- BERLIN (Reuters) - A document
found in a Moscow archive suggests that the Soviet leadership may have
rejected a Nazi German proposal to deport Jews from German-occupied territories
to the Soviet Union in 1940.
- A Russian historian working in Germany has published
an article in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper describing a letter he
said he obtained that raised the possibility of Germany resettling Jews
in Ukraine and Siberia.
- The historian, Pavel Polian, said the letter, dated February
9, 1940, was written by Yevgeny Chekmenyov, a Soviet official in charge
of resettlement, and addressed to then Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav
- The letter, a portion of which was published in the Berliner
Zeitung newspaper on Tuesday, discusses a German proposal made to the Moscow
government to move more than 2 million Jews from Poland, Austria and Czechoslovakia
to the Soviet Union.
- There were no further details available about the original
- But Polian said he believes it was written by Adolf Eichmann
and Alois Brunner who were in charge of Nazi Germany's Jewish emigration
centers in Berlin and Vienna.
- Germany and the Soviet Union had a non-aggression pact
at the time. But the Soviet leadership apparently rejected almost immediately
the idea of accepting more than 2 million Jews from German-occupied countries,
according to Polian.
- "We cannot take these Jews. We have an awful lot
of our own already," Chekmenyov wrote in the letter to Molotov. He
closed his letter by saying: "I would appreciate your guidance."
- The possible deportation of Jews to the Soviet Union
was one option mulled by the German government seeking to find a territorial
solution to what the Nazis referred to as the Jewish question.
- During the late 1930s and early 1940s Nazi officials
had also proposed other ways of evicting Jews from Europe, such as deporting
them en masse to the island of Madagascar.