Today in 1943: The Holocaust Became News

It always amazes me how many people knew about the Holocaust quite early on because of the actions of Righteous Gentiles like Witold Pilecki ... but disbelieved the stories for a long time because they seemed like such an abhorrent concept that it was assumed they were propaganda.

Pilecki got himself arrested and sent to Auschwitz so that he could document the atrocities there.

Thanks to him the French Resistance paper today in 1943 published the first photographs in the press, and his Witold's Report to the Polish Government in Exile finally galvanised the Allies into action.

After the war the Soviets tried and executed him, largely because of his continued loyalty to the Polish Government in Exile.

I too held a passport from the Polish Government in Exile until it returned Poland's emblems to Lech Wałęsa in 1990, and I was given a Polish-Polish passport.

At this time of year, as so many people attend synagogues around the world, and as so many people in too many countries are still falling victim to religious and ethnic genocide, I hope people will take the time to remember one of the great heroes. Like them, he was buried in an unmarked grave and his killers hoped that his memory would be forgotten.

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