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Ahmadinejad's Holocaust Library Card?

By Rusty Wright, Founder of Rusty Wright Communications
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JERUSALEM - Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the Holocaust is a "lie" based on a "mythical claim."

Recently in Jerusalem I visited a place I'd like him to see.

Yad Vashem, the mother of all Holocaust museums, overflows with evidence. Its library of over 115,000 titles in 54 languages aims "to collect all material published about the Holocaust, making it available to the reading public."

I'd like to get Mr. Ahmadinejad a Yad Vashem library card.

Ephraim Kaye, of Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies, says Allies amassed over 100,000 pages of documentation confirming the Holocaust. The Nuremberg war crime trials incorporated 5,000 of them. Dr. Susanna Kokkonen, Director of Christian Friends of Yad Vashem, maintains that anyone can research the evidence provided they don't intend to harm it.

And the evidence is massive.

Moving Evidence

Yad Vashem (Hebrew for "Name") displays moving testimony, diaries, documents, photos and artifacts to preserve the facts about this inhuman darkness. I found the artifact collection particularly intriguing. Each item carries its own story fraught with historical and emotional significance.

Sidonie Ascherova
's yellow star from the Sered Concentration Camp is included. Twice widowed, she hid with villagers in Slovakia but was apprehended, imprisoned, and forced to wear the yellow Star of David.

Aryeh Mühlrad's metal ID bracelet shows his number 85458 from the Plaszow Concentration Camp in Poland. The film, Schindler's List , featured Plaszow. Aryeh, his father and cousin endured forced labor and torture at Plaszow. His father died there.

Aryeh's guards at Mauthausen, another camp, enjoyed the "Death Game," forcing prisoners to carry large rocks until they died. At Gusen, standard daily rations were some soup and one small bread slice. He described the Allied liberation:

"Suddenly it was as though a ray of light had pierced our lost souls..We could already hear, albeit far away, the echoes of frequent allied bombardments..May arrived, bringing with it fragments of hope and light after years of darkness and despair..On May 5th, 1945, the first American soldiers appeared at the camp gates. For the first time after years of terror, we looked in wonder at these people who were neither criminals nor murderers. The sight of human beings who had no intention of killing or hurting us was strange and puzzling to us.."

Tattooed Forearm

In 1942, Nazis deported Meyer Hack, a Polish Jew, and his extended family to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the notorious death camp. Meyer's mother and sister were killed when they arrived. An SS member beat his brother to death.

While sorting deportees' clothing, Meyer occasionally salvaged valuables hidden in the lining. In 1945, he escaped into the forests during a death march and later settled in the US.

For six decades Meyer didn't discuss his Holocaust experiences. In June 2009, he visited Yad Vashem to donate the personal effects and valuables as a memorial to their murdered original owners. www.YadVashem.org has a photo of Meyer with his left sleeve rolled up. His tattooed number reads 73088.

Presenting the Case

Aware from youth about Holocaust horrors, I once felt some people seemed overly concerned that its memory might fade and the danger resurrect. But my attitude was naïve. Today too many - perhaps uninformed or blinded by prejudice - deny or demean it.

Holocaust denial is illegal in nations like Germany, Austria and Israel. While I can appreciate these nations' heartfelt zeal to prevent a recurrence, I generally would prefer to let the marketplace of ideas demonstrate the absurdity of claims countered by so much evidence.

An ancient Jewish prophet admonished, "Present your case.Set forth your arguments."

Any academic case for the Holocaust can draw on the wealth of data at Yad Vashem.

Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively.
 

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