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The Smithsonian Institution's Documentary “Treblinka: Hitler’s Killing Machine”
David Merlin Addresses the Smithsonian Institution with Regard to Its Program Titled “Treblinka: Hitler’s Killing Machine”
Chancellor John G. Roberts Jr.
PO Box 37012
SI Building, Room 153, MRC 010
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
To Smithsonian Channel:
May 21, 2014
Dear Chancellor Roberts:
I have long enjoyed Smithsonian magazine and admired the Smithsonian Institution. Therefore I feel constrained to comment on the Smithsonian program "Treblinka: Hitler's Killing Machine."
One of the promotional clips was entitled, "Excavating a Secret Gas Chamber: The watershed discovery of Star of David tiles confirms the existence of Treblinka's gas chambers and becomes the key to reconstructing the death camp's sinister workings." In fact, the film confused or conflated the Star of David with the trademark of the 125-year-old Dziewulski Lange porcelain factory in Poland. The mark is actually a heraldic symbol known as a pierced mullet star.
A second promotional clip was entitled, "The Bones the Nazis Hid: A forensic archaeologist who investigates modern-day murders uncovers a mass grave that's remained a secret since the Holocaust." It turns out that the "expert" forensic archaeologist was excavating at the edge of a known and well-marked Christian cemetery. It seems that a day's digging in three trenches produced 40 bone fragments. Your expert was unclear on whose bones these were, how long they had been buried, how many bodies were found (anywhere from 2 to 40 is possible), what killed them (odd to overlook for a forensic specialist), and whether any of the bones had been exposed to cremation (something very relevant to investigations of Treblinka).
Without further ado, the bones were put back into a hole and we are informed that this "proves" that
Treblinka I was "much more than just a labor camp."
The program would have been a farce if it were not for the profound seriousness of events at Treblinka. At best, this recent "forensic investigation" revisited the Soviet efforts of August 1944 and the investigation of Judge Zdzisław Łukaszkiewicz in November 1945 and August 1946. This program does no credit to the Smithsonian Institution. I hope the Smithsonian will act to either correct the errors in "Hitler's Killing Machine" or disassociate itself from this Show. It has a moral obligation to do so.
Additional information about this document
|Title||The Smithsonian Institution's Documentary “Treblinka: Hitler’s Killing Machine”|
|Sources||Smith's Report, No. 206, June 2014, p. 7|
|Dates||published: 2014-06-11, first posted on CODOH: June 10, 2014, 7 p.m., last revision: n/a|