Scrapbookpages Blog

March 12, 2014

Abraham Bomba, one of the barbers at Treblinka…

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:20 am

Today, I got an e-mail from Bradley Smith, alerting me to a letter that he has sent to Sara Bloomfield, the Director the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.  His letter concerns Abraham Bomba, whom Bradley claims was a collaborator with the Germans, who ran the Treblinka death camp.

I think that Bradley is calling Abraham Bomba a “collaborator” because he helped the Germans at the Treblinka camp, by cutting the hair of the women before they were gassed.  According to the ex-post-facto law of “common design,” anyone who helped the Nazis, in any way, at the Nazi concentration camps, was guilty of a war crime. This law is still being used to put 90-year-old men on trial in Germany.

In my humble opinion, the ex-post-facto law of “common design” cannot be used to claim that the Jewish helpers in the camps were war criminals.

Abraham Bomba was one of the 40 prisoners, who escaped from the Treblinka extermination camp in 1943, and lived to tell about it. Bomba was a Jew who was born in 1913 in Germany, but was raised in Czestochowa, Poland.

Before he escaped from the Treblinka II camp, Bomba was a barber at the camp; his job was cutting the hair of the victims inside the gas chamber, just before they were gassed.

Abraham Bomba is one of the Jews whom revisionists love to make fun of, because his testimony about Treblinka is so  preposterous. For example, he claimed that there were 20 benches inside the gas chamber, where the women sat while the barbers cut their hair.

Bomba was one of the 1,000 Sonderkommando Jews, who lived in the barracks in a separate section of the Treblinka II camp and worked for the Germans who ran the camp. There were neither factories, nor living quarters, for the 713,555 Jews who arrived at the fake train station at the Treblinka camp in 1942.

A model of the fake train station at Treblinka

A model of the fake train station at Treblinka

According  to the official story of the Holocaust, the terms “arrivals” and “evacuated” were Nazi code words for extermination; the Jews who were sent to Treblinka and the other Operation Reinhard camps were immediately gassed, only hours after their arrival.

In 1990, Abraham Bomba told about his experience in the camp in a video-taped interview for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. You can see and hear part of his interview on the USHMM website at http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_oi.php?MediaId=1079

The  following quote is from the transcript of this interview:

“And now I want to tell you, I want to tell you about the thing…the gas chamber. It was, they ask me already about this thing. The gas chamber, how it looked. Very simple. Was all concrete. There was no window. There was nothing in it. Beside, on top of you, there was wires, and it looked like, you know, the water going to come out from it. Had two doors. Steel doors. From one side and from the other side. The people went in to the gas chamber from the one side. Like myself, I was in it, doing the job as a barber. When it was full the gas chamber–the size of it was…I would say 18 by 18, or 18 by 17, I didn’t measure that time, just a look like I would say I look here the room around, I wouldn’t say exactly how big it is. And they pushed in as many as they could. It was not allowed to have the people standing up with their hands down because there is not enough room, but when people raised their hand like that there was more room to each other. And on top of that they throw in kids, 2, 3, 4 years old kids, on top of them. And we came out. The whole thing it took I would say between five and seven minute. The door opened up, not from the side they went in but the side from the other side and from the other side the…the group…people working in Treblinka number 2, which their job was only about dead people. They took out the corpses. Some of them dead and some of them still alive. They dragged them to the ditches, and over there they covered them. Big ditches, and they covered them. That was the beginning of Treblinka.”

After each gassing, the Jewish workers at Treblinka had to clean up in preparation for the next batch of victims, according to Abraham Bomba. The clothing that had been taken off by the victims had to be removed and put into piles for sorting before being sent on the next empty transport train to Lublin. Everything was done with great efficiency in this assembly-line murder camp, and nothing was wasted. All of the clothes and valuables, taken from the Jews when they arrived at Treblinka, were sent to the Majdanek camp in a suburb of Lublin where everything was disinfected before being sent to Germany and given to civilians.

Apparently, some of the Jews on the trains to Treblinka were also sent to the Majdanek camp.  I previously blogged about Norman Finkelstein’s mother who was sent to Treblinka, and then transferred to Majdanek: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/jews-from-the-warsaw-ghetto-were-sent-to-the-treblinka-death-camp-except-for-norman-finkelsteins-parents/

The spot where trains stopped inside Treblinka camp

The spot where trains stopped inside Treblinka camp

My 1998 photo above shows a sculpture which is supposed to look like the train tracks that were extended inside the Treblinka camp.

In his 1990 interview at the USHMM, Bomba described what happened after the hair had been cut from the heads of the women.

Below is a quote from the transcript of Bomba’s interview:

“People went in through the gate. Now we know what the gate was, it was the way to the gas chamber and we have never see them again. That was the first hour we came in. After that, we, the people, 18 or 16 people…more people came in from the…working people, they worked already before, in the gas chamber, we had a order to clean up the place. Clean up the place–is not something you can take and clean. It was horrible. But in five, ten minutes this place had to look spotless. And it looked spotless. Like there was never nobody on the place, so the next transport when it comes in, they shouldn’t see what’s going on. We were cleaning up in the outside. Tell you what mean cleaning up: taking away all the clothes, to those places where the clothes were. Now, not only the clothes, all the papers, all the money, all the, the…whatever somebody had with him. And they had a lot of things with them. Pots and pans they had with them. Other things they had with them. We cleaned that up.”

According to the official history of the Holocaust, after his visit to Treblinka in February 1943, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler ordered that all the evidence of the killing of the Jews had to be destroyed. Beginning in March 1943, the bodies of approximately 750,000 victims were exhumed and burned on pyres; the ashes were then buried in the original pits, according to Raul Hilberg, who wrote a book on the Holocaust. Today, a symbolic cemetery is located where some of the ashes were buried. By May 1943, the daily transports had stopped and the Treblinka camp was getting ready to close.

During his trial, Kurt Franz, the last Commandant of Treblinka, testified that “After the uprising in August 1943, I ran the camp single handedly for a month; however, during that period no gassing was undertaken. It was during that period that the original camp was leveled off and lupines were planted.”

According to Bomba’s interview for the USHMM, there was a Jewish commandant at Treblinka, named Jalinski, or something that sounds like Jalinski.  I have been unable to find anyone by that name who was a Commandant at Treblinka.

This quote is from Bradley Smith’s letter to the director of the USHMM:

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. Bloomberg: 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?