New Questions Raised by Death of U.S. Museum Founder Hadassah (Bimko) Rosensaft

Published: 1997-11-01
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As fate would have it, Hadassah Rosensaft (formerly Ada Bimko), a founder of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, died in New York City on October 3, shortly before the previous issue of SR exposed her role as a postwar perjurer. The news of her death at 85, however, could hardly quiet the controversy that has begun to swirl around the life, testimony and career of this leading Holocaust survivor.

Robert Faurisson, (writing from Vichy,) adds a telling note to the story:

On September 22,1945 [during the “Belsen” trial conducted by the British at Lueneburg-ed.], it seems Ada Bimko had a rough time during cross-examination by several defense lawyers, especially by Major Cranfield. If we are to believe the book edited by Raymond Phillips that you mentioned in SR47 [Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty-Four Others (The Belsen Trial), William Hodge and Company, London-Edinburgh-Glasgow, 1949—ed.], she was asked: Did any doctor whom you allege made a selection for the gas chamber tell you on what basis the selection was made by him? (p. 72)

Her answer was: No.

She was asked: Do you agree that your evidence as to the basis on which those relections were made is your opinion and nothing more?

Her answer was: Yes.

The circumstances of Hadassah Rosensaft/Ada Bimko’s recent death, combined with other parts of her testimony at the Belsen trial, raise other troubling questions as to the reliability as a witness of this key figure in the creation and enshrinement of the Holocaust legend. According to her lengthy obituary in the New York Times (October 8, 1997), quoting her son Menachem (founder of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors), the cause of Rosensaft’s death was “liver failure resulting from malaria and hepatitis she had contracted at Auschwitz.” Expanding on his mother’s illnesses shortly before her death, Menachem Rosensaft wrote: “Because these diseases were not treated at the time, she now suffers from severe cirrhosis of the liver” (New York Times, May 5, 1997).

Yet in all of her testimony in the Belsen Trial (which runs to some 13 pages of direct and cross examination, and an additional 3 pages for two separate depositions), Ada Bimko/Hadassah Rosensaft:

  • never mentioned being ill at Auschwitz;
  • testified instead that she wasn’t emaciated on liberation at Belsen (April 15,1945) “because when I came from Auschwitz [on November 23, 1945, she says on p. 69] I was in much better condition. We as doctors were in a much better position...” (pp. 71-72);
  • worked for 15 months as a doctor at Auschwitz (pp. 74-75); under the constant supervision of Nazi doctors,
  • one of whom actually beat her twice (yes, Doctor Mengele—however did you guess?) (p.72);
  • but evidently none of whom remarked either her hepatitis or her malaria—for, according to the brunt of her own testimony, this would have resulted in either her “selection” for the gas chambers (pp. 66-67; 70-71; 72-73—but note her reservation as cited by Dr. Faurisson above!),
  • or in her treatment for the diseases (which is denied by her son). (All page numbers above refer to The Trial of Joseph Kramer cited above.)

Thus the alleged cause of the death of this evident perjurer as to the Auschwitz “gas chambers” and the admittedly false four million Auschwitz death toll—on whom CODOH has blown the whistle in its newsletter, on CODOHWeb and in communications to media and (last, but not least) the director of the Museum Dr. Rosensaft helped found, Dr. Walter Reich—has done nothing but raise new questions about her testimony, and her experience in the camps:

Did she actually suffer from malaria and typhus at Auschwitz? If so, was she treated and cured? Or did her liver condition arise after the war? To what did she owe her fine health on liberation? Did Rosensaft use her position to steal food from the other inmates as the cook Kurt Francioh, a man she helped hang with self-contradictory, and clearly perjured, testimony [see SR47]?

Was she, in effect, a Kapo who cooperated with camp authorities for her own benefit, then gave lurid testimony against those she worked under to cover her own sins?

A new generation of Americans, of Germans, indeed of Israelis deserves straight answers to there questions... indeed, deserves to get them from USHMM director Dr. Walter Reich. That’s why we’ve sent him this article, with a covering letter.

We doubt that he’s hastening to respond, but we know that things are, slowly but surely, getting warmer at USHHM—and it’s not the central heating.

Additional information about this document

Author(s) Bradley R. Smith
Title New Questions Raised by Death of U.S. Museum Founder Hadassah (Bimko) Rosensaft
Sources Smith's Report, no. 48, November 1997, pp. 5f.
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Dates published: 1997-11-01, first posted on CODOH: Oct. 4, 2015, 1:01 p.m., last revision: n/a
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