One Survivor’s Testimony
by William Samelson, Ph.D.
Visiting Professor, Trinity University
The Holocaust is an irrefutable fact. As a survivor of several labor and concentration camps, and as one whose entire family, save my elder brother, was murdered by Nazi thugs, I sincerely wish it had not occurred. It is also irrefutable that I am still here—a reminder of those barbaric acts perpetrated not so long ago on the European Jews by an ostensibly civilized German nation. Law-abiding, ordinary citizens of the Third Reich turned fanatical; implementing their beloved Führer’s agenda of murder and destruction. They became killers for him and we became the survivors of his madness. We were not expected to remain alive and give testimony to their crimes against humanity. Alas, it cannot be denied that I survived this disaster; the most horrendous calamity of the twentieth century. I am here, alive. I represent the tragic truth. It is my belief that I was spared for this purpose. It is now my moral responsibility to bear witness for as long as I shall live, for I am the truth and will not be silenced by lies. To deny the truth, the awful facts of the Holocaust, is simply to lie.
The evidence, of course, is overwhelming. The countless photographs (most of them taken by Nazi SS and military personnel), testimonies of survivors, and Allied liberators as well as from Nazi documentation media and their war-time propaganda films all prove that this mass Judeocide took place. Yet, there are a number of people that claim it was all nothing more than a hoax. These deniers call themselves “revisionist historians.” Their express purpose is to alter documented historical fact. In the process, they turn scholarship into mockery, transforming truth into a make-believe fantasy spawned from unmitigated cynicism. They use the resulting misinformation to spread their anti-Jewish beliefs to the general public. Moreover, their theories, derived from blatant fabrication of data, misquotations, and quotations used out of context, are presented under the deceptive mask of scholarship and are made available to the world by way of the Internet, radio, and television. Although only relatively few fringe groups, propagandists, and pseudo-scholars embrace Holocaust denial, their activity is increasing and the potential for their influence to grow is evident. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all Holocaust survivors, historians, and those sincere chroniclers of the Holocaust to inform the world of the truth before the peoples around the world potentially fall prey, over time, to collective amnesia and adopt a romantic mythical view of the past events.