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“Certificates” for Auschwitz
At the height of the deportation of the Jews from Slovakia to Poland, the first news of the fate of these Jews got out. Jewish organizations and private individuals began to try to aid their brethren in various ways. Some Zionist youth movement activists thought of sending aliyah certificates to camp prisoners as a means to rescue them. Towards this purpose the activists provided the Jewish Agency with lists of camp prisoners, most of them in Auschwitz, including personal information and addresses, as copied from letters reaching Slovakia from the camps. In summer 1944, official notices of the issuance of certificates were sent from Geneva to several dozen prisoners in Auschwitz. These notices reached the camp offices. The story of the aliyah certificates for Auschwitz prisoners was unknown for many years until the recent discovery of several relevant documents. Some of the prospective aliyah candidates survived and were traced decades later and asked about the subject. Only two had ever heard of it.
Richard I. Cohen