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June 8, 1996

Good Morning from the Zundelsite:

My grandmother used to tell me this story-the point of which escaped me at the time but is now clear to me. It was about a painting called "Fuchs im Bau"-meaning "Fox in a fox hole".

The story was about this artist who tried to paint a fox sitting, smugly grinning, inside a hollow tree. Our artist had no trouble painting the tree, the trunk, the leaves, the grass, the sky and even the fox hole-but he couldn't paint the fox.

It didn't look like a fox. Try as he might, it didn't.

So he painted over the fox hole, insisting the fox was INSIDE.

That's where the title came from: "Fuchs im Bau."

My grandmother reaped for herself huge mirth out of that simple story, -always adding for our benefit that the artist, of course, relied on imagination, and the painting did indeed sell handsomely on nothing but the strength of title. You paid for that, and then you ADDED the ingredient of imagination.

So it must be with many stories about the authenticity of the "gas chambers"-especially "gas chambers" at Dachau. Here is one such example example a ZGram reader sent to me in response to a post he had seen:

". . . a co-worker also visited Dachau. This was back in the late '80's. She told me about the gas chamber that she saw - how horrible it was etc. etc.

She then offered to show me her vacation photo album. Scanning through the album I came to her photo of the dreaded gas chamber-which she saw with her own eyes!

In the photo is the 'gas chamber' as well as a sign. The sign is legible and reads in five languages.

In English it says, 'disguised as a shower room ... never used as a gas chamber.'

I photocopied her picture and still have it in my collection. I never tried to convince her otherwise. For, after all, she saw it with her own eyes."

Another e-mail about Dachau:

"I got into a similar discussion with a guy the other night, while shooting pool. He, too, had '. . . seen it with his own eyes.'

Among the things he saw was a photo of people being led into the gas chamber at Dachau. (He was in the Air Force in Germany for some time.)

It took me 5 minutes to get him to stop repeating his litany and listen to me ask him if he knew what Yad Vashem was.

When he finally paused, I told him that even they do not claim there was any gas chamber there, that what he saw was pure progaganda.

Protracted silence after that . . .

Commented this writer dryly: "Some fictions are so well burned in that the neural connections, or whatever constitutes memory, is damned near permanent."

Just take it from me: The fox in the fox hole DOES have a grin. We have already bought the title of the painting. Now all we need to do is to apply imagination, and we will see the grin.


Thought for the Day:

"If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."

Anatole France (1844-1924)

Comments? E-Mail: irimland@cts.com

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