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November 11, 1996 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-11-11

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NATION
decoded cables shed light
on history of Holocaust

I/WORLD

The Michigan Daily -- Monday, November 11, 1996-- 9A l

Th eWashington Post
WASHINGTON -The date was July
*8, 1941, less than a month after Nazi
Gq many's blitzkrieg attack on the Soviet
Union. As was his custom, the German
commander in the western Soviet repub-
lic of Belarus provided his superiors in
Berlin with a daily update of the activities
oflhe men under his command.
'In yesterday's cleansing action in
Slnim, carried out by Police regiment
center," wrote Erich von dem Bach-
Zelewski, in the dry, matter-of-fact tone
the German military bureaucrat,
153 Jewish plunderers were shot."
-During the course of the next four
years, tens of thousands of such
reports would be filed, describing the
methodically planned mass extermi-
nation of an entire people. But this
particular report is remarkable for
several reasons:
.It is one of the earliest pieces of doc-
unentary evidence for what later
came known as the Holocaust. It is
kv evidence that much of the killing
was carried out by ordinary German
police units, and not the elite SS. And it
was intercepted and deciphered by
British signals intelligence within three
days of its original transmission.
The report from Bach-Zelewski is

just one of hundreds of intercepted
German cables recently declassified by
the National Security Agency and now
available in the reading room of the
National Archives.
More than half a century after the
end of World War II, information is
finally becoming available to scholars
that shows in detail how ordinary

the United States of withholding infor-
mation about the mass killings of Jews
until the discovery of the concentration
camps at the end of the war.
"The extraordinary thing about these
documents is that they contain new
information both about the Holocaust
itself and what the West knew about the
Holocaust," said Richard Breitman, a

German police;
ated with
elite SS
brigades in
carrying out
A d o l f
Hit Ie r's
order to
exterminate
the Jews.
The inter-
cepts, which
were part of
the top
s e c r e t
British code-
break ing
operation

and army units cooper-

professor of history

They contain new
information both about
the holocaust itself
and what the West
knew about the
Holocaust."
- Richard Breitman
A... ,..... 1I 1 : :4- .:.4-I., t, .,I

at American
University,
who filed a
Freedom of
Information
Act request
for 1.3 mil-
lion pages of
German
intercepts
handed over
to the NSA
by the
British.
The release
of previously

American University

known as Ultra intercepts, also shed
new light on the controversial question
of what Western governments knew
about the Holocaust. Some Holocaust
researchers have accused Britain and

history protessor s e c r e t
G e r m a n
reports on the early stages of the
Holocaust follows the Russian decision
last month to turn over 15,000 pages of
documents covering the same period to
the United States Holocaust Museum.

AP PHOTO
A bullock cart moves along a submerged state highway near Puttaparthy In the cyclone-devastated region of Andhra Pradesh
yesterday. The storm killed more than 1,000 people and has left hundreds of thousands in need of clean water and food.
Pyres burn in India ater one

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1

N Fishing town left
devastated in wake of
massive storm
AMA LAPURAM, India (AP) - At
a makeshift crematorium on the edge
of what remained of a coconut grove,
Guruva Swamy lit a heap of car and
bicycle tires under his father's body.
Firewood is too scarce and expen-
sive to build proper funeral pyres in
this southern Indian coastal region,
where a cyclone last week killed at
least 1,000 people and destroyed
homes, crops and livestock. Another
1,000 people were missing and pre-
sumed dead.
"I know this is terrible," Swamy,
25, said as he struck the match. "I
have been looking for firewood since
Friday, but I could afford none. Today,
one of my friends told me people are
burning dead bodies with tires."
"I cannot keep my father's dead
body any longer."
Black ash and dark smoke belching
out of other pyres in this fishing town
of 50,000 indicated Swamy was not
alone.
Rescuers, aided by helicopters and
motorboats, searched the coastal
waters of the Bay of Bengal on yes-
terday for 1,000 missing fishermen.
The men went fishing for shark

bodies Saturday,
of the fisher-
men, and spot-
ted 45 more on
yesterday.
"The sea was
rough and the
boats are not
equipped to
withstand the
cyclone fury,"
said Reddy.
"But we are
praying that
they return."
Relief crews;

before the cyclone's torrential rain
and 1 12-mph wind struck Wednesday.
All are presumed dead.
"We have prayers on our lips, but
hope is surely receding," Phanandra
Reddy, a senior relief official, said of
the missing fishermen.
Coast guard vessels picked up 50

believed to be some
"We hav

prayers on our
lips, but hope is
surely receding."
- Phanandra Reddy

good over evil after a mythological
war.
Instead, the government provided
free gasoline and kerosene to help
people dispose of bodies, which oth-
erwise could become a health prob-
lem. Most of the deaths were attrib-
uted to mud homes that collapsed in
the storm's savage wind and rain.
The cyclone
struck the

(e

coastal districts
of East Godavari
and West
Godavari, 380
miles east of the
Andhra Pradesh
state capital,
Hyderabad.
At least 250

also delivered food,

drinking water and medicine Sunday
to an estimated 500,000 people cut
off by the storm, said A.M. Reddy, a
state government official.
"Our immediate aim is to provide
the basic necessities," A.M. Reddy
said. "And, also to see that we do not
have a medical crisis at our doorstep."
Yesterday was supposed to be a day
of celebration - Diwali, the Festival
of Lights, symbolizing the triumph of

Relief official villages in the
lush green
region were left nearly in ruins by 15-
foot waves, wind and rain.
About half of the state's income
comes from rice, cotton, tobacco,
sugar cane and mango cultivation.
State officials estimate property and
agricultural losses at $555 million.
The deadliest cyclone in' recent
years killed 10,000 people in 1977.
Another 1,000 were killed in a May
1990 storm. The state was recovering
from cyclones in October that killed
350 when last week's storm hit.

r SOUTH PADRE ISLAND b

n

L

,7 V V A" rr v 9% c 9 a 16#-% I-N

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