Archive for November, 2012

Still No Reply from AP or Their Reporter; Did Elie Show his Tattoo to Tom Hanks ?

Friday, November 30th, 2012

By Carolyn Yeager

On Oct. 17 in New York, actor Tom Hanks became this year’s honoree of the Elie Wiesel  Foundation for Humanity. Honored for what, you ask? Well, it’s a little vague. What is written in the news account is “Hanks’ consistent thoughtfulness and concern with his charitable endeavors.” Doesn’t specify what they are, but I looked it up separately and found Hanks is a supporter of a variety of mainly health, i.e. curing disease symptoms, and environmental causes. He is on the Board of Governers of the National Space Society, which is dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization, and he supports UNICEF.

At right, Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson with Wiesel at the Elie Wiesel Foundation ‘Arts for Humanity’ Gala in New York City.

Oprah Winfrey was similarly honored in 2007. That ceremony was held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.  The ceremony for Tom Hanks took place at the New York Public Library, the difference of location possibly having to do with pre-Madoff and post-Madoff.

However, Hanks’ award is called the Arts for Humanity award, rather than the Humanitarian Award, which doesn’t appear to be given out every year – the last one mentioned was given to  Nicholas Sarkozy in 2008 when he was President of France, for his “steadfast support of Israel.” [Of course, later Sarkozy was accused of “racism” for initiating a program of deporting France’s Roma refugee population back to Romania and Bulgaria from whence they came, which must have disappointed Wiesel and his Foundation staff. ] So is Hanks’ award the same or different from the Humanitarian Award? As with everything to do with Wiesel, it can’t be pinned down.

But the question that came up in my one-track mind is: Did Elie pull back his tuxedo jacket sleeve and show the famous actor his vaunted “death camp” tattoo – as a special privilege that he reserves for certain people? Hanks didn’t mention it, so I guess not. There were probably too many people around, anyway. This tattoo-unveiling must take place when no witnesses are present to spoil what is one person’s word against everyone who was not there (i.e. everyone else)!

Only Verena Dobnik, the Associated Press reporter on the NY City beat, has made the claim of seeing the elusive symbol that represents Elie being an inmate at the Auschwitz “Death Camp.”

Verena Dobnik and AP are now hiding from this issue

A reader, Laura Bell, has written in to tell us that Elie Wiesel has stated to “her teacher” that he doesn’t show his tattoo because he doesn’t want to say “Oh, look what the Nazis did to me.” He doesn’t want to give them that satisfaction. So that is the reason eh? Well, that apparently didn’t stop him from showing it to Verena Dobnik on the occasion of her interview with him, or to someone (according to Dobnik) at Buchenwald when he was there with U.S. Pres. Barack Obama in 2009.  But Verena Dobnik doesn’t want to talk about this singular honor given her past her first claim that she was given it. My emails to her via the Associated Press go unanswered and my phone calls are not returned, even though I am assured “they will get back to me.” When they find out what I want from them, they simply go into hiding mode.

Between my emails and phone calls, and those of others such as Roger and Brian, we will keep their attention anyway. Brian suggested a registered letter – that is a good idea! I suppose he found a snail mail address. I will call the New York AP office again on Monday and this time I’ll ask for the name of the person to whom I’m speaking. I hope many more of you will do the same. The phone number is 1-212-621-1500; email is [email protected]

The Associated Press has put itself into a bad position by allowing a reporter like Verena Dobnik to include unverified nonsense concerning Elie Wiesel into her news stories. But this particular bit of nonsense is very different from the usual lies about what occurred to any random self-described “holocaust survivor” 70 years ago, or even to Elie Wiesel 70 years ago. This is about right now, and what this woman “saw” on Wiesel’s arm just two months ago, and how it can be verified –  because it must be verified. I suggest that Dobnik come forward and answer some questions about what she saw, and the circumstances surrounding it, because we know that Elie Wiesel won’t do so. That’s why we call Elie Wiesel a liar, and now we’re also calling Verena Dobnik a liar … and next will come the Associated Press.

AP reporter doesn’t reply to questions about seeing tattoo on Elie Wiesel’s arm

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

By Carolyn Yeager

Elie Wiesel photographed in his New York Office on Sept. 12, 2012, by AP photographer Bebeto Matthews. Notice how well covered his left arm is … how does he ” pull back his left jacket sleeve” to reveal his tattoo to reporter Verena Dobnik?

*   *   *

Repeated attempts to get a response from Associated Press reporter Verena Dobnik, or any Associated Press representative, about Dobnik’s questionable Oct. 8 news story that she saw a tattoo on Elie Wiesel’s arm have failed to bring forth any response. (See prior blog post dated Nov. 7:  “False report that Elie Wiesel showed reporter “his tattoo?“)

Telephone calls to the New York office of the Associated Press (212-621-1500), where Dobnik is assigned, along with two emails to the address the AP gives out for “feedback and comments” ([email protected]), which they say they welcome,  have not been answered.

A pleasant young  man in the Dallas office of the AP, whom I talked to some days ago, assured me that comments about stories are relayed to the reporter who wrote them. I believe that is probably true so I put the fault on Verena Dobnik. I just now called and reached another voice mail at the New York office, but this time it belongs to a man in the communications department, so perhaps I will hear back from him.

On November 14,  I sent the following email to [email protected]

To:  Associated Press and Verena Dobnik

Re: Verena Dobnik, New York based AP reporter and her article of Oct. 8, 2012, “Elie Wiesel survives Bernie Madoff, heart by-pass

The Associated Press New York office is responsible for allowing a blatant example of journalistic fraud to go unchallenged. Ms. Dobnik writes in her story:

He pulls back his left jacket sleeve to reveal a Nazi death camp number tattooed on his forearm as he sits comfortably in his Manhattan office for an interview.

“Usually I don’t show it,” he says.

This either never happened or should not be included because:

  1. We are not told what Dobnik actually saw. Does she know what a “Nazi death camp number” looks like? This is too vague a “description” for a professional reporter to use.

  2. There is no such thing as a “Nazi death camp number” … only numbers allegedly tattooed on prisoners at Auschwitz. This reveals the propagandistic nature of the reporter’s intent. (I will not spend time belaboring the facts that there can be no purpose in tattooing prisoners in a “death camp”, and that Elie Wiesel was never scheduled for death.)

  3. Elie Wiesel has NEVER shown a tattoo on his arm to any camera, even though there is a long history of questions stating doubts that he actually has one and challenging him to show it to the public. A cameraman (Bebeto Matthews) may have accompanied Ms. Dobnik on that occasion to Wiesel’s NY office and took some photos – Wiesel is seen wearing a heavy suit and long sleeved dress shirt in photos taken on Sept. 12, making it hardly possible for him to just “pull back his sleeve” to reveal a tattoo on his forearm. He would have had to unbutton his shirt cuff and roll it back, an unlikely gesture as Wiesel is not known to have done it for any other reporter.

  4. Without a corroborating witness or a photo taken of Wiesel actually baring his arm with a tattoo present on it, there is no reason to believe the reporter’s casual interjection of this event.

Further, because of the controversy about Elie Wiesel’s “tattoo” it is natural to suspect this was added by Dobnik to her article to try to give some credence to Wiesel’s claim that he has a tattoo even though no one has ever seen it. The Associated Press is thus being USED by Dobnik to disseminate lies in order to further what is false propaganda about “the Holocaust” in general and Elie Wiesel in particular. The Associated Press needs to take this very seriously by questioning Verena Dobnik about this interview.

Dobnik followed up with this sentence in her article:

One of the exceptions was a 2009 visit to the Buchenwald death camp Wiesel survived, with President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

This is equally questionable. In the first place, it is very vague – it actually makes no sense, but the reader is left with the impression that Wiesel told Dobnik that he showed his tattoo to these two world leaders at that time. However, there is NO statement from Wiesel himself that he showed a tattoo to Obama and Merkel in 2009 at Buchenwald. Also none from Obama or Merkel. This absolutely smacks of fabrication on the part of the reporter to make her interview more interesting, and maybe more important and noticeable. However, NO OTHER PUBLICATIONS or writers picked up on this astounding news that Wiesel had made this gesture to two world leaders at Buchenwald! Why not? Because it is not corroborated and no doubt could not be corroborated.

Also, Dobnik is stating falsely that Buchenwald was a “death camp.” It has been admitted for many years by official Holocaust historiography that Buchenwald was not a so-called death camp, and that there were no “death camps” in Germany. According to the official version of the Holocaust, there were only five “extermination camps,” all in Poland.

Verena Dobnik is guilty of (1) interjecting false propaganda into her reports for the purpose of misinforming and inciting hatred against Germany in the minds of her readers. If she is ignorant about the facts of the Holocaust, the editors at the Associated Press should not be. But worse, she is guilty of (2) LYING about what took place during her interview with Elie Wiesel.

I am serious as a heart-attack about this blatant case of journalistic fraud carried out under the nose of the Associated Press, and approved by you. I demand that you reply to this email within a few days time and give me whatever explanation you have. If you find that my complaint has legs, you need to issue a public retraction and an apology. I intend to pursue this issue vigorously.

Very truly yours,

Carolyn Yeager

False report that Elie Wiesel showed reporter “his tattoo?”

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

by Carolyn Yeager

Associated Press reporter Verena Dobnik may be guilty of intentional mis-represention in an AP story published Oct. 8, 2012 in which she said she saw a tattoo on Elie Wiesel’s left forearm.

The story was carried by many news outlets, including the Washington Times, Seattle Times, Huffington Post, Salon.com, the Bend Bulletin (Oregon), The Sun Chronicle, Flagstaff Today, Deseret News , Yahoo news, The Times of Israel (and other specifically Jewish news media).

No date for the actual sit-down interview is given in the report, which is titled “Elie Wiesel survives Madoff wipeout, heart by-pass,” and was contributed to by another Associated Press writer, Randy Herschaft. This is not the first time Dobnik and Herschaft have worked together. In the news story, Dobnik, who was born in Slovenia and lives in New York, claims to have seen Wiesel’s tattoo but does not describe what she saw. She writes:

He pulls back his left jacket sleeve to reveal a Nazi death camp number tattooed on his forearm as he sits comfortably in his Manhattan office for an interview.

“Usually, I don’t show it,” he says.

One of the exceptions was a 2009 visit to the Buchenwald death camp Wiesel survived, with President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Was this extraordinary claim checked out for accuracy by the Associated Press before running the story? In all of his 62 years in public life (since 1950) Wiesel has never exhibted publicly a tattoo on his left arm. Furthermore, there are some photographs taken over the course of the years in which his bare left arm can be clearly seen (sometimes in bright sunlight, as in the unretouched photo here taken from Wiesel’s own film about a return visit to Auschwitz) and none show any kind of mark on his arm, let alone anything that resembles an Auschwitz concentration camp number.

Where’s the excitement?

Dobnik’s claim is so surprising that it should have garnered excitement from the mainstream media, but just the opposite happened – it was totally ignored and some publications that had originally published the story may have removed it from their online news sites! For this reason, I doubt that this incident ever actually happened; I think it very likely that Verena Dobnik added it to her interview simply because she wanted to. I can’t give her motivations, which may be quite complex. But this part of her interview should have set off a red light for the AP editors, and some questions should have been asked. Not just the seven I list below, but also why she should mention it at all if no photograph proving what she says she saw accompanies the article? I do not, at this point, speculate that Wiesel drew something on his arm and then gave Dobnik a quick glance at it. It seems far more likely to me that Dobnik, as other journalists have done, just added it to her story on her own. I have to add that Wiesel’s handlers and publicity team have not killed the story – so he doesn’t disapprove of it.

A challenge to Wiesel, Dobnik and the AP

(At left is a detail of a photograph of the left arm of  Auschwitz survivor Sam Rosenzweig.) If Wiesel is willing to show his tattoo to the reporter Dobnik, why won’t he show it to the general public and end the questions and swirling speculation about “does he or doesn’t he” have what he says he has? This kind of tease from Ms. Dobnik cannot go unanswered, especially from Elie Wiesel Cons The World where we have been asking this question for two and one-half years – since July 2010 – without ever being shown even a picture of Wiesel’s alleged tattoo.  I therefore do not believe this reporter’s story and accuse her of journalistic fraud. She and Mr. Herschaft are clearly biased reporters who favor, and even specialize in, the traditional ‘holocaust’ narrative. I will register this complaint in a formal way with the Associated Press and I urge you readers to do the same. Don’t sit back and expect others to work miracles on your behalf – take action. The more the Associated Press hears about this, the better.

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Some questions we can fairly ask of Ms. Dobnik and the AP editors are:

  1. Does she know what a “Nazi death camp number” looks like? She apparently doesn’t know that Auschwitz was the only German concentration camp that tattooed prisoners, so there is no such thing as a “death camp number,” only an Auschwitz camp number.
  2. Can she describe what this number tattooed on Wiesel’s arm looked like? And why didn’t she? Did she get a long enough or close enough look at it to be sure of what she “saw?”
  3. Why would the Nazis tattoo prisoners in a “death camp” who were presumably scheduled for death? If they were not all scheduled for death, why call it a “death camp number?”
  4. Why does she and the AP continue to call Auschwitz a “death camp” when so many survived, along with their tattoos?
  5. How does she know that Wiesel showed his tattoo to President Obama and Chancellor Merkel in 2009 during a visit to Buchenwald? The implication is that she had to learn it from him, during the interview, but she doesn’t include this in her report so we don’t know.
  6. Buchenwald is not listed as one of the supposed “death camps” (they are all outside of Germany proper), so why is  Dobnik allowed to call Buchenwald a “death camp.”
  7. How many other mistakes has this AP reporter made in her dire ignorance of what she is writing about?

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