Sara Bloomfield, Director
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW
Washington, DC 20024-2126
Main telephone: 202.488.0400
12 March 2014
On the Website of the USHMM there is a page titled Voices on Anti Semitism http://tinyurl.com/kukxuny There I find a podcast where you make a number of interesting, morally valuable observations. On the question of “The power of hate” you say: “I think our Museum presents the Holocaust in a way that challenges people to confront human nature-the entire spectrum, from extraordinary evil that led to the mass murder of Jews to the extraordinary goodness of people who risked their lives, risked the lives of their families to save another human being . . . .”
With regard to “confronting human nature”:
I believe you would acknowledge that you are aware of who Abraham Bomba was, that he is featured on your Website testifying on film to the fact that as a Sonderkommando he collaborated with Germans in the mass-murder of maybe a million Jews at Treblinka. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_oi.php?MediaId=1079
At the same time I find no suggestion at the USHMM that any effort has ever been made to confront the “human nature” of Mr. Bomba’s behavior. In fact, on your Website he is treated with respect as if he were merely a victim, even perhaps something of a hero.
The Bomba testimony on film that the Museum has chosen to display includes this text: “Mr. Bomba was chosen to cut women’s hair before these women were to be gassed.” At one place Bomba himself testifies:
“I knew them; I lived with them in my town. I lived with them in my street, and some of them were my close friends. And when they saw me, they started asking me, Abe this and Abe that- ‘What’s going to happen to us?’ What could you tell them? What could you tell? . . . Can you imagine that you have to cut their hair and not to tell them a word because you were not allowed? If you say a word that they going to…uh…be gassed in five or seven minutes later, there would be a panic over there and they (the barbers) would be killed too . . . ”
In short, Mr. Bomba testifies on film that he collaborated with Germans in the mass murder of Jews at Treblinka. The Museum exploits his testimony to raise money for the Museum. But there is no evidence anywhere on the Museum’s Website that anyone there has made any effort whatever to confront the “human nature” of Mr. Bomba. When a man confesses on film to collaborating with Germans in the extermination of thousands of Jewish children, do you not see something there, in the “human nature” of the man, that needs to be, if not confronted, at least addressed?
I may be mistaken, but one has the impression that you are being purposefully blind to the fact that Mr. Bomba’s collaboration with Germans in the mass-gassings of Jews represents what we have been encouraged to consider as a war crime for which Germans and others have been tried, convicted, and executed. Ms Bloomfield: do you not think it time that someone at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum confronts the “human nature” of such individuals as Abraham Bomba, their decisions to participate in the extermination of the Jews?
Why is it not time? What is it that is so very special about Abraham Bomba and his collaboration with Germans in the mass murder of Jews? To what purpose might his guilt be found acceptable, his testimony exploited, other than to raise funds for your Museum?
Looking forward to any thoughts you might want to share about the “human nature” of this particular collaborator, and the purpose of the Museum in collaborating with him.
Bradley R. Smith
Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust
PO Box 439016
San Ysidro, California 92143
CODOH is copying this information to the USHMM and all similar centers and museums across the country. We are sending it to press, academics and student organizations nationwide. We are not waiting for individuals to come to our Website, but are reaching out to large audiences. This involves considerable expense. We do not dream of matching the yearly budget of the USHMM, which is some 50-million dollars, but we do need help. Your support is essential to this work. Thank you.