Sunday, December 28, 2008

Apples Over the Fence [8]: Finding the Real Culprit

Professor Ken Waltzer, in his incredibly insightful statement [see previous post], focused on the role of the purveyors of culture who have tried to turn the Holocaust into a heart warming story.

Among those he cited was Harris Salomon the producer of the film on the Rosenblatts. Salomon, as i noted, in now crying about how he was lied to by Rosenblatt. Essentially he is portraying himself as a victim.

This is what he is now saying to the press:
"It’s unfortunate he told a lie.... The man is tragically flawed, but his story had value.... Obviously, this is a surprise to me. Obviously, I am extremely angry. He let me down professionally and personally. We get used to dealing with people of all stripes in this business. This is the business and the society we live in today, that allows people to lie, but also feeds off people lying and asking for forgiveness."
Those who read Gabe Sherman's excellent pieces in The New Republic [see here and here], know that Solomon contacted the deans at Michigan State University to rail about Waltzer's work on this topic. He managed, it seemed to me, to rattle Waltzer, a fine historian, a bit. After all, not all universities, especially state institutions which are facing hard economic times, will strongly support their faculty in situations such as these. [That's why Emory's support of me, as I recount in History on Trial, is so remarkable.]

Since Salomon is now bemoaning his fate, I thought readers should see how he sang a very different tune about six months ago after I told him that i had serious doubts about the Rosenblatt story.

Compare what he had to say now [I have been lied to] with what he had to say then.

His email to me is cc'ed to Rosenblatt and, I assume, to his agent.

To: Lipstadt, Deborah
Cc: [Email addresses eliminated ]
Subject: Re: deborah

dear deborah,

there is no point in me having an argument with you. i know little about you other then what has been written. i have to admit i have heard some harsh things about you since we started exchanging emails. hothead is a word used by at least two of your peers in the holocaust community.

i am telling you, and i am sure you know, that much of what is written on the net is not true. what is on the oprah site, what is on the aish site, and what is on your blog, are not the words of herman rosenblat and not what is in his book. if you took the time to read the book before ripping something apart perhaps your reputation might be different? in my business deborah that is called slander. i know you have heard that word before.

you are entitled to an opinion. you are entitled to judge the facts. but your opinion deborah at the moment is worthless as you are making statements based on third party web sites that do not contain the words of mr. rosenblat or what is in his book.

is this what you would advise your students at emory?

i have traveled all over eastern europe for several years in preparation for what will be a major feature film. i may be more of a more of a holocaust expert then you, even though, i have no title nor university affiliation. what i do know for sure is before i make any statements i know the facts.

you simply do not know those facts, and that debroah, is the greatest sin to the memory of all those perished so long ago.

with regards,

harris salomon


atlantic overseas pictures

I plead guilty to sometimes being a "hothead" especially when something about which I care deeply is at stake, e.g. truth and lies about the Holocaust.

But I did think that Salomon's intimation, as I understood, that it was because of my passion that I was sued by David Irving was a bit over the top.

Anyway, this one-time "expert" on historical truth who tried to silence Ken Waltzer and me -- he did not seem to realize that I have faced far more nettlesome opponents than him -- is now crying about being a victim.

If there is a scoundrel in this story my impression is that we have found him.


JAT said...

I am wondering why it was necessary to publish Mr. Rosenblatt's email address (and that of his agent) on your blog? This information does not add anything to your blog that expands our understanding of the point you are conveying. It actually seems like an invitation to others to harass this man, which strikes me as inappropriate.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

You are correct and I have corrected that error. I wanted to post it exactly as I received it. However your point is well taken.

hockey hound said...

"hothead is a word used by at least two of your peers"

Hothead? I don't think so. As a former boxer, I can you tell you that no-one wins a fight like the fight Prof. Lipstadt won against David Irving in that London courtroom by being a hothead: in a fight like that you must keep thinking even when you are being attacked.

Prof. Lipstadt, who carried upon her shoulders in that London courtroom the hopes of 6 million murdered Jews and the honour of now how many survivors, went toe to toe against an anti-Semitic egomaniac and won. Only a thinking fighter can win against sophists like David Irving.

I remember reading in the Tanach about Gideon being told to take with him only the 300 who "lapped with their hands to their mouths" and not the majority who "knelt on their knees to drink water." Any ex-fighter who reads this will know that the 300 were chosen because they would not get cramps in the midst of battle as would those who gulped water on their knees (this is why you never see boxers gulp water between rounds). The 300 were thinking of the battle ahead, the rest were not. This is the reason the 300 were chosen to save Israel.

Prof. Lipstadt might have been primed for her fight against Irving (and against anyone else who is foolish enough to challenge her), but she surely wasn't being a hothead. Anyone who reads History On Trial will know that Prof. Lipstadt does not kneel on her knees to drink water.

When was the last time Mr. Salomon risked his lifetime achievments and his personal reputation entire, as did Prof. Lipstadt, for the sake of the Jewish people? It seems Mr. Salomon (and those two peers) have forgotten how much was at stake in that London courtroom. (Anthony Julius does not forget, that's for damn sure.) And now Mr. Salomon is a victim? Of what? An embellishment? Prof. Lipstadt surely didn't make him a victim (although I think the man a fool for his veiled threats of litigation).

Mr. Salomon is a casulty of his own imprudence. And his imprudence was to disdain Prof. Lipstadt's innocuous notice.

Tracey said...

Having stumbled upon your blog via mention in an article I read regarding "Angel at the Fence", I'm fascinated by the blog. I've bookmarked it for future perusal.

However, regarding the topic, I am disheartened to realize that Roma and Herman would cast aside their own amazing, true stories for that of an over the top fabrication. Being someone who, I am sure, is part of the demographic Berkley Books targets, I would be very much interested in *those* stories.

It's such a shame, as now it seems even those valuable stories are lost to the lack of credibility caused by this whole fiasco.

Nachum said...

There's a series of books, aimed at the Orthodox community I think, called "Little Miracles." Sort of a "Chicken Soup" like series.

Their latest offering, "Little Miracles of the Holocaust," seems to me to be in incredible bad taste. It wasn't such a miracle for the six million who died, was it?

Abba-Dad said...

Nachum, I have no tread the book or verified any of the stories in it, but I am sure there are some miracles amongst the terrible devastation of what happened to the Jewish people in the Holocaust. It is a continuous miracle that Jews are still around today to tell these stories or live at all.

Deborah, this is a fascinating series of posts on the subject and I haven't read it all the way through yet. But I am not sure why so many people are surprised or appalled. Because an old couple tried to sell a book/movie as a true story? Because it makes it sound like living in the camps was easy? Because holocaust deniers have something to work with?

This is a one in six million occurrence. If people don't like it, don't buy the book and don't watch the movie. It's that simple.

Terrific blog, though. Just added it to my bloglines :-)