May 27: No, Dr. Kollerstrom

How does he account for the testimonies of the Sondercommandos after the war - those that can be seen and heard in the documentary Shoah?

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
No, Dr. Kollerstrom... Sir, - Further to "Iranian Web site pushes Holocaust denial" (May 26): In an article called "Jewish Holocaust or German Holocaust? Auschwitz Gas Chambers Myth," Nicholas Kollerstrom wrote: "Not only is there no trace of Third Reich documentation for what is alleged, but no photographs exist showing anything resembling such a group-gassing procedure. Do you believe that Jews both male and female stripped then marched into the gas chambers, then were hauled out in piles? If so, are you willing to believe that neither the very-thorough Germans nor the clever Jews wanted or were able to get a single picture of this ultimate horror? Go to Google and search - you'll find rows of emaciated bodies, dead of typhus, will that do? I don't think so." After teaching about the Holocaust for more than 30 years and having read extensively on the subject, I cannot accept Dr. Kollerstrom's assertion in the least. How does he account for the testimonies of the Sondercommandos after the war - those that can be seen and heard in the documentary Shoah? PROF. YOEL NITZARIM Skokie, Illinois ...but let me explain Sir, - I'd be grateful if you could refrain from misquoting me as saying that the Holocaust did not happen. I was putting forward (on the program you quote) a chemical argument, that mass cyanide gassing of victims could not have happened at Auschwitz in the designated chambers, because they have not got the residual cyanide in their walls to warrant that. I was discussing the concordance between the chemical researches of Leuchter and German Rudolf (1988 and 1991). It's quite a limited conclusion I'm making, based on the permanence of the iron-cyanide in the walls. NICHOLAS KOLLERSTROM London Burning books Sir, - On May 20, during our first trip to Israel, which we love, we visited Vad Yashem, indisputably one of the most effective communication monuments in the world to teach us that we should not forget; in part, lest history repeat itself. My wife and I were especially struck by two quotes: "But a country is not just what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates" (by Kurt Tucholsky, Letter to Arnold Zweig, December 15, 1935); and "Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings" (Heinrich Heine, Almansor: A Tragedy, 1823). How poignant, then, to read in The Jerusalem Post, the very next morning, a report on the burning of New Testament books in Or Yehuda at the incitement of deputy Mayor Uzi Aharon. So far, this reflects badly only on Aharon and those who directly burned the books. If the leaders and people of Israel only stand by and do nothing against this kind of injustice, it will also reflect on them. When the promise of God is finally fulfilled that the nations will be blessed through the seed of Abraham - including blessed in justice and righteousness - this kind of persecution will not be allowed to stand ("Don't burn Bibles," Jerome M. Epstein, May 26). RON RAES Sarnia, Ontario Does Syria want peace? Sir, - The mistake with Oslo wasn't sitting down with Yasser Arafat, but continuing with the negotiations even though the other side was not fulfilling its obligations. The mistake with the Gaza pullout was withdrawing from a large area without receiving anything for it. And now Syria. It really makes no difference why a politician does what he does; the question is what it means for our own tiny country. What it boils down to is whether the enemy with whom we sit down really wants to try for peace, or not ("Barak: Peace with Israel not a priority for Damascus," May 26). MEIRA SCHWARTZ Jerusalem Sir, - No, giving away the Golan Heights is not "a mental problem" for all of us who remember what it was like prior to 1967, when the Golan was in Syria's hands ("Halutz: Golan a mental problem," May 25). Farmers and even tourists were shot at from above. Those families who lost their loved ones in first taking the Golan and then holding onto it, and the Israelis who live there today, surely do not want to see it given away. The Heights are part of our strategic defense. Look at the result of our giving away Gaza, what that is doing to our southern population. And our defense minister is continually threatening to retake Gaza, which will mean loved ones lost again, needlessly. That must never happen with the Golan. LILA BRODSKY Jerusalem Sir, - With all this talk about a peace deal with Syria, I assume the Syrians will want to show the Israeli public some confidence-building measures, such as agreeing to lease the land on the Golan for a good number of years in order to build trust between the two peoples? STEPHANIE TAYLOR Ginot Shomron Sir, - The Syrians lost all rights to the Golan when they used it to fire down on Israeli villages before 1967. If they want peace, fine. We should let them know there can be many benefits to peace with us. But they will need to be told clearly that the Golan stays with us, period. If, as a result, they don't want to talk, well that's fine too. We've had a very quiet border there for many years due to our presence and strength on the Golan. We don't need the Syrians, certainly not at the price of a fake peace they will break the moment we give them back the Golan. Enough of this foolish talk. LARRY BIGIO Zichron Ya'acov Emotional support Sir, - Imagine my surprise when I read Judy Siegel-Itzkovich's "Misery needs company" (May 25) describing Tishkofet and the need to offer emotional support to mourners and those facing death. Coincidentally, I had just initiated a support group for English speakers at the AACI called Adjusting to Spousal Loss. Many thanks to the Post for acquainting me with Tishkofet. THELMA BLUMBERG Psychologist Kiryat Arba Sir, - I'm writing to express my heartfelt support for Israel and her citizens. I pray God keeps you safe. Although I'm far from you in miles, you are close in my thoughts. I hope your leaders continue to do what's necessary to keep your citizens as secure as possible. Because the rest of the world lacks the fortitude to come to your aid, you again must, as you well should, defend yourself with the same vigor others would use to destroy you. May you find peace and comfort in knowing others care deeply for you. JOSEPH LANDROCK Lebanon, Indiana Grant's a winner Sir, - I watched as Avraham Grant was interviewed on TV after last week's fateful match in Moscow ("Avram Grant sacked by Chelsea," Sports, May 25). Despite being questioned, he would not say anything against his team captain who could, with one kick, have brought Grant fame instead of failure. Instead he spoke of the captain's wonderful leadership and work for his team over the past year. What nobility, what strength of character at a time that must have been devastating for the coach. He won't be out of work for long. But when I heard that there would probably be a job going soon in the Prime Ministers Office, I couldn't help dreaming of how this person would bring back quality to an office that has not seen it for a long time. ARNOLD RABINOWITZ Netanya