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© The Boston Globe 2001.  Used by permission.
The Secret History of World War II

by Mark Fritz / Globe Staff / July 1, 2001

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''This would practically mean that the United States and England would have to keep an army in Palestine to protect the Jews there against the inroads of the Arabs and Moslems over the next two or three generations,'' said Stephen Penrose Jr., an official in the Middle East division of the Office of Strategic Services, precursor to the CIA.

US intelligence opposition was indeed a factor in Congress' 1944 decision not to support a Jewish state, which may have postponed the creation of the Israel that came into existence in 1948, said Holocaust specialist Shlomo Aronson, a political scientist at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

''This is quite a revelation,'' said Aronson, who was in Washington last month to help organize a conference on how the deluge of declassified files here, in Europe, and the former Soviet block fills in gaps about the Holocaust.

Most of the new documents in this country are from the OSS. They literally recreate the war in real time, with the persecution of Jews unfolding amid global chaos and killings of every conceivable kind. The flimsy narrative that surfaces early in the records comes to a screaming climax with the 1945 liberation of the death camps and the OSS interrogations of German guards who ripped off prisoners' ears for entertainment, and of Nazi doctors who removed vital organs, then sewed the patients back up just to see what would happen.

Refugees reported that because so many German doctors had been Jews, their replacements were often Nazis who practiced with such intolerance toward the sick and elderly that people were becoming afraid to go to hospitals if they got sick, fearing that they would be euthanized. There were also reports of children from occupied countries being used as living blood banks for German troops.

Revelations that were treated at the time with considerable skepticism proved tragically true when Allied troops found evidence that Jews were baked in ovens, gassed in showers, starved into sickness, worked to death, and bulldozed into holes. Between 5 million and 6 million Jews died, along with millions of Gypsies, handicapped people, homosexuals, and communists. A majority of Soviet soldiers defeated by the Nazis in battle were executed rather than held as POWs.

Historians disagree on whether the Allies strategically ignored, actively suppressed, or simply failed to grasp the genesis of the Holocaust, which became the central horror of World War II only after it was over.

The newly discovered document will almost certainly feed the debate. It is a German order for Czechoslovakia - one of the invaded lands the Nazis dubbed a ''protectorate'' - that is contained in the correspondence sent by the Chilean consul in Prague to his government in Santiago.

''An order published in Berlin regarding Jews abroad has been adopted in the Protectorate,'' writes Chilean consul Gonzalo Montt Rivas. ''Here is a full translation.''

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