I am a great admirer of the writing of Joseph Bellinger. I have just finished reading his article entitled The Amazing Claims of Miklos Nyiszli which you can read in full here. As I read through the article, I noticed some quotes from Dr. Nyiszli’s book, Auschwitz A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account, which I do not recall reading. I have the “First Arcade Paperback Edition” published in 1993. I got out my copy of the book and noticed that some changes had been made in the 1993 edition, which leaves out some of the original wording in the 1961 edition critiqued by Bellinger.
This quote is from Joseph Bellinger’s article:
…Bettelheim chooses to remain haunted. Thus, the examination of Nyiszli’s claims are deferred to the realm of the mystical and unexplained phenomena within the universe, and the author speaks with due reverence and piety of that which he fails to explain or examine with reason. Clearly, for Bettelheim, unquestioning belief in Nyiszli’s book is an item of faith.
Yet, paradoxically, Bettelheim also writes:
“In its clues to an answer lies the importance of this book. It is an unbelievable story, but we all know it is true. We wish to forget it. It just does not fit into our system of value and thought. And rather than to reshape them, we wish to dismiss the story of the German extermination camps. If we could, we would prefer to think it never happened.”
If we replace the plural “we” with “I” and “our” with “my” we will be faced with the real essence of Bettelheim’s thought process, which he chose to suppress entirely, rather than face the ultimate consequences of what his own reason sought to impose upon his offended intellect.
In the 1993 edition which I have, the FORWARD, written by Bruno Bettelheim, does not include the paragraph which Bellinger quoted. The FORWARD ends with this paragraph:
This book then is most of all a cautionary tale, as old as mankind. Those who seek to protect the body at all cost die many times over. Those who risk the body to survive as men have a good chance to live on.
The 1993 edition of Dr. Nyiszli’s book has an INTRODUCTION written by Richard Seaver.
This quote is from Richard Seaver’s Introduction:
…in 1944 German authorities destroyed the transport lists of all Jews who had been sent to Auschwitz up to that point, and in the succeeding months ordered the destruction of all other incriminating documents. Later, as the Russian armies drew near Auschwitz early in 1945, other evidence was either burned or transferred to camps further west.
Why was it necessary for the “German authorities” to destroy the transport lists of all Jews who had been sent to Auschwitz? Because those clever “German authorities” knew that the Jews, who were gassed immediately after they arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau, had not been registered in the camp, so the only way to know how many Jews were gassed would be to look at the transport list. By subtracting the number of prisoners, who were transported to Auschwitz and were then transferred to another camp, and the number of survivors from the number of Jews transported, the remaining number would be the total number of prisoners who were gassed. By destroying the transport lists, the “German authorities” made it impossible to know the exact number of Jews who were gassed, and the Russian liberators of the camp could give an estimate as high as 4 million deaths if they were so inclined.
Getting back to Joseph Bellinger’s article, here is another quote from what he wrote:
… it does not take Nysizli long before he offends the intellect of the reader by writing on page 23
I got only as far as page 16 before I became suspicious that Dr. Nysizli had never seen Auschwitz-Birkenau. This quote is from page 16:
Concrete pylons stretched in even rows to the horizon, with barbed wire strung between them from top to bottom. Signs warned that the wires were electrically charged with high tension current. Inside the enormous squares bounded by the pylons stood hundreds of barracks covered with green tar-paper and arranged to form a long, rectangular network of streets as far as the eye could see.
Most of the wooden barracks at Auschwitz-Birkenau are gone now, but the few that are left are not covered with tar paper. I lived in a poor neighborhood as a child, and I saw many tar-paper shacks, but never any covered with GREEN tar-paper. The photos below show the wooden barracks that are still standing.
The wooden barracks shown in the photos might be reconstructed barrack buildings, but if they are, why were these buildings not reconstructed authentically with the green tar-paper covering? Did they run out of green tar-paper in Poland? The barracks in the American internment camps for Japanese Americans were covered with black tar-paper. They could have stripped some of that tar-paper off and used it instead of reconstructing barracks with no tar-paper.
Joseph Bellinger quoted from the DECLARATION written by Dr. Nyiszli at the beginning of the book. In the 1993 edition of the book, there is an additional paragraph in the Declaration which I will quote here:
In writing this work I am not aiming for any literary success. When I lived through these horrors, which were beyond all imagining, I was not a writer but a doctor. Today, in telling them, I write not as a reporter, but as a doctor.
Sounds like he’s covering his tracks for any mistakes that he might have made, and in my opinion, he made many mistakes. I previously wrote a blog post about Dr. Nyiszli which you can read here.