Tuesday, February 11, 2003

CLARIFICATION: Gary Farber brings to my attention an important clarification about the Petr Ginz moonscape drawing which was carried aboard the Columbia by Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon.

Although the mainstream media has invariably neglected to mention this, the original drawing has not been lost with the Columbia. Col. Ramon carried a copy of the drawing into space. The orginal artwork is still in the Yad Vashem archives.

The Yad Vashem (literally, "everlasting name") Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority press release, which Gary cites, vaguely explains that "Ramon took a replica of the drawing, produced according to NASA specifications."

To that, I will add one other thing which, I think, begs for clarification as well:

In scouring the earlier Yad Vashem press releases for details, the media has also picked up the word "murdered" -- routinely repeating that young Petr Ginz was "murdered" at Auschwitz. Among the Jewish people, the meaning of those juxtaposed words could not be clearer -- but in the heartland of America, I'm not so sure. Outside of historical context, it may sound to some as though Ginz was merely a victim of circumstance -- the regrettable consequence of hanging with a bad crowd, or making enemies of the wrong people in prison.

At the risk of seeming overly sensitive, let's all please understand that "murdered at Auschwitz" is not the same thing as "shanked at Rikers" or "executed at Alcatraz." Not remotely the same.


Post a Comment

<< Home