February 27, 2020

Would ‘Bombing Auschwitz’ Have Stopped the Shoah?

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

In April 1944, Jewish prisoners Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler escaped from the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and made their way to Slovakia, determined to tell the world the truth about the genocide happening there. Their testimonies were compiled into a highly detailed report that was sent to the Allies, and officials debated what to do about it. Should they bomb Auschwitz and the railway lines feeding into it to stop the atrocities?

PBS’ “Secrets of the Dead: Bombing Auschwitz” reveals the reasons the operation didn’t come to pass, and also explores the moral issues surrounding it through re-enactments, archival footage and interviews with experts and survivors.

The documentary premieres Jan. 21 on PBS, just before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on Jan. 27.