more than 7,000 remaining prisoners. While there are differing figures, it is estimated that roughly 1.3 million people were deported to this death camp between 1940-1945, and at least 1.1 million of them were murdered. At least 100,000 lives might have been spared had the US military bombed Auschwitz alone.
The complete letter is available [click here]