"We remember the suffering of the innocent victims who were murdered here, and we bow our heads in respect" Vike-Freiberga
Just like my visits to other "concentration" [read: work] camps, for those who refused to work [and if jews represented the majority of thosewho refused to work, then ask yourself "WHY"], Rumbula turned out to be MORE THAN A COMPLETE DISAPPOINTMENT.
I had frequently visited a village in France where the sole survivor of 91 villagers conducted a tour of the remains of his wife, children, relatives, neighbors, buildings, church who were shot by Nazis as he hid in the hills above the town, watching in sheer horror. The bullet holes in the side of the church are proof enough that those who lined CHRISTIANS up in front of their own church so they could be shot in the sight of God were NOT Christians--though little did I know then that they were JEWS! Shooting 90 Christian civilian villagers on the side of their own church, burning down their buildings and cars, trying to burn down their church, could ONLY be the work of the children of the devil,and it left behind LOTS of evidence, including bullet holes in the relatively few trees around the village, the skeletons, bones, and ashes of the burned bodies, and burned out cars and houses [all with bullet holes that made Bonnie and Clyde seem like a Boy Scout meeting].
Yet in Rumbula, where "77,000 Jews from Latvia, and another 30,000 to 40,000" from Europe, where "1,000 per hour, falling on top of those [jews] who had died before" were killed, where was the forensic evidence?
Not even a single bullet hole. This is a FOREST where you can't even see the road 100 feet away because of the pine and birch trees which live for CENTURIES [another photo here]--AND THERE WASN'T A SINGLE BULLET HOLE, nor a single PICTURE OF A single BULLET HOLE, in a single tree, building, car, or church. The only way to remove the evidence of a bullet hole in the tree is to CUT THE TREE DOWN, but then the stump remains for CENTURIES, unless someone goes to a LOT of trouble to remove the stump. THERE WERE NO STUMPS. There was NO evidence that these trees had EVER been cut down, so just ONE bullet hole, which would have been proof of only ONE shot fired out of the hundreds of thousands of shots which would have been required to SHOOT TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND JEWS, was *non existent*.
There wasn't even a single skeleton, bone, vial of ashes, much less burned down buildings, burned out cars, bullet holes on the side of a church, nor ANY other evidence that ANYONE, much less a jew, had been shot in that forest by the Nazis. Had they shot 1,000 PER HOUR [TWELVE TIMES as many as villagers were shot in France], there would have been bullet holes in EVERY single tree, not to mention skulls, bones, skeletons, ashes EVERYWHERE.
There are some cryptic plaques and artistic stones with the names of German cities on them which infer ONLY that SOMEBODY from those cities might have gone missing. There was a plaque for Koln which we had just visited I can guarandam.tee you that there WERE people missing from, because half a million CHRISTIANS in Koln were firebombed into oblivion by bombs dropped from 22,000 feet and the flames were so hot and so tall that we lost some of the bombers even at that altitude. The luckiest jew in the world would have been the one from Koln who'd reportedly been sent to Rumbula and been shot by bullets which didn't even leave bullet holes in the trees.
Some 77,000 Jews from Latvia, and another 30,000 to 40,000 sent by cattle truck from across Europe, were murdered in Latvia as part of Hitler's programme to exterminate European Jewry.
The massacre in Rumbula forest took place in November and December, 1941.
The victims are said to have been shot at a rate of 1,000 per hour, falling on top of those who had died before. Most of them came from Riga's Jewish ghetto.
"We remember the suffering of the innocent victims who were murdered here, and we bow our heads in respect," Ms Vike-Freiberga said.
Until recently, the Latvian authorities avoided acknowledging the atrocities that took place during the war, especially the role played by local collaborators.
In two days, November 30, 1941 and December 8, 1941 25,000 Jews were murdered in Rumbula Forest. Of these 25,000, 24,000 were Latvian Jews from the Riga Ghetto and 1,000 were German Jews transported to the forest by freight train. The systematic mass murder was carried out by the Nazi Einsatzgruppen with the help of Arajs commando, with support from other Lithuanian police units.
Over 25,000 Jews were ordered to disrobe in freezing weather to be shot in the back of the head at close range in pits that were mass graves. Two women survived. One of them, Frida Michelson, took advantage of a distraction and felll into the pit of dead bodies as if dead herself. She survived the war to write the book I Survived Rumbula, later translated into English and published by the Holocaust Memorial Museum.
During the Holocaust, 90% of Latvia's Jews were murdered at Rumbula, Liepaja (Libau) and other locations. When the war turned against Germany, the bodies at Rumbula Forest were ordered dug up and burned. The site has been marked by a series of makeshift memorials over the years. A moving Rumbula memorial was dedicated in November 2002, 61 years after the killings.
Holocaust Survivor Memoir Exposed as Fraud
by Mark Weber
A Holocaust survivor memoir that has received prestigious literary awards and lavish praise has been exposed as a hoax.
In Fragments: Memories of a Wartime Childhood, Binjamin Wilkomirski describes his ordeal as an infant in the Jewish ghetto of Riga (Latvia), where his earliest memory is of seeing his father being killed. Wilkomirski also tells how he survived the terrible rigors of wartime internment, at the age of three or four, in the German-run concentration camps of Majdanek and Auschwitz.
First published in German in 1995, Fragments has been translated into twelve languages. In Switzerland, the country where Wilkomirski lives, the book has been a major best-seller. Two documentary films and numerous personal appearances by the author in schools throughout the country have helped promote the memoir.
The American edition was published by Schocken, an imprint of Random House, which heavily promoted the book with teachers' study guides and other supplementary materials.
Jewish groups and major American newspapers have warmly praised Fragments. The New York Times called it "stunning," and the Los Angeles Times lauded it as a "classic first-hand account of the Holocaust." It received the 1996 National Jewish Book Award for Autobiography and Memoir, while in Britain it was awarded the Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize, and in France the Prix Memoire de la Shoah.
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC -- a federal government agency -- was so impressed that it sent Wilkomirski on a six-city United States fund-raising tour last fall.
This past summer, though, compelling evidence came to light exposing Wilkomirski's memoir as an literary hoax.
Although he claims to have been born in Latvia in 1939, and to have arrived in Switzerland in 1947 or 1948, Swiss legal records show that he was actually born in Switzerland in February 1941, the son of an unwed woman, Yvette Grosjean. The infant was then adopted and raised by the Doessekkers, a middle-class Zurich couple. Jewish author Daniel Ganzfried, writing in the Swiss weekly Weltwoche, also reports that he has found a 1946 photo of the young Bruno Doessekker (Wilkomirski) in the garden of his adoptive parents.
Comparisons have been drawn between Wilkomirski's Fragments and The Painted Bird, the supposedly autobiographical "Holocaust memoir" by prominent literary figure Jerzy Kosinksi that turned out to be fraudulent.
Reaction by Jewish Holocaust scholars to the new revelations has been instructive, because they seem more concerned about propagandistic impact than about historical truth. Their primary regret seems merely to be that the fraud has been detected, not that it was perpetrated.
In an essay published in a major Canadian newspaper (Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 18, 1998), Jewish writer Judith Shulevitz arrogantly argued that it doesn't really matter much if Fragments is authentic. Her main misgiving, apparently, is that the deceit was not more adroit: "I can't help wishing Wilkomirksi-Doesseker [sic] had been more subtle in his efforts at deception, and produced the magnificent fraud world literature deserves."
Deborah Dwork, director of the Center for Holocaust Studies at Clark University (Worcester, Mass.), and co-author of Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present (Yale Univ. Press, 1996), agrees that Fragments now appears to be fraudulent. At the same time, though, she expressed sympathy for Wilkomirski, saying that when she met him he appeared "to be a deeply scarred man." Amazingly, Dwork does not blame him for the imposture, "because she believes in his identity." Instead, she takes the publishers to task for having "exploited" Wilkomirski. (New York Times, Nov. 3, 1998).
Deborah Lipstadt, author of the anti-revisionist polemic Denying the Holocaust, has assigned Fragments in her Emory University class on Holocaust memoirs. When confronted with evidence that it is a fraud, she commented that the new revelations "might complicate matters somewhat, but [the work] is still powerful."
Daniel Ganzfried reports that Jews have complained to him that even if Fragments is a fraud, his exposï¿½ is dangerously aiding "those who deny the Holocaust."
American Jewish writer Howard Weiss makes a similar point in an essay published in the Chicago Jewish Star (Oct. 9-29, 1998):
Wilkomirski himself has responded to the new revelations by going into hiding, although he did issue a defiant statement describing the climate of discussion about his memoir as a "poisonous" atmosphere of "totalitarian judgment and criticism."