24 DECEMBER

BRITAIN REFUSES TAKING HOLOCAUST REFUGEES ‘ON MERELY HUMANITARIAN GROUNDS’

Jews rounded up as forced labour in Warsaw – March 1940.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum via Wikimedia.

[ 24 December 1940 ]

On Christmas Eve 1940, Thomas Latham, a clerk at the Foreign Office, minuted an official response to an urgent request from the government of Luxembourg. It had appealed to Britain to take in 300 Jewish refugees, who had been sent back from Portugal to Nazi occupied France and were now existing ‘in the most tragic and miserable circumstances.’ Luxembourg’s foreign minister felt ‘sure that any destination in the British Empire that might be decided upon would be a paradise compared to what these people could expect if transported to Poland.’ The Foreign Office was unsympathetic to such sentimental concerns. ‘We simply cannot have any more people let into the United Kingdom on merely humanitarian grounds,’ it explained, adding that ‘these particular refugees, pitiable as is their plight, are hardly war-refugees in the sense that they are in danger because they have fought against the Germans, but simply racial refugees.’1

BRITISH ARMY MAKES NO ATTEMPT TO PREVENT EXECUTION OF  IRAQI CHRISTIAN

A U.K. Lynx lands at Camp Sa’ad outside Basra.
US Department of Defense via Wikimedia.

[ 24 December 2003 ]

Today in 2003, British soldiers failed to intervene when local Shia militia executed a Christian man in the town’s main marketplace for the crime of selling alcohol. Over the preceding months, following the joint British-American invasion in March, London had steadily reduced the number of British troops in southern Iraq, so it became impossible for them to take any proactive role in rebuilding the city’s government and infrastructure. The reconstruction of Iraq’s social and economic infrastructure were simply not priorities for Britain. Instead, it was decided to allow pro-Iranian Islamist militia gangs to take over the policing of Basra, with predictable consequences.2

FOOTNOTES

  1. Bernard Wasserstein, Britain and the Jews of Europe; 1939-1945, Oxford University Press, 1988, p. 109
  2. John Newsinger, British Counterinsurgency, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire, 2015, pp. 223-224.

Please feel welcome to post comments below.  If you have any questions please email alisdare@gmail.com

© 2020 Alisdare Hickson All rights reserved

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