Hold Nazis to account

January 14, 2000

There were indeed very limited exchanges of Jews for German nationals ("Belsen victims challenge Rubinstein", THES, January 7). These have been discussed in historical literature. Exchanges were small, whittled down in number and delayed as long as possible by the Nazis, not the Allies.

The main contention of the Public Record Office when it released new documents was that Britain blocked such exchanges. However, the fact that some Jews owe their lives to these exchanges is ipso facto evidence that such exchanges, where possible, were not blocked by the Allies.

While some Nazis, such as Himmler, in the closing stages of war might have favoured exchanges to curry favour with the Allies, Hitler was totally opposed to them and went to his grave with the central desire of killing as many Jews as possible. This is another example of blaming the democracies for crimes committed by the Nazis.

William D. Rubinstein

Department of history

University of Wales, Aberystwyth

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