On November 2, 1996 Professor Rudolf Vrba sent this e-mail to Stephen Feinstein Professor of History University of Wisconsin
Dear Dr. Feinstein,
I read in H-Holocaust of Oct.31 your short message which contains some inaccuracies relevant to my person. I am not and never was a practising physician in Vancouver; however, I live in Vancouver since 1967 as Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1X4.
As far as the genesis of the Vrba-Wetzler Report is concerned, I published recently a study on the subject, cf. Rudolf Vrba, "Die missachtete Warnung, Betrachtungen über den Auschwitz Bericht 1944;" Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, Heft 1/1996, p.1-25.
In this connection I would like to remind you of the previous studies on this subject by J.S.Conway ("Frühe Augenzeugenberichte aus Auschwitz.Glaubwürdigkeit und Wirkungsgeschichte") published in Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, Heft 2 /1979,p 263-284; an English version of this article may be found in Simon Wiesenthal Center Annual, vol. 1,p 133-151 ("The First Report About Auschwitz").
Anybody who wishes to learn about Dora, The Nordhausen Camp and the real activities of Crimes against Humanity committed by the German experts in Rockets Development (von Braun et al) should read the truly masterly description of the German system as practiced at that time in Dora and left to the knowledge of future generation by Professor Charles Sadron.
Charles Sadron was born May 12th, 1902 and became Professor of Physics ( Faculte de Science de Strassbourg). He was arrested by the Gestapo on November 25th, 1943 in Clermont-Ferrand. By that time he was an internationally known expert in the field of rocketry. He was deported to Buchenwald in January 1944 ( as a member of the French Resistance, not for religious or "racial" reasons) and as he refused to join the team of von Braun as a research expert, he spent the time from February 1944 to April 1945 as a prisoner in Dora wearing the Buchenwald matriculation No.42013.
After evacuation of Dora he was liberated on May 3rd 1945 in the region Mecklenbourg and became again Professor of Physics at the University of Strasbourg.
He authored his memoires of Dora under the title "A L'USINE DE DORA" , published lately in " De l'Universite aux Camps de Concentration. Temoignages Strasbourgeois", Presses Universitaires de Strasbourg, 3e edition, Strasbourg 1989.pp 177-231.
In the same volume are also to be found the recollections of Dora by a former student of Medicine in Strasbourg, later Dr. P.-Andre Lobstein , born in 1923. He was in Dora from September 1944 until April 5, 1945 and worked as a medical orderly there, Buchenwald No. 31307.His memoirs of Dora: "Le BLOCK 39A DU REVIER DE DORA", ibid, pp.233-236.
Also Greff Eugene, born in 1920, formerly etudiant a l'Ecole superieure d'electricite (Strasbourg) published his memoirs from Dora, where he was prisoner No.40811 from 10th February 1944 and was liberated by the British on April 16th, 1945 ( "A ELLRICH, PRES DORA", ibid,pp.237-245).
The memoirs of Professor Charles Sadron have in my opinion a great merit not only as a historical document of immense value but also as a piece of excellect art and literature. It is high time to translate this work into other languages for those who cannot read French, particularly an English and German translation is highly desirable and long time overdue, particularly as it was written by a so called "non-Jewish" witness, survivor and an outstanding scientist.
From Dr.Rudolf Vrba Associate Professor Emeritus Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, 2176 Health Sciences Mall, Vancover, BC, Canada V6T 1X4 Fax: ( 604 )- 822-6012
Picture courtesy of Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)