Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Over the weekend, Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of Richard Williamson, a British bishop who denies that Jews were killed in Nazi gas chambers and has resisted the reforms of Vatican II. Click on this link to watch part of a disturbing interview with the bishop.
Jack Mandelbaum is a friend of mine. He's a Holocaust survivor and the co-founder of the MIdwest Center for Holocaust Education. Jack helped me with the arrangements for my trip to Poland in 2003 when I was working on the photographs for Among the Ashes. This morning his "letter to the editor" about Richard Williamson's views appeared in the Kansas City Star:
I must respond to Bishop Richard Williamson’s claim that not one Jew died in gas chambers (1/28, A8, 'The defense doesn’t rest; Vatican stresses pontiff’s record of denouncing the Holocaust'). He also claims there were no gas chambers. Oh, how I wish he was right.
I am the sole survivor of my immediate family. If his statement were correct, my mother, age 42, my sister, age 17, and my brother, age 10, would have died of natural causes in old age. Instead, their lives were smothered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Belzec. After suffering the horror of Stutthof concentration camp, my father was also murdered.
Denying the Holocaust was ruled to be a sin by Pope John Paul II. Bishop Williamson was excommunicated from the church by Pope John Paul II, yet now the Vatican is bringing him back into the fold. This is an outrage!
I’m 82 years old. I have difficulty accepting the fact that educated people would try to rewrite history in my lifetime. Can’t these revisionists at least wait until we survivors are dead to rewrite history?
The above photograph is one I took for Jack when I was photographing at Stutthof. It is a memorial stone he placed in the former gas chamber itself.