Elie Wiesel and the Catholics
by Prof. David O'Connell
An important piece on one the the last century's major moral frauds.
It is known in Israel but not in the US that following WW2, Wiesel
emigrated to Israel where he became an Israeli and joined Betar, the
youth organization of the fascist Jabotinsky movement which had become
the Irgun and became a writer for the Betar paper. At some point, the
opportunist lurking Wiesel propelled him to leave Israel and emigrate
to the US where he pretended to be a stateless person and the epitome
of the eternal Jewish victim. It is for that reason that Wiesel has
never been popular among Israelis, the right-wing because he hid his
Israeli citizenship and the left, such as it was and is, because of
his refusal to say a word about Israel's atrocities against the
Palestinians and its alliances and military assistance to right-wing
regimes in Africa and Latin America.
Elie Wiesel is widely admired by many of the Catholics who wield power
in the diocesan chanceries and the administrations of the nation's
Catholic schools and universities. He has received honorary degrees
from a number of Catholic institutions, including Georgetown, Notre
Dame, Fordham and Marquette. He is also fawned over by assorted
Catholic intellectuals. He is accorded this treatment despite the fact
that he plays a prominent role in exploiting the abusive relationship
that exists between the representatives of the major Jewish
Organizations and those Catholics who "dialogue" with them. In the 40
years since Vatican II, this alleged "dialogue," well intentioned at
the beginning, has actually turned out to be a monologue in which the
Jewish side ritually denounces Catholics and Catholicism while the
Catholic representatives nod in approval. No serious criticism is ever
made of Jews or Zionism. The dialogue, for instance, is strangely
"silent" about the unrelenting Israeli war against the Christians of
Palestine. In 1948, 18-20 percent of Palestinians were Christian.
That figure is down to about 2 percent today. The Christian population
of Bethlehem, once 95 percent, has dwindled to about 15 percent. Even
worse, the "separation fence" now under construction cuts through many
places that are holy to all Christians.
The role that Wiesel has assumed in the abusive relationship is to
exploit his privileged access to the media to attack high value
Catholic targets. In 1979, he attacked the Pope for not mentioning the
word "Jew" while visiting the Auschwitz victims' monument, which also
omitted the word. He also attacked the Pontiff for not mentioning the
word "Israel" on his visit to the U. N. When the Pope invited him to
come to Rome for a personal visit, Wiesel turned him down. Then, in
2000, he rebuked the Pontiff because his apology to Jews for past
persecutions was not good enough.
His attacks against Cardinal O'Connor of New York, an honest, sincere
and terribly naïve man, began in the 1980s. When O'Connor visited
Jerusalem in 1987, he broke down in tears over Jewish suffering during
World War II. Upset, he stated that this was a "gift." What he meant
was that, in Catholic terms, it was a possible occasion of grace, as
is all suffering. Wiesel and other New York Jewish figures ripped him
in the media for his supposed bigotry and insensitivity.1 He and
Wiesel then became "friends" when Wiesel came to visit him. Wiesel
then convinced O'Connor to do an "interview" book with him. It was
called Journey of Faith (1991), and in it the Cardinal was on the
defensive from cover to cover. In 1997, he talked O'Connor into
helping him dedicate the Jewish Holocaust Museum in New York City.
While there, the Cardinal took it upon himself to "apologize" for all
Catholics who had contributed to past Jewish suffering.2 Then, on
September 8, 1999, very sick and not far from death's door, he wrote
Wiesel a personal letter in which he made the same kind of "apology."
Wiesel then paid $99,000 to turn the cardinal's private missive into a
full-page ad in the Sunday New York Times on September 19. Strongly
implied in each of O'Connor's gestures was the idea that Jewish
suffering of World War II replicates the sufferings of Christ in the
20th century, an idea that a faithful Catholic simply cannot accept.3
Wiesel's relationship with Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger of Paris
followed the same pattern in the 1990s. First he attacked Lustiger
because he had converted to Catholicism as a boy, then he achieved
reconciliation and finally "friendship" with him.
Wiesel also delights in desecrating what is for many Catholics the
beloved memory of Pope Pius XII, routinely trashing him for his
supposed "silence" during World War II. No other Jewish media voice
even comes close to Wiesel in terms of the frequency and the vitriol
of his insults to the Catholic memory of that Pope. Wiesel has been
claiming for the past 35 years that Christianity died at Auschwitz. As
early as 1971, he stated: "The sincere Christian knows that what died
in Auschwitz was not the Jewish people but Christianity."4 Yet, the
Catholic press, intellectuals and hierarchy treat Wiesel with
reverence! To Wiesel (as well as to our disproportionately Jewish
mediarchy), Jewish suffering during World War II has replaced the
sufferings of Christ as the functioning paradigm of the post-Christian
era. It is the media's benchmark, the sacred "burnt offering" of the
secularists. As Rabbi Jacob Neusner has pointed out, "the Judaism of
Holocaust and Redemption" has become the civil religion of America.5
Hardly a day goes by without the Judeo-corporate media producing an
article, report, TV show or movie of some kind on the subject of the
Holocaust and the dubious "lessons" we are supposed to draw from it.
Media propaganda, both against Catholicism and in favor of the
"specificity," or superiority of Jewish suffering, never stops.
Over the course of his career, Wiesel has told many tall tales about
his alleged experiences during World War II. They can be called "true
lies," since they are meant to edify and are told with supposedly good
intentions, even though they are not true. In the following pages, I
shall examine closely one of these "true lies." It has to do with his
internment at Buchenwald. As I tell the story, it will become apparent
to readers that I avoid using the word "Holocaust."6 Since that term
is has become a media code word that is all too often used as a
justification for the Jewish war crimes and crimes against humanity
that are routinely committed in occupied Palestine, it is tainted. It
is also associated with the scams and manipulations of various Jewish
holocaust profiteers, of whom Wiesel himself is probably the most
flagrant example. It also serves the purposes of the pro-Israel
Judeo-corporate power structure, since it justifies foreign adventures
to "prevent another Holocaust."7 I refer instead to the Jewish Ordeal
of World War II (JOW) to describe the Nazi persecution of innocent Jews.
But who is Elie Wiesel, and how is he related to the JOW? One Jewish
commentator, Pierre Vidal Naquet, whose father died at Auschwitz,
wrote of Wiesel: "For example, you have Rabbi Kahane, the Jewish
extremist, who is less dangerous than a man like Elie Wiesel, who says
anything that comes to mind. . . You just have to read parts of Night
to know that certain of his descriptions are not exact and that he is
essentially a Shoah merchant. . . who has done harm, enormous harm, to
historical truth."8 Another Jewish voice made the following comments
on Wiesel's self-righteous autobiography: "Elie Wiesel's memoir
is written by a man whose inner postures have gone so long unreviewed
he cannot persuade us he is on a voyage of self-discovery, the first
requirement of a testament. His book, I am sorry to say, gives being
witness a bad name."9 Christopher Hitchens, taking issue with Wiesel
for his silence about Jewish war crimes in Palestine, wondered out
loud: "Is there any more contemptible poseur and windbag than Elie
Wiesel? I suppose there may be. But not, surely, a poseur and windbag
who receives (and takes as his due) such grotesque deference on moral
From November 1947 to January 1949, Wiesel worked for Zion in Kampf,
the newspaper of the terrorist gangsters of the Irgun. The Irgun
extermination of innocent Arabs at the village of Deir Yassin took
place on April 8, 1948, while Wiesel was on the payroll, yet he is
always appalled by Palestinian "terrorism." Likewise, while he was
actively campaigning for a Nobel Prize in the 1980's, he made a trip
to South Africa. Of course, the New York Times was there with him and
recorded his ritual denunciation of apartheid. Yet Wiesel now strongly
favors the apartheid wall being built in occupied Palestine even
though it will impose additional inhuman hardships on the
Palestinians. Even worse, he has attacked Pope John Paul II for
proposing that what the Middle East needs is bridges, not walls,
writing: "From the leader of one of the largest and most important
religions in the world, I expected something very different, namely a
statement condemning terror and the killing of innocents, without
mixing in political considerations and above all comparing these
things to a work of pure self-defense. To politicize terrorism like
that is wrong."11 Ironically, the same Wiesel who accuses Pius XII of
"silence" now wants Jean Paul II to be "silent" about Jewish war
crimes in Palestine.
Wiesel and François Mauriac
Wiesel's claim to fame is his problematic "autobiography," Night,
which is actually a novel, since it contains a good deal of invented
material. It was first published in French in 1958, and was based on a
much longer Yiddish version, which he had published under the title
And the World Forgot (Und Di Velt hat Geshveyn) in Buenos Aires in
December 1955. At a reception held at the Israeli embassy in May 1955,
which Wiesel attended as a reporter for an Israeli newspaper, he
approached the well-known Catholic novelist, newspaper chronicler,
man of letters, and 1952 Nobel Prize winner, François Mauriac
(1885-1970), and asked if he would consent to be interviewed.
Mauriac was a French right-wing nationalist by birth and upbringing.
In his family in the early days of the 20th century, they referred to
the bedroom's chamber pot as "le zola," since the Mauriacs were
convinced, like many French people, that Dreyfus had been guilty
despite the media campaign in is favor. But he changed political
stripes in the mid-1930s, becoming a strong supporter of world Jewry.
He continued this support through the war years and after, when he
favored the creation of Israel. Then, in 1951, he was the first
Catholic to accuse Pope Pius XII of "silence" during the war years.
Amazingly, just two years later, when his career seemed dead, for he
had not published a major piece if fiction since 1940, he was awarded
the Nobel Prize for Literaturefor his novels! The Parisian literati
were stunned! How could this be, they wondered, especially at the
height of the "existentialist" craze? One question they did not dare
ask was the possible role of the Jewish lobby, so powerful with the
Nobel Committee, in this decision. Was the Nobel Prize a payback for
his support of Jewry through the years of World War II, as well as for
waving an accusatory finger at Pius XII, who was still very much
alive? I have not yet been unable to resolve this question.
In any case, Mauriac invited Wiesel to his home. They talked about the
war years and the concentration camps. In fact, it seems clear in
retrospect that this was the only subject Wiesel wanted to talk about.
The two men became friends, and Mauriac told Wiesel he would help him
find a publisher for his book. But his book was not only written in
Yiddish, it was also several times longer than what would eventually
become La Nuit. How did the transformation take place? Did Wiesel
rewrite it, as he has always claimed, or did he get help from
Mauriac? The answer to this question could probably be found in their
voluminous correspondence, but Wiesel is in possession of both the
letters received from Mauriac and the ones he wrote to his friend and
benefactor. Wiesel sits on this correspondence and refuses to publish
the letters, despite the entreaties of his rather naive liberal
La Nuit became Night when it appeared in New York in 1960. With the
backing of the ADL, it became mandatory reading in high schools
shortly thereafter and has sold millions of copies since then. It
contradicts Jewish holocaust dogma on many key points, and in fact is
guilty of "holocaust denial" in this respect. Nevertheless, it remains
the only "holocaust memoir" with any redeeming literary qualities
(which brings us back once again to the question of who actually wrote
the final draft of the book). In the meantime, Wiesel moved to New
York, where he continued to work as a correspondent for an Israeli
newspaper. Shortly after his arrival, he was struck by a car near
Times Square. Given to exaggeration by nature, he later claimed: "I
flew an entire block. I was hit at 45th Street and the ambulance
picked me up at 44th. It sounds crazy. But I was totally messed up."13
Then, after the success of Night, he was awarded a tenured teaching
position at a public institution, Hunter College. Despite his claims
over the years about having studied philosophy and psychology at the
Sorbonne and doing a two year internship at the Hôpital Sainte-Anne in
clinical psychology, he actually never enrolled for any credit-bearing
course at the Sorbonne, or any other branch of the University of
Paris. Even worse, there is no evidence that he ever earned a French
secondary school diploma. Yet, he now earns a huge six-figure salary
as a year as a Mellon Professor of Literature at Boston University, a
position that theoretically requires a Ph.D.
During the years from 1960 to 1967 the two men kept up a regular
correspondence. After the conquest of Palestine in 1967, Mauriac
voiced concern in his Bloc-Notes column in Le Figaro that the Israelis
were now behaving more and more like Nazis. During the war, Mauriac
had been obliged to give shelter to several German soldiers in his
home for over four years, and he knew what occupation did to both
occupier and occupied. The two men quarreled, and there were harsh
words committed to paper. Wiesel would prefer nowadays not to revive
this issue, for he probably wrote some things he is now ashamed of.
Yet, for years he proclaimed he was going to some day publish the
letters.14 But I believe there might be a much more important reason
for the suppression of the correspondence, for it could possibly
reveal Mauriac's active role in the redaction of La Nuit. After all,
as Naomi Seidman has pointed out, La Nuit differs dramatically from
the Yiddish original in length, tone, basic themes and meaning. She
rightfully attributes this difference to Mauriac's "influence."15 But
how do we define "influence?" While the Yiddish original appears to be
hated-filled, dripping with a Jewish desire for vengeance against
goyim, the latter is more oblique and restrained. In a word, it is a
work of literature and, as such, implies the presence of a mature
literary hand, like Mauriac's. Conversely, when one compares La Nuit
to the many novels that Wiesel has written since then, the absence of
a mature literary hand, like Mauriac's, is obvious. In France, La
Nuit is mandatory reading in state-sponsored indoctrination classes,
but none of his other novels are read in schools or taken seriously by
critics. The same situation prevails in this country. In a word, La
Nuit is totally different from anything else that Wiesel has written,
and it is fair to ask if in fact Mauriac's influence went beyond the
level of mere suggestion and advice.
Wiesel at Auschwitz and Buchenwald
Wiesel, along with his parents and three sisters was deported from
Sighet, Hungary, to Auschwitz in May 1944. Born in September 1928, he
was fifteen and a half years old. The Germans needed labor for their
factories, since Nazi ideology forbade German women from engaging in
such work. Women stayed home in Nazi Germany, a policy that made sense
to the Nazi racists who ruled the country but left the Germans short
of blue-collar labor. Wiesel's mother and a sister died at Auschwitz
in the summer of 1944, probably in the horrible typhus epidemic that
raged in the women's camp. Their death certificates are in the files
at Auschwitz, but on a research trip there I was not allowed to see
them. The two other sisters survived the epidemic, and lived to
advanced age. Wiesel was sent to the men's camp with his father. In
late 1944, when Wiesel injured his foot in an industrial accident, he
was operated on at the camp hospital. According to the vulgate version
of the Jewish holocaust story, he should have been disposed of in a
gas chamber since he was not only a child but was also disabled. Yet
nothing of the sort happened. While in the hospital, he befriended
the hospital personnel and, as the Russians approached in January
1945, was offered the opportunity by the Jewish staff physicians to
stay on and not be evacuated with the retreating Germans. Yet, Wiesel
preferred to go off with the Germans who, according to the Jewish
holocaust story, were allegedly sending 20,000 people a day to the gas
chambers. This decision raises a number of very serious questions. Not
only that, he also insisted on dragging his sickly father along with
him, which was the equivalent of writing the man's death certificate.
The latter, physically weak even before the horrible trauma of the
camps, died of dysentery shortly after arriving in Buchenwald in the
dead of winter. Repatriated to France in late April at the age of
sixteen and a half, Wiesel was reunited there with the two sisters who
had survived the typhus epidemic.
On July 4, 2004, Parade magazine featured an article by Wiesel. It
included what is probably the most famous propaganda picture from
World War II. In it, a circle is drawn around the face of a man who is
supposedly Wiesel. The picture was taken by Private H. Miller of the
Civil Affairs Branch of the U. S. Army Signal Corps at Buchenwald
concentration camp on April 16, 1945, five days after the American
arrival there on April 11. It was not taken on the spur of the moment
on April 11, but was one of a larger group of about a dozen photos in
which professional montage and mise en scène techniques were used.16
The shot was then released to the media to be used for the usual
propaganda purposes: project an image of the Germans as war criminals
while distracting the American public from the horrible war crimes
then being committed by Allied forces. The fact that the picture is
still being exploited almost 60 years after it was taken shows how
successful and adaptable it has proved to be.
The last two pages of Night recount the events associated with the
flight of the Germans and the arrival of the Americans at Buchenwald.
Wiesel writes in Night that "three days after the liberation of
Buchenwald, I became very ill with food poisoning. I was transferred
to the hospital and spent two weeks between life and death." Thus,
Wiesel's first claim about his mysterious illness is that it occurred
"three days after the liberation of Buchenwald," that is, on April 14.
He was immediately hospitalized, and "spent two weeks between life and
death." According to this scenario, he would have been in the hospital
from April 14 to April 28. Since the picture was taken on April 16, he
could not have been in it.
Wiesel later changed this basic story a number of times. Here is the
second version of events, which he invented many years later. "After
the liberation I became sick and it's strange how it happened. I
hinted at it in Night but it's not the full story. April 11, 1945,
when the Americans came, we were some 20,000 left in Buchenwald out of
some 60,000 or 80,000, and we hadn't had food for a week or so.
Suddenly the Americans came and brought their food but they really
didn't know what they were doing; they gave fats. 5,000 people died
immediately from food poisoning. . . and my body rebelled; I lost
consciousness immediately and was sick for ten days or sounconscious,
in a comablood poisoning or something." In this second version,
Wiesel says that he ate the food "an hour or two after the
liberation,"17 which contradicts his original claim in Night that he
only got sick three days after liberation. Also, in this new version
he is sick, unconscious and in a coma for ten days, or from April 11
until about April 21. Here, once again, he could not have been in a
picture that was taken on April 16. As for Wiesel's claim of 5,000
deaths from food poisoning, it is pure hysteria, and is not supported
by the historical record.
Wiesel, Mendacity and the New York Times
The Buchenwald picture first appeared in the New York Times on May 6,
1945, several weeks after it was taken. The caption read: "Crowded
Bunks in the Prison Camp at Buchenwald." The caption does not date the
photo, but it does imply that the picture was taken when the prisoners
were being liberated on April 11. The media has always implied this
date, but that is the basic lie on which everything else is based.
Also, the New York Times does not identify any of the men in the
picture, which did not so much portray the chaotic reality of
Buchenwald on April 11, but rather the Holywoodized version of it that
had been carefully crafted by the Signal Corps. The photo appeared in
conjunction with an article by correspondent Harold Denny, in which he
communicated the official U. S. Government propaganda line. Entitled
"The World Must Not Forget: What was done in the German prison camps
emphasizes the problem of what to do with a people who are morally
sick,"18 his piece was a distraction from what the Allies were doing
to innocent German civilians. As he wrote, Germany was a smoldering
ruin as a result of Allied carpet bombardment of civilians, Dresden
and Hamburg had been bombed to a pulp, the dams on the Rhine had been
destroyed drowning untold numbers of innocents and destroying their
homes, countless German civilians whose families had lived in East
Prussia and Poland for generations were being forcefully evicted by
the advancing Soviets, the five million Volga Germans who had been
settled in Russia since the 18th century had been deported to Siberia
during the war where most of them would perish, the valiant men of the
Red Army were in the process of raping millions of German women as
they advanced through Germany, and, most dreadful, Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, were on the drawing board. For the NYT, however, it was the
Germans who were "morally sick." But the Allies had saved "civilization."
The third version of Wiesel's liberation from Buchenwald is linked to
this photo. In 1983, almost 40 years after the picture was taken, the
NYT published it with the caption: "On April 11, 1945, American troops
liberated the concentration camp's survivors, including Elie, who
later identified himself as the man circled in the photo." It is
important to note here that Wiesel had never claimed to be in this
famous picture before 1983. Why had he never told anyone about this
before 1983? And why did the NYT suddenly want to associate Wiesel
with this picture, especially since the individual circled in it was a
young man, and clearly not a boy of 16? Furthermore this man does not
resemble in any way what Wiesel actually looked like at this age!
Obviously, no checking was done by the paper to see if Wiesel's claim
was true, but the NYT knows that in the matter of the Jewish holocaust
story, no one would dare to challenge them. In retrospect, however, it
is clear that this bogus claim was a first step in the NYT campaign to
secure a Nobel Prize for Wiesel, either for literature or peace.19 The
picture was published in the high circulation Sunday NYT Magazine, and
included the statement, "His name has been frequently mentioned as a
possible recipient of a Nobel Prize, for either peace or literature."20
Incredibly, after the NYT had manufactured history by declaring
erroneously that Wiesel is seen in the picture, they had the nerve a
few years later to castigate Buchenwald Museum authorities for not
repeating their lie as fact! In 1989, a NYT reporter visiting
Buchenwald wrote: "A large photograph in the [Buchenwald] museum shows
Mr. Wiesel, among others, on the day of liberation. He is not
identified in a caption. And the guide who has shown visitors around
Buchenwald for 14 years had never heard of the author, who has written
eloquently about that camp."21 In addition to Wiesel's earlier claims
that he was sick when the picture was taken, another major problem
with Wiesel's alleged image in this picture is that it is quite unlike
his appearance in a photo taken shortly before his deportation eleven
months earlier. Clearly, he was merely a boy at the time, and his
image bears no relationship to that of the man shown in the bunk
at Buchenwald.22 This picture, coupled with the fact that he has
stated repeatedly over the years that he was sick on April 16, offers
double proof that his claim be to shown in the Buchenwald shot is
nothing but a Jewish holocaust scam. Tragically, this true lie
exploits the tragic sufferings of Wiesel's relatives and all the other
As the Nobel campaign went forward, the NYT usually tried to present
Wiesel in dramatic terms, even if it meant telling more "true lies."
His image as a JOW survivor needed to be enhanced. Thus, for example,
when he made a trip to Berlin in January 1986 to attend a JOW
conference, the NYT reporter declared solemnly: "Elie Wiesel returned
to Germany this week for the first time since he was released from the
Buchenwald concentration camp almost 41 years ago."23
Unfortunately, this dramatic statement was nonsense, as the NYT should
have known, since Wiesel had begun his career as a New York journalist
in December 1962 when he published a hate-filled article appropriately
entitled "An Appointment with Hate" in Commentary, the organ of the
American Jewish Committee. Its subject was a recent trip he had made
to Germany. In it, he wrote: "Every Jew, somewhere in his being,
should set apart a zone of hatehealthy, virile hatefor what the
German personifies and for what persists in the Germans. To do
otherwise would be a betrayal of the dead." The word "Catholic" can
easily be substituted for "German" here.
Likewise, even after the Nobel award was announced on October 14,
1986, the NYT would continue to embroider the facts, always trying to
dramatize Wiesel's life experience. For instance, on November 2, they
triumphantly republished a severely cropped version of the Buchenwald
photo with the caption: "Elie Wiesel, the winner of the Nobel Peace
Prize (at far right in the top bunk) in the Buchenwald concentration
camp in April 1945, when the camp was liberated by American troops."24
The picture was cropped in such a way that the man who is supposed to
be Wiesel remains barely visible. The NYT also suggests the picture
was taken on April 11, 1945 without, of course, actually saying so.
Then, in January 1987, they erroneously claimed that Wiesel had been
"freed from Auschwitz" during the war.25 A year later, when he made a
trip to Auschwitz, the NYT wrote: "Mr. Wiesel was a prisoner at
Auschwitz and witnessed the killing there of his father and one of his
sisters."26 Of course, Wiesel's father died in Buchenwald, and the
tragic details of his sister's death are contained in the unavailable
(to me at least) Auschwitz camp records. But the word "Auschwitz"
is one of the three Jewish holocaust terms that have been sloganized
in the pages of the NYT, along with "six million" and "gas chambers,"
while "Buchenwald" is not.
In 1987, a year after cashing his $270,000 Nobel check, Wiesel
appeared at the Klaus Barbie trial in Lyons, France. Here, once again,
the Buchenwald photo was put to use by the media, although it is not
clear to what extent Wiesel was involved in this particular Jewish
holocaust fraud. On June 3, 1987, the Chicago Tribune published an AP
photo containing a cropped version of the men in the bunks at
Buchenwald. What was completely new in this fourth tall tale about his
liberation was that Wiesel, accompanied by two other people, one of
whom might have been French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, was shown
standing in front of a blown-up version of the picture and pointing to
himself in it. The caption read: "Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel
points to a picture of himself, taken by a German at the Auschwitz
death camp in 1945. The photograph is part of the Holocaust Memorial
in Lyon, France."
This caption is totally mendacious, and the only problem with this
particular scam is determining Wiesel's role in it. However, when we
recall words he wrote early in his career and has repeated many time
since then, we have a possible key. "Some events do take place but are
not true; others are true although they never occurred."27 Telling a
"true lie" with good intentions is simply not a problem for Wiesel.
Also, since the Barbie trial focused on deportations to Auschwitz, not
Buchenwald, the former was in the news every day during the summer of
1987, while hardly a word was being said about the latter. Thus,
Wiesel, never shy about generating publicity for himself, might well
have felt that a "true lie" was called for here.
In 1995, Wiesel offered a fifth version of his liberation experience
in an interview published in the German weekly Die Zeit. It contained
two new pieces of information. The first was the claim that the
picture had actually been taken the day after the liberation, that is,
on April 12, 1945, not on April 11th, as the media had always implied.
This new date not only contradicts the date of April 16 given by the
U.S. Army, but it also made it impossible for him to be in it if we
believed his second claim that he had been put in the hospital for ten
days immediately upon eating American food on April 11th. The second
new assertion to emerge from this interview was that the picture was
taken in the children's barracks, or Kinderblock at Buchenwald, where
Wiesel was lodged. The following statement to this effect appears
twice in the article, once in the text and once again as the caption
to the picture (in which the person alleged to be Wiesel is circled as
it had been in the NYT in 1983): "On the day after the liberation the
picture was taken in the Children's Block at Buchenwald by an American
soldier. It shows old men. But these old faces are the faces of men
who, in truth, were 15 or 16 years of age like I was."28 Since 1945,
when the NYT first made propaganda use of this picture, no one has
ever claimed that it depicts children. Yet, Wiesel actually expects us
to believe that these men, some of whom are heavily bearded or
partially bald, were mere boys. Finally, when Wiesel states that the
picture was taken "by an American soldier," he gives the impression
that it was a spur-of-the-moment event and not one that was carefully
orchestrated for propaganda purposes.
A sixth version of events at the liberation of Buchenwald was
concocted by Wiesel in 1989 when a black filmmaker and a Jewish
producer were trying to create a new myth, namely, that a black unit,
the 761st Tank Battalion, had actually liberated the Jews at
Buchenwald. Their intention was to increase black and Jewish mutual
"understanding" in Brooklyn through a movie to be shown on PBS called
Liberators. For the benefit of the NYT, which gave serious coverage to
this far-fetched story, Wiesel conjured up a brand new memory that he
had never mentioned before: "I will always remember with love a big
black soldier. He was crying like a childtears of all the pain in the
world and all the rage. Everyone who was there that day will forever
feel a sentiment of gratitude to the American soldiers who liberated
us."29 He made this statement despite the fact that there were no
blacks present at the liberation of Buchenwald on April 11, 1945, and
the black unit in question was over 50 miles away on that date.
After a gala preview screening of the movie in Harlem, it was
gradually revealed that the film's thesis was a hoax. Thus, it was
Jeffrey Goldberg, among others, denounced this media fabrication that
the NYT had so strongly supported.30 Yet, Wiesel repeated this true
lie in his autobiography: "I will never forget the American soldiers
and the horror that could be read in their faces. I will especially
remember one black sergeant, a muscled giant, who wept tears of
impotent rage and shame, shame for the human species, when he
saw us. He spewed curses that on his lips became holy words. We tried
to lift him onto our shoulders to show our gratitude, but we didn't
have the strength. We were too weak to even applaud him."31 In
Wiesel's patronizing and essentially racist view of the world, blacks
are portrayed as physically strong but inarticulate. They can only
spit out obscenities. Amazingly, even though the story was known to be
false, he later incorporated it into his lecture routine, as needed.32
Elie Wiesel, so admired by many U. S. Catholic leaders, is in fact a
con man who has enriched himself with his tall tales. Although courted
by various misguided Church representatives, he is actually an
outspoken enemy of traditional Catholicism, and should play no role
whatsoever in Catholic life in this country. It is also evident that
both Wiesel and the NYT are comfortable using true lies to promote the
Jewish holocaust story and, in turn, Israel. Even worse, it is
appalling that Wiesel, in his drive to become a multi-millionaire (he
charges a standard fee of $25,000 per appearance and demands a
chauffeur-driven car to go with it), and media personality, has so
heartlessly exploited the suffering and death of his parents and
sister at the hands of the Nazis. In falsifying his "memories" for
personal gain, Wiesel has trivialized the personal tragedies of not
only his closest family members, but also of all those, Jews and
Gentiles, who died in the camps. The old shame of the JOW was, and is,
the documented deaths of all too many innocent Jews during the war.
The new shame of the JOW is the ongoing media exploitation of those
deaths by people like Wiesel and the editors of the New York Times.
David O'Connell is a professor of French at Georgia State University
1. Ari L. Goldman, "For Cardinal, Wiesel Visit Proved a Calm in Storm
Over Trip," NYT, February 15, 1987, I, 67.
2. Brian Caulfield, "Holocaust Memorial: Cardinal Asks Forgiveness for
Christians Who Turned Their Backs on Jews," Catholic New York,
September 18, 1997, 14-15.
3. Brian Caulfield, "University Award: Cardinal Honored for Promoting
Catholic Jewish Relations," Catholic New York, November 13, 1997, 12.
"Although many Christians were persecuted by the Nazis, the cardinal
said, only Jews were killed mainly because of their ethnic background.
He stressed that he is `passionately committed' to making the truth
about the Holocaust known.'" Of course, this statement is absurd, for
Nazi ideology was equally scornful of the Catholic Poles, whose
country was supposed to provide living space for the Germans.
Furthermore, an archbishop's primary responsibility is to proclaim
Christ, not to tell the Jewish holocaust story.
4. "What is a Jew? Harry Cargas Interviews Elie Wiesel," U.S
Catholic/Jubilee, September 1971, 28.
5. Jacob Neusner, "American Jews Embrace a Religion of Memory," St.
Petersburg Times, April 12, 1999. This is why the Anti-Defamation
League, the American Jewish Committee, the New York Times and other
media outlets were so one-sided and hateful in their attacks on Mel
Gibson's Passion. He was not only reiterating the centrality of
Christ's suffering for the redemption of all mankind, but in doing so
he was also undermining our country's civil religion. It was no
accident that various mediarchs repeatedly accused him of "Holocaust
denial" for reasserting Christ over "Holocaust." It should be noted
that the capital H in Holocaust underlines the racist assumption that
other holocausts, whether they refer to the millions of victims in
Ruanda, Armenia, Cambodia, the Stalinist Ukraine (in which Jewish
commissars played a major role) or Palestine, are not important.
6. Limitations of space do not permit a description of how Wiesel,
with the help of his mentor at the NYT, Abe Rosenthal, created the
word in 1968 as a cover for the 1967 conquest and occupation of the
rest of Palestine. Catholic victimhood at the hands of the Nazis, well
documented at Nuremberg, was declared by Wiesel to be henceforth
inoperative. Only Jews could be true victims of the Nazi "holocaust."
7. Bob Woodard, Plan of Attack, (New York, Simon & Schuster, 2004),
320-1. Woodward recounts Wiesel's visit to the White House in late
February 2003, when Bush was still allegedly wavering in his decision
to attack Iraq. After hearing Wiesel tell him that Israel's security
was at stake, Bush made the decision easily. Americans must fight to
protect Israel. Did Bush know at the time that Wiesel is on the CIA
payroll, as he boasts in his autobiography? Wiesel, of course, had
previously been a leading supporter of Clinton's bombing of Yugoslavia
8. Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Zero [monthly magazine], avril 1987, 57. "Par
exemple, vous avez le rabbin Kahane, cet extrémiste juif, qui est
moins dangereux qu'un homme comme Elie Wiesel qui raconte N'IMPORTE
QUOI. . . Il suffit de lire certaine description de La Nuit pour
savoir que certaines de ses descriptions ne sont pas exactes et qu'il
finit par se transformer en marchand de Shoah. .
Eh bien, lui aussi, porte un tort, un tort immense, à la vérité
9. Vivian Gornick, "The Rhetoric of Witness: All Rivers Run To the
Sea: Memoirs by Elie Wiesel," The Nation, December 25, 1995.
10. Christopher Hitchens, "Wiesel Words," The Nation, February 19, 2001.
11. Anon. "Wiesel Slams Pope's Comments," News24.com, November 17, 2003.
12. Eva Fleischner, "Mauriac's Preface to Night: Thirty Years Later,'
America, November 19, 1988, 411, 419.
13. Clyda Haberman, "An Unoffical but Very Public Bearer of Pain,
Peace and Human Dignity," NYT, March 5, 1997, C1.
14. Isreal Shenker, "The Concerns of Elie Wiesel: Yesterday and
Today," NYT, February 10, 1970, 48. "The two became close friends, and
Mr. Wiesel plans to publish a volume of their dialoguewhich have had
strongly polemical moments, notably on the subject if Israel."
15. Naomi Seidman, "The Rage That Elie Wiesel Edited Out of Night,"
Jewish Social Studies, December, 1996.
16. Jonathan Heller, War and Conflict: Selected Images from the
National Archives, (Washington, D.C., National Archives and Records
Administration, 1990), 253.
17. Cargas, Conversations with Elie Wiesel, 88.
18. Harold Denny, "The World Must Not Forget," NYT, May 6, 1945, 42.
19. After Wiesel received the prize, several Jewish writers denounced
him for shamelessly lobbying for it. See, for example: Jacob Weisberg,
"Pop Goes Elie Wiesel," New Republic, November 10, 1986, pp.12-3.
20. See: Samuel G. Freedman, "Bearing Witness: The Life and Work of
Elie Wiesel," NYT, October 23, 1983. The picture appeared on p. 34.
21. Henry Kamm, "No Mention of Jews at Buchenwald," NYT, March 25,
22. Elie Wiesel, "Le Jour où Buchenwald a été libéré," Paris-Match,
#28126, du 10 au 16 avril 2003, 116.
23. John Tagliabue, "Elie Wiesel Back in Germany After 41 Years," NYT,
January 23, 1986, A4.
24. Martin Suskind, "A Voice from Bonn: History Cannot be Shrugged
Off," NYT, November 2, 1986, IV, 2. The article points out that the
Nobel Committee "chose precisely Elie Wiesel for the award" because
they wanted to send a message to the Kohl government in Germany, which
had not demonstrated sufficient guilt in 1985 in commemorating the
fortieth anniversary of the end of World War II.
25. "A Survivor's Prize," NYT, January 4, 1987, XIII, 3.
26. "Wiesel and Walesa Visit Auschwitz," NYT, January 18, 1988, I, 3.
27. Legends of Our Time, (1968), viii.
28 "Am Tag nach der Befreiung wurde das Bild aus dem Kinderblock von
Buchenwald von einem amerikanischen Soldaten aufgenommen. Darauf sind
alte Männer zu sehen. Doch diese alten Gesichter sind die Gesichter
von Menschen, die in Warheit wie ich um die um die fünfzehn oder
sechzehn Jahre alt waren." Elie Wiesel [aufgezeichnet von Werner A.
Perger] "1945 und Heute: Holocaust," Die Zeit, April 21, 1995, 16.
29. Henry Kamm, "No Mention of Jews at Buchenwald," NYT, Mar 25, 1989, 8.
30. Jeffrey Goldberg, "The Exaggerators," New Republic, February 8,
31. All Rivers Run to the Sea, 97.
32. Anon. "Maya Angelou and Elie Wiesel on Love, Hate and Humanity,"
Massachusetts, Spring 1995, 4.
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