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Alan Dershowitz   Letter 04   16-Jul-1999   Crackpot Holocaust deniers
"Buchanan, as usual, had his facts wrong.  The Jews of Treblinka were murdered by various methods of gassing, including the use of exhaust fuels and Zyklon B.  Buchanan's 'facts' about the Holocaust typically come from crackpot Holocaust deniers." Alan Dershowitz

July 16, 1999

Alan M. Dershowitz
Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law
520 Hauser Hall
Harvard Law School
1575 Massachusetts Avenue
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA   02138
USA

Alan Dershowitz:


Yitzhak Arad testifies that the Treblinka gas chambers employed only diesel exhaust:

You have been a frequent commentator on the Demjanjuk trial in Jerusalem, and even report having attended sessions of the trial.  Thus, you may be aware that the first prosecution witness to testify against John Demjanjuk was Yitzhak Arad, and that at the time of his testimony, Yitzhak Arad was one of the world's leading authorities on the Holocaust, having headed Israel's Yad Vashem for the previous 15 years, and was also one of the world's leading authorities on Treblinka, having just authored the book, "Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka" which came out in 1987, the same year as his testimony.

In his courtroom testimony, Yitzhak Arad in several places portrays the only method of mass murder at Treblinka as gas chambers fed by the exhaust of diesel engines.  Here is one such portrayal:

JUDGE LEVIN:  Were the new gas chambers operated according to the same method?

YITZHAK ARAD:  Yes, it is the motor which gives off carbon monoxide gases.
Demjanjuk trial transcript, Morning Session, 17Feb87, p. 266.

Yitzhak Arad offers no testimony whatever that Zyklon B was employed in the gas chambers of Treblinka.

The same conclusion arises from reading Arad's description of the Treblinka gas chambers in his book:

The gas chambers were located inside the extermination area, in a massive brick building.  During the camp's first months of operation, there were three gas chambers, each 4 X 4 meters and 2.6 meters high, similar to the first gas chambers constructed in Sobibor.  A room attached to the building contained a diesel engine, which introduced the poisonous carbon monoxide gas through pipes into the chambers, and a generator, which supplied electricity to the entire camp.
Yitzhak Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1987, first reprinted in paperback in 1999, pp. 41-42.

Further confirmation that this is Yitzhak Arad's view comes from noting that he claims that engine exhaust was used in the gas chambers at Belzec, and that the Belzec methodology was copied "in the other two camps," namely in Sobibor and Treblinka:

Before coming to Belzec, Wirth became acquainted with the gas vans in operation in Chelmno and in the eastern occupied territories of the Soviet Union and learned their advantages and disadvantages.  This experience in euthanasia, where permanent gas chambers had existed, and with the gas vans inspired his solution.  He decided to combine in Belzec the permanent gas chamber with the internal combustion engine as gas supplier.  (p. 24)
Wirth preferred to set up a self-contained extermination system, based on an ordinary car engine and easily available gasoline and not dependent on supply by outside factors.  (p. 25)
The new gas chambers that had been built in Belzec in June/July 1942 served as a model in the other two camps.  (p. 119)
Yitzhak Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1987, first reprinted in paperback in 1999.


You, however, claim that the Treblinka gas chambers also employed Zyklon B:

Buchanan, as usual, had his facts wrong.  The Jews of Treblinka were murdered by various methods of gassing, including the use of exhaust fuels and Zyklon B.  Buchanan's "facts" about the Holocaust typically come from crackpot Holocaust deniers.
Alan M. Dershowitz, Chutzpah, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, Toronto, and London, 1991, footnote 37, p. 361


What were the still other methods?

If you had believed that two methods of gassing had been employed at Treblinka, I would have expected you to say "two methods of gassing, namely exhaust and Zyklon B."  However, you do not say this.  You say, instead, "various methods of gassing, including ... exhaust ... and Zyklon B."  Thus, your wording implies that you know of more than two methods.  Would you be able to confirm if you did intend to allude to more than two methods of gassing at Treblinka, and if so, then what the other methods were?

What are your sources?

As your assertion that Zyklon B was employed in the Treblinka gas chambers clashes with the sworn testimony, and with the writing, of one of the world's leading authorities on the Holocaust, and on Treblinka, it would be interesting to know what sources you relied on.



Lubomyr Prytulak


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