Saturday, January 3, 2009

Apples Over the Fence: I've Had My Say and I am Done

I have decided that, barring any new major developments , I will not adding any additional posts about this saga. My previous posts and my opeds [here and here] express all I have to say.

York Publishers sounds like a vanity press. It's possible publication of a book based on a fictionalized movie -- that may itself not be made -- will probably gain no traction.

The lesson of this saga comes to us in the words of John Adams and Emmanuel Ringelblum, both of whom I have quoted previously.

These two men, though separated by continents and centuries, cautioned against the need to embellish the truth in any way. Both were referring to seminal events in history, one glorious and one horrible.

Regarding the depiction of America's moment of creation, Adams wrote:
Truth, nature, fact should be your sole guide. Let not our posterity be deluded by fictions under the pretence of poetical or graphical license.”
Regarding the horrible destruction being faced by Jews during the Holocaust, Ringelblum wrote:
We wanted the simplest most unadorned account possible of what happened in each shtetl and what happened to each Jew [and in this war each Jew is like a world in itself. Any superfluous word, any literary exaggeration grated and repelled.... It is unnecessary to add an extra sentence.
Or, as one anonymous Jew wrote in the margin of a questionnaire Ringelblum's group distributed in the Warsaw ghetto in order to document conditions:
That's the takeaway from this whole matter.

And now.... Enough.

* I am not, of course, referring to the serious historical work on Buchenwald and its sub-camps being conducted by various historians.

** Kassow, Sam,
Who Will Write Our History?


Viking said...

Dear Dr. Lipstadt:

In one of your blogs you state that there was no gas chamber at Terezin/Theresienstadt. But other sources do not agree, though one says it was not ever used:

Are these sources incorrect, and if so, ow do you think they managed to record such misinformation?

Lev Raphael

Deborah Lipstadt said...

Dear Lev:
There is a bit of a difference of opinion on this matter. A facility which could have been used for a gas chamber may have been ordered to be built in the final months of the camp's operation.

Others believe that was not the case.

All agree that if some such facility was indeed built it was never put into operation.

Thanks for asking for the clarification of this point.


hockey hound said...

Wasn't there at one point in this camp a scheduled inspection by the International Red Cross (who turned their backs on the Jews during the Holocaust anyway) when the Nazis made it look like everything was hunky-dory there for the Jews? Didn't they send "arranged" photographs of this camp and the inmates to make it look like the camp was an example humanitarianism?

Wouldn't the Red Cross have noticed the gas chambers? Or was this visit (if there was such a visit) by the IRC before the Nazis built the gas chambers?

Deborah Lipstadt said...

The Red Cross visited before these gas chambers were built... If they were indeed built.

Furthermore, the Red Cross was not there to inspect the buildings but to see the conditions of the people not the buildings. Even if the gas chambers had been there when the Red Cross came, is doubtful that they would have recognized gas chambers for what they were-- a large hermetically sealed building.

hockey hound said...

"the Red Cross was not there to inspect the buildings but to see the conditions of the people not the buildings."

I remember that they were there "to see the conditions of the people," Prof. Lispstadt, but wasn't it "arranged" by the Nazis that the inmates and their surroundings were to look like everything was "ok" so to garner the Red Cross's approval?

I looked up this morning where Martin Gilbert records that transports of Jews were sent from Theresienstadt to Rejowiec and the Warsaw Ghetto, and then from there to Sobibor and Treblinka where they were murdered.

If I remember correctly, the Red Cross refused to believe that the Jews of Europe were being systematically exterminated by the Nazis. I'm thinking (and have thought many times in the past) that because the Red Cross's obduracy in acknowledging the appearance of genocide (and thereby they were cozened by the Theresienstadt camp's deceptive appearance), they were not prepared to acknowledge the signs that would have indicated to their leadership that the Jews of Europe were at that point in history the victims of a systematic genocide constructed by Nazi Germany.

I also remember the Red Cross made a belated, public apology to the Jewish people many years after the Holocaust. I judged that apology to be worthless. Too little, too late.

hockey hound said...

"it is doubtful that they would have recognized gas chambers for what they were-- a large hermetically sealed building."

Good point, Prof. Lipstadt. They would not have perceived that such a building was for gassing Jews. I forget sometimes (yes, I am so far removed from that part of history) that such an horrific crime as an intended genocide of an entire people was not comprehended or believable by the non-Jewish world at that time.

Art Vandelay said...

Don't be too done. I just read that there are talks of publishing this book as a work of fiction. This work should just disappear.

Hapalochlaena said...

I don't have a problem with the book being published as a work of fiction; that's the category it should have been in, in the first place.

It interests me that the book announcement page on the York House Press site is now (or at least when I read it a week or two ago) blaming false memory for the whole debacle.

Kantian said...

I must agree with Deborah and the quote from John Adams. That is why I have a problem with the book Blood Done Sign My Name. The author Tim Tyson has lied about the facts and embellished it with lies. Here are the true facts.
And they are also making a movie based on this book.When will it stop?