Archive/File: pub/people/c/cole.david/new-yorker.1293 Last-Modified: 1993/12/19 Date: Sun, 19 Dec 93 10:40:22 CST From: Ted Frank
To: Ken McVay >From the Letters Section, 12/20/93 New Yorker, pp. 11-13. Timothy Ryback's article is an unfortunate example of how most newspapers and magazines, even respected magazines like The New Yorker, engage in an ugly kind of self-censorship when it comes to reporting the revisionist side of the Holocaust controversy. I am a Jewish Holocaust revisionist and documentary film producer. When Mr. Ryback quoted from the text of one of my documentaries, he wrote that, while touring Auschwitz, I "say" I discovered "a camp theatre," "a swimming poll with a diving board and starting blocks for races," and "delousing chambers, for maintaining camp hygiene." This gives the impression that I am making some sort of unsubstantiated claim. In truth, the existence of these buildings is not denied by *anyone*. David Cole Beverly Hills, Calif. I am a former prisoner of Auschwitz, No. 13390, and spent three and a half years there before escaping, on September 28, 1944. I would like to comment on David Cole's "revelations": The theatre he refers to was outside the perimeter of the Stammlager and was for the exclusive use of the S.S. The "swimming pool" referred to was a reservoir for water in case of fire; its walls were at a forty-five degree angle. It is true, though, that the S.S. had a diving board built and prisoners were commandeered-- I was among them--to dive from it, at which time the S.S. propaganda office took pictures. As far as I know, that incident happened only once. I am happy that you took the interest and time to publish your article. It is a pity that people here generally know so little about what took place half a century ago and many times care even less. Leonard T. Zawacki Ashland, Ore. In Mr. Ryback's excellent article, he refers to a Roper poll that indicated that one in three Americans believes it possible that the Holocaust never took place. As one who has had a longtime interest in the Holocaust, I believe that this statistic is misleading. The question that the Roper Organization asked the nine hundred and ninety-two adults it surveyed is phrased, "Does it seem possible or does it seem impossible to you that the Nazi extermination of the Jews never happened?" The question's structure makes it difficult to understand, especially when it is heard, not read. To indicate that the Holocaust happened, one must respond with a double negative: "It is impossible that the Nazi extermination of the Jews never happened." I thought the phrasing of the question might have affected the nature of the responses. Shortly after the Roper poll was released, I polled two hundred Chicagoans using standard polling methodology and asked, "Does it seem possible or does it seem impossible to you that the astronauts' landing on the moon never happened?" Thirty- one per cent of the Chicagoans thought it was possible that the astronauts had never landed on the moon! And 7.5 per cent were not sure. I attribute the large proportion of the skeptics to the awkward wording of the question. I also posed a more direct question about the Holocaust: "Do you believe that the Holocaust happened?" To those persons who indicated that they did not understand the term "Holocaust," I supplied a definition, referring to the mass killings as an alleged event. Eighty-nine per cent of the people I questioned responded yes, they believed that the Holocaust happened; seven per cent said they did not know if the Holocaust had happened, and 3.5 per cent said they did not believe that the Holocaust had happened. [...] Katherine Moschandreas Harvard Divinity School Cambridge, Mass.
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