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American Jewish Conference Asks Punishment of Axis Nations for Annihilating Jews

Declaring that Axis crimes against the Jewish people “cannot go unpunished without destroying the legal and moral foundations upon which our civilization rests,” the American Jewish Conference today submitted an eight-point proposal to Secretary of State Cordell Hull urging the United Nations to take into consideration the following demands of American Jews:

1. Among the crimes to be made punishable under this policy, there be expressly included the publicly announced intent of the Axis nations and their allies and associates to annihilate the Jewish people, and all acts whereby they sought to accomplish this aim, before and during the war, within their own and occupied territories.

2. In all trials of those guilty of crimes against civilian populations, criminal acts performed against the Jewish people shall be duly specified as part of the indictment.

3. Those charged with specific crimes against individual Jews, or with acts designed to bring about the ultimate annihilation of Jewish communities, such as deprivation, starvation, deportation, unendurable forced labor, and mass murder by whatever means, in territories occupied by the enemy, shall be prosecuted with the utmost energy and vigor in the national courts of the states where such crimes were committed, irrespective of the nationality of the accused or of the victims.

4. The prosecution of those guilty of these acts against the Jews in Germany and in the territories of her allies and associates, as well as of crimes not confined to single territories, shall be within the jurisdiction of the contemplated international court for the trial of war criminals.

5. The United Nations shall agree among themselves to declare as common criminals, and shall so declare, all those guilty of these acts against the Jews, and shall require the Axis nations, their allies and associates, the neutral nations and any other country where the criminals may seek asylum, to surrender or extradite all persons thus designated. Provision for the surrender of these criminals by the Axis Powers, their allies and associates, shall be included in the terms of the armistice.

6. Representatives of the respective Jewish communities shall be consulted in the preparation of evidence against these criminals, and shall be recognized in the national courts as amici curiae (“friends of the court”), and provision shall be made to this effect.

7. Representatives of the Jewish people shall be officially admitted as amici curias before the contemplated international prosecuting body and the international court for the trial of war criminals. The constituting acts of these bodies shall contain the necessary provisions to this effect.

8. The Commission for the Investigation of War Crimes, or such other body as may be constituted for this purpose by the United Nations, shall receive and give due consideration to all suggestions which may be submitted to it by a representation of the Jewish people, and it shall grant such a representation a locus stand.

“Since their rise to power, the leaders of the Nazi regime in Germany have repeatedly and consistently proclaimed the extermination of the Jewish people as a major aim,” the memorandum said. “Both before and since the beginning of the war, they have pursued this aim with unrelenting vigor and brutality, utilizing every measure of degradation and despoliation, including forced labor, starvation, deportation and mess murder. This campaign of terror and annihilation has been carried out with unexampled bestiality in consort with Axis allies and associates, and with the connivance of Mazi followers and subordinates in their home countries and their collaborators in occupied territories. There crimes cannot go unpunished without destroying the legal and moral foundations upon which our civilization rests.”

The memorandum was prepared by the Conference Commission on Post War, whose co-chairman are Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath of Cincinnati and Hayin Greenberg of New York.

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