Unless correspondents ask us not to, this Website will post selected letters that it receives and invite open debate.
writes from Warsaw, Poland, July 17, 2000
In Defence of Jan Karski
With reference to Mr Lloyd's letter concerning the late Jan Karski.
IT MUST be quite clear to anyone that in 1944 the war was still on and information in Jan Karski's book had to be changed for security reasons, it has been accepted that he did not wear an Estonian uniform for example. Furthermore given the conditions at the time and the fact that Karski may well have come close to having a nervous breakdown on entering the camp, he could have got some details wrong. As far as I am aware there are no claims that Karski entered the death camp.
Karski described a transit camp which is obviously not Belzec, the camp he saw may have been at Izbica some 60km or so to the north. A forced labour camp existed at Belzec then on the border between Nazi occupied Poland from late 1939, the death camp was built close by in the spring of 1942.
As far as Mr O'Keefe's comments are concerned, he clearly has no knowledge of the situation in Poland. Karski quite accurately described the behaviour of many Polish Catholics towards Jews, which unfortunately still have not disappeared. As for Belzec not being a death camp, this is in stark contrast to the many eye witnesses who are still alive and still live nearby. A visit to the camp where bone fragments still litter the terrain might help him to change his mind.
Mr Heath is the publisher of an English language business magazine in Poland and an amateur historian.
Website comment: THE Jewish Holocaust Website Nizkor has posted only three parts of the Treganza Report on Belzec (1998) (at http://www.nizkor.org/ftp.cgi/t/camps/aktion.reinhard/belzec/Archeological_Report.) This indicates a number of graves (some large); apparently the Germans forgot to dig up bodies and burn them in many cases. The report does not identity the researchers or their methodology. We wonder why Nizkor did not post the entire report. Treganza himself is a disputed historian, and the experts in the Lipstadt trial were swift to dissociate themselves from him.