Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust

Sara Bloomfield, Director

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW

Washington, DC 20024-2126


Main telephone: 202.488.0400

TTY: 202.488.0406


26 March 2014


Ms. Bloomfield:


I have just read the article in The Jewish Daily Forward titled "Holocaust Museum Turns 20 as Sara Bloomfield Ends Controversies."  Written by Nathan Guttman, the article was occasioned by the coming 2014 Days of Remembrance gala to take place throughout Western culture in late April.


Guttman notes that Deborah Lipstadt, professor of Holocaust Studies at Emory University, has said that you are an excellent administrator and "modest enough to not make a pretense of being a scholar." We have more in common than I had thought. I'm certainly not a scholar, and it's good to know that I am not addressing someone who claims to one. At the same time, we both address some of the most important matters of this 21st Century. As lay persons, how do we do that?


In the Forward you are quoted as saying:  "We know that when all the eyewitnesses are gone the (USHMM document) collection will be the sole authentic witness to the Holocaust." The implication here is that the survivor testimony you sponsor at the USHMM is authentic. Because much of that testimony is intended to illustrate the criminal monstrosity of Germans, we would both want to look soberly at what we are told is "authentic." We share one thing alike, you and me and the scholar. We're human, so sometimes we are mistaken, and sometimes some of us are not honest.


To that point, your USHMM promotes on film the eyewitness testimony of one Filip Muller, author of "Three Years In the Gas Chambers," and according to USHMM scholars an "authentic" eyewitness to German monstrosity. In his book he testifies to collaborating with Germans as a member of the Sonderkommando in the extermination of the Jewish people. In one anecdote promoted by your Museum scholars, Mr. Muller relates how on some days in the crematoria German doctors would slice pieces of flesh off still-living Jews and throw fragments of it into buckets. Because the muscles of some were still working and contracting, those pieces of flesh would make "the bucket jump about."


Make the bucket jump about? There on the crematory floor? I question that. I do not believe you do. I would ask you why? Because you are not a scholar? If one of your Museum scholars were to produce testimony from a Sonderkommando that there were German house flies the size of horses feeding on the dead at Auschwitz, would you not question that? Why not? Because you are not a scholar?


Do you believe it is anti-Semitic to question Filip Mueller's jumping-buckets-of-flesh-story? Does my doubt about the jumping-buckets-of-flesh tale suggest that I "hate" you, Sara, because you're a Jew? I can get annoyed with a Jew about this or that, I'm just a guy, but I get annoyed with my wife sometimes too. Does that mean I hate my wife? No, Sara. Not my wife. Not you.


In your remarks about the coming Days of Remembrance 2014 you say: "It's really a moral challenge to us to do more in our own lives when we confront injustice or hatred or genocide."


Again, I agree with you. I believe you and I have a moral challenge to confront such hateful (and "stupid?) accusations as the "jumping-buckets-of-flesh" testimonies. Such testimony is false, it is unjust, and it is an open expression of racist, anti-German hatred. Those who lie about such matters, who promote such lies and profit by them, are moral criminals, guilty of everything your Museum stands against. We have to keep in mind that the moral challenge you speak of is oftentimes more difficult for some of us than for our perceived enemies.


One moral issue the USHMM has chosen to emphasize is the failure of the Americans to bomb the rail lines leading to Auschwitz, which theoretically would have saved the lives of many Jews. I am not aware of anyone at the USHMM who has addressed the fact that the "Americans" intentionally burned alive hundreds of thousands of German children, their sisters and mothers and the elderly via mass fire-bombings. Do you not see a "moral issue" there? Does it make a difference for you that those children were German? Is that not a moral challenge that should be addressed by your USHMM?


On March 6th, you attended the United States Holocaust Museum 2014 Los Angeles Dinner. The theme of the event was, "What you do matters." That's a principled theme.


You have said "our Museum is reaching out to millions worldwide, one by one, challenging each of us to act." Sara, why do you not feel challenged to act on the question of the United States Holocaust Museum exploiting false eyewitness testimony to condemn Germans? While you do not originate such false eyewitness testimony (lies), you do administer their promotion by USHMM staff and in-house scholars to raise tens of millions of dollars yearly for your Museum. What you do, matters.


You have said: "The Holocaust teaches how easily hate can grow and incubate in a group environment".   Does it not occur to you that the false testimony of the Filip Mullers and other false "eyewitnesses" to alleged German actions are expressions of how hate has grown and incubated in the environment created by your own USHMM?


What you do, and what you do not do, really does matter.



Bradley R. Smith

Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust

PO Box 439016

San Ysidro, California 92143






CODOH is copying this information to the USHMM and all similar centers and museums across the country. We are sending it to press, academics and student organizations nationwide. This involves considerable expense. We do not dream of matching the yearly budget of the USHMM, which is some 50-million dollars, but we do need help. Your support is essential to this work. Thank you.