Vrba Wetzler / Auschwitz Report
On 10 April 1944, two male Slovakian Jews, Rudolf Vrba and Alfréd Wetzler, managed the unthinkable: they successfully escaped from Auschwitz-Birkenau, reaching the Polish-Slovakian border on 21 April. Once there, they established contact with the Slovakian Jewish Council, reporting to them on conditions at Auschwitz-Birkenau and the mass exterminations that were taking place there. Several days later, they began writing a report about the camp; its geography, management, living conditions, and even estimated numbers of transports that had arrived at Auschwitz during the time that the two were imprisoned there. They also managed to obtain details about the crematoria from Sonderkommando worker Filip Müller, who confirmed this in his own memoir, Eyewitness Auschwitz. The report was quickly translated from Slovak to German.
The Vrba-Wetzler Report, or Auschwitz Report, was distributed to officials in Hungary. Speculation as to when the documents were distributed still exists, as it not known whether or not the Hungarian government knew about the gas chambers in Auschwitz before it began deporting its Jews from 15 May 1944. Vrba, however, believed that the report was not distributed quickly enough, leading to the loss of more lives that could have been saved. The report was also sent to Switzerland, where details about it appeared in the press, alerting the British and America media in particular. After pleas from American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Gustaf V of Sweden and Pope Pius XII to stop the deportations, Hungarian leader Miklos Horthy eventually agreed to halt deportations on 7 July. They ceased two days later. Unfortunately, however, for thousands of Hungarian Jews, this order simply came too late.
THE AUSCHWITZ PROTOCOL
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The American Experience
Summary of the Auschwitz escapees report by Gerhart Riegner, World Jewish Congress, Geneva, sent under cover of R.E. Shoenfeld, U.S. chargé to Czech government in London, to Cordell Hull, Secretary of State, July 5, 1944
Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler Fled Auschwitz and Wrote a Report
Windows to World History
THE FIRST REPORT ABOUT AUSCHWITZ
Museum of Tolerance Online
File:Vrba-Wetzler report sketch.JPG
War Refugee Board Receives Report on Final Solution
(November 26, 1944)
Jewish Virtual Library