Riegner Telegram

The Riegner Telegram was a message sent on 10 August 1942 by Gerhart Riegner, then Secretary of World Jewish Congress, Geneva. The cable "confirmed the seemingingly inconclusive information about the [German] mass murder that had reached the West previously." Gutman, Israel, ed. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. New York: Mamillan Publishing Co., 1990. S. v. “Riegner Cable,” Yehuda Bauer.

Riegner was office manager of the WJC in Geneva. He was informed about the German plans for the final solution by German industrialist Eduard Schulte. Through his British and American diplomatic channels (Rabbi Stephen Samuel Wise of the American Jewish Congress in New York and Sydney Silverman, a Jewish Member of Parliament and Chairman of the British Section, World Jewish Congress) Riegner sent the following message to his contacts via the British Foreign Office and the State Department in Washington:

Received alarming report stating that, in the Fuehrer's Headquarters, a plan has been discussed, and is under consideration, according to which all Jews in countries occupied or controlled by Germany numbering 3½ to 4 millions should, after deportation and concentration in the East, be at one blow exterminated, in order to resolve, once and for all the Jewish question in Europe. Action is reported to be planned for the autumn. Ways of execution are still being discussed including the use of prussic acid. We transmit this information with all the necessary reservation, as exactitude cannot be confirmed by us. Our informant is reported to have close connexions with the highest German authorities, and his reports are generally reliable. Please inform and consult New York.[1]

However, in President Roosevelt that "certain officials in our State Department" had failed while it would have been commanded by duty to "prevent the extermination of the Jews in German-controlled Europe".


  • 70 YEARS AGO: Riegner Telegram alerts world about Nazi Holocaust - World Jewish Congress website
  • The National Archives UK copy of the Riegner Telegram
  • Günter Schubert: Der Fleck auf Uncle Sams weißer Weste. Amerika und die jüdischen Flüchtlinge 1938-1945., Campus Verlag, Frankfurt/New York
  • Heiner Lichtenstein: "Warum Auschwitz nicht bombardiert wurde", Köln 1980
  • Walter Laqueur: Was niemand wissen wollte. Die Unterdrückung der Nachricht über Hitlers Endlösung", Frankfurt a. M. 1981
  • Gerhard M. Riegner: "Niemals verzweifeln. Sechzig Jahre für das jüdische Volk und die Menschenrechte" Gerlingen 2001
  • Portraits Parlés: Interview and portraits of Gerhard M. Riegner by Ariane Laroux, éditions of L'Age d'Homme. (2006)
  • Michael Berenaum: "A Promise to Remember" Bulfinch Press 2003

External links

  • World Jewish Congress


  1. ^ The National Archives UK copy of the Riegner Telegram
  2. ^