Forensic evidence needed

Preserving Auschwitz: Forensic evidence of the Holocaust is the best answer to the deniers.

from the Wall Street Journal editorial page


BY TIMOTHY RYBACK Wednesday, July 7, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT

Last month, Jarek Mensfelt, spokesman for the Auschwitz memorial site, announced plans to preserve the ruins of the gas chambers and crematoria in the notorious death camp at Birkenau near the Polish town of Oswiecim. […]

In the coming weeks, as the Auschwitz preservationists begin their work, they should be guided by the knowledge that these heaps of dynamited concrete and twisted steel are not only historic artifacts but among the few remnants of untainted, forensic evidence of the Holocaust.

Of course, the historical and circumstantial evidence of a premeditated Nazi plan to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe is overwhelming. There are the watch-tower-girded enclosures of Nazi concentration camps and the extensive testimonials of Holocaust survivors, as well as the court protocols of Nazi war criminals, but there is little forensic evidence proving homicidal intent. The Nazis were scrupulous when it came to obscuring the “Final Solution” in bureaucratic euphemism and also dismantling or obliterating their machinery of death. The dearth of hard evidence has fueled a growth industry in Holocaust-denial.


Mr. Ryback is author of “The Last Survivor: Legacies of Dachau.”