Jerry Steinman (Letters to the Editor, June 28) argues that it would have been a mistake to bomb Auschwitz because “doing so may have killed more Jews than Germans.” He seems to forget that 12,000 Jews were gassed every single day at Auschwitz in 1944, which is when U.S. planes were bombing oil factories just a few miles from the gas chambers. Steinman is saying, in effect, that it was preferable to permit the mass murder to proceed uninterrupted, guaranteeing 12,000 deaths daily, rather than undertaking a bombing which might have killed a small number of inmates — who themselves would soon be gassed.
It’s worth recalling the words of Elie Wiesel, who was a teenage slave laborer in one of those oil factories in the Auschwitz complex. He was an eyewitness to one of the U.S. bombing raids on the factories. Many years later, in his best-selling book, “Night,” Wiesel wrote: “If a bomb had fallen on the blocks [the prisoners’ barracks], it alone would have claimed hundreds of victims on the spot. But we were no longer afraid of death; at any rate, not of that death. Every bomb that exploded filled us with joy and gave us new confidence in life. The raid lasted over an hour. If it could only have lasted 10 times 10 hours!”
Producer, “They Looked Away”