Saturday, 9 January 2016

1944: US Journalist unconvinced about Majdanek

Norbert Frei and Daniel de Luce

German historian Norbert Frei wrote of an interview he conducted with one of the western journalists who were invited to witness the presentation of the findings of the 'Polish-Soviet Extraordinary Commission for Investigating the Crimes Committed by the Germans in the Majdanek Extermination Camp':
"Dan De Luce, who participated in an August 1944 tour of the remains of Majdanek on behalf of the AP [Associated Press], explained in an interview with the author on May 7, 1986, that after the visit he remained distrustful of the Soviet information."
Immediately following his visit to Majdanek De Luce wrote the following article which contains information that he later admitted to finding distrustful. And he was right not to trust the Soviets. Numerous claims contained within the piece have now either been heavily reined in or abandoned entirely. Tomasz Kranz, the present director if the Majdanek museum, admitted in 2005 that the Polish-Soviet Extraordinary Commission "were motivated more by a political and propaganda agenda than by a search for historical truth."

1. Norbert Frei, "'Wir waren blind, ungläubig und langsam': Buchenwald, Dachau und die amerikanischen Medien im Frühjahr 1945" ('We were blind, unbelieving and slow': Buchenwald, Dachau and the American media in Spring 1945), Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte (Quarterly Journal for Contemporary History), vol. 35, issue 3, July 1987, p.387, footnote no. 5.
2. Tomasz Kranz, "Bookkeeping of Death and Prisoner Mortality at Majdanek", Yad Vashem Studies, 35:1, 2007, p.99, originally published in Polish in 2005.

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