‘holocaust” propaganda regarding the “extermination” of “6 million” had
an early start prior to the First World War and developed to a fever
pitch following the Second World War. Today we are exhorted to not
question these themes and warned that we are somehow “anit-semitic” if
we do. Examination and discussion of these keywords are considered “hate
speech” and against the law in many nations where Jews have pressed for
such laws. Recognizing that we are being told to not look there, we know
exactly where to look to see what is behind the propaganda curtain of
Rabbi Stephen S. Wise was the major leadership figure of the American
Jewish Congress during its formative period. Born in Hungary, the son of
a Rabbi and a porcelain heiress and the grandson of Joseph Hirsch Weisz,
a Grand Rabbi of Hungary, he was brought to New York by his parents as a
small child in 1875, when his father became rabbi of a Brooklyn, New
York, congregation. The younger Wise was instructed in Talmudic law by
his father and the Rev. Dr. Gustav Gotheil. He attended the College of
the City of New York, and was reported to have completed his studies
abroad. After returning to the United States, at the age of 20, he was
elected rabbi of the Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in New York where he
remained for over five years. Shortly after June of 1900, he went to
Portland, Oregon, to head up a congregation and then returned to New
York, founding the Free Synagogue in 1906. Early on, Dr. Wise was known
for his progressive ideas on general topics and also as an exponent of
Zionism, a movement then contemplating the reestablishment of the Jewish
As early as 1900, Wise is recorded telling a
Zionist gathering that "there are 6,000,000 living, bleeding,
suffering arguments in favor of Zionism" as reported in a New
York Times article. ("Rabbi Wise's Address", New York Times, June
11, 1900, p. 7)
The position of our co-religionists in Russia grows
increasingly deplorable, and recent advices from that country indicate
that there is little likelihood of any relief being afforded. The
situation is of the gravest. It may be doubted whether Jewry has ever
confronted a greater crisis since the overthrow of the Jewish state by
the Roman Empire. Not even the horrible persecutions of the times of the
Crusades or the expulsion from Spain and
Portugal affected so large a mass of our co-religionists. Russia has
since 1890 adopted a deliberate plan to expel or exterminate six
millions of its people for no other reason than that they refuse to
become members of the Greek Church, but prefer to remain Jews. REPORT OF
AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE American Jewish Year Book 5672 (Sept.
1911 to Sept. 1912) p. 308
"As soon as the World War [One] started
and it was obvious that a large part of the War would be fought in the
zone in which six or seven million Jews lived, particularly Poland,
Russia and Galicia, many worthy people started organizations to collect
funds for the sufferers in the War zones." -- Felix M. Warburg, A
Biographical Sketch, New York: The American Jewish Committee, 1938,
The story of the holocaust of up to six million European Jews
didn't originate with World War Two. In fact, a very similar scenario
was played out in somewhat less flamboyant terms during World War One
and its aftermath. After World War One it was reported as news that five
million, over five million, even six million Jews in Europe were
sick or dying in a holocaust from starvation, horrible epidemics, and a
malignant persecution. The following focuses especially on the World War
One fund raising drives. These selected campaigns by major Jewish
advocacy groups may offer historical significance both on their own and
in terms of the post World War Two Holocaust industry.
"Holocaust" is a World War I word. Holocaust was used during and
after World War One to describe what was going on in Europe and what
allegedly happened to the Jews of Europe during and after that war.
While the stories that are today referred to as "the Holocaust"
weren't called a holocaust during or even for decades after World War
Two, the word holocaust was used while World War One was happening and
thereafter. It was called a holocaust, it was called the greatest
tragedy the world has ever known and it was called the greatest need the
world has ever known.
Until 1917, the leader of the Jewish community in New York, Jacob
Schiff, repeatedly called for an end to "this holocaust".(1)In
1919, the American Hebrew magazine used the word holocaust in
describing the plight of European Jewry in an article written under the
byline of a former Governor of New York State.(2) Yehuda Bauer wrote in
My Brother's Keeper, an authorized history of the Joint
Distribution Committee of Jewish War Sufferers, that (3)
"the destruction of European Jewry during
World War Two has obliterated the memory of the first holocaust of the
20th century in the wake of the First World War."
A "holocaust of humanity" is the way World War One was
described in The Great Betrayal, a book co-authored by Rabbi
Stephen S. Wise and published in 1930. The premise of The Great
Betrayal was that the British had reneged on promises they made
concerning Palestine to the Jewish leadership during World War One. (4)
The Price of Liberty is an authorized history of the American
Jewish Committee that was published in 1948, after World War Two was
over. It contains a chapter about World War One entitled "The
Holocaust of War". This chapter mentions some of these World War One
and postwar fund raising efforts and includes the following quote: (5)
"As the armies rolled back and forth in
desperate conflict over the borders of Poland, Galicia, and East
Prussia, terror, desolation and death descended on the civilian
population in general, but most of all upon the seven million
Jews. The Christian Poles, Ruthenians and Germans suffered the
inevitable hardships that attend all warfare; but the Jews, already
proscribed by the Russians and Poles, met with a concentrated orgy of
hatred, blood lust and vindictive opportunity that threatened to wipe
them out in one vast holocaust."
In 1915, at a rally in New York, Louis Marshall, on behalf of the
American Jewish Relief Committee, along with Jacob Schiff and
Congressman Meyer London, denounced the apathy toward the suffering of
co-religionists declaring that millions were in dire distress and
pleading with the rich to give. Marshall said there were about 13
million Jews in the world, and that over 6 million of them are in
eastern Europe where the war is being fought. Marshall also read a
letter from Schiff that "private reports" had been received
showing conditions in Russia, Palestine, Poland, and Galicia, "the
frightful nature of which could not be pictured." Mr. London
said this was the worst period in Jewish history and that millions of
Jewish peoples depended on the generosity of more fortunate Jews of the
United States. (6)
Another 1916 project was a book entitled The Jews in the Eastern
War Zone. Published by the American Jewish Committee, 25,000 copies
of this book were sent to the leaders of American thought and the
molders of public opinion including President Wilson, members of the
Presidential Cabinet and Congress, the press and the magazines,
influential men and women everywhere.(7) The book said that Russia has
virtually converted an area into a penal settlement, where six
million human beings guilty only of adherence to the Jewish faith
are compelled to live out their lives in squalor and misery, in constant
terror of massacre, subject to the caprice of police officials and a
corrupt administration - in short, without legal rights or social
The Jews in the Eastern War Zone is an important book from
this period because the language in the book is reused extensively by
other sources, such as the New York Times. It is important today
because it shows what the American Jewish establishment was telling
people before the United States entered World War One, as a reading of
the introduction and the introduction to the section on Russia shows.
This book's concept included the theme that the Jews in eastern Europe
were experiencing a unique suffering, that this suffering was to an
extent suffered by no others, that they were denied elementary rights
denied to no other people, and were the victims of government sponsored
persecutions. It even contains the buzz words "six million"
After America entered the war, "actual war films" (sic) were
produced in Hollywood and released, and the Committee on Public
Information employed an immense army of speakers and pamphleteers. Lies
were successfully circulated including poisoned sugar-candy dropped by
German airplanes for children to eat and German soldiers giving poisoned
candy and hand grenades to children. A particularly gruesome lie about
German soldiers crucifying a young girl was the basis of a war
propaganda drama, "Duty to Civilization", which had the blessing
of President Wilson. (9)
It was during this period that the Provisional Zionist Committee
whose chairman was Stephen S. Wise in a news story entitled "Germans
let Jews Die, Women and Children in Warsaw Starving to Death"
vouched that "Jewish mothers, mothers of mercy, feel happy to see
their nursing babies die, at least they are through with their
This report ignores the facts that aid had been sent to Warsaw
through Hamburg while America was still neutral and that just a month
before, in May of 1917, 'Joint' officials made arrangements through both
the U.S. Secretary of State and German officials to send relief funds to
the German occupied areas of Poland and Lithuania by way of a committee
of Dutch Jews as noted previously in this chapter. The Netherlands
managed to remain neutral throughout that war and provided asylum for
Kaiser Wilhelm the Second from the time of his abdication until his
death in 1941.
Also in 1918, the American Jewish Congress was founded with the
original goals of "providing humanitarian relief for European Jews who
had suffered from the carnage of the war and restoring the State Of
Israel to Palestine". (11) The American Jewish Congress saw itself as
the voice of the eastern European Jews rather than the American Jewish
Committee, whose members were mostly German Jews.
In November of 1918, Wise was named chairman of a delegation to go to
London, England, on behalf of the Zionist Organization of America.
(12) In January of 1919, after conferring with Lord Balfour, the
British Foreign Secretary, Wise was in Paris, France, where he conferred
with Colonel House and received the Legion of Honor decoration in
appreciation of his eminent services to the French cause. When asked if
there was any likelihood of boundary difficulties in the Near East, Dr.
"Not if France and Great Britain act as
they may be expected to act in the spirit of friends and allies - and
have regard not for obsolete conventions and questionable facts, but for
that spirit throughout the permanent conference."
After returning to the United States, Dr. Wise met with President
Wilson in 1919 who approved of a Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine under
British rule. Wise was quoted on page one of the New York Times
on March 3, 1919, saying: (13)
"The rebuilding of Zion will be the
reparation of all Christendom for the wrongs done to the Jews."
The occasion was a meeting of Zionist leaders headed by Wise and
President Wilson at the White House, where guarantees for human rights
to Jews throughout the world including eastern Europe and Palestine were
discussed. Afterwards, Wise and other leaders spoke to a large
Washington, D.C., audience about his recent experiences in Paris and its
bearing on the Paris Peace conference. He predicted that Britain,
through the League of Nations, would accept a mandate over Palestine and
that the Jews would return to their rightful place in the world.
These articles show that by 1919 the Jewish lobby was international,
focused, and powerful. They were in friendly contact with the heads of
the victorious allied governments and a strong voice at the Paris Peace
Conference. Wise was a major player as the head of the Zionist
Organization of America and later the driving force behind the American
Jewish Congress. Wise was meeting with world leaders, passing on their
agendas, and representing the Jewish leadership on the issue of
Palestine. Chaim Weizmann, Chairman of the British Zionist Committee who
had been that organization's central Paris Peace Conference figure,
indicated that the allies and especially the British were sympathetic to
the Zionist cause. Displaying confidence and assurance that the mandate
of Palestine through the League of Nations would naturally evolve into a
Jewish commonwealth, Weizmann said:
"The League of Nation has made it possible
to give expression to the centuries old desire of the Jewish race."
An early American Jewish Congress news story and fund drive article
from May 20, 1920, included this message:
"The fund for Jewish war sufferers in
Central and Eastern Europe where six millions face horrifying
conditions of famine, disease and death."
In the second paragraph Dr. Wise says:
"If American Jews now fail to help those
who suffer through no fault of their own, the blame will rest on their
own heads should they miserably perish. Surely no self respecting
American Jew will wish, or even will suffer, the extinction of large
numbers of Jewish people to come to pass."
The article lists many large contributors, including a ten thousand
dollar contribution from Adolf Ochs, who was then the owner of the
New York Times. (14)
We are concentrating on Stephen S. Wise because of his role in
breaking the World War Two extermination stories to the American
mainstream media through the New York Times. A New York Times
article of November 25, 1942, written under the byline of James
MacDonald, has been mounted and displayed in the United States Memorial
Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. It is titled:
"Himmler Program Kills Polish Jews. [...]
Officials of Poland Publish Data - Dr. Wise Gets Check Here by State
The first part of the article was based on a report issued on
November 24 by the Polish government in exile in London, England,
although details of the report had allegedly been previously printed in
unnamed Palestine newspapers. It stated that in June of 1942 Himmler had
visited Warsaw and ordered that half the Jews in Poland be killed by the
end of the year and that this was being done throughout Poland and
especially at Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibor. There is no mention of
Auschwitz because according to Arthur Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth
Century, p. 89, Auschwitz entered the Allied war propaganda with the
publication of a booklet by the War Refugee Board in November, 1944.
Therefore, it makes sense that Auschwitz isn't mentioned in this 1942
story. Stephen S. Wise, who was still the president of the American
Jewish Congress as well as chairman of the World Jewish Congress, is the
source of the second half of the article "Wise Gets
Confirmations-Checks with State Department on Nazis' Extermination
Campaign." Wise said that he had learned through unnamed sources
confirmed by the State Department "that about half the estimated
4,000,000 Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe had been slain in an
extermination campaign" and that "the plan was drafted by Herman
Backe, Secretary of State for Economics, and was put into effect by
Hitler by late summer." Wise presented a detailed memorandum on
atrocities committed in areas occupied by German, Rumanian, Hungarian,
and Slovak troops and summarized the statistical effect of the campaign
on the Jews living in each country. One example:
"The total number of Jews in Poland, after
the deduction of some 500,000 refugees in Russia, should have
I don't want to say that Wise's numbers in the article were wrong
because one would think that, if anyone knew the Jewish population in
German occupied Europe in 1942, it would be the chairman of the World
Jewish Congress. If anything, he would inflate the numbers, which may
have been the case here. For example, however many Jews purportedly were
in Poland, since there was no modern Poland before 1918, they were
previously also counted as citizens of other countries, chiefly Russia.
In 1939, when Stalin invaded eastern Poland, it was on the pretext of
protecting the minorities within what had for two decades been Poland.
The Soviet Union considered the Jews under their control to be Soviet
citizens as they had been Russian citizens before 1918. Also many so
called Polish Jews moved to Hungary, a country that Wise left out of his
statistical analysis. This historic article contains several
inconsistencies and is historically significant for its timeliness, not
for its accuracy.
There are many other articles. One such example is an article on page
one of the New York Times of July 22, 1942, printing the text of
messages from President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill
to Dr. Wise containing vague statements of atrocities. There are other
such examples. The points are that Wise was a major force behind
breaking the World War Two holocaust story to the mainstream press
through the New York Times, that he then had a history of an
active ongoing relationship with the Times that went back over
forty years, and that he also had a long history of making extermination
claims all the way back to World War One. This makes Wise's activities
during the First World War era holocaust fund raising drives all the
You can't help but wonder how much of what he said he actually
believed but it's possible he believed everything he said.
In summary, at the beginning of World War One the leadership of the
American Jewish Committee established The American Jewish Joint
Distribution Committee for Jewish War Sufferers, ostensibly to help Jews
living in Palestine. It channelled aid to Jews living in eastern Europe
through Jewish welfare agencies in Germany until America entered the
war, after which, with the permission of the German and American
governments, aid continued to be sent through the neutral Netherlands.
The suffering of Jewish civilians living in eastern Europe was described
literally as a holocaust, a unique suffering, and regular fund
raising campaigns to aid these people were conducted throughout the war.
January 27, 1916, was set aside as Jewish Sufferers relief day by
President Wilson, and also in 1916, an influential book was published by
the American Jewish Committee entitled The Jews in the Eastern War
Zones, that reported Jews were being denied rights denied to no
other people, and used the words six million and extermination
in describing their persecutions under the Czar. Anti-German hate
propaganda, directed against both Jews and non-Jews in the United States
reached a fever pitch. The Balfour Declaration was declared a month
before the British army entered Jerusalem. The American Jewish Congress
was launched and both the American Jewish Committee and The American
Jewish Congress sent delegates to the Paris Peace Conference that placed
Palestine under a British mandate.
1. Naomi W. Cohen, Jacob H. Schiff, A Study in American Jewish
Leadership Hanover, NH: Brandeis University Press, University Press of
New England, 1999.
2. Martin H. Glynn, "The Crucifixion of Jews Must Stop!,"
The American Hebrew, Oct. 31, 1919, pp. 582f.
3. Yehuda Bauer, My Brother's Keeper. A History of the American
Joint Distribution Committee 1929-1939, Philadelphia: The Jewish
Publication Society of America, 1974.
4. Jacob de Haas, Stephen S. Wise, The Great Betrayal,
New York: Brentano's Publishers, 1930, p. 287.
5. Nathan Schachner, The Price of Liberty. A History of The
American Jewish Committee, New York: The American Jewish Committee,
1948, p. 60, 287.
6. "Jews Indifference to War Aid Rebuked", New York Times,
Jan. 14, 1915, p. 3.
7. Nathan Schachner, op. cit., (note 58), p. 63.
8. The American Jewish Committee, The Jews in the Eastern War
Zones, New York: The American Jewish Committee, 1916, p. 19f.
9. Arthur Ponsonby, M.P., Falsehood In Wartime-Propaganda: Lies of
the First World War, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1929.
10. "Germans Let Jews Die. Women and Children in Warsaw Starving to
Death" New York Times, August 10, 1917
11. Gregg Ivers, To Build A Wall. The American Jews and the
Separation of Church and State, Charlottesville: University Press of
Virginia, 1995, p. 36.
12. "Send Zionist Mission", New York Times, Nov. 29, 1918.
13. "President Gives Hope to Zionists", New York Times, March 3,
1919, p. 1. For the complete article, see Appendix, p. 101.
14. "Jewish War aid Gets $100,000 Gift", New York Times May 7, 1920,