The Holocaust Historiography Project

Eavesdropping on Hell

Historical Guide to Western Communications Intelligence and the Holocaust, 1939-1945

by Robert Hanyok

Table of Contents
A Note on Terminology
Chapter 1: Background
The Context of European and Nazi Anti-Semitism
Previous Histories and Articles
Chapter 2: Overview of the Western Communications Intelligence System during World War II
Step 1: Setting the Requirements, Priorities, and Division of Effort
Step 2: Intercepting the Messages
Step 3: Processing the Intercept
Step 4: Disseminating the COMINT
From Intercept to Decryption — the Processing of a German Police Message
Chapter 3: Sources of Cryptologic Records Relating to the Holocaust
The National Archives and Records Administration
The Public Record Office
Miscellaneous Collections
Chapter 4: Selected Topics from the Holocaust
A. The General Course of the Holocaust and Allied COMINT
B. Jewish Refugees, the Holocaust, and the Growing Strife in Palestine
C. The Vichy Regime and the Jews
D. The Destruction of Hungary’s Jews, 1944
E. Japan and the Jews in the Far East
F. Nazi Gold: National and Personal Assests Looted by Nazis and Placed in Swiss Banks, 1943 — 1945
Chapter 5: Some Observations about Western Communications Intelligence and the Holocaust
What was Known from COMINT
When the COMINT Agencies Knew
Some Further Observations Regarding the Available Archival Records
There are limited COMINT agency records about the Holocaust
There are significant differences between the archival records holdings of the cryptologic agencies of the United States and Great Britain
The Western communications intelligence agencies collected many more intercepts than they finally processed during the War
There are pertinent uses for the available records from the COMINT agencies related to the Holocaust
Appendix 1: Selected Allied Monitoring Stations (MS) and Designators
Appendix 2: Annotated Sample of Diplomatic Translations and German Police Decrypt
Appendix 3: Attached Documents
1. Vrba-Wetzler Cable, 26 June 1944
2. German Foreign office message to Buenos Aiers regarding a pension applicant’s Jewish wife, 13 January 1943
3. Spanish diplomatic message referring to Raoul Wallenberg
4. VN 1260: German translation of intercepted U.S. Department of State message from embassy in Bern, Switzerland, 19 October 1944
5. [DOS Nr. 6927] Regarding the status of interned Hungarian Jews
6. German report of results of deportation of Hungarian Jews, 30 December 1944. From O.S.S. source “George Wood.”
Glossary of Terms, Abbreviations, and Acronyms

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