Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Holocaust deniers are "Murderers of Memory"

Timothy Ryback, author of the book "The Last Survivor: Legacies of Dachau", has written a compelling essay (Wall Street Journal online edition) on the very real possibility that rock solid evidence of The Shoah, commonly known as the Holocaust, may one day cease to exist.

Reasonable people everywhere might surmise that "this couldn't really happen, could it?"

Time has a way of erasing all remnants of people, places and things: it does not discriminate. The threat to historical sites such as Auschwitz and its' physical connections to the atrocities committed there is very real: for this the deniers lay in wait and, if historical ambivalence prevails, will be the inevitable fate of of that which the world cannot afford to forget ...

Preserving Auschwitz: Forensic evidence of the Holocaust is the best answer to the deniers.

"Last month, Jarek Mensfelt, spokesman for the Auschwitz memorial site, announced plans to preserve the ruins of the gas chambers and crematoria in the notorious death camp at Birkenau near the Polish town of Oswiecim. "This is an attempt to keep it as it is now--in ruins--but not let the ruins go," he said. "It was meant to be here forever as a warning."

In the coming weeks, as the Auschwitz preservationists begin their work, they should be guided by the knowledge that these heaps of dynamited concrete and twisted steel are not only historic artifacts but among the few remnants of untainted, forensic evidence of the Holocaust.

Of course, the historical and circumstantial evidence of a premeditated Nazi plan to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe is overwhelming. There are the watch-tower-girded enclosures of Nazi concentration camps and the extensive testimonials of Holocaust survivors, as well as the court protocols of Nazi war criminals, but there is little forensic evidence proving homicidal intent. The Nazis were scrupulous when it came to obscuring the "Final Solution" in bureaucratic euphemism and also dismantling or obliterating their machinery of death. The dearth of hard evidence has fueled a growth industry in Holocaust-denial.

The revisionists' plaint is simple: They demand a proverbial "smoking gun" to prove that the Nazis deliberately and systematically designed an industrial system of extermination. They do not deny that millions of European Jews died from malnutrition, exhaustion and disease. They do not even deny that Zyklon B gas was employed at Auschwitz, but they claim it was used for delousing rather than homicidal purposes. One French critic has denounced them as "assassins de la memoire"--murderers of memory.

Never Forget.

No comments: