German Jewish leader: Allies didn't do enough to save Jews

20th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Official complains that Allies could have saved many if they had opened their borders.

Munich (dpa) - A German Jewish leader says the Allies did not do enough to save European Jews during the Holocaust because they denied them entry through their borders.

Charlotte Knobloch, president of Germany's Council of Jews, made her remarks in response to a recent apology by US President George W. Bush that the Allies did not bomb the Nazi's transport access to Auschwitz.

Knobloch told DPA in an interview that the World War II victors totally failed on the issue of genocide, and not just militarily. She said Bush's remarks were one-dimensional.

"It was indeed the Americans who had the possibility, as did other countries, to save Jewish people," Knobloch said in the interview published Friday.

Knobloch, 75, said she could remember her childhood in the early 1940s, when she saw desperate people waiting in vain for visas to emigrate to the United States.

Other countries like England and Switzerland also had the opportunity to rescue people, Knobloch said.

Knobloch's and Bush's remarks stirred up a long-simmering debate.

During his visit last week to the Israeli Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, a teary-eyed Bush said the United States should have bombed rail access to the Auschwitz death camp in 1944.

Knobloch said Bush had limited his vista to the military aspects, and had failed to see the human side of things.

"One should have not only bombed the access routes, one should have used the opportunities beforehand to save thousands of people," she said.

Knobloch praised the rebirth of Jewish culture in Germany.

"We are living in a country that really has reached out to its Jewish citizens," she said.

She had opened four or five synagogues in recent times, and more synagogues were being built countrywide.

"Jewish life has returned from self-imposed ghetto existence into the mainstream of society," said Knobloch, who has served as the council's president since 2006.

"In principle, I see a really solid future for Jewish life here," she said.

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