Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has called for a public inquiry into allegations that the British Intelligence Services actively helped Nazi war criminals come to the UK after the War and protected them from facing justice, calling this “a very dark day for Britain – and for British Jews.”
Tonight, in a Radio 4 programme called “The Nazi Next Door”, BBC Journalists investigated the case of a Nazi War Criminal called Stanislaw Chrzanowski, who murdered at least thirty people, possibly far more, at the death pits in Slonim, Belarus. Tens of thousands of Jews were murdered in Slonim over a period from 1941-1942.
The Radio 4 Investigation has confirmed that Chrzanowski subsequently worked for British intelligence in the 1950s. The programme alleges that not only were the British intelligence services well aware of what Chrzanowski had done, but that he and many others like him were welcomed into Britain in return for their services.
In 1991, the House of Commons passed the War Crimes Act, conferring jurisdiction on courts in the United Kingdom to try people for war crimes committed in Nazi Germany or German-occupied territory during the Second World War by people who were not British citizens at the time, but had since become British citizens or residents. However, to date only one person has ever been convicted under the Act. The Radio 4 investigation appears to show that the reason for this is that many other such individuals were protected by the authorities; it alleges that when the War Crimes Act became law, British Intelligence services destroyed hundreds of thousands of documents with information on individuals such as Chrzanowski, thereby both protecting Nazi War Criminals and hiding how they had been aided and abetted in coming to this country.
Marie described the findings as “shocking. The idea that many Nazi suspects were able to find sanctuary in the UK after the War – and not only that, but that British Intelligence stands accused of having actively facilitated this and protected such people from facing justice – is absolutely staggering.
“It is well known that the United States did this after the war – but I had never previously heard even a suggestion that Britain had been guilty of similar activity. Britain has always been able to say, with some pride, that it let in around ten thousand Jewish children of the Kindertransport prior to the War – ten thousand children who would almost certainly otherwise have been murdered by the Nazis. What does it say now to learn that after the war this country is now accused of having knowingly let in some of the people who may well have murdered the relatives of these children? It’s absolutely despicable.
“Radio 4’s programme also alleges that thirty years ago the British Intelligence services attempted to cover up their actions, destroying information and thereby protecting Nazis who were still alive and living in Britain three decades ago. That would be monstrous – and one must assume illegal – behaviour. The British public deserve to know the full facts behind this.”
The programme is available to listen to via this link.