Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Claude Lanzmann, Abraham Bomba, Korea, Vietnam

I have been criticized by two readers for having published errors of fact. The first alleged error of fact is in The Confessions of a Holocaust Revisionist in the chapter titled 1986. This is the chapter I did on Abraham Bomba, the Barber of Treblinka. I quoted Bomba as saying that the gas chamber in which he worked cutting their hair from the heads of Jewish ladies scheduled to be murdered by the Germans that the size of the chamber was about 12 feet square. It a stupid story that American professors have let stand for decades because it sentimentalizes Jewish experience while it contributes to the unique monstrosity of the Germans, which is just how it is on the American campus.

My reader pointed out that Europeans do not speak in “feet” but in “meters,” which would make the chamber much larger and make Bombas story more rational. He had a point. I went to the chapter in Confessions of a Holocaust Revisionist where I had ridiculed Bomba’s testimony along with those who, like George Will do not ridicule it. There I found that I had quoted Bomba as he was quoted in Claude Lanzmann’s film “Shoah; An Oral History of the Holocaust.” Lanzmann is a European too, but he had used the term “feet.” So this wasn’t really an error of fact on my part.

You can read the full chapter I have on the stupid exchange between Claude Lanzmann and Abraham Bomba here:


The second charge of my having stated an error of fact is a different story. I did. In my latest little book, The Man Who Saw His Own Liver, I write about the day long ago in Korea where I, how should I put this, executed a Chinese soldier who had suffered a wound that blew off the top of his skull, exposed his brain to the light of day, and who was being used for the amusement of one of our guys who was poking a straw into the bloody organ. I wrote that I placed the muzzle of my M-16 to the temple of the Chinese and killed him. In my old age, when I wrote those lines, I had gotten my wars mixed up. In Vietnam it was the M-16. Although I was in Vietnam as a freelance journalist, and while there were two occasions when I was given an M-16 out of necessity, that was Vietnam. But in Korea we used the M-1, not the M-16. I stand corrected.


Eric Blair said...

The criticisms are a healthy sign. They show persons with critical faculties are closely reading what you've written - because it's important, it matters, whether
ultimately you erred - or didn't.

The Bomba piece, BTW, was important for a number of reasons. It showed that you didn't have to treat a Holocaust story told by a survivor as though it was holy writ.

Anonymous said...

The Bomba witness account from the film Shoah is really an amazing story. The "survivors" are the best Holocaust denials themselves. There is a thread (in swedish) currently 28 pages long that deals with the survivors testemonies only: http://www.nordisk.nu/showthread.php?t=34996

Anyone who wants to get in contact with revisionist in Sweden, please visit the english section at www.nordisk.nu

Bradley: Good work. I read the Codoh site every week. The library is very, very useful with articles about everything. Thank you very much for that.