TO JEWISH PAPER FOR CORRECTION
New York--What bothers Michael Preisler most
these days is "the careless way Holocaust history is treated and the
misinformation the American public is given."
As a Polish Catholic who survived more than three
years of German brutality in Auschwitz, he has a personal and
special memory of what really took place there. Not only did he
survive Auschwitz, he also survived the "death march" out of the
camp just days before it was liberated in January, 1945.
Preisler is currently co-chairman of the
Holocaust Documentation Committee of the Polish American Congress.
One of the activities consuming so much of his committee's time is
the correction of inaccurate statements the media repeatedly make
about Poland and the Polish people. One of the worst it ever came
across was early last year when a newspaper on New York's Long
Island, The Jewish World, misquoted an article which
originally appeared in a British publication.
The British writer reported that most of Hitler's
SS guards escaped prosecution for the crimes they committed at
Auschwitz. Only a small number of German guards was ever brought to
justice and when they were eventually put on trial, it was the Poles
who prosecuted these Germans. The Jewish World, however,
misrepresented the British article and made it seem the SS guards
finally prosecuted were not German, but Polish.
As unbelievable and ridiculous as the
misstatement is, the Holocaust Documentation Committee felt The
Jewish World should print a correction. The Committee's Director
of Research, Charles Chotkowski, routinely contacts publications who
may have published an inaccurate statement and gets them to issue a
retraction. And this is what he requested from The Jewish World.
Unfortunately, The Jewish World would not
respond to Chotkowski's request nor to any of his subsequent
attempts to contact the editor. But Michael Preisler was of the
opinion an Auschwitz survivor like him should be able to persuade
The Jewish World how wrong it was to mislead its readers into
believing the SS guards prosecuted for their atrocities in Auschwitz
were mostly Polish instead of German.
He sent the following letter to The Jewish World:
"I am writing to you as a Polish Catholic
survivor of Auschwitz and also as Co-Chair of the Holocaust
Documentation Committee of the Polish American Congress.
After The Jewish World published a
defamatory misrepresentation of the Poles in Auschwitz in the
January 21-27 edition, our Director of Research wrote to you and
made several attempts to speak with you about printing a retraction
of your erroneous report. Despite the fact this misrepresentation
was an insidious libel of everyone like me who was a prisoner of
Hitler's SS in Auschwitz, The Jewish World did not even give
our Director the courtesy of an answer.
The matter at issue is an article you published
by David Horovitz, "Our Own Worst Enemies." Mr. Horovitz made
reference to another article by Laurence Rees which previously
appeared in the UK Guardian. In it, Mr. Rees noted, "Of the
6500 members of the SS who worked at Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945
and are thought to have survived the war, only about 750 were
prosecuted, the vast majority by the Poles."
Mr. Rees clearly stated that it was the Poles who
conducted most of the prosecutions against the Nazi guards. But in
The Jewish World, Mr. Horovitz twists these words and
reverses everything by declaring, "Of the 6500 SS members … just 750
were ever put on trial, and most of them were Poles."
Having suffered at the hands of the German SS in
Auschwitz, it is understandable why we Poles would seek justice and
prosecute those who made us their victims. But you do a great
injustice to us and to your readers when you wrongfully misstate the
facts and say we were the ones who had been prosecuted for being the
SS guards. There were no Polish SS guards in Auschwitz.
For many years, I have personally appeared before
various groups and lectured about the Polish and the Christian
experience during the Holocaust.
Because of the existence of so many Holocaust
deniers, it is essential that those of us who speak or write about
this tragic period of history make truth and accuracy our most
important objective. We cannot allow any of these deniers to claim
that Holocaust testimony is given by liars.
I hope you can realize how much aid and comfort
you give the deniers when you permit such Holocaust dishonesty on
your pages. In face of our committee's appeal for you to publish a
correction, you have been unresponsive and seem to be willing to let
this falsehood remain and mislead your readers in the direction of
an unjustified anti-Polish prejudice.
I have advised my committee to persist in
obtaining the truth from you, even at this late date. And I am quite
sure there are many in the Jewish community who are just as
concerned about Holocaust dishonesty as we are and would join us in
demanding that The Jewish World not promote it.
Please let me know when the correction will be
appearing in your newspaper.
Michael Preisler, Co-Chairman
Auschwitz No. 22213
P.S. I am including a photo the Germans took of
me when they put me in Auschwitz.