Gerhart Riegner Remembered as Man Who Warned of Holocaust

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 5, 2001 ( Vatican Radio paid tribute Tuesday to Gerhart Riegner, a promoter of Jewish-Catholic dialogue who was among the first to warn about the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews.

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Riegner, an official of the Jewish World Congress, died Monday in his Geneva home. He was 90.

A German lawyer exiled in Switzerland, Riegner heard about the Final Solution from a German industrialist who was in touch with Nazi leaders, and was shocked by their intentions.

On Aug. 8, 1942, he sent what became known as the “Riegner telegram” to the British Foreign Office and the U.S. State Department warning them about the impending danger. His message went unheeded.

After the war, Riegner became a high-ranking official of the Jewish World Congress and a staunch promoter of good relations with the Vatican.

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