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A Holocaust survivor confronts a denier

Date: 2018-Feb-10           Author: Others

Arthur Jones is the only candidate running in the Republican primary for Illinois' third Congressional district. He also professes to being a Holocaust denier - someone who claims that the Holocaust did not actually take place.

And he's a former leader of the American Nazi Party - which preaches racial supremacy.

It's a common practice for white supremacists to run for political office as a way to get attention for their cause, an expert on extremism for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) told the New York Times.

Upon learning about Jones' denial of the Holocaust, a 91-year-old survivor of five Nazi labor and concentration camps during his teens and an outspoken advocate of mandating that the Holocaust be taught in every U.S. school (currently fewer than 10 states require it), decided to respond directly to Jones.

This is the letter that Holocaust survivor Alter Wiener wrote to him...

Dear Arthur Jones,

I have  read the above article in the New York Times. I have been a subscriber of this newspaper for sixty years, because I believe in its reliability.

Since you are publicly known as a Holocaust Denier, I feel a moral obligation to respond and make you briefly aware of my experience during the Holocaust.  

On September 11, 1939, my father was shot by German soldiers. He was left to bleed to death. His corpse was thrown into a pit, together with 36 other victims. I became an orphan at the age of 13. I could no longer go to school; I was subjected to deprivation, persecution, helplessness, and hopelessness. 

In 1941, my older brother was deported to forced labor camps, and in June 1942, I was deported to a forced labor camp, Blechhammer. On February 18, 1943, my stepmother and her nine-year-old son were deported to Auschwitz, where they perished, as did 123 of my relatives.

I was incarcerated for 35 months in five camps, in Germany, near Breslau (Wroclaw).  Today, that area belongs to Poland (the Polish name is in parentheses).

o June 1942 - October 1942: Forced Labor Camp, Blechammer (Blachownia Slaska). 
o October 1942 - December 1942: Forced Labor Camp, Brande (Prady)
o December 1942 - February 1944: Forced Labor Camp, Gross-Masselwiz (Dzielnica Maslice Wielke)
o February 1944 -  September 1944: Forced Labor Camp,  Klettendorf (Klecina)
o September 1944 - May 9, 1945: Concentration Camp, Waldenburg (Walbrzych)

I was liberated on May 9, 1945, by the Russian Army. I weighed 80 pounds. These details are substantiated in my autobiography, From a Name to a Number.

I have been receiving reparations, called Wiedergutmahung, from the German government for my afflictions during the Holocaust, based on my inmate file number 64735 located in the German Holocaust archives  in Bad Arolsen, Germany.

Bad Arolsen contains 30 million documents on survivors of Nazi camps, Gestapo prisons, forced laborers and displaced persons. The archives contain 50 million pages, housed in thousands of filing cabinets in six buildings. Overall, there are 16 miles of shelves holding information about the victims of the Nazis.

You may still have doubts about the veracity of my personal Holocaust experience,. So, here is some indisputable evidence that the Holocaust is not a hoax or a myth.

o Auschwitz: 1.3 million people were murdered there, including 960,000 of the Jewish faith, as recorded by Polish historians. 

o The Tehran Conference: Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin met in Tehran Nov. 28 - Dec. 1, 1943 to discuss, among other topics, the ongoing slaughter of the Jews during the Holocaust.

o The Nuremberg trials (November1945 - October 1946): Established by Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States to try Nazi leaders for war crimes committed during the Holocaust.

o Holocaust Museums: I am sure that the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. will welcome you. Israel would be pleased if you come to visit the Yad Veshem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.

I am not expecting you to have empathy for me, but it would be nice if you do have some sympathy for me. I am not the same as you by faith but I am a member of the human race.

I am taking the liberty to ask you two questions:

I have given you all the facts that there has indeed been a Holocaust. What is your basis for denying the Holocaust? No other event in history has been so well documented as World War 2 and the Holocaust. I am still carrying my physical and emotional scars. Do you realize how much pain Holocaust deniers are causing to Holocaust survivors!

You are hating Jews and non-whites. Knowledgeable people like historians agree that hatred is intrinsically self destructive. How immune are you? Hating people because they don't look like you or worship differently is cancerous; it metastasizes.

During the Holocaust every Jew was a victim, but not every victim was a Jew.

Be well. You will have a meaningful life when you start loving all God's children, including me - a Jew, a Holocaust survivor. Then you might be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sincerely,
Alter Wiener, Holocaust survivor

Alter Wiener is a Holocaust survivor living in the Portland, Oregon area. His autobiography, From a Name to a Number, was published in 2007. He has no financial interest in the book, and it is available from major booksellers as well as in public libraries.

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