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Discovering the "Final Solution" panel

Film | RG Number: RG-60.3818 | Film ID: 2660

Final session of conference, 'Discovering the Final Solution,' concludes with panel discussion moderated by Marvin Kalb. Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Vassily Petrenko, speaking during discussion. Brief overlap with Film ID 2656, then continuation of discussion of Soviet Army and liberation of Auschwitz. Wolfe confirms the rapid Soviet advance in southern Poland, and capture of documentation Kalb asks why the railroad lines weren't bombed. Wolfe replies, but defers to Raul Hilberg, "sitting in the room." Pehle speaks of writing a strong letter to John McCloy.

Kalb asks Jan Karski to tell of his meeting with Roosevelt. Karski obliges, including dramatic quotes from FDR. (Picture jiggle) Karski replies to another question from Kalb (Was he surprised by Roosevelt's response?): Roosevelt was interested exclusively in Polish political issues. So was Henry Stimson. At that time I had no human feelings. I was a recording machine. Now I have feelings. I would have gone crazy. ...Karski recalls meeting with Ziegelboym. Reports their dialogue. Shmuel Ziegelboym left a bigger impression than Belzec, than the ghetto. He committed suicide then, in May 1943. So don't ask me, was I surprised. (Very spontaneous and passionate, with a trace of humor.) Kalb begins to wind up the session. Thanks the panelists, an extraordinary set of individuals. Miles Lerman expresses thanks, and announces that Elie Wiesel will now conduct a press conference. He invites several individuals to remain.

Press conference. Quiet is requested. First question: Would Wiesel make a short statement summarizing the impact of this conference on the world at large. Wiesel points out the unity of those present, the liberators and the liberated, a sacred task. Have touched on basic, essential questions in the world today. This is only a beginning. Unusual harmony among the delegations. Question re. Holocaust denial. Wiesel replies. Question re. numbers of Jews killed, and non-Jews who died in the concentration camps. Wiesel replies, wishing Raul Hilberg were still in the room, as he is the expert. Miles Lerman makes a statement about Yad Vashem, and invites to the podium its two highest representatives, Gideon Hausner, Chairman of the Council, and Dr. Yitzhak Arad, Director. Head of French delegation speaks. Arad speaks. (Horizontal movement of image is pronounced. Continues to worsen through and beyond.) Gideon Hausner makes a statement re. Yad Vashem's memorialization of non-Jews who hid Jews, and what it meant to do that. "3000 such Righteous..." And asks if an Israeli delegation might visit Babi Yar, directs his comments to the head of the Soviet delegation. Soviet speaker talks of Ukraine, Belorus, and consequences of hiding Jews. Wiesel carefully addresses to the Soviet general his personal feelings when he visited Babi Yar two years earlier, where the reference to Jews is missing from the monument. The body language between the two speaks volumes. Jews were killed simply because they were Jews. I'm pleading with you to use your influence to convey our sensitivities; that this is not a matter of polemics, but a matter of respect for those who were killed because they were Jews. Young man in audience asks about congressional vote on this day re. a matter that affects the security of Israel. Question regarding opening of Soviet records and archives, particularly pertaining to the Holocaust, could be opened for research.... (The unity is getting a little ragged; the atmosphere slightly less brotherly.)

Event:  10/28/1981
Production:  1981
Washington, DC, United States
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Record last modified: 2023-03-01 11:43:58
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