Mark Gobell: “Would this 15 year-old even recognize a Mozart melody, let alone be always around when Dr. Josef...
Carolyn: Oh really. Please do send us your grandfathers “original,” Eric. I think that’s the least...
Erik Edwards: The photo is not a fraud. I have an original that my grandfather took and the standing man is in fact...
Carolyn: Michelle – The “evidence” is that there is no tattoo on Wiesel’s arm. Since this...
Michelle Walker: You are using the lack of evidence to “prove” your point and yet, you lack any evidence...
“Never shall I forget that first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, ... Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.” Elie Wiesel, Night (original edition)
“Not far from us, flames, huge flames, were rising from a ditch. Something was being burned there. A truck drew close and unloaded its hold: small children. Babies! Yes, I did see this, with my own eyes ... children thrown into the flames.” Elie Wiesel, Night, p. 32
“The thousands of people who died daily in Auschwitz and Birkenau, in the crematoria, no longer troubled me.” Elie Wiesel, Night, p. 62
“Dr. Mengele was holding a list: our numbers. [...] I had but one thought: not to have my number taken down and not to show my left arm.” Elie Wiesel, Night, p. 72
Primo Levi, on page 27 of his highly-quoted book Survival in Auschwitz, writes that every prisoner had to have a tattoo. “It seems that this is the real, true initiation: only by showing one's number can one get bread and soup.” Without a tattoo, how did Wiesel survive?
Observation by a Jewish sociologist/camp survivor:
“...most of the memoirs and reports [of 'Holocaust survivors'] are full of preposterous verbosity, graphomanic exaggeration, dramatic effects, overestimated self-inflation, dilettante philosophizing, would-be lyricism, unchecked rumors, bias, partisan attacks...” —Samuel Gringauz, "Jewish Social Studies" (New York), January 1950, Vol. 12, p. 65.
Theater J (for Jewish) "caved" to the Nobel laureate when he FedExed a letter to the playwright that his lawyers would make sure her play, Imagining Madoff, featuring Bernie Madoff, Elie Wiesel and a secretary, never reached the stage. According to the Washington Post, Wiesel used the words "obscene" and "defamatory" and added, "Nothing of me is in your script!" The story, written by Ted Scheinman and Jonathan L. Fischer, is here.
Elie Wiesel’s left arm in bright sunlight in a still grabbed from his own movie “Elie Wiesel Goes Home” – no retouching possible. [courtesy Eric Hunt]
IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE, after all I’ve written, that some people are still saying to me, “You shouldn’t say Wiesel has admitted he doesn’t have a tattoo, because what if it turns out he does. Then you’ll look foolish and set back revisionism.”
Turns out? How long do we wait for something to “turn out?”
Wiesel will be 88-years-old on September 30th of this year. Very few human bodies are able to carry on after their 90th year, so, without a consensus opinion from the revisionist community, we are looking at the prospect of an eternal “We’ll never know” pasted over the Elie Wiesel tattoo question. Naturally, this is what Wiesel supporters want, but should revisionists be content with never going beyond that, continuing to fear there will come a time he will dramatically pull up his sleeve for the cameras?
He’s already done so and we have the result in the image at right.
And what don’t people understand about logic? One doesn’t need a University course in logic to use common sense. Two plus two adds up to four – we don’t need a calculator to prove it, our fingers can tell us. What should we think of those who would say “But what if it doesn’t? What if our fingers turn out to be wrong?”
It’s the same logic we use when someone tells us he has a number tattooed on his arm that proves he was at Auschwitz in 1944 – we expect it to be shown to us. There is no reason we should have to take it on trust. Imagine yourself in a real life situation like that and you’ll get it. Those who are willing to accept a deal such as we have in the case of Elie Wiesel are either cowards, frightened serfs, or collaborators in the lie. But people are also ignorant of the facts – even though mostly through choice, and maybe also poor memory.
For this reason, I want to specifically address these persons to try to give them a little backbone … er, I mean background. You need to be clear about how Elie Wiesel got into this tattoo quandary to begin with.
To those whose reasoning goes, Why would Wiesel say he has a tattoo when he doesn’t have one? He wouldn’t be so foolish, therefore I have to assume he might have one. He also doesn’t need to have a tattoo to have been at Auschwitz, – they forget about the Yiddish book, Un di Velt hot gesvign (And the world remained silent), from which Night was taken. In that book, and carried over to Night, Eliezer and his father were tattooed on their left forearms with A7713 and A7712. It follows that if Night is Elie Wiesel’s own story, he has to have a tattoo.
On page 51, the author wrote:
The three “veterans,” with needles in their hands, engraved a number on our left arms. I became A-7713.
Now I hope you understand (and please don’t forget it again) why he has to have that particular tattoo, and why he has always said he does have it. He has no choice. The fact that it has never been shown to the public speaks volumes (never underestimate his belief in his ability to fool the public), as well as the fact that we’ve seen his uncovered left arm in photographs and there is no such number there. What more proof do you want? The final nail in the coffin is that Wiesel and the people around him remain silent about it – they will not allow the question to be asked. That is the “admitting” part.
So it’s settled – Wiesel has no tattoo, and he admits as much. He’s kept up the lying charade so long because he could! No one challenged him. Once again, I will give credit to Jew Michael Grüner for breaking this open, even though he makes up plenty of ridiculous concentration camp stories himself. But Grüner got the documents and made them public, along with explanatory letters from Auschwitz and Buchenwald.
If Wiesel is not a concentration camp survivor, we need to look into other possibilities for his whereabouts in 1944. We will not be able to prove anything – this period of time could not be more confused. Displaced persons and self-identified camp survivors were flocking into Western Europe in search of opportunities; they were creating new identities and applying to go to Israel and to America. In all of this, it’s impossible to find any kind of a trail. But some pathways are more plausible than others for the Wiesel family.
Wiesel’s family is not found in records at Auschwitz
Speaking of documents, do you know there is no record of any member of Wiesel’s immediate family at Auschwitz? That’s a fact. In addition, the only record, as far as I know, of Elie’s two older sisters being at the Dachau sub-camp Kaufering comes from a book put out by the “Central Committee of Jews in Bavaria” in 1946. They published a list of 61,387 Jews in a book named Sharit Ha-Platah (translates as “Counted Remnant”), among which are listed Hilda and Bea Wiesel. The names were collected by Chaplain (Rabbi) Abraham Klausner, who is said to have visited many of the camps in southern Germany where survivors gathered in late 1945 and 1946. You better believe the Rabbi wanted to get as many names as possible, and that there is nothing official about this list.
Bea, Elie and Hilda Wiesel in Paris after the war.
We first meet up with Hilda and Bea as refugees in Germany, just as we first meet up with Elie at a Jewish orphanage in France. Hilda Wiesel married an Algerian Jew and moved with him to Paris. She has since spoken about her family’s deportation in a Shoah Foundation videotaped interview, but without details of what happened after they arrived at Auschwitz. Her sister Batya (Bea) emigrated to Canada and never spoke publicly about it at all.
Hilda’s Shoah Foundation testimony which she gave in 1995 (coincidentally the same year Elie’s official autobiography All Rivers Run to the Sea came out) differs from her brother’s story in Night in numerous details. Relevant here, she said:
We were deported on 15 May . We heard around 1943, because we had family in Belgium, we heard that they had deported a cousin, but we didn’t know where to …
I can only tell you one thing, that the third transport – we had to stand 5 by 5, five abreast – there were Hungarian gendarmes, hardly any Germans, mostly Hungarian gendarmes.
We were myself and my sister, the one who was in Canada and is now deceased; my mother; my grandmother, that is my father’s mother; and, oh … my little 10-year old sister. And we arrive in Auschwitz, the men were apart, my father with my brother.
According to the original Night and the Yiddish And the world remained silent, the family’s deportation date was June 3, 1944. In Marion Wiesel’s re-translation, it was changed to May 20. So which is correct? Most likely none.
Hilda also tells us the women and men traveled in separate cars.
My mother knew there was no hope, because she told me and my sister, always stay together, always stay together. And she said, go tell your dad to always stay together with Elie. And I ran over to him and said, Papa, stay with Elie, stay with him – like that. Q: This was on the train, that you are describing? A: No, it was after getting off the train.
If they were in the same train car, Mother could have told her husband herself. But Night and its Yiddish precursor describe the boys and girls having sex together in the darkness of the train, freed from following the usual rules, and Wiesel says he was traveling with his mother and sister — everyone was together. Let me make clear that I don’t have any more faith in 70-year old Hilda Wiesel Kudler’s testimony than I do Elie Wiesel’s “stream-of-consciousness” autobiography, which, as I said, coincidentally appeared at the same time in 1995. And I am not convinced by this that the family really went to Auschwitz since not one of them was registered there, nor do their names come up on any hygiene or other reports even though they were supposedly put in quarantine. We do find Lazar and Abraham Wiesel, and Myklos Grüner, his father and brother listed on a hygiene report.
I’ll also add that Mother, Grandmother and youngest sister [10 years-old according to Hilda Wiesel, but 7 years-old according to Elie in Night, where Grandmother is not included] are understood to have been sent directly to the “gas chamber” and gone up in smoke through the chimney shortly thereafter. Since homicidal gas chambers didn’t exist, all the women would have been sent to the showers, gone through the disinfection process, given new clothing and assigned to a women’s barrack, the same as Wiesel writes about Eliezer and Father. However, a grandmother and mother with a child would have been assigned to non-working barracks; the two 20-somethings to barracks for female workers.
A very odd fact is that both in Night and in the Yiddish book, Eliezer and Father never mention their wife, daughters, mothers and sisters again. They don’t look for them, talk or ask about them, as other people did. They apparently accept being told that their loved ones “went up the chimney” and immediately become concerned only for themselves. I don’t believe this; it’s not human nature, it’s make-believe.
So if not there, where else could the Wiesel family have been in 1944?
Following a trail of possibilities
Well, we do have Shlomo and Mendel Wiesel’s first cousin Yaakov Fishkowitz filling out a Yad Vashem Page of Testimony for each of them, reporting they both died in 1943 in a “labor camp.” If Yaakov didn’t believe this were true, why would he have done this in 1957 at the same time he filled out other pages for relatives he marked as being sent to Auschwitz in 1944? He also said Shlomo was born in 1903 and Mendel in 1905.
Add to this the very weak story Elie Wiesel gives for why his family didn’t do something to protect themselves from the “Nazi menace.” On page 8 of Night, Wiesel wrote:
In those days it was still possible to buy emigration certificates to Palestine. I had asked my father to sell everything, to liquidate everything, and to leave. ‘I am too old, my son,’ he answered. ‘Too old to start a new life. Too old to start from scratch in some distant land …’
Too old at the age of 41? Fishkowitz puts his birth in 1903. Other than that, there is no official birth date for Elie Wiesel’s father. In a close family, children always know their parents’ age and birthday. Hilda said her mother was born in 1900. So Shlomo Wiesel’s age is being covered up by son Elie, who left the DoB space on the Page of Testimony he filled out for his father blank. We can say that the oldest Shlomo could have been was 48, but more likely younger. Wiesel has always made his father out to be a tired old man, especially in Night. I have distrusted this characterization and believe it was a literary device to make the story more poignant, just like turning 10 year-old Tsipora into a 7 year-old.
The following interesting passage is on page 27 of the Yiddish Un di Velt hot gesvign, but is not included in the shorter French or English Night:
We had opportunities and possibilities to hide with regular goyim and with prominent personalities. Many non-Jews from the surrounding villages had begged us, that we would come to them. There were bunkers available for us in villages or in the mountains. But we had cast aside all proposals. Why? Quite simple: the calendar showed April 1944 and we, the Jews of Sighet, still knew nothing about Treblinka, Buchenwald and Auschwitz.
Two things here. It again says it was April, not May, when the Sighet Jews first learned they would be deported. It confirms the passage on page 83 of the Yiddish book: “It was a beautiful April day,” said on one of their first days in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The other thing – it is not true the Jews of Sighet knew nothing, yet that is what Wiesel writes in his autobiography All Rivers, while at the same time he also writes of Polish Jews passing through their neighborhoods telling stories of terrible atrocities by German occupiers. He says that non-Jews offered the Wiesel family places to stay. Wiesel writes that their Christian maid Maria begged them to come to her village and she would keep them safe. How many Jews may have taken advantage of such offers? But we’re told that Shlomo Wiesel refused to accept this kindness of Christians, and Elie’s only explanation is that they still didn’t believe the stories they were hearing. Then he blames the world for not warning them! This can be found in All Rivers Run to the Sea, on page 63 and 68-69.
Isn’t is possible the reason we find mention of these offers of help in all three Wiesel books is because it was such an important part of his experience that he felt compelled to include it? His family hid out and were protected from arrest. Or … maybe only he was sent away for safety, and his mother and sisters had different experiences. His father too, unless he did indeed die in 1943.
After the war, when only Elie and his two older sisters reunited, it was convenient to say the others were “murdered” in Auschwitz. That was the preferred story at the time. After all, with an advertised death toll of four million until 1990, there was plenty of room to say hundreds of your relatives were exterminated there.
Elie Wiesel is center-top with a group of friends all wearing berets, at Ambloy, France in 1945.
Wiesel could have been sent to the home for Jewish orphans in France after the war from wherever he had been staying. In the few photographs we have, he looks cheerful and well-adjusted. He has friends, and seems to be a leader of younger boys. His hair is very long in the front, too long to have grown out from a concentration camp shaved head just a few months before.
From his very first year in France he was extremely interested in Zionism, the struggle in Palestine, and was a supporter of the Irgun, the Jewish terrorist organization in Palestine. Where did he learn all this, since he says that while in the camps he had no interest in anything. This is another reason to suspect he sat out the “Hungarian Holocaust” and was staying in a safe political environment somewhere.
I have written so many details in the various articles on this site that suggest or show outright that Wiesel has lied about many, many things – that he is faking it when it comes to so many aspects of his story. It’s not like he’s a paragon of truthfulness and I am therefore going out on a limb, or defaming him, by questioning the basics of his story. What really gives me a justification to do so comes back to – yes, that’s correct, his lack of a tattoo!
I think it shows that Wiesel and his friends know how damaging this tattoo business is by the fact they won’t speak about it – they completely refuse to deal with it. The Jewish Shoah believers in France at Enquete & Debat tried but could not get Wiesel to answer any questions about the tattoo by writing to him at his Foundation office in Romania. After a period of time they phoned there and Wiesel’s assistant hung up on them as soon as she realized what they were calling about. If holocaust-believing Jews are treated that way, it tells us just how unwelcome the topic is.
As I’ve said before, the only way to bring attention to Wiesel’s serious tattoo problem is to make a lot of noise about it – to get public attention on it. This is not happening and will not happen as long as the general response is: Forget the tattoo because it might turn out that he has one.
The cowardice in such a position leaves me flabbergasted. It’s half ignorance, as I said above, that is true, but the other half is lack of nerve. I am doing my best to dispel the ignorance. Those promoting the Wiesel legend lie, lie, lie, lie, lie and it doesn’t bother them in the least, while the truth forces are afraid of being wrong when the odds for being wrong on this are 5% or less – to me, it’s 0%. To continue to be content with just asking the question “Is it possible that Elie Wiesel doesn’t have the tattoo he said he does?” and fail to go beyond that to a declarative statement on the matter is not an acceptable outcome considering all we know.
It’s time to put all doubts aside and claim the obvious.
Israel Shamir is a Russian-born Jew who converted to Orthodox Christianity. Norman Finkelstein said of Shamir: “He has invented his entire personal history. Nothing he says about himself is true.”
Warren B. Routledge, author of the new unauthorized biography of Elie Wiesel, Holocaust High Priest, has thankfully CORRECTED some statements made by Israel Shamir in an email to Michael Santomauro referring to my May 11 interview with Routledge. The Shamir comment was posted at Santomauro’s Reporter Notebook Yahoo Group.
Shamir wrote that he knew Wiesel had spent time in Auschwitz because “a good personal friend, a French writer Piotr Ravich (spelling?),” said he did. It doesn’t seem to bother Shamir that this is hearsay, nor that he doesn’t know the spelling of his good, personal friend’s last name! He made some other errors of fact in his email. Here is the full text:
There are many funny and dubious points about Wiesel, but he definitely was an inmate in Auschwitz. I had a good personal friend, a French writer Piotr Ravich (spelling?), who won the prix Goncourt. He committed suicide in 1970s, was a wonderful man, quite cheerful. So this Piotr Ravich had spent four years in Auschwitz, as much as anybody, and he knew Wiesel there. They belonged to the elite of the prisoners. Ravich was a translator and interpreter for the administration. Anyway Wiesel was there.
Mauriac played a very important part in Wiesel career, I do not know whether he lusted after him and I do not know whether Wiesel was a gay, but Mauriac’s Catholic faith played a very important part in the story. This is well described in many texts.
I next heard from Warren Routledge informing me that Shamir had made a number of errors in what he had written, and he, Routledge, intended to answer him. Here is Routledge’s response:
This is a follow-up to Israel Shamir’s friendly post in response to Frank Scott’s negative comments about my unauthorized biography of Elie Wiesel, entitled Holocaust High Priest.
I would just like to add a few comments to what Shamir wrote. His statement that his friend, Piotr Rawicz, “knew Wiesel there,” [Auschwitz] and the assurance he gives us that “Wiesel was there” [Auschwitz] are simply not true.
It is possible, however, that Wiesel and Rawicz could have met at some point, however briefly, after the war, when they had each established themselves in the mainstream media as Holocaust camp veterans within just a few years of each other.
Ravicz published his one and only novel Le Sang du ciel, a modernist work in the surrealist vein, in 1961, and received the Rivarol Prize (awarded to a writer born in a linguistic framework other than French) for it in 1962. Shamir also states erroneously that Rawicz received the highly-prestigious Goncourt Prize, which is not the case. Wiesel published La Nuit in 1958 and he also received the Rivarol Prize in 1963 for that work and several other short novels published in the early 1960s.
Each first novel was translated into English, Wiesel’s as Night in 1960, with another one, by his wife in 2006, which is discussed in great detail in my book. Likewise, Rawicz’s novel was translated as Blood from the Sky in 1964, with another, completely separate, translation in 2004.
Shamir states that Rawicz spent “four years at Auschwitz, as much as anybody,” yet Rawicz and his commentators actually only make claims for him being there for two years, from 1942 to 1944, when he was transferred to Terezin.
Rawicz, both in his novel, and in his later life as a literary critic in France, was always very vague, even elusive, about his time spent in Auschwitz. To my knowledge, he never divulged his ID number, date of arrival, block assignment, or other personal information relating to his work duties other than to say he served as a translator while there. In this regard, his friend, the British literary critic and author of the 2004 translation of his novel, Anthony Rudolf, has written of him: “Rawicz was the first to admit that his experience of Auschwitz was not the worst possible.”
What does this mean?
Such reserve is very strange indeed for someone whose career benefited immensely from his aura as a “survivor.” It also stands in opposition, by its prudence, to the outright mendacity and chutzpah of Wiesel who claimed in Night to have seen two massive flaming pits in close proximity to the main gate into which dump trucks were unloading living adults (Pit 1) and living children (Pit 2).
Rawicz’s “silence” about his claimed stay at Auschwitz was such that, before his suicide in 1982, he never described what his life was actually like there. Nor did he ever provide any eye-witness information about the alleged German policy of “extermination” there.
Elie Wiesel is known for putting big ones over on the American (and other English-speaking) people , so it is no surprise to us that he is also faking his knowledge of Hungarian. I had already noticed that on the rare occasions he is shown speaking that language, he doesn’t go beyond short phrases or even just one-or-two-word questions and answers. Not being linguistically gifted myself, I didn’t feel I could say much about it.
Image right: The pretentious Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize for 2010 was presented to the pretentious Elie Wiesel (shown with Lantos’ widow) in November 2010. [Photo by Babette Rittmeyer & Brittany Smith]More about Tom Lantos below.
But now a Hungarian-American reader named John contacted me about the video “Elie Wiesel Goes Home.” He began by watching the short segment (2 min 29 sec) that is available on Youtube. He noticed discrepancies right away.
According to John:
Wiesel is speaking Hungarian words, but they are not spontaneous and his “inflections” are all wrong. The person he is speaking with IS speaking spontaneously, with proper Hungarian (very language specific) inflections, and using the proper idiomatically correct sentence structures. Wiesel is speaking in a short, pressured, and monotone manner – more like if a foreign-born person would have studied a travel guide.
Also, Wiesel’s accent while speaking English is not like a native Hungarian who is speaking English. Listen to former Senator Tom Lantos – he was from Hungary and also of Jewish descent; his accent, while speaking English, has the distinctive Hungarian characteristics that I am familiar with.
John told me why he thinks he is a competent judge of Wiesel’s language skills:
I was born in Hungary and escaped from there in 1956. I am fluent in Hungarian (without any accent) and I am fluent in English (without any accent). I was educated both in the U.S. and (some) in Europe, I have traveled a lot and I understand “cultural idioms.”
In his first message to me, John detailed a few translation errors in the video segment.
Video captions vs. the correct translation:
@48 seconds into the video the caption reads “This is the most important” – the correct translation is “This is the most interesting”
@ 54 seconds into the video the caption reads “A farewell letter. When they knew they’d be taken away.” – the correct translation is: “This is a farewell letter, [written] while they were alreadywaiting, to take them away”
@ 57 seconds into the video the caption reads “I had a Christian employee” – the man simply says “I had an employee.”
John then did an exact word for word comparison of the captions on the film segment versus what was actually spoken between the two men. The Hungarian is showing some family photos to Wiesel as they speak. What we notice is that Elie Wiesel said very little, and at times the Hungarian man didn’t seem to understand Wiesel’s words. In order to demonstrate that, I will now copy just the actual words that passed between the two, leaving aside the captions. Wiesel’s speech is in blue boldface.
My brother’s family. You said you knew them? Yes. This is with his wife. His children, my oldest brother, who might have known you. [Note that Wiesel does not answer.-cy] And, ah, did they go to Auschwitz? What’s that?
They went to Auschwitz.
Everyone. They don’t exist to anyone. I would remember. They don’t exist.
This is my mother. Mother.Did she die here in Sighet or Auschwitz?
Iske died in Sighet, she lived until ’34.
This is our entire family … as we were [as all of us that were around]. And this?
This. This is the most interesting. This … is a farewell letter, while they were already waiting, to take them away. Yes.
Then … I had an employee … [Wiesel interrupts as if he doesn’t know what was said about the employee.-cy] They didn’t know about Auschwitz.
They didn’t know, of course no one knew, and it came to us [later] what was to be.
Then they, the children, wrote me a farewell letter, because they knew then that … I had sent the man from the forests to find out what’s going on … [“forests” could refer to a region, i.e. Transylvania in Hungarian is “Erdély” meaning “The Forests” – John] and afterwards, on the last day, they sent me this letter — that the children, he, his wife and my father say farewell to me. This is very important.
Wiesel turns to one of his crew near him and says in English: “This is a collective letter of farewell that the entire family wrote to him the day of the deportation, this is very important.”
This is very important.
Yes. From the content you’ll see — Exactly.
what kind of mood, sadness, they didn’t know what was going to happen … they were sitting on their luggage and waited for them to come … poor things … and then, well, the rest of it we already know … we didn’t know what would be desired to happen, or what will happen. I told all of this stuff to Militka in English. No one came back?
What? No one came back?
No one in the world. No one.
There would still be a lot more, but these are the most important. I am very happy for this because it would have been lost. This … it was left.
It is clear from this that Wiesel’s part in this conversation consists of very few words, spoken repetitively. Add to this the claim by Nikolaus Grüner that Wiesel declined to speak with him in Hungarian when they met in Stockholm in 1986, and other situations wherein Wiesel had the opportunity to show off his Hungarian but didn’t … and we have to assume that he is simply unable to speak it with any fluency.
What else can explain Elie Wiesel’s lack of understanding of the Hungarian language?
As I have written in earlier articles, Elie Wiesel did not like public secular school, but he loved Jewish religious school. As a youth, he often played sick and missed school. Yiddish was the common language spoken in the home and in the community. Wiesel learned Hebrew and devoted himself to the Talmud and other Jewish religious texts. He did not like Gentiles and avoided them; Hungarian was the language of the enemy. Later, at age 17 (or earlier?) he went to France and became a French speaker.
But why doesn’t he just say so? Why does he prefer to give people a false impression about himself? Is this just another aspect of his need to lie — to make up stories, to see that which didn’t happen as if it did happen, and that which did as not having happened? Is Elie Wiesel just an inveterate, or compulsive, liar?
“Holocaust survivors” are mostly people who tell lies. The late Senator Tom Lantos (below left) is a good example. It turns out that he and Elie Wiesel are the same age — both born in 1928, in February and September respectively, and according to their own accounts (no other confirmation) were arrested in Spring 1944 in the Jewish round-up in Hungary. Wiesel says he was sent to Auschwitz and got tattooed, along with his father. Lantos tells a different story.
Is there any reason to believe the story Tom Lantos tells of being a “holocaust survivor?”
Tom Lantos was born in 1928 (same year as Elie Wiesel) to a Jewish family living in Budapest. According to his Foundation biography, “as a teenager he was sent to a forced labor camp by the German Nazi occupant military. After escaping the labor camp, he sought refuge with an aunt who lived in a safe house operated by Raoul Wallenberg …”
In March 1944, [Lantos] was sent to a labor camp in Szob, a small village about 40 miles north of Budapest. He and his fellow inmates maintained a key bridge on the Budapest-Vienna rail line. Lantos escaped, was captured and beaten, then escaped a second time and returned to Budapest.
Do we know that Lantos was not paid for this labor – as so many were – but still “ran away” and returned to Budapest, where he met up with some form of resistance organization? No we don’t. No research has been done; no proof or records of any of this has been presented. It is simply accepted that Tom Lantos is a holocaust survivor and entitled to the sympathy and prestige that accompanies that status, plus payments for life from the “perpetrators.” His Foundation biography continues:
“After the Russians liberated Budapest in 1945, Tom tried to locate his mother and family members but came to realize that they had all perished …”
Tom was in Budapest all that time and didn’t try to locate his mother?! His story is that he was “able to move around freely due to his having blond hair and blue eyes, which to the Nazis were physical signs of Aryanism” … as if the German police were even in Budapest and, if they were, would be unaware that Jews could also have blond hair and blue eyes. “As a result, he acted as a courier for the underground movement and delivered food and medicine to Jews living in other safe houses.” Naturally, he is presented as a positive figure, similar to Max Hamburger.
There is nothing finally said about what befell his family members, yet Wikipedia states, without any source or reference whatsoever, that “his mother and other family members had all been killed by the Germans, along with 450,000 other Hungarian Jews during the preceding 10 months of their occupation.” Believable? The source of all this can only be Tom Lantos himself, who has already been outed (by Eric Hunt, for one, in his film “The Last Days of the Big Lie“) as a practiced liar in hearings about Iraq on Capitol Hill. But heck, we all know …
His experiences in the Holocaust and afterward were highlighted in the Academy Award winning documentary The Last Days (1998) produced by Steven Spielberg‘s Shoah Foundation.
Some things we can learn from all this:
Sixteen-year-old boys in Hungary were just as likely to be sent directly to nearby labor camps, and not to Auschwitz, in which case they would NOT have been tattooed with an Auschwitz camp number. This could explain something about Elie Wiesel.
It was not too difficult in 1944 to escape custody and join the “resistance” without being discovered, especially if you had close relatives who had managed to avoid deportation.
These 16-year-olds had fathers, mothers and siblings that were also capable of work, but supposedly were not sent to labor camps as Tom Lantos was, but for some unexplainable reason to Auschwitz to be killed. In any case, it is always said that none survived.
The interview with psychiatrist Max Hamburger that appeared in the March 2012 Dutch magazine Aanspraak was translated into English for me by Hasso Castrup. Some things that Hamburger said are revealing of his overall honesty when it comes to his statements about “the Holocaust.” Being a “holocaust survivor” who appears in the famous photograph is, after all, his only claim to fame.
Max Hamburger in 2012 pointing to himself in the Famous Buchenwald Lie-beration Photo from 1945 (Source: Aanspraak magazine)
I’ve already reported in a previous article (scroll down to end) that his father was an Amsterdam diamond merchant, Hartog Hamburger, who died from a bizarre accident when Max was only four years old. His mother, a fashion designer, worked even harder after that and often left him with his grandparents. When Max was ten, his brother died of leukemia, leaving Max alone with his mother. This is quite a lot of trauma in the first ten years of life, which couldn’t help but leave a mark on his psyche.
He says his brother’s death is what inspired him to study medicine, beginning in 1938 when he was 18. But in 1942, further public education was denied to him because he was Jewish. His job with the Jewish Council (Judenrat) allowed him to remain immune to deportation to Westerbork by getting a special stamp on his Ausweis (ID). In the summer of 1942, he went to work as an intern at the New Israelite Hospital, where he learned that when the substance ‘Pyrifer’ is injected intravenously it will cause high fever similar to what one gets with malaria or typhoid. Hamburger began injecting this into the Jewish patients so they would be declared unfit for deportation.
This, of course, raised suspicion among the Germans and Hamburger says in June 1943 the New Israelite Hospital was raided, in order to be emptied. He and other medical personnel hid patients under laundry and in the morgue, and led seriously ill patients into hiding (?). He is proud to describe himself as part of the Resistance and says he was later awarded with a memorial cross because of it. He tells a story that describes how in August 1943 he once again escapes deportation, but I’m not repeating it because there is no way to assure it’s true.
Working with the Resistance
He then moved to the Jewish Handicapped (Asylum) at Weesperplein, where he and other doctors again tried to”save” as many patients as possible by declaring them ill with contagious diseases. He says at the Portuguese-Israelite Hospital people in mixed marriages were to be sterilized. Along with most of the staff, he refused to cooperate and went through a hidden door into a neighboring villa and went into hiding. He and his girlfriend were married by a rabbi; they were both fully into the Resistance now. His mother was also brought to where he was, but she quickly hid herself elsewhere.
He says that “shortly afterwards we were betrayed and arrested, interrogated and deported to Westerbork. My mother was also betrayed.” On Sunday, February 6, 1944, he saw her for the last time in the penal barracks at Westerbork. They fell into each other’s arms and cried. But then … “In Auschwitz I met a fellow radiologist who was deported together with her. He told me that my mother was gassed on March 6, 1944. I arrived there on February 10, 1944 (his 24th birthday, but he doesn’t mention it), but did not see her again.”
Since we know there were no gassings at Auschwitz – this is a dead giveaway that he’s telling a big lie, although he’s putting the lie in the mouth of an unnamed “fellow radiologist.” This is a trick that is used often by so-called witnesses and “survivors.” The so-called informant should always be named; if they can’t name the exact source of the information, they should not be believed.
At Auschwitz, he at first failed, then succeeded in becoming recognized as a doctor. He began on a work detail where he says he was “poorly dressed in the icy cold damp weather, the work meant a maximum survival of 3 months.” (We hear so often that the life expectancy was “3 months,” but why did most inmates not only live until liberation, but into old age after it? Hamburger himself is 93 years old – Feb.10, three days ago, was his birthday.) As a doctor, he supervised the cleaning of the barracks during the day, in the afternoon handed out soup, evenings he did lice control. What’s so hard about that? Yet he says that in April he developed a fever, and on May 1st managed to avoid the medical inspection (a strange story of ‘luck’) in order to be included in a transport of Hungarian “forced” laborers headed to Silesia. He says this “saved his life” (considering his 3 months were almost up, don’t you know).
According to this, Hamburger was at Auschwitz from Feb. 10 to May 1, 1944 – a little less than three months. This was the usual length of quarantine at Birkenau for those who were then sent to other camps as labor. During the 2 to 3-month quarantine period the inmates did not work, so I do think his account has quite a bit of invention in it so as to not sound like quarantine. His mother would also have been in quarantine and he would not have seen her there, being the men and women were strictly segregated into separate camps. This is the usual situation from which “survivors” claim their relatives were gassed, the information so often coming from a nameless fellow inmate; sometimes from a “sadistic guard.”
After Auschwitz, the story gets more confusing
The train took them to Gross Rosen, where an old factory was assigned as their hospital. He says “we” had to vaccinate everyone against typhus in February 1945. Their only hope were reports of advancing Russians and Americans, which they knew of because a fellow prisoner secretly listened to the radio. At the evacuation of the camp they had to walk in the snow to the Czech Republic. From there they were taken by train from Prague to Flossenbürg camp in Bavaria.
According to USHMM, Gross Rosen camp was evacuated in early February ’45 and “about 40,000” from the main camp and sub-camps had to march west. This is a lot of inoculation to be done in a few days. But more important, the 9-month period he spent at Gross Rosen between May 1944 and February 1945 is blank. May 1944 coincides with the time of the large Hungarian deportation to Auschwitz; Hamburger says he was with a Hungarian labor unit that had already been to Auschwitz and sent out from there. Would not the new arrivals also have been sent out from there in like manner? From here on, his narrative remains very sketchy, and is mostly made up of vague horror stories.
He says, “The camp guards were shooting prisoners who were their live targets in the white landscape. Daily there were death sentences and prisoners were hanged before our eyes.” Yet the prisoners were needed to work in the quarries and Messerschmitt factories … and they had been innoculated in February against typhus, no doubt at some expense. So why would they be wasted as target practice for the guards? This is when survivor stories become really unbelievable. At the beginning of March 1945, he says they were deported to Ohrdruf, a work camp of Buchenwald. “Here were bombproof underground factories for assembly of V-weapons. After underground explosions with dynamite, we were to remove the big stones from the corridors by small-gauge trains.” But he doesn’t stay there. “We had to walk for four days and nights 80 km (approx. 40 miles) through the snow to Buchenwald.” Although he says he was practically “in a coma,” he’s clear about the dates and distances.
“On 11 April 1945, Buchenwald was liberated by the American army. Five days after the liberation our well-known picture (was taken). I lie down there, fourth from the left. As I lay there someone advised me to go to the hospital, because I otherwise would not survive. “If they do not record you, you go ‘under the grass.’ When an American goes by and sees you lying, he makes sure that you get recorded. And so I went. With DDT powder I was lice free. The lice and I got U.S. baby food! For me THAT was liberation. During a night in the hospital, I knew: ‘If I fall asleep, I’ll never wake up and I won’t be able to testify to what happened to us.’ I fought that night to the utmost against sleep and thereby I survived.”
From the beginning of March to April 11, Hamburger has nothing to say except that he spent 4 days walking from Ordruf to Buchenwald and that he was in the photograph taken on April 16. He doesn’t give the date that he arrived at Buchenwald. What he tells can be picked up from any number of accounts of the time period. Can we believe he was even at Buchenwald? Why was he in that barracks #56? How long was he there? Why did “someone” have to tell him to go to the hospital 5 days after the Americans arrived? All very implausible since he was a medical professional.
But beyond all this is the fact that the figure he says is him is indeed a retouched copy of the figure in the row above, 3rd from the left. He doesn’t claim any relationship to that person, who has been identified (inaccurately) by Yad Vashem Museum as Yehuda Doron or Yaakov Marton. This famous photograph has been proved to be a composite photo created by a U.S. military intelligence department to be used in the ongoing propaganda war against Germany and Hitler’s Third Reich, so everything about it is suspect.
The rest of what Hamburger said in the interview does not apply to the questions I have. Again, my primary question is: When did Max Hamburger first say he was in that photograph? Like so many others, it was not at liberation, nor in the years following. In fact, there is no information that I have found as to when this did occur. Why? Because it must be recent – too recent.
In 1945, Max was 25. He wrote that he and the loyal wife he married when he was 22 were divorced sometime around or after 1957, and he is now with his third wife.
“For a long time I have been a psychiatrist and I have helped many war victims thanks to my own experiences. Until I could no longer afford to listen to them. Unfortunately I never found a psychiatrist who could help me. I regret that I was a bad partner in the previous marriages, but that’s because I was in the grip of the past I had lived through. I find it annoying when people make demands on me and I can get angry.”
I bet he could sure get angry with me! I am making demands on Max Hamburger to fill in the blanks in his “holocaust survivor” story. I don’t have any reason to doubt the early part of his story but, starting with his and his mother’s arrival at Auschwitz, there is much to question.
He is, from all appearances, a loyal Jew with the typical Jewish desire to avenge the “wrong” done to his people and the interruption and pain in his own personal life. Telling lies to accomplish this is not, therefore, a wrong in his eyes. A wrong for a wrong is, for Jews, a fair exchange … nothing to be ashamed of. This may even be how he counseled his patients.
Max Hamburger, a Jewish-Dutch psychiatrist, is the man in the above photograph taken in 2012. He is 92 years of age. The photo was retrieved from this pdf .
Hamburger has identified himself as the fourth figure in the bottom row of the famous Buchenwald photo — the figure he is pointing to with his thumb. He was 25 years-old in April 1945 when the camp was “liberated” by American troops. I want you to notice right away the space between Hamburger’s nose and upper lip — it is unusually long. The face of the young man in the famous photo does not have that long space, but just a normal, or even short, distance between nose and mouth. This is facial structure that doesn’t change, which tells me he is not the same person.
Born on February 10, 1920 in Amsterdam, Max began the study of medicine in 1938 and, as best I can make out from Dutch language sources, he was arrested in 1942 because of his activism in the Dutch Resistance and sent to Westerbork, a camp for political prisoners in The Netherlands. He ended up in Auschwitz and then Buchenwald, he says, taking the usual route. According to this page, he was suffering from TB, and also malnutrition, when the famous photo he’s holding in his hands was taken.
The blurb on the Flicker page also says “he only survived Auschwitz because he could work as a medical assistant.” One has to ask about all those who didn’t work as a medical assistant, but also survived and went to Buchenwald … and survived Buchenwald too without being medical assistants! This is the kind of meaningless tripe we are always given to explain why people survived “death camps.” This page also says he now (in 2008) lives in Belgium and gives talks about his wartime experiences. In other words, he advertises himself as a holocaust survivor who is in the Famous Buchenwald Liberation Photo, the one that Elie Wiesel is in. (See final section below)
It should be noted that Nicholas Grüner is in this photo too; he is the first person on the left in the bottom row and the only one of the three mentioned who actually looks like himself, and is himself. Yet the labeling of this photograph at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem (below) gives three possible identities for this figure: Gershon Blonder, Josef Reich or Nicholas (Miklos) Grüner … as if it were in doubt. The other two are not shown to be in doubt: the fourth figure on the bottom is Max Hamburger; the seventh figure in the 2nd row is Elie Wiesel. It’s clear to me that Yad Vashem will eventually deny that Nicholas Grüner is in the photo at all, and thus his claim that Elie Wiesel was not in the camp (or the photo) will be weakened. These people are nothing if not devious … and they accomplish their objective in a gradual manner. According to Yad Vashem …
First from right– Elie Wiesel
Fourth from right:
• Herman Leefsma or
• Abraham Hipler or
• Berek Rosencajg or
• Zoltan Gergely
Fifth from right:
• Lajos Vartenberg (Yehuda Doron) or
• Yaakov Marton
First from right – Max Hamburger
Third from right – Issac Reich
Fourth from right:
• Michael Miklos Nikolas Gruener or
• Gershon Blonder or
• Yosef Reich
Standing on the right: Chaim David Halberstam
Also notice that on the Flicker page the third man from left in the 2nd row up is not identified. That page went up in 2008. But on the Yad Vashem non-linkable “Anonymous No Longer” page for this particular photograph, this man is given two possible identities: Lajos Vartenburg (Yehuda Doron) or Yaakov Marton. On another Yad Vashem page with this picture, it reads:
On the second bunk from the bottom, third from left is Losh Wertenberg who later changed his name to Yehuda Doron, and according to other identification this man is Jeno Marton (identified by Yaakov Marton).
Screwy. Yad Vashem accepts whatever is sent to them because the memorial is by, for and about the Jewish people and they can do no wrong. However, we, of more discriminating nature, have to doubt that any of these names are correct … except Grüner.
Does Max Hamburger have a valid claim to be “the zombie” in the photograph?
It’s important to remember that this photo is recorded as having been taken on April 16, five days after the actual liberation. If this 4th person in the lower bunk had TB, would he still be lying in this barracks 5 days later or would he be in a hospital? If this were a hospital barracks, why do some of the men look so healthy? Elie Wiesel did not have TB, but, according to his own accounts, two days after liberation he ended up unconscious in the SS hospital with severe food poisoning. So Wiesel couldn’t be in this picture by his own statements!
Nicholas Grüner also had tuberculosis (TB) when this photo was taken. However, Grüner seems to think it was on the day of liberation, April 11, because he writes in his book Stolen Identity that as they were being marched to the camp entrance on that day (believing they were being taken somewhere to be killed), he managed to leave the line and run into the nearest barracks and jump into an empty bunk — which was this one. Later an American soldier came in and took a picture. Grüner was only 16 and had been living in the special children’s barracks, the same that Elie Wiesel says he was in. Grüner says his TB was not diagnosed until he was fully processed and he was then sent to a sanatorium in Switzerland, where he recovered.
I do not know if Max Hamburger has told a story about how his TB was treated. My information on him comes only from these few sources, mostly in the Dutch language. (Anyone who is able to translate the pdf article, please contact me.)
If Max Hamburger is the fourth man on the bottom row, he must also be the third man in the next row up (2nd row) because they are the same man. Yet he doesn’t say that — so something is very wrong with his claim.
Facial comparison of the two men
After printing the largest images of the two men’s faces, I did a careful tracing of each one. I then overlaid one on the other and determined:
The nose, eyes and eyebrows, and head lined up perfectly one with another. This would not be possible if the two faces were not the same person.
The mouth, while also remaining identical, is shifted upward on the “zombie” (as you look at the photo) and the entire lower face is widened and the jaw squared off. I do not know how this was accomplished – with a photographic process or with paint — but that’s what it is. The head is re-situated as laying flat on the bunk board (from the original pose of being propped up a few inches), necessitating a change in the relationship to the neck.
I thickened the outline of the “original” so it’s easy to tell which is which. Here are the small photographic images of the two faces (left: 2nd row; right: bottom row) so you can compare with the overlay.
Why not just use a different person?
Why would they decide to insert the same man and then have to go to such lengths to make him look different? I really cannot answer that. Perhaps they thought someone who was already in the room would have the right look and lighting. Perhaps someone thought it would be easier than it turned out to be. As I pointed out before, this “copy” was also not gauged correctly size-wise — he is noticeably smaller than the men in the bunk right above his.
More on Max Hamburger
He is the son of a Dutch diamond polisher and baseball player, Hartog Hamburger. During a competition game in 1924, Hartog was hit on the head by a line drive when in the field. He died the next day as a result of the impact.
Both Máro (right) and his painting are shown in photo above, with Hamburger (left). According to the German news account:
“The discussion was all about the [then] 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Max Hamburger, whose speeches have gained great respect and […] the painting shown in the Castle Gallery by Máro, the image of a scene from the Buchenwald concentration camp.
“The artist explained the reasons which led him to the theme of the sufferings of Auschwitz. The series of pictures, which deals with the darkest chapter of German history, are meant to generate compassion and sensitivity for the suffering of the people depicted. […] Besides the issue of the Holocaust was also the art world itself, and the responsibility of the artist to contribute to the discussion of the Nazi terror, [which was] the focus of the [panel] discussion.”
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:
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.
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?”
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?”
Why does she and the AP continue to call Auschwitz a “death camp” when so many survived, along with their tattoos?
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.
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.”
How many other mistakes has this AP reporter made in her dire ignorance of what she is writing about?
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