Stephen S. Wise, later to become president of the World Jewish Congress, speaks at an anti-Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden. New York, United States, March 27, 1933. — National Archives and Records Administration

Nazi Plan to Kill All Jews Confirmed

November 24, 1942

Rabbi Stephen Wise’s press conference was the first time the Nazi plan to kill all Jews was publicized.

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Information about Nazi atrocities against Jews leaked out of Europe; fragmentary reports of mass killings had appeared in the US press in 1941. In May 1942, the Polish-Jewish underground smuggled out a report, which estimated that 700,000 Polish Jews had already been killed by the Germans. The report was broadcast over the BBC on June 2, 1942. In August 1942, the US State Department received a report from a World Jewish Congress representative in Geneva, Switzerland, that the Germans were implementing a policy to murder the Jews of Europe. The same report was cabled to Rabbi Stephen Wise, president of the World Jewish Congress, but the State Department requested that Wise not go public with the information until they could confirm its general accuracy.

Three months later, the State Department confirmed this information from independent sources, and on November 24, 1942, Rabbi Wise held a press conference to publicize the news, appealing to President Roosevelt to stop the murderous plan. Two weeks later, the Polish government-in-exile sent a report, titled The Mass Extermination of Jews in German Occupied Poland, to the Allied governments urging the world to “draw the appropriate conclusions.”

On December 17, 1942, the United States, Great Britain, and ten other Allied governments issued a Joint Declaration by Members of the United Nations denouncing Nazi Germany’s implementation of “Hitler's oft-repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people in Europe” and promising retribution for those responsible.

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Learn More about this Historical Event


Feingold, Henry L., Bearing Witness: How America and Its Jews Responded to the Holocaust. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1995.

Gurock, Jeffrey S., ed. America, American Jews, and the Holocaust. New York: Routledge, 1998.

Laqueur, Walter. The Terrible Secret: Suppression of the Truth About Hitler’s “Final Solution.” New York: H. Holt, 1998.

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November 24-26, 1942 News articles about Rabbi Wise’s public statement regarding the Nazi plan to annihilate the Jews of Europe.

November 25 - December 25, 1942 News, editorials, op-eds, letters to the editor, and cartoons reacting to the Nazi plan to annihilate the Jews of Europe.


Jews, Jewish, Rabbi Stephen Wise, Germany, Nazi, Hitler, exterminate, extermination, slaughter, World Jewish Congress