New-yorker 1293, Cole David

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

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.

Last-Modified: 1993/12/19