The Wiesenthal Files: What the Documents Reveal about Simon Wiesenthal's Past, Part 2
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Chapter 2: New Light on a Dark Past
The Institute for Historical Review has recently obtained from the U.S. National Archives a copy of a document dating from 1945 that provides new evidence that famed "Nazi hunter" Simon Wiesenthal collaborated with the Soviet Union during the Second World War. The author of the document, a "curriculum vitae" submitted to American military authorities at the former concentration camp at Mauthausen, in Upper Austria, is Wiesenthal himself. He claims in this autobiographical statement that he served the Soviet occupation regime in the east Galician city of Lwów (today Lviv) as an engineer and was well rewarded for his services to the Communist government. Wiesenthal's 1945 account offers strong corroboration of a sworn statement he made to U.S. authorities in 1948, first published in the Journal of Historical Review, that he had functioned as a "Soviet chief engineer" in Lwów during the 1939-41 Soviet occupation.
Thus, in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, Wiesenthal twice contradicted what would later become his standard story of his time in Soviet-ruled Lwów: that he was forced to work as a poorly paid factory mechanic and narrowly escaped deportation to the interior of the USSR. The "curriculum vitae" and accompanying documents provided by Wiesenthal in 1945 contain additional statements that contradict important aspects of Wiesenthal's standard account of his war years. These records are of further interest in that they provide the first documentary evidence of Wiesenthal's career as a denouncer and tracker of alleged German war criminals.
Lwów: The Missing Years
On May 25, 1945, some three weeks after American forces had captured the camp, the recently liberated inmate Simon Wiesenthal submitted his "curriculum vitae" and a list of ninety-one men and women he alleged were guilty of war crimes to the "U.S. Camp Commander, Camp Mauthausen." In an accompanying cover letter, Wiesenthal, writing with the restraint that was to become his trademark, claimed: "Many of these have caused incalculable sufferings to myself as well as to my fellow inmates," and went on to state: "Many of these I have personally seen commit murder phantastic in number and method." The list of "war criminals" itself, and Wiesenthal's efforts to identify, characterize, and accuse them, will be considered briefly below. Because it is "Ing. Szymon Wiesenthal," as he signed these documents nearly fifty-seven years ago, who is under investigation here, his statements about himself rather than about his quarry are of chief interest.
Wiesenthal opens the "curriculum vitae" (actually closer in form to a short autobiography than a standard c.v.) that accompanied his other submissions with a brief and seemingly unremarkable paragraph about his origins and education. The next paragraph reads:
After the outbreak of the war I stayed in Lemberg and after the entry of the Red Army continued my work as a construction engineer and a designer of refrigerating plants and other various constructions as well as private dwellings. During this period I invented an artificial insulation material for which the Soviet Government awarded me a premium of 25,000 rubles.
Simon Wiesenthal submitted this brief account of his life, centering on his experiences during the war years, to U.S. Army authorities at Mauthausen on May 25,1945, three weeks after American forces captured the concentration camp.
These two sentences supply more concrete detail regarding Simon Wiesenthal's work, status, and relationship to the Soviet authorities during the twenty-one months the USSR occupied Lemberg (as Lviv is known in German) than any other statement or account by Wiesenthal that has appeared to date. As noted above, Wiesenthal's 1948 testimony to a U.S. Army interrogator lends corroboration to his 1945 statement and provides further details about his activities from September 1939 to mid-1941: "Active until 1939 in Poland as a professional engineer architect [sic], between 1939-1941 Soviet chief engineer employed in Lemberg and Odessa. 10 days prior to the outbreak of war between Germany and Russia I returned to Lemberg, where I experienced the German entry." Wiesenthal's express claim to have been a "Soviet [emphasis added] chief engineer" is telling in itself. If, as he states, he worked in Odessa, some three hundred miles away in Soviet Ukraine, then he enjoyed travel privileges afforded only a few inhabitants of the occupied lands of prewar eastern Poland. The only USSR destination for most citizens of Poland during the first Soviet occupation was the Gulag.
Simon Wiesenthal's 1967 "memoirs," The Murderers among Us, strongly contradict his claims of 1945 and 1948. Murderers has the following to say about his employment in Communist-ruled Lwów: "By the middle of September, the Red Army was in Lwow, and again Wiesenthal found himself `liberated[.]'... The Wiesenthals managed to stay in Lwow, but Wiesenthal's days as an independent architect were over. He was glad to find a badly paid job as a mechanic in a factory that produced bedsprings."
If what Wiesenthal said in his statements from 1945 and 1948 about his employment, status, and means under the Soviets is correct, then there are other questions to be answered on the full extent of his activities and affinities in Lwów from 1939 to 1941. Was he a member of the Communist party? Did he acquire Soviet citizenship? Did he take part in the persecution of the city's Polish and Ukrainian Christian majority? And why was Wiesenthal — apparently trusted by the Soviets, capable, and with vital skills — not evacuated with the Red Army, as were so many others, when it abandoned Lwów in mid-1941?
Saved by the Bells?
One of the most famous tales from the Wiesenthal canon describes his arrest and hair's breadth escape from execution at the hands of Ukrainian auxiliary police a few days after the arrival of the Wehrmacht. As recounted in The Murderers among Us, on the afternoon of July 6, 1941, a Sunday, Wiesenthal was arrested by a Ukrainian policeman and brought to Lwów's Brigidki prison. In Wiesenthal's telling, after about forty Jews had been collected in the prison courtyard, the Ukrainians lined them up and began shooting them, one by one. Wiesenthal relates that the killers feasted on sausages and swilled down vodka between murders. The memoirs relate: "The shots and the shouts of the dying men were getting closer to Wiesenthal. He remembers that he stood looking at the gray wall without really seeing it. Suddenly he heard the sounds of church bells, and a Ukrainian voice shouted `Enough! Evening mass!'" That night, his account continues, Wiesenthal was rescued thanks to a chance encounter in his cell with a Polish acquaintance serving in the Ukrainian auxiliary police. The policeman devised an audacious plan: he would tell the other police that Wiesenthal was a Soviet spy, and that he had to bring him before a Ukrainian commissioner elsewhere in the city. Although Wiesenthal claims to have been badly beaten, the friendly policeman was able to lead him and another "spy" (a friend of Wiesenthal's) out of the prison, and — "after a series of narrow escapes" — both men were back home the next morning.
Wiesenthal's concededly laconic account in the 1945 curriculum vitae clearly contradicts the story told in his memoirs. He writes:
When after the outbreak of the German-Soviet war that city was taken by the German troops, I was immediately arrested on July 13, 1941, as one of the Jewish intelligentsia. Of independent means, through a bribery I succeeded in getting out of prison.
In this 1945 version, less than four years after the purported event, Wiesenthal's arrest comes a week later than in his memoirs. Here he attributes his release from prison to a bribe, rather than to a chance encounter and the implied altruism and sang-froid of a Polish friend. Although in this document and the 1948 interrogation Wiesenthal describes countless atrocities he claims to have suffered or witnessed, they mention no festive shootings by Ukrainian auxiliary police.
Wiesenthal's 1948 testimony strengthens the presumption against his miraculous escape from a Ukrainian massacre by omitting any mention of an incarceration in July 1941. Instead, he tells this story: "On 8 July I was forcibly removed from my residence by two soldiers and a Ukrainian auxiliary policeman — a group of about sixty Jews, who had been similarly dragged from their homes, was waiting on the street; we moved slowly down the street, because new Jews were continually brought from their homes. When there were around 100 or 120 of us, we were brought to the German army railroad yards, where the army engineers awaited us. We were forced to run the gauntlet and nearly every one of us received a kick or the lash of a whip." Wiesenthal goes on to state that he continued to work as a forced laborer at the railroad yards, returning home nights, for at least the following two weeks.
Jewish apologists understandably make much of various scurrilous stories, oftentimes quite untrue, that have been directed at the Jews over the centuries. In the light of Wiesenthal's testimony from 1945 and 1948, which contradicts as well as omits the dramatic account of his escape from the Ukrainian bloodbath, might the story in his memoirs be a carefully crafted "blood libel" against Ukrainians — and their church?
A Charmed Life?
While the evidence of Wiesenthal's 1945 and 1948 statements points toward his having collaborated with the Communists during the war, Wiesenthal has more frequently been accused of collaborating with the Germans than with the Soviets. While published evidence of such collaboration remains scarce, interesting questions arise from his different accounts of certain wartime experiences — such as his strange and conflicting stories about his recapture and subsequent treatment by the Germans in 1944.
Wiesenthal is consistent in his claims to have escaped from German custody in Lwów in 1943.
His accounts of how he spent his several months of freedom differ, however. While in his memoirs he claims merely to have hidden from the Germans, in his 1945 curriculum vitae Wiesenthal wrote that he had joined and fought in the ranks of "Jewish partisans." In the 1948 interrogation he testified that he had been a major with the partisans, specializing in designing bunkers and fortifications, and strongly implied that his group had Soviet backing.
He claims to have been recaptured in June 1944. In the 1945 curriculum vitae, he provides this version of what happened:
It was while I was fighting in the partisan ranks against the Nazis that we managed to collect and bury for safekeeping considerable amount [sic] of evidence and other materials proving the crimes committed by Nazis. When the partisans were dispersed by the Germans I fled to Lemberg on February 10, 1944, and again wnet [sic] into hiding. On June 13, 1944, I was found during a house to house search and was immediately sent to the famous Lacki camp, near that city. Since there was no escape for the partisans who were caught, I attempted suicide by cutting the veins on my arms but was saved.
The 1945 statement does not explain how, as a Jew and a partisan, he was "saved" while in the custody of the German security forces. Wiesenthal had an answer for that question in his 1948 interrogation, however. He testified: "On 13 June 1944 we were in this bunker [in Lwów — Ed.]. ... A search for arms was carried out and we were discovered. We were in a position where we could not even make use of our own arms...." After being arrested, Wiesenthal states: "I immediately cut open my artery. We were taken to the Lonsky prison and they found some of my records. We had been waiting every day for a Soviet offensive, so we made certain records at this time concerning the whole partisan area where we were. These notes were in our possession, and I owe it specially to this circumstance that I was not killed right away as so many other Jews, for these records seemed to be very valuable and therefore [sic] I was taken into a prison hospital after my attempted suicide." Thus, according to Wiesenthal's 1948 account, he was not merely a Jew and a partisan, but an armed Jewish partisan. Inasmuch as the Red Army was driving toward the city at that time (the Germans abandoned Lwów a month later), it is difficult to understand how a partisan officer and specialist caught with partisan documents was, at the least, not speedily interrogated — rather than being allowed to recuperate in a hospital for over a month, as Wiesenthal states elsewhere in the 1948 interrogation.
As noted above, there is nothing about Wiesenthal's having been a partisan in his memoirs. Nonetheless, Murderers among Us states that he was captured with a pistol (for which surely he would have been dealt with as a partisan), and "a diary [he] had kept and a list of SS guards and their crimes that he'd compiled, believing that one day it might be useful." Although the memoirs report that the pistol was immediately stolen by one of the arresting officers for sale on the black market (if Wiesenthal correctly divined his purpose), in this account Wiesenthal is nonetheless caught with a sheaf of juicy allegations against individual German officers for eventual presentation to the Allies at some later day.
Once again, Wiesenthal is not only spared, but by his account never interrogated. He claims to have evaded torture by twice attempting suicide — first by cutting his wrists, then by attempting to hang himself. After he has been hospitalized and fattened up on a fortifying diet, however, on July 15, 1944, the day appointed for his interrogation, the Germans seem to forget Wiesenthal's diary and list: the Red Army is drawing near, and Wiesenthal is sent westward with a contingent of Jewish prisoners.
Whatever is to be made of the discrepancies and improbabilities touched on above, it is worth noting that in each of the above tellings one of the most prominent "survivors" of Hitler's alleged attempt to exterminate the Jews has acknowledged that he survived circumstances which, given an extermination policy, should have guaranteed his speedy death. And, given the various implausibilities in his several accounts, the suspicion arises that Wiesenthal was in fact interrogated, raising the question: if so, why has he chosen to deny it?
Falsus in Uno ...?
A venerable legal saw has it, "Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus," meaning, more or less, "Once a liar, always a liar." The objection to that is that many people sometimes tell lies, yet that doesn't mean that they always lie, let alone that their speaking a truth makes it untrue. Clearly, the less stringent interpretation must govern the evaluation of personal testimony, including that of Simon Wiesenthal. Nonetheless, often enough Wiesenthal gives us pause.
In his 1945 c.v. Wiesenthal declares: "It was during this time that my life was several times placed in extreme danger, and that I lost both of my parents who were killed by the Nazis." In the accompanying cover letter, he writes: "With all of the members of my family and of my nearest relatives killed by the Nazis, I am asking of your kindness to place me at the disposal of the U.S. authorities investigating the war crimes."
Wiesenthal's memoirs, however, after noting that his father served in the Austrian army during the First World War, state unambiguously: "He was killed in action in 1915." Might Wiesenthal have been referring in his 1945 statement to his step-father, then? Not according to his memoirs: "Wiesenthal's stepfather was taken to a Soviet prison, where he soon died." Wiesenthal is silent on the fate of his parents in his sworn statement of 1948.
Studying Wiesenthal's false attribution of his father's death to the Germans in 1945 (doubtless to gain sympathy from the Americans) and the many other contradictions in his testimony tempts one to augment the categories of the legists with a new one: "falsus in pluribus."
The list of alleged war criminals Wiesenthal offered the American forces fills four pages, and is the first hard evidence of his Nazi-hunting activities. Deprived of the list he claims that he buried in the forest (or that perhaps the Gestapo had confiscated from him), Wiesenthal was forced to rely on his own prodigious memory, with consequences that will be noted below. There is no evidence that Wiesenthal testified in the trial of anyone designated on the roster, which as will be seen gives little hard data as to specific misdeeds of those listed, and few clues as to their whereabouts. Nonetheless, Wiesenthal's list serves to anticipate his career as a gifted publicist of atrocity allegations — and may provide hints about certain of his wartime doings.
In the brief heading that introduces the list of ninety-one names, Wiesenthal writes: "The following is a brief list of SS men and Gestapo agents as well as Nazi party members whom I had the opportunity of seeing to partake in murder and other crimes against human life." The list is divided into two groups, those whom Wiesenthal had encountered (or perhaps heard of) in "District Galicia (Lemberg)" and those in "Camp Cracow-Plashow" [sic].
Wiesenthal makes many accusations of mass murder (added up, the death toll he ascribes to his ninety-one Nazis comes to about 1,150,000), but gives details on very few of the crimes he alleges: in fact he names the date and place of a specific crime in only three instances. Thus, while Wiesenthal claims that someone he calls simply "Krieger, Maj. Gen. SS" (probably Obergruppenführer Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger) "On Aug. 18, 1941 finished personally 13,000 people by shooting," and that four officers "Killed 7,000 on Nov. 18, 1943 in Lwów," usually he favors the diachronic perspective: "Killed 1,200 Jews in his shop, Lemberg" (of Georg Gross, "chief of the Lemberg railway shops"); "Killed 8,000 Jews in Tarnopol alone" (of "Rokita," said to be an Untersturmführer); "Greatest killer of all. His victims run into thousands" (of "Amond [sic] Goeth," commander of the Plaszow camp near Cracow); "Responsible for several thousands of deaths" (of someone designated simply as "Hasse"); or "Ditto" (of "Kipko, Untersturmführer" who follows "Hasse" on the list).
Simon Wiesenthal is all smiles as he poses with a poster for the television miniseries that starred Ben Kingsley (who later portrayed Oskar Schindler's wartime accountant in "Schindler's List") as the intrepid "Nazi hunter." Although scriptwriter Abby Mann had consulted Wiesenthal's 1945 submissions to the U.S. Army, he chose to portray Wiesenthal in accord with the later legend.
Despite its lack of precise information on specific misdeeds, Wiesenthal's list abounds in concrete characterizations of those he accuses. His only accusation against one "Scherner" (perhaps Julian Scherner, who served as SS- und Polizeiführer of the Cracow district) is "Killed sick in the hospital," while "Hujar Untersturmführer" is described as "Winner of numerous wagers by sending one bullet through two heads at a time" and "Lied," said to be an Unterscharführer, is called a "Degenrat [sic] collector of his victims' skulls." In some cases Wiesenthal takes care to specify exact methods, a few of which sound like categories in a hellish Holocaust Oscar night: "Worst sadist and killer using ax only," others of which sound simply foolish: "The last two specialized in hanging and chopping men alive." There are many lesser or vaguer accusations ("Camp's recorder. Many cruelties"; "Introduced keenest sadism"; "`Worked' in Bohemia"), while about twenty persons on the list are not accused of committing any crime. The list shows glimmerings of its author's knack for devising colorful nicknames for the headlines, but Wiesenthal was as yet short of mastery, e.g. of one "Engels, Gestapokommissar": "Timekeeper and schedule maker for mass killing throughout Galicia."
Although the implication of the heading is that Wiesenthal witnessed many of the misdeeds of those he lists ("whom I had the opportunity of seeing to partake in murder and other crimes against human life"), he is explicit about witnessing only one crime, the alleged shooting of thirteen men with American passports "on [sic] August, 1944."
Seemingly deficient as hard evidence of criminal acts, the Wiesenthal list would also seem not to have been very helpful in locating the 91 persons it enumerates. Although Wiesenthal provides rank or (sometimes general) office for some 70 of those listed, he is able to supply the first names (and in one instance simply an initial) of a mere 18 of them. Forty-two of the alleged war criminals are identified by their hometowns or places of origin, but nearly all these refer simply to cities (while 2 are said to be from "Holland," and 3 from the Batschka region, at that time occupied by Hungary). Only 5 listings mention streets, and of those just 2 give specific addresses. And Wiesenthal is able to identify the civilian occupations of only 12 of the 91 listed, and those of an additional 3 of their relatives.
It is beyond the scope of this article to attempt properly to identify the 91 persons on Wiesenthal's list, let alone whether they committed the crimes alleged by Wiesenthal, or what became of those of them who actually existed. An analysis of Wiesenthal's list yields data of possible significance in reconstructing certain of its author's wartime associations, however. Wiesenthal identifies 13 of those listed as "Gestapo agent[s]," 8 of whom he places in Lemberg/Galicia, the other 5 in Cracow/Plaszow. For the remaining 78 persons listed he is able to provide 10 first names and 1 first initial (14.1 percent); 34 places of origin (43.6 percent); and 10 civilian occupations, including two of family members (12.8 percent). For his 13 alleged Gestapo agents, however, Wiesenthal gives 7 first names (53.8 percent); 9 places of origin (69.2 percent); and 5 civilian occupations, including that of one in-law (38.5 percent). Wiesenthal's assignment of a military or police rank to only one of the 13 designated as Gestapo agents (in contrast to the other 78, for 54 of whom, among them Gestapo officers, he lists military or police ranks) strengthens the implication of the term "agent" that these were undercover operatives, whether military or civilian. That Wiesenthal is able to provide so many more particulars for such shadowy figures than he can for the more readily recognizable officers and NCOs he names would seem to add weight to the suspicion that Wiesenthal was himself an agent of the Gestapo.
Wiesenthal beneath the Whitewash
As is well known, Simon Wiesenthal has been the object of something approaching a cult since the 1960s. His skillful packaging of vengeance disguised as justice and his (often invented) adventures on the trail of euphoniously nicknamed Nazi supercriminals have made him a hero throughout the Western world. While he has had his detractors, including Israeli diplomats and intelligence operatives, Austrian chancellor Bruno Kreisky, and the Institute for Historical Review, their voices have been all but drowned out by a tidal wave of media acclaim. Within the Holocaust industry, a sizable Wiesenthal industry has long flourished: there are dozens of books by and about Wiesenthal, he has been depicted in numerous films, both documentary and fictional; and the Los Angeles foundation that pays for the use of his name has raked in tens of millions of dollars in contributions and government grants.
Nonetheless, there is compelling evidence that at least one of Wiesenthal's recent biographers had access to the documents that Wiesenthal composed in 1945. In Simon Wiesenthal: A Life in Search of Justice, Hella Pick discloses that Wiesenthal submitted a list of ninety-one names, dated May 25, 1945, to U.S. Army authorities at Mauthausen. Pick quotes virtually the entire text of Wiesenthal's covering letter — with the notable exception of its last sentence: "To furnish you with the personal data regarding my person, a brief curriculum vitae is attached." In fact, while the author cites most of the heading, or introduction, to Wiesenthal's list, and quotes freely and accurately from various of its accusations, she makes no mention whatsoever of the curriculum vitae, which follows the cover letter and precedes the list of war criminals in the Cracow war crimes case file in which the 1945 documents are contained. Nor does the author refer to this document in any of the corresponding passages of her account of Wiesenthal's life under the Soviets, or during the rest of the war.
While Hella Pick and other biographers may have suppressed the evidence of Wiesenthal's wartime collaboration and general duplicity revealed in the 1945 letter, list, and c.v., that is surely less important than the massive gullibility exhibited by Wiesenthal's vast audience of admirers throughout his long career. If Pick is audacious enough to quote, approvingly, Wiesenthal's claim that "My memory in those days was excellent" immediately after her account of his 1945 statements, doesn't such calculation accurately mirror the credulity, apathy, and sloth of the wider public? For nearly forty years now his unending "hunt" for one category of alleged criminal and his defiance of due process and historical accuracy have brought Wiesenthal the highest national honors that governments can bestow as well as the uncritical adulation of multitudes.
Wiesenthal's long life is reportedly nearing its end, leaving little hope for a thorough investigation and exposure of his actual past before his death. That should by no means preclude such an inquiry by a competent group of researchers in the years to come. Punching through the lacquered facade of the Wiesenthal myth to reveal the rot behind it would uncover at least some of the decay at work throughout Western society, past and present. And, even after Wiesenthal is gone, establishing his actual behavior during the war would likely bring the Nazi hunter's reputation down a rung or two, for facts are the nemesis of "memory."
|||Memorandum from Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces. Subject: war crimes, 6 July 1945. Folder 000-50-59, Records of Headquarters U.S. Army Europe (USAEUR), War Crimes Branch, Record Group 338, National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland. A recent biography quotes Wiesenthal to the effect that he wrote the original documents in Polish the English versions held by the National Archives bear his name, and he has made no attempt to disavow authorship. See Hella Pick, Simon Wiesenthal: A Life in Search of Justice (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1996), pp. 84–5.|
|||Interrogation no. 2820. Records of the Interrogation Division of the Evidence Branch of the Office of the Chief of Counsel for War Crimes, Record Group 238, National Archives Microfilm Publication M1019, roll 79, National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland. Wiesenthal’s 1948 interrogation took place on May 27 and 28, ostensibly in investigation of alleged crimes by the Wehrmacht. The interrogation was conducted in German; the extracts in this article were translated by the editor, and occasionally differ from translations in the article “New Documents Raise Doubts As to Simon Wiesenthal’s War Years,” in the Journal of Historical Review 8, no. 4 (Winter 1988–89), pp. 489–503.|
|||Simon Wiesenthal, The Murderers among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Memoirs, ed. Joseph Wechsberg (New York: Bantam, 1968). (The original edition was published in New York by McGraw-Hill in 1967.) While this book somewhat peculiarly combines first-person accounts of Wiesenthal’s Nazi-hunting derring-do with four chapters that relate Wiesenthal’s life story “as told to [editor Joseph] Wechsberg” (p. vi), it may be presumed that the biographical section has met with Wiesenthal’s approval.|
|||Ibid., p. 25.|
|||It is worthy of note that each of two recent admiring biographies of Wiesenthal, while attempting to sustain Wiesenthal’s later claim to have been a bedsprings mechanic victimized by the Communists, states that he worked for a time as an architectural engineer in Odessa during the Soviet occupation. See Pick, Simon Wiesenthal, pp. 48–9, and Alan Levy, The Wiesenthal File (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Co., 1994), pp. 33–4. Both books are said to be based on extensive interviews of Wiesenthal; neither account of his activities in Soviet-ruled Lwów provides any reference to documents or transcripts of the interviews.|
|||Murderers, pp. 26–27.|
|||For example, Austrian chancellor Bruno Kreisky, a Jew and an inmate of Nazi concentration camps, claimed that Wiesenthal collaborated with the Gestapo during the war. See his statement in Mark Weber, “Simon Wiesenthal: Fraudulent Nazi Hunter,” JHR 15, no. 4 (July–August 1995), pp. 9–10.|
|||See Murderers, pp. 33–34; 1948 interrogation; 1945 c.v.|
|||Murderers, p. 34.|
|||In another sworn statement, this one an application for reparations to a state pension board in Düsseldorf dating from 1954 (“Eidesstattliches Erklärung über die Zeit meiner Verfolgung,” in Robert Drechsler, Simon Wiesenthal: Dokumentation [Vienna: n.p., 1982], Dokumente zur Zeitgeschichte 1/1982), Wiesenthal claims that he was tortured (presumably to gain information) just after his capture, but escaped by cutting his wrists and being taken to the hospital. Wiesenthal’s willingness to contradict his other accounts on this detail might be explained by his desire to obtain reparation monies. This statement contains no information about his time under Soviet occupation.|
|||Murderers, p. 23.|
|||Murderers, p. 25.|
|||Mark Weber, “Simon Wiesenthal: Fraudulent Nazi Hunter,” JHR 15, no. 4 (July–August 1995), passim.|
|||Pick, Simon Wiesenthal, pp. 85/6.|
|||Pick, Simon Wiesenthal, pp. 48–73, passim. According to Pick (p. 85) the well-known screenwriter Abby Mann (Judgement at Nuremberg) consulted the Wiesenthal documents from 1945 at the National Archives while researching his Emmy Award-winning script for the 1989 television miniseries Murderers among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story. Although we have not seen the miniseries, reports make clear that Mann, who befriended Wiesenthal while a U.S. Army lieutenant at Mauthausen in 1945, omitted anything seriously jarring to the legend in his script.|
|||Pick, Simon Wiesenthal, pp. 85.|
Additional information about this document
|Author(s):||Theodore J. O'Keefe|
|Title:||The Wiesenthal Files: What the Documents Reveal about Simon Wiesenthal's Past, Part 2, The War Years of Simon Wiesenthal: New Light on a Dark Past|
|Sources:||The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 21, no. 1 (January/February 2002), pp. 15-22|
|First posted on CODOH:||Jan. 30, 2001, 6 p.m.|
|Comments:||Revised version of the original article in "The Journal of Historical Review," vol. 21, no. 1.|