Monday, July 24, 2006

Bradley Smith's selective citation of Abraham Bomba on Treblinka

Thanks to the Ugly Voice Productions videos, deniers are playing up the supposed 'absurdity' of the testimony by Treblinka survivor Abraham Bomba given to Claude Lanzmann in the documentary film Shoah. Bomba was one of the barbers at the camp, assigned to cut women's (but not men's) hair so that it could be recycled for the German war effort. Sergey has already debunked part of the video's claims by presenting hard documentary evidence of the use of human hair.

But there is a more fundamental point to be made about the 'revisionist' reading of Bomba's testimony: as you can probably guess, deniers have blatantly misrepresented it.

Chief bone of contention is the supposed 'absurdity' of having 16 barbers, benches and naked women inside a small gas chamber. Yet none of the deniers who have tried to make hay of this have cited this line from the film transcript:

We worked inside the gas chamber for about a week or ten days. After that they decided that we will cut their hair in the undressing barrack.


Do you find this acknowledged anywhere in the original article by Bradley Smith about Bomba? Of course not. That might be too honest for them.

So it seems that yet again, deniers have created a strawman for them to 'debunk' and play up. Bomba was deported from Czestochowa some time at the end of September 1942, and claims to have been picked out to work as a barber a month after arrival. The timing is also important, because it would seem that at the peak phase of Treblinka's activity, in August 1942, nobody was cutting hair. As the quote above proves, Bomba claimed that hair-cutting inside the gas chambers went on for only 7 to 10 days. The reasons are obvious: too little space, too much of a bottleneck, much more logical to carry out the shearing inside the undressing barracks. Indeed, all other testimonies and memoirs relating to the cutting of hair at Treblinka state that the barbers worked in the undressing barracks; for example, in the memoir of Richard Glazar, Trap With A Green Fence.

So,'revisionists'are busted once again engaging in quote mining and selective citation. Next time you come across a denier troll mouthing off about Bomba, do remind them of this.

Update: see this for more on Bomba.

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