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Joint Declaration by Members of the United Nations Against Extermination of the Jews

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Joint Declaration by Members of the United Nations Against Extermination of the Jews  (1942) 

The Joint Declaration by Members of the United Nations Against Extermination of the Jews was a statement issued by the World War II Allies condemning what is now called the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe. [1] It was issued in response to a 16-page note addressed to the Allied governments on December 10, 1942, by the Polish government-in exile concerning the mass extermination of Jews in German-occupied Poland. [2]

Read in the British House of Commons on December 17, 1942, by Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, the declaration represented the position of eleven Allied governments, including those of the United States and the Soviet Union, and the Free French and warned of "retribution" for those responsible for the killing of Jews. [3] The reading of the declaration was repeated in the House of Lords on the same day by Lord Chancellor John Simon. [4] Simon was chair of the British Cabinet Committee on the Treatment of War Criminals and later chaired the first meeting of the United Nations War Crimes Commission in 1943. [5]

Despite the high visibility given the declaration's announcement, the British government feared anti-Semitic feeling among the British public and later "backfooted" on publicizing the Holocaust, according to Jean Seaton, historian of the British Broadcasting Corporation. [6]

The declaration was given no formal name. The title used here includes opening words from a December 18 New York Times report, datelined the previous day, which began: "A joint declaration by members of the United Nations was issued today condemning Germany's 'bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination of Jews....'" [7]


The attention of the Governments of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxemberg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Yugoslavia, and of the French National Committee has been drawn to numerous reports from Europe that the German authorities, not content with denying to persons of Jewish race in all the territories over which their barbarous rule has been extended the most elementary human rights, are now carrying into effect Hitler's oft repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people in Europe. From all the occupied countries Jews are being transported, in conditions of appalling horror and brutality, to Eastern Europe. In Poland, which has been made the principal Nazi slaughterhouse, the ghettoes established by the German invaders are being systematically emptied of all Jews except a few highly skilled workers required for war industries. None of those taken away are ever heard of again. The able-bodied are slowly worked to death in labour camps. The infirm are left to die of exposure and starvation or are deliberately massacred in mass executions. The number of victims of these bloody cruelties is reckoned in many hundreds of thousands of entirely innocent men, women and children.

The above mentioned Governments and the French National Committee condemn in the strongest possible terms this bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination. They declare that such events can only strengthen the resolve of all freedom loving peoples to overthrow the barbarous Hitlerite tyranny. They re-affirm their solemn resolution to ensure that those responsible for these crimes shall not escape retribution, and to press on with the necessary practical measures to this end. [3] [4]

This work is in the public domain worldwide because the work was created by a public body of the United Kingdom with Crown Status and commercially published before 1971.

See Crown copyright artistic works, Crown copyright non-artistic works and List of Public Bodies with Crown Status.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. The name "United Nations" for the World War II Allies was proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States as an alternative to the name "Associated Powers." British Prime Minister Winston Churchill accepted it, noting that Lord Byron used the phrase in the poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (Canto III, Stanza 35). Manchester, William and Reid, Paul. The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965, New York: Little Brown and Company, 2012, p. 461. ISBN 978-0-316-54770-3 See also Hamilton, Nigel. The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, 1941-1942, New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, p. 139. ISBN 978-0-547-77524-1. United States Senator Henry Cabot Lodge also used the term in a speech delivered in Schenectady, New York, on June 9, 1915, saying, "peace can only be maintained by putting behind it the force of united nations determined to uphold it and prevent war." "Lodge for a League: A Speech in which the Senator Advocated a Union of Nations for World Peace," The New York Times, March 2, 1919. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  2. Republic of Poland, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Mass Extermination of Jews in German Occupied Poland, London: Hutchinson and Company, 1942. OCLC 23800633
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hansard, House of Commons Debates, 17 December 1942, vol. 385, cc2082-7.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hansard, House of Lords Debates, 17 December 1942, vol. 125, cc607-12.
  5. eNotes United Nations War Crimes Commission Study Guide Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  6. Sheinman, Anna. "The Eden declaration 70 years on, with the Wiener Library and the Guardian", The Jewish Chronicle Online, December 13, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2013. See also Aronson, Shlomo. Hitler, the Allies, and the Jews, Cambridge University Press, 2004, p. 61.
  7. "11 Allies Condemn Nazi War on Jews," The New York Times, December 18, 1942, p. 1. Retrieved January 8, 2013.