On 16 December 1942 Mr. Anthony Eden, the British Foreign Minister, made a statement in the House of Commons. He spoke in the name of all the Allies, whose attention, he declared, had been drawn to numerous reports from Europe –
“that the German Government, not content with denying to persons of the Jewish race in all territories over which their barbarous rule has been extended the most elementary human rights, are now carrying into effect Hitler’s oft-repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people in Europe.
“From all occupied territories” Eden’s statement continued “Jews are being transported in conditions of appalling horror and brutality to Eastern Europe. None of those taken away is ever heard of again. The able-bodied are slowly worked to death in labour camps. The infirm are left to die of exposure and starvation or are deliberately massacred in mass executions.
“The number of victims of these bloody cruelties is reckoned in many hundreds of thousands of entirely innocent men, women and children.”
Mr. Eden announced what the Allied Governments proposed to do in consequence.
“The above-mentioned Governments and the French National Committee” he said “condemn in the strongest possible terms this bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination. They declare that such events can only strengthen the resolve of freedom-loving peoples to overthrow the barbarous Hitlerite tyranny.”
An impulsive Member of Parliament, Mr. Sampson Cluse, at once proposed a more energetic reaction. Members of the House, he suggested should “rise in their places and pay silent testimony to this horror and to their determination to defeat Hitler.” The Government made no objection. The Members rose, and stood for two minutes.