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Escaping Auschwitz: Sixty years later

Vierteljahreshefte fuer Zeitgeschichte, Vol. 53, no. 3, 2005, pp. 461-472.

John S.Conway

University of British Columbia
Vancouver, B.C., Canada

         Twenty-five years ago an article in this journal (1) described  the testimony of two men, Alfred Wetzler and Rudolf Vrba, who had succeeded in escaping from the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in April 1944.  A few days later they managed to cross the border to their
homeland, Slovakia, and quickly contacted representatives of the Jewish Council. Their dramatic feat was made all the significant by the momentous information they brought with them, comprising details of the topography of the camp and its annihilation facilities, as well as of the mass murder
procedures in Auschwitz and Birkenau, the record of numerous transports arriving from countries all over German-held Europe, and an overall estimate of the total number of Jews murdered in the gas chambers during the previous two years.  It is now widely accepted that the detailed information these men brought with them, and later reported to the Slovak Jewish Council,  was remarkably accurate.  This report was to become known in the historiography of the Holocaust as the "Vrba-Wetzler Report" or the" Auschwitz Protocols".   This eye-witness account, Vrba and Wetzler insisted at the time, should be shared at once with the Jews of Hungary, since preparations were being actively made in the camp for the mass murder of these latest victims of Nazi antisemitic aggression.
         Unfortunately this information never reached those for whom it was intended. The reasons for the suppression of this vital eye-witness report were explored in a further article published in this journal in 1984 (2), which placed this event in the wider context of the German occupation of
Hungary in March 1944 and the subsequent moves to rapidly deport the majority of Hungarian Jews to their deaths in Auschwitz.
         Some years later, in 1996,  Dr Rudolf Vrba himself contributed his own account of the origins of the Vrba-Wetzler Report, and explained why, in his view, his warnings had not reached the victims in time (3)  Between May 15th and July 7th 1944, approximately 437,000 Jewish
men, women and children, loaded into 120 trains, were deported from Hungary to Auschwitz where they met their fate without any warning that "resettlement" meant death.  He laid the blame on the group of leaders in the Slovakian and Hungarian Jewish Councils.  His criticisms, however,
prompted a vigorous response from a leading Israeli historian, Professor Yehuda Bauer, whose comments were printed in the next volume of this journal (4).   Bauer suggested that the Auschwitz Report arrived in Hungary too late to have any impact, and that, even if the information had been
widely distributed, nothing could have been done to alter the Nazis' plans.
         This whole chapter of the Holocaust, and how it has been remembered, has now been raised again in a new book in English by the Israeli scholar, Ruth Linn (5).  She traces the steps by which Vrba and Wetzler were able to make their successful escape from Auschwitz, and the
subsequent fate of the vital information they brought with them.  But she goes beyond this narrative to examine the way in which these events have been remembered, particularly in the writings of Israeli historians. Her well-argued  account of this debate is certain not only to cause
controversy in Israel and elsewhere, but will also be of wider value as a significant contribution to the study of the politics of memory.
         In fact, this short but incisive study moves the dispute beyond the original details of how Vrba and Wetzler escaped from Auschwitz, and the impact of their Report, to a new level of controversy about the tactics and behaviour of the Israeli historians and some other commentators who have made use of this material in their efforts to bolster their interpretation of the Holocaust.  Ruth Linn,  who is currently Dean of the Faculty of Education at Haifa University, now challenges what has been regarded as the "establishment" view of Israeli historians for the past fifty years.  In this endeavour she follows the path first set by Dr Hannah Arendt, whose book Eichmann in Jerusalem (6) in 1963 attacked what she considered to be the "unmastered past" of the leading Jewish functionaries in Europe during the Holocaust.  In Dr Linn's view, the same significance
has to be attached to Dr Rudolf Vrba's autobiographical memoirs about his time as a prisoner in Auschwitz, also written shortly after the Eichmann trial and published in England in 1963 (7). Dr Linn notes, in her first chapter, the connection between Arendt and Vrba, both of whom had raised
serious ethical questions about the role of the Jewish leaders, and both of whose writings were then suppressed, or at least withheld, in subsequent years from the Hebrew-speaking audience.  This same connection is again stressed in Part III of Linn's book, entitled Between History and Memory, and in Part IV Between Banality and Politics: Vrba and Arendt Restaged.  Her object is to show that both authors, and she herself, have sought, though so far with only limited success, to question the prevailing Israeli historiographical interpretations of the Holocaust.
         Dr Linn's overall objective is to cast doubt on the hegemonic narrative of the persecution of the Jewish people in Europe, particularly in Hungary, which for so long has been virtually the only interpretation offered to the majority of Israeli citizens. The "established" Israeli historians' selection as to what accounts of the Holocaust should or should not be translated into Hebrew directly affected how the Israeli public understood the facts.  For example, she notes, the refusal to translate such works as Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem or Raul Hilberg's monumental and authoritative study The Destruction of European Jewry (8), or Vrba's own memoir, can be seen as a deliberate measure to control the Israeli public's awareness of the full complexities of the
Holocaust. Although Dr Linn was born and educated in Israel, she had never heard of Vrba's role in revealing the secrets of Auschwitz and of the"resettlement" of the Jews sent there.  Despite the centrality of Holocaust remembrance in Israel's national consciousness, she only learnt about this
escape while viewing Claude Lanzmann's film Shoah at some point in the late 1980s.   Ten years later, however, she had an opportunity to meet Vrba personally and to read his book I cannot forgive.   This made her all the more curious as to why, fifty years after the Holocaust, the unique actions and memories of these Auschwitz escapees had remained completely unfamiliar
to the average Hebrew reader.
         It was only when she realized that the silence about Vrba's life and writings was no accident that her curiosity turned to dismay and then to indignation.  She made it her mission to break this silence by encouraging the publication of  a Hebrew version of Vrba's autobiographical memoir, thirty-five years after it first appeared in English. She also urged Haifa University to grant him an honorary degree "in recognition of his heroism and daring in exposing, during the war itself, the horrors of Auschwitz, which action led to the saving of Jewish lives; and in profound appreciation of his educational contribution and devotion to spreading knowledge about the Holocaust". (9)  She notes that these endeavours were opposed by Israeli scholars.  But with this short book, she now  reaches out to a wider international audience, while at the same time seeking to restore Vrba's name by probing the mystery of his disappearance not only from Auschwitz but from the Israeli textbooks and the Israeli Holocaust narrative.
         This is not, as she states, a balanced account.  But she has well analysed the substantial body of published literature in English, and noted the absence of translations of some key works into Hebrew.  Her succinct and hard-hitting chapters seek to trace how Israeli historians have managed
to remove Vrba and Wetzler from the Holocaust story by misnaming, misreporting, miscrediting and misrepresenting the secretive tale of their escape from Auschwitz.She devotes four brief but telling chapters to each of these characteristics.   By not naming the authors of the Auschwitz
Report, the Israeli historians have left these spokesmen disembodied and unidentified.  This in turn gave an opportunity to the so-called Holocaust deniers to cast doubt on their very existence and hence on the credibility of their information.  Such miscrediting, Dr Linn believes, was also evident in the writings of those who downplayed the significance of the Report, or who disputed the facts contained in it.   For example, as late as the 2001 edition of the Holocaust Encyclopaedia, the writer on the Auschwitz Protocols refers only to "two Jewish prisoners" whose information
was passed "to papal representatives in Slovakia", thus misrepresenting entirely the fact that the Report was primarily intended to warn the Slovakian and Hungarian Jewish people of the imminent fate awaiting them in Auschwitz (10).   Such conduct, Linn claims, was due to a tendency to give
preference to the work of professional historians, whose expert discourse has the benefit of academic prominence.  But Linn instead wants to insist on the validity of the survivors' testimony and discourse. She therefore agrees with Vrba's statement that some survivors' understanding may be superior to that of those who had no direct personal experience of the truly diabolical nature of Nazism (11).    But such claims are dismissed by the historians, vested with a legitimacy imparted by expertise, as the product of "embittered survivors" indulging in wishful thinking and unrealistic expectations.
         According to Vrba, the reason for such vindictive and unprofessional behaviour is simple.  His interpretation of the events transpiring in Slovakia, Hungary and Poland during those traumatic few months in early 1944 runs entirely contrary to the version put forward by the "establishment" historians in Israel, and indeed casts very damaging aspersions on the character and behaviour of certain leading figures in the Zionist movement in both Slovakia and Hungary.   Vrba's belief was and is that the information about Auschwitz was suppressed in order that leading members of the Slovakian and Hungarian Jewish Council, especially Dr Rudolf Kastner, could do a deal with Eichmann and his henchmen.   In return for their silence, these men purchased survival for themselves, their relatives, a coterie of Zionists, some distinguished Jewish intellectuals,
and a number of wealthy Jewish entrepreneurs.  In June 1944 these fortunate individuals boarded a train which eventually carried them to freedom in Switzerland.  Many went on, subsequently, to hold prominent positions in the newly-established state of Israel.
         After their arrival in the newly-founded state of Israel, these men had considerable influence on, and interest in, the formulation of the heroic myth of Zionist resistance and rescue from their Nazi persecutors (12).   The professional historians of the new state, such as Professor Bauer, Dr Yisrael Gutman, Dr Chaim Schatzker, or Dr L Yahil, adopted the same line.  Accordingly, great prominence was given in their accounts to the actions of individuals whose exploits could be used to build up the image of heroic and self-sacrificing achievements for the sake of Zionism.  One of these was the celebrated heroine, Hanna Szenes, as described below. But official Israeli historiography had no place for alternative interpretations of what had happened in Hungary, nor for any analysis of the role of the Judenrat and their collaboration with the Nazis.  By contrast, Vrba and Wetzler, on the basis of their experiences, never believed in the value of any Jewish negotiations with Nazis - a stance which after the war Vrba still maintained (13). Consequently the
achievements of both Vrba and Wetzler came to be dismissed as unworthy of being included in the Israeli historical pantheon.
         Ruth Linn incisively analyses how unwelcome critics, such as Vrba, have been silenced, and how the process of repressing, denying, or avoiding the charges they make has been put in place.   In the first place, the escapees from Auschwitz were reduced to anonymity and their names were
never mentioned.   To be sure, at the time when the Auschwitz Report was written in those dark days of April 1944, the names of its authors were rightly omitted, in order to prevent any possible repercussions, should the report be discovered by the Gestapo or its Hungarian agents, for them,
their families or the inmates of Auschwitz itself.   Consequently, in the first versions to reach the west and to be published there during the war,  mention is made only of "two young Slovak Jews".    However, with the end of hostilities, such discretion was no longer necessary.   The fact
that the Report's authors continued in the later historiography to be reduced deliberately to such anonymity has to be explained by other factors,  and is evidently due to a desire to belittle or disqualify both these witnesses and their interpretation of events.
         In fact , in the writings of the Israeli historians, such references to "two young Slovak Jews" cannot have been made merely out of ignorance of their names or who they were. On the contrary, as Ruth Linn has shown in a separate article (14), this process was  started by the very people who received the Report in those early days in Slovakia, namely Oscar Krasnyanski to whom the report was first dictated, and his superior, Dr Oscar Neumann, the head of the Slovakian Jewish Council.  But when these leaders came to write about these events after the war, they failed to recall the names of these eye-witnesses.  This was despite the fact that, as Neumann himself admitted, their identities were established at their first interview in Slovakia at the end of April 1944 from the lists of deportees sent to Poland, as compiled by the Judenrat, complete with photographs.  Instead, Neumann referred to them as "two chaps" [zwei Burschen] who escaped from Auschwitz (15), and Krasnyanski likewise labeled them as "two young people"(16). Following this example, Professor Yehuda Bauer in his book The Holocaust in historical  perspective (17), mentioned only
"two Slovak Jews", even though he was by then perfectly well aware of their true identity.  Similarly, one of the chief historians of Slovakian Jewry, Livia Rothkirchen, in her authoritative chapter inYad Vashem's large-scale work, The Catastrophe of European Jewry, makes mention
only of  "the testimony of two young men who were the first prisoners to succeed in escaping from the camp"(18).  As late as 1994, more than half a century after they fled from Auschwitz, Israel TV in a commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Hungarian Holocaust made no mention of the
Vrba-Wetzler report, nor did it disclose the true identity of the authors.  To be sure, a version of their Report is displayed in the entrance hall of the Yad Vashem Memorial Museum, but the names of its authors are not provided, and the explanatory label in Hebrew refers only to "two young Slovak Jews".  Visitors to the Museum will look in vain for a Hebrew version of the Report, since it is available only in Hungarian or German.   In a similar fashion, in the United States, the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington makes no mention of this escape.  So too the
exhibits in the Holocaust Center at Queensborough Community College, Queens, New York, which serves as a model for similar centres at institutions of higher education elsewhere in the United States, contains no reference to this important episode of resistance.  Even those
historians who mention Vrba's name in connection with this escape, do not refer their readers to his published memoirs which were widely translated and published in Britain, USA, Canada, France, Holland and Germany.
         Secondly, the credibility of the Report is challenged, and its factual accuracy disputed. Particularly the carefully-calculated total number of Jewish victims is considered by many Israeli historians as greatly inflated, though they have failed to provide convincing evidence of this contention..   Above all, Vrba's legitimate questioning as to whether widespread distribution of the information about Auschwitz could have disrupted the deportations is dismissed as unrealistic. And his accusation that the Hungarian Zionist leaders' failure to warn the Jews in the provinces made them complicit in the subsequent mass murders is dismissed as an outrageous calumny (19).  For these reasons, energetic steps were taken for more than thirty years to prevent Vrba's version of events from appearing in Hebrew.

         As Ruth Linn convincingly shows (20),  the contrast between the treatment of Vrba, and that accorded to such individuals as Hanna Szenes, is glaring. Hanna Szenes was a young enthusiastic pioneer who had emigrated to a Zionist kibbutz in Palestine before the war broke out.  But in 1944 she was recruited to be part of a mission to organize resistance and self-help in Hungary in the event of a German invasion, and to this end was parachuted into Yugoslavia under British auspices. She and her party then made their way to Hungary, but within a few days were captured, and finally executed by the Hungarian authorities.  In the subsequent Israeli historiography, she has become " a symbol of courage, steadfastness and moral strength". (21)  Streets have been named after her, and she is well known as a Holocaust heroine. Her idea of resistance is glorified.  Her identity is always provided, and she is never dismissed as "a young Hungarian girl". All this despite the fact that her mission was a total failure and that she failed to rescue even a single Jew.  Linn  provides a graphic comparison of these two cases in tabular form: (22)

The celebrated and the nameless heroes

Name
Hanna Szenes
Rudolf Vrba
Commemorative status
Celebrated hero
Nameless hero
Origin
Hungary
Slovakia
Initiative
The Zionist Yishuv
Self initiative
Experience about the
Nazis' methods        
None
Five years
Aim of the mission
To organize resistance
To organize resistance
Connection in Hungary
Kastner
None
Number of people saved
None
At least 100,000 Jews (23)
Fate 
Was shot in prison
Survived as partisan
Affiliation
Zionist
Non-Zionist
Leaving for the mission
From Palestime
From Auschwitz
Moral philosophy
Jews should not be lured to death camps - like sheep to the slaughter
Impact on the war's Jewish leadership
They did what they could
They could have done more

___________________________________________________________________________

         Such a comparison makes it clear that more is at stake than the particular and tragic events taking place in Hungary.  The Israeli historians' readiness to give credit to Hanna Szenes' mission and to dismiss that of Vrba and Wetzler has to be seen in a wider context.  Basically, the incontestable fact remains that their escape from Auschwitz was self-generated and was not the result of any organization's decision (24).  It could not be traced back to a Zionist initiative in the
camp itself, and their subsequent narrative could not be mobilized for later Zionist purposes. And Vrba's outspoken criticism in his memoirs of the Zionist leaders in Hungary contradicted the picture of these men's effectiveness and benevolent intentions for the whole of Hungarian Jewry.  As Dr Linn pertinently asked:  "Should this individualistic position be tolerated at a time when historical narrative ought to fit the collective aim that dominated the state of Israel (25)?
         No less significantly, it was important for the Israeli historical"establishment" to ensure that voices challenging their hegemonic views were marginalized.  Repeated efforts have therefore been made to dismiss the central argument advanced in Vrba's memoirs that many thousands more
Jews would never have gone like sheep to the slaughter if they had been given the information about what would happen to them in Auschwitz. The failure to make the contents of the Auschwitz Report known to the vast majority of the Hungarian Jews who were subsequently rounded up and deported to their deaths remains the central charge against the Hungarian Jewish leaders. In Vrba's contention, a small group of informed people, by their silence, deprived others of the possibility or privilege of making their own decisions in the face of mortal danger (26).   But Bauer on numerous occasions, has disputed this view.  Instead he has advanced the claim that information about Auschwitz was already there, but was never believed by those who most needed to know.  It is only when this weak argument has been shown to lack credibility that the attack on the messenger, i.e. Vrba, had to be substituted.  So it was only to be expected that, in pursuit of this kind of silencing, the Israeli historians have not refrained from personal attacks.   For example, Professor Bauer describes Vrba's  memoirs as a psychological defence mechanism seeking to suppress his unpleasant war-time experiences, but not to be taken seriously by genuine historians. (27)  His attack on the integrity of the Jewish leaders is dismissed by Bauer as an exaggerated conspiracy theory.   Alternatively, his account is seen as the product of an embittered survivor.  But as Vrba
himself noted, "the question is not whether my memories are bitter or sweet.  The issue is whether they are right or wrong" (28).    Similarly, those who have  supported Vrba's interpretation of these events have been attacked on personal grounds, and accused of being seduced or confused by
Vrba's opinions (29).
         It was not until 1994 that Bauer actually referred to Vrba by name in his book Jews for Sale? (30).   To be sure, subsequently, he has acknowledged Vrba to be "a genuine Jewish hero of the Holocaust and very reliable when he talks about his experiences" (31).  But, as Ruth Linn pertinently asks, Bauer does not explain how it happened that for so many years he had documenteed the "unqualified heroism" of Vrba and Wetzler anonymously, calling them "young Slovak Jews", without citing Vrba's memoirs, and treating the escape in a reserved manner (32).   No less significant is these historians' refusal to accept a further central point in Vrba's criticisms of their account, namely his contention that the efforts made by both the Slovakian and Hungarian Jewish Councils to negotiate with the Nazis, to offer them monetary rewards, and to engage in plans for rescuing Jews in large numbers, were totally unrealistic and should never have been undertaken.  Such far-fetched schemes, Vrba holds, were the product of foolish wishful thinking, based on a total misjudgment
of the Nazis' intentions and tactics, and amounted to regrettable collaboration (33).  But numerous Israeli historians, particularly Professor Bauer, have repeatedly published books defending these measures and claiming that, if only the Allies had co-operated, such plans could have succeeded (34).  In defence of this position, Bauer is driven to suggest that Vrba's strictures against the Jewish leadership are groundless. These men did the best they could in virtually impossible circumstances. The rescue plans, to be sure, failed. But they were a sign of the dedication of their Zionist authors to procuring the survival of as many Jews as possible.  No one now would want to cast doubt on the
indescribable dilemma faced by these men at the time. But as Ruth Linn rightly remarked, the hegemonic Israeli version of these events focuses on the filled half cup. Alternative versions, as well as alternative strategies, ideas and moral options are not examined, let alone admitted to
be valid (35).    All this is part of the larger purpose undertaken by Israeli historians for very obvious political purposes. In fact, as Dr Vrba himself noted, the aim of such historiographical manipulation is not only to guide the Jewish future, but also to improve the Jewish past (36).
         Ruth Linn's work is a long overdue act of reparation to rectify a historiographical injustice.  But she also raises the wider issue of how to evaluate the rival interpretations, on the one hand of expert historians, or on the other of survivors whose testimony was derived from being eye-witnesses to the Nazis' organized mass murders in Auschwitz.  She equally and rightly questions how the Israeli historical establishment  has built up its own layers of national myths and explanations.  They have succeeded in laying stress on certain events and individuals, but also have
created a culture of forgetting others, like Vrba, whose witness they find not to be convenient. For this reason, she gives as a sub-title to her book A Culture of Forgetting.
         In her final chapter, Ruth Linn returns to the theme implicit throughout the whole book: the linkage between historical "truth" and the power of historians to mould and shape the public awareness of the past.  She poses the same question as D.LaCapra in his book History and Memory after Auschwitz:  "What aspects of the past should be remembered and how should
they be remembered?  . . . . . .Can - or should - historiography define itself in a purely scholarly and professional way that distances it from public memory and its ethical implications?" (37)    Her nswer is clear: the public discourse cannot be left solely to those who seek to decide for the nation who is the hero, or who is the martyr, or who will be rejected as unworthy, and hence disregarded and forgotten.
         Ruth Linn's service in sponsoring the publication in Hebrew of Vrba's writings and memoirs has opened new doors to Hebrew-reading Israelis.   The issues raised in this short but stimulating book will undoubtedly help to make a wider audience aware of this hitherto nameless hero, and of the need for historiographical fair treatment.  By such means, she seeks to pay tribute to an intrepid participant in the whole tragedy of the Hungarian Holocaust. At the same time, we can surely agree that her book is, as Professor Stephen Feinstein, Director of the Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota, commented, "a first-rate treatment of a crucially important event that might be called an emerging black hole: Vrba's escape from Auschwitz and the aftermath within the context of Holocaust history. The book is exceptionally important in its discussion of how a country can engage in critical thinking about a morally problematic past and its analysis of the political forces that try to control that past" (38).

John S.Conway  University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada


Footnotes:
1) John S.Conway, Frühe Augenzeugenberichte aus Auschwitz Glaubwürdigkeit und Wirkungsgeschichte, in VfZ 27 (1979), p. 260-284.
2) John S.Conway, Der Holocaust in Ungarn.  Neue Kontroversen undÜberlegungen, in VfZ 32 (1984), p. 179-212.
3) Rudolf Vrba, Die missachtete Warnung. Betrachtungen über den Auschwitz-Bericht von 1944, in VfZ 44 (1996), p.1-24.
4)  Yehuda Bauer, Anmerkungen zum 'Auschwitz-Bericht' von Rudolf Vrba., in VfZ 45 (1997), p.297-307.
5)  R.Linn, Escaping Auschwitz. A culture of forgetting, Ithaca, New York and London: Cornell University Press 2004.
6) Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, New York: Penguin 1963.
7) Rudolf Vrba and Alan Bestic, I cannot forgive.  London:Sidgwick and Jackson 1963; see also several later editions, z.B. in deutscher Übersetzung, Ich kann nicht vergeben, München 1964, und neuerdings Rudolf Vrba, Als Kanada in Auschwitz lag. Mein Flucht aus der Vernichtungslager.
Nachwort von Friedemann Bedürftig, München 1999.
8) Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of European Jewry, Chicago 1961.
9) Certificate of Award to Dr Rudolf Vrba of Honourary Degree of Ph.D (Honoris causa), Universit of Haifa, 7.6.1998.
10) see "Chronology of the Holocaust" in ed. Walter Laqueur and Judith Taylor Baumel, The Holocaust Encyclopedia, New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press 2001.
11) see note 3, VfZ 44 (1996), p. 20.
12) For example, Oskar Neumann, Im Schatten des Todes, Tel Aviv: Olamenu 1956; O.Krasnyanski, A Declaration under Oath, Cologne: Israeli Consulate 1961; F.Freudiger, "Five months" in ed. R.Braham, The Tragedy of Hungarian Jewry: Essays, Documents, Depositions, New York: Columbia University Press 1986;  Erich Kulka, "Five escapes from Auschwitz" in ed.Y.Shul, They Fought Back, New York: Pergamon Press 1968/1975.
13)  see "Footnote to the Auschwitz Report" in Jewish Currents, Vol. 20, no. 3 (218), March 1966, pp 23-28.
14)  R.Linn, "Genocide and the politics of remembering the nameless, the celebrated, and the would-be Holocaust heroes", in Journal of Genocide Research, Vol. 5 (4) 2003, p. 565 - 586.
15) Neumann, op.cit, p.178.
16) Krasyanski, op.cit.
17) Yehuda Bauer, The Holocaust in Historical Perspective, Seattle: University of Washington Press 1978.
18) Livia Rothkirchen, "The final solution in its last stages" in eds. I Gutman and L. Rothkirchen, The Catastrophe of European Jewry, Jerusalem: Yad Vashem 1976.
19) see ed. D.Cesarini. Genocide and Rescue. The Holocaust in Hungary 1944, Oxford: Oxford University press 1997, p. 15
20) see note 14, Genocide, pp577-579..
21) see Linn, Escaping Auschwitz, p. 90.
22) see Linn, Genocide, p. 579
23) these estimates are made by G.Reitlinger, The Final Solution: The Attempt to exterminate the Jews of Europe, 1939-1945, London: Valentine Mitchell 1953/1968, and Sir Martin Gilbert, Auschwitz and the Allies, New York: Reinhart and Winston 1981.
24) A leader of the anti-Nazi resistance movement in Auschwitz and Birkenau, Hermann Langbein, in his record of his camp experience, Menschen in Auschwitz, Vienna 1972, refers to Vrba and Weytzler's escape but does not claim that this was promoted by his or any other organization.
25) see note 13, p. 582.
26) see note 3, VfZ 44 (1996), p. 23.
27) see note 4. VfZ 45 (1997), p. 297.
28) quoted in "Auschwitz and the Allies" a two hour film made in collaboration with the historian Sir Martin Gilbert, London 1982.
29) for example, Gila Fatran, a doctoral student of Professor Bauer's, writing in the journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Vol 8, no 2, Fall 1994, accused this author (J.S.Conway) of making "accusations which are blatantly contrary to the historical truth.  It is difficult", she asserted, "to comprehend how he was misled by one piece of testimony that he unfortunately did not bother to check for veracity" (p. 187).  In a subsequent issue, the journal's editor, Professor Bauer, apologized "for allowing this article to appear with  wording that might have been construed as approaching a personal attack on him" :Vol 9, no 2, Fall 1995, p.269.
30) Jews for Sale? The Nazi-Jewish Negotiations, 1933-1945, New Haven: Yale University Press 1994, and  Rethinking the Holocaust, New Haven: Yale University Press 2001.
31) see his 'Auschwitz Review' in Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles,  November 2004.
32) R.Linn, Escaping Auschwitz, op.cit., p.116.
33) see note 3, VfZ 44 (1996), p.21.
34) see particularly his book, Jews for Sale? Nazi-Jewish Negotiations, 1933-1945, New Haven: Yale University Press 1994.
35) see note 13, p.582.
36) see note 3,  VfZ 44 (1996), p. 20.
37) D.LaCapra, History and Memory after Auschwitz, Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press 1998, p. 1.
38) Cornell University Press announcement, printed on the dust-jacket of the book.