Accuracy & Truth Of Simon Wiesenthal

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
Raymond
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Post by Raymond » 05 Sep 2002 22:44

Roberto's contribution to the forum is one of the most important.

Without any doubt.

He brings up various historical documents,translates them .He has the really extensive knowledge about Holocaust and the issues related.


Again, never denied that, but other people could also have more extensive knowledge then you might believe.

His position is always clear and ethical.


I did never deny that, so whats your problem?

But what is your contribution to the forum ?


Stay tuned, but if i make a contribution, it will be excellent. Promised.

Calling names ? Roberto's postings are "childish rantings"?
Your preposterous posts are the real "childish rantings "
Even more so on the background of the Roberto' ones.

Nope, it is simply childish to repeat the same rantings again and again. He insults Scott, and that has nothing do with a good style of discussion.

It would take you a l-o-o-n-g time to grow up to the Roberto level.
If ever..


I assume you know me personally? I guess not, so don't step over a border, if you can't see what lies behind.

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Post by Xanthro » 05 Sep 2002 23:35

Are we talking the person or the center?

I think the center has done some good work, providing research material online, speaking up for the rights of others.

My only real disagreement with them stems from what appears to be a blindness to the extent that people knew about the Holocaust when it happened. The SW center seems to overly accept any information that would expand the number of people who knew what was going on. Of course, noone is prefect.

As to Smith's picture, they don't really represent anything. The one that has been altered with the addition of smoke doesn't claim to be something that it is not. Adding babies, or people being shot would be far worse. What the picture has been altered to show is the final status of these people. If it were of a completely historical nature, I'd be upset by the alteration. But it's not. The SW Center is no a historical research center, but a political body, and as such does engage in propoganda (as do many historical centers). It attempts to keep alive the memory of the Holocaust in order to ensure that it is not repeated.

The fringe elements that deny the Holocaust are not the target audience for the center. The pictures on the site are meant to convey the emotion of the holocoust, not accuartely protray the history of it.

I've never heard about the center changing the wording of the documents posted on their site. That would be dishonest.

Xanthro

Xanthro

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Scott Smith
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Post by Scott Smith » 05 Sep 2002 23:51

Xanthro wrote:As to Smith's picture, they don't really represent anything. The one that has been altered with the addition of smoke doesn't claim to be something that it is not.

Back to my original question as to whether fabulism promotes tolerance, I say NO!

Otherwise, then, we might as well continue to use Human Soap as an apt metaphor. If it is not true, well it ought to be. Because it "promotes tolerance."
:roll:

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Post by atkif » 06 Sep 2002 06:38

Raymond wrote:Again, never denied that, but other people could also have more extensive knowledge then you might believe.

Really ?Never knew about it ..
I did never deny that, so whats your problem?

My problem is that you without attempting to discuss the issues in question are being so judgmental.
Stay tuned, but if i make a contribution, it will be excellent. Promised

I am holding my breath..
Nope, it is simply childish to repeat the same rantings again and again. He insults Scott, and that has nothing do with a good style of discussion

You can't judge the other people styles of discussion because you don't have yours - you don't discuss,you just pick on the other participants.
I assume you know me personally? I guess not, so don't step over a border, if you can't see what lies behind.

You are stepping over borders all the time in your postings.
So don't complain.

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Hans
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Post by Hans » 06 Sep 2002 07:53

Raymond,

contribute something to the topic, or quit the thread!

Hans

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 06 Sep 2002 10:17

Scott Smith wrote:Fedor Fedorenko was stripped of his U.S. citizenship and deported to the Soviet Union for an (undoubtedly) fair trial and was executed.


Unless Smith can demonstrate otherwise, it was a fair trial. The fact that Stalin conducted show trials in the 1930s does not mean his successors conducted such trials in the 1970s or 1980s, does it?

Scott Smith wrote:There are also Frank Walus and John Demjanjuk.


And so? D. was acquitted (by the highly unfair Israeli Supreme Court), Walus not even brought to trial.

Scott Smith wrote: Basically, any European immigrant of the proper age and background is vulnerable to such accusations of witchcraft.


A well-meaning piece of advice, Mr. Smith:

Cut out that "witchcraft" rhetoric.

It's so silly that you look like a bloody fool (even more than you usually do) whenever you come up with it.

We're talking about plain and simple murder here.

Scott Smith wrote:And the burden-of-proof is effectively on the accused. You get your "fair trial" after you are deported.8O


The trial that Smith whines most loudly about was actually a fair one.

The burden of proof was upon the prosecution, not the defendant.

"Prove to me that I was in Treblinka", was the challenge Demjanjuk kept repeating.

“Prove to me that I was in Treblinka!”

Ten years ago the trial against John Demjanjuk began in Jerusalem. It ended with an acquittal and a defeat of the state of right.

It was meant to be a second “Eichmann Trial”: A quarter of a century after the death sentence against the “Desktop Criminal” a henchman of the Holocaust was to follow him to the gallows. Ten years ago the Jerusalem district court opened the trial against John Demjanjuk. It ended with a debacle for the state of right: The accused was acquitted in 1993 due to “founded doubts” and flew to the USA at state expense.

“Ivan the Terrible” Jews in Treblinka death camp called the Ukrainian “Master of the Gas Chambers”, one of their worst tormentors. He took part in the murder of 875,000 people, tortured and mutilated countless victims. In 1976, five survivors of Treblinka thought to have recognized the sadistic hangman on old photographs - the pictures showed John Demjanjuk. Thus began a trial that produced almost 20,000 pages of files but no final verdict.

At first it took ten years for the suspect to be delivered to Israel by the USA; the prosecutors took another six months for the indictment. They demanded the death penalty for the murder of many thousands of people in Treblinka.

The trial became a media event: For the first time television broadcast live from a Jerusalem courtroom; whole school classes visited the trial. Every morning Demjanjuk jovially saluted the observers in Hebrew, sometimes even lifting his arms into the air like a victorious boxes. Thus the native Ukrainian only increased the tense atmosphere in the room. An escalation came about when survivor Eliahu Rosenberg was to identify the accused: “Enough of this trial, hang him”, the witness screamed. Demjanjuk answered “Schalom” and offered his hand to Rosenberg, who beat it aside and shouted: “You murderer! How can you dare to give me your hand?”

Two indications

The depositions of the five survivors were one of the prosecutors’ indications, the other was Demjanjuk’s SS - service card. Although the defense kept maintaining that it was a KGB falsification, the judges followed the assessments by the Israeli police. In this the failed to see one thing: Demjanjuk’s working place mentioned in the document was Sobibor, an extermination camp 200 kilometers to the South West of Treblinka. Thus, while the voluntary activity of the accused in a murder camp had been established, his identification as “Ivan the Terrible” remained uncertain. The defense concentrated on this point.

Demjanjuk, however, almost talked himself to the gallows: during interrogation he became entangled in contradictions, even admitted to having been at the place Sobibor during the war - where there was not much beside a railway station and the camp. The weak point of the accusation - mass murder in Treblinka - he clearly recognized nevertheless: “Prove to me that I was in Treblinka. Where are the facts? My name is not on the lists of the guards because I was never there.” In this point, as it seems today, the accused was telling the truth - even though his other statements were lies.

The Jerusalem District Court still had no doubt as to Demjanjuk being identical with “Ivan the Terrible”: On 18 April 1988, after more than one hundred days of judgment, the three judges pronounced the accused guilty, a week later they announced the only penalty provided for in the law for National Socialist criminals: death by hanging. To this last session Demjanjuk had to be dragged by force.

In Israel every condemned has the right to appeal; the procedure was fair and not, as defender Yoram Sheftel complained, a “show trial to teach the young generation a lesson about the Holocaust”. Thus the case “Israel against John Demjanjuk” went in second and last instance to the Supreme Court

Unexpected Turnaround

Now the trial took an unexpected course: Documents and testimonials previously held back by Soviet and American authorities appeared, showing that the last name of “Ivan the Terrible” was Marchenko and that he had been killed at the revolt of the Treblinka inmates in 1943. Demjanjuk had indeed never been in Treblinka; his roll in Sobibor could no longer be clarified. Apparently he had also murdered in Flössenburg concentration camp. But of these crimes the prosecution had not accused him. Thus the court was not entitled to judge about them. The consequence: On 29 July 1993, the five highest judges of Israel acquitted Demjanjuk of the accusation of having murdered in Treblinka.

The survivors were shocked - Rosenberg said, his voice drowned by tears: “It burns inside me. He is a murderer. The judges know that I am right.”

Indeed the Supreme Court had concluded the following: “We have acquitted the SS-guard John Demjanjuk due to doubts only from the accusation of being “Ivan the Terrible. That is the proper decision for judges who cannot look into either the heart or the spirit of the accused. To find the whole truth is not the task of human judges.”

After a short while there was overwhelming praise for the Israeli court: Observers praised the acquittal as “proof that this is a constitutional state”.

That was all correct, but the applause for the court covered an important detail: The trial had gone wrong because the investigators had focused only on Treblinka. The prosecutors wanted to sentence “Ivan the Terrible” and failed to see that the had another murderer in front of them. A new indictment, however, the judges considered as disproportionate - after all Demjanjuk had spent eight years behind bars without a verdict. In view of this it was only consequent that an American court canceled his extradition at the end of 1993. John Demjanjuk, who was not “Ivan the Terrible” but had an unknown number of human lives on his conscience nevertheless, went into retirement in Cleveland/Ohio.


I translated the above from an article featured in the Berliner Zeitung
on 7.12.1996. The article can be found online under

http://www.berlinonline.de/wissen/berli ... index.html

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Hans
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Post by Hans » 06 Sep 2002 12:08



Interesting article. I'm curious if there is any detailed information on Demjanjuk's activity in Sobibor and Flossenbürg?

Cheers,
Hans

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Richard Miller
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Walus trial

Post by Richard Miller » 06 Sep 2002 13:41

Quotes below are taken from Charles Ashman & Robert J. Wagman, The Nazi Hunters, Pharos Books, New York, 1988
The story of Frank Walus is the story of "The Nazi Who Never Was":

In 1976 Simon Wiesenthal, in Vienna, had gone public with charges that a Polish emigre living in Chicago, Frank Walus, had been a collaborator involved in persecuting Polish Jews, including women and children, as part of a Gestapo-led auxiliary police unit. Walus, charged Wiesenthal, "performed his duties with the Gestapo in the ghettos of Czestochowa and Kielce and handed over numerous Jews to the Gestapo." (p. 193)

Walus, in turn, was convicted by Judge Julius Hoffman, who ran the trial with an iron hand and an eccentricity that bordered on the bizarre. He allowed government witnesses great latitude, while limiting severely Korenkiewicz's cross-examination of them. When Walus himself testified, Hoffman limited him almost entirely to simple yes and no answers. (p. 193)

Despite weaknesses in the prosecution case, Judge Hoffman went on to convict Walus, and later despite accumulating evidence of Walus's innocence, refused to reconsider his verdict. But then a formal appeal was filed. The process took almost two years, but in February 1980, the court ruled. It threw out Hoffman's verdict and ordered Walus retried. In making the ruling, the court said that it appeared the government's case against Walus was "weak" but that Hoffman's handling of the trial had been so biased that it could not evaluate the evidence properly. (p. 195)


Only later was the source of the "evidence" against Walus that had reached Simon Wiesenthal identified. Walus had bought a two-family duplex when he came to Chicago. In the early 1970s, he rented out the second unit to a tenant with whom he eventually had a fight. Walus evicted the tenant, who then started telling one and all how his former landlord used to sit around and reminisce about the atrocities he had committed against Jews in the good old days. Apparently one of the groups to which he told the story was a Jewish refugee agency in Chicago, which passed the information along to Simon Wiesenthal. (p. 195)

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Post by Roberto » 06 Sep 2002 14:16

Rob S. wrote:Though I know nearly nothing about Simon.. :? I can say first hand that it is very impotant to seperate "the acts" with "the person" in order to make his image. Just because he has falsely accused, does not mean that all are falsely accused. The same goes the other way around.

It just seems to me here that people are arguing his works based on their particular bias. Nothing in the world says that he can't screw up and succeed at the same time, or at different times. Nobodies' past actions can dictate present or future acts; because a person can change, or make mistakes. To think otherwise is either labelling or blind faith.


I couldn't have said it better myself.

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Post by Scott Smith » 06 Sep 2002 15:00

Roberto, doubtlessly you will never get this--coming from a European country where, in contrast to Colombia, justice seems advanced, and one who thinks that Thoughtcrimes laws are okay except that they provide bigots with something to howl about--but Linnas, Demjanjuk, Fedorenko, and Walus were all American citizens.

As American citizens, they had the right to American standards of justice, not to be shipped to the Soviet Union or Israel to be executed after a "fair trial" or sentenced after a trial-in-absentia.

Clearly the notion is absurd to anybody but a political zealot or disingenuous member of the legal priesthood.

They were political criminals because they were ACCUSED of "witchcraft" by the "Nazi Hunters."
:)
Last edited by Scott Smith on 06 Sep 2002 18:31, edited 1 time in total.

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Richard Miller
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Post by Richard Miller » 06 Sep 2002 15:15

Roberto wrote:
Rob S. wrote:Though I know nearly nothing about Simon.. :? I can say first hand that it is very impotant to seperate "the acts" with "the person" in order to make his image. Just because he has falsely accused, does not mean that all are falsely accused. The same goes the other way around.

It just seems to me here that people are arguing his works based on their particular bias. Nothing in the world says that he can't screw up and succeed at the same time, or at different times. Nobodies' past actions can dictate present or future acts; because a person can change, or make mistakes. To think otherwise is either labelling or blind faith.


I couldn't have said it better myself.


Granted, mistakes can happen
By the same token...
Should Wiesenthal have been compelled to re-imbursed Walus for his legal expenses?
Should he have at least offered?
What about defamation of character?

The fact that Walus died from a stress related heart attack and Wiesenthal accepted a medal cheapens his reputation dramatically.
I don't believe I read that he even apologized.

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Post by michael mills » 06 Sep 2002 17:15

Just a response to the intemperate distortion of what I wrote about Wiesenthal.

The issue is not whether Wiesenthal is Jewish.

The issue is not whether it is right ti investigate certain individuals in relation to crimes they may have committed during the Second World War.

The issue is whether Wiesenthal is a self-promoter who has greatly exaggerated his own achievement, and indeed has made a number of false claims.

My own opinion is that his self-promotion and false claims greatly outweigh any genuine contribution he may have made.

He falsely claimed to have contributed to the discovery and capture of Eichmann, whereas he did not. He falsely claimed several times to be on the point of capturing Mengele (including on a Greek Island), whereas in fact he did not have any genuine information as to his whereabouts.

I myself stated that he played some sort of role in the arrest of Stangl, although finding him was not difficult, since he was living openly in Brazil under his own name. Wiesenthal publicised the location of Stangl, and that may possibly have led to his arrest, although other factors may have played a more important role.

If Wiesenthal has actually through his own researches discovered information useful to the investigation of certain individuals, then they were certainly very minor players. Definitely nothing to warrant the acclaim that he has been accorded, in comparison with the work of the many hundreds of persons who must have involved in the investigations that have led to those trials for war-crimes that have actually occurred.

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Post by michael mills » 06 Sep 2002 17:54

Ogorek wrote:
Mr. Mills -

I strongly object to your characterization of Jan Karski as a "self-promoter," and having his name in the same paragraph with the word "hypocrisy."

Jan Karski was real, a reserve soldier and then a political courier for the Polish Government in Exile, and fulfilled his duties above and beyond. You apparently know very little about this unusually brave man.


On the contrary, I know quite a lot about this person.

I am well aware that he was a courier for the Armia Krajowa, and that at on two occasions he brought information out of occupied Poland. He may well have shown a certain amount of bravery in carrying out those activities, although whether he showed more than the many other couriers and activists is open to discussion.

However, he was certainly a hypocritical self-promoter in his claim to having tried to rescue Jews. The height of self-promotion was reached in a book called "The Man Who Tried to Stop the Holocaust"; that claim is a total exaggeration.

In fact, he shared the anti-Jewish feelings of most Poles of that time. I invite you to read his first report from occupied Poland, the one presented to the Polish Government-in-Exile in France in early 1940. In that report, Kozielewski (his real name, before he adopted the pseudonym Karski) described the Jews as the main supporters of the Soviet occupiers in Soviet-occupied Eastern Poland, and predicted that the Poles would take a bloody revenge on them. His report was so anti-Jewish that, on the instructions of the Polish Government-in-Exile, he prepared a second, doctored version, which portrayed the Poles under occupation as sympathetic to the plight of the Jews, and which would be more acceptable to the Allies.

Late in 1942, Karski returned from his second mission to Poland, bringing a number of messages from Armia Krajowa operatives, including a message from a couple of Jewish leaders in Warsaw. However, the latter was only a minor part of his mission, and it was several months before he delivered the message to Jewish leaders in the United States.

Early in 1943, two Polish Jewish representatives in the Polish Government-in-Exile in London, Szwarcbard and Zygielbojm, published a report on the deportation of Jews from Warsaw. In it, they described the Jews being taken to a transit camp, from which they later were taken to an extermination camp, identified by Szwarcbart and Zygielbojm as Belzec; that was a mistake, it was actually Treblinka. The two writers claimed that their report was based on material brought out of Poland by a courier for the Underground.

In 1944. Karski produced the book "Story of a Secret State", on the orders of the Polish Government-in-Exile, which wanted a best-selling work that would raise the profile of the Polish cause. Much of the material was given to Karski, and he was writing according to the directions of his superiors, although he also included some of his personal experiences.

The Szwarcbard-Zygielbojm report was incorporated holus-bolus into the book, with a lot of hyperbole, and including the error that the Jews deported from Warsaw were taken to Belzec. However, Karski introduced a sensational element by presenting the report as something he himself had witnessed, ie he claimed to have been in the Warsaw Ghetto and in the Belzec camp himself.

Karski's descriptions of the Warsaw Ghetto are so fantastic and full of errors that it is extremely unlikely that the story presented in "Secret State" is his own experience. Raul Hilberg, in his book "Victims, Perpetrators, Bystanders", describes all the errors in Karski's account, and strongly implies that it is not true, although of course he does not say so explicitly. Nevertheless, in later years, Karski promoted himself as a hero who tried to save Jews, on the basis of the problematic account in "Secret State".

It is for that reason I called him a self-promoter. And the stark contrast between that claim and the anti-Jewish views appearing in his 1940 report is reason why I used the term "hypocrisy".

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Post by Hans » 06 Sep 2002 18:24

michael mills wrote:Just a response to the intemperate distortion of what I wrote about Wiesenthal.


You wrote that Wiesenthal is somebody "who has achieved nothing useful", which is evidently nonsense. I would like to note that the term "useful" seems to be quite subjective here. His research gave numerous indications which led to the succesful prosecution of hundreds of criminals according to the head of the Zentralstelle zur Ermittlung von NS-Verbrechen in Ludwigsburg. But these must have been "very minor players" says michaels mills. So it was not useful.

For those who are interested in a different opinion about Wiesenthal than the one expressed by michael mills, I recommend the Wiesenthal biography Hella Pick: "Simon Wiesenthal : A Life in Search of Justice".

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Post by Ogorek » 06 Sep 2002 20:48

Mr. Mills

I do not have the advantage of having the 1994 book at hand, nor have I read the Hilberg book.

Agreed, Karski was probably no braver than the other Polish couriers, but his mission was not for the AK, but he was a political courier for the Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs in London. This was a curious job which demanded that the messenger remain A-political in his dealings with the different political parties in Poland and their representatives in London.

There are two other books in English about couriers : LERSKI, George "Jur". Poland's Secret Envoy 1939-1945
and
Nowak, Jan, COURIER FROM WARSAW (although the last .author was more oriented toward military affairs)

I have in the past read the 1940 Karski report, and it is not surprising given the time period it was written in and the situation in Soviet occupied Poland. But it is easy to see an emotional response in the perspective of a soldier who had suffered devastating defeat. Yes there was anti-Semitism in Poland, but little is mentioned of the opposite side of the coin on how the Jews interacted and viewed their neighbors, but this is really neither the time or place for such a diversion.

STORY OF A SECRET STATE was published during wartime, and at a time when Poland's situation was desperate. What is surprising about the book is that the tales related are still somewhat restrained in light of the actual situation.

Knowing people who were his students, and having met Jan Karski myself several times, I can assure you that for the longest time, until Lanzman dragged him out of his "cave," Jan Karski was a very tormented man who preferred to forget what he saw, did, experiences, and the frustrations and helplessness of the failure of his mission.

I do not know if you have read the Wood/Jankowski book, but I do not recall any place in it where, to quote you, he "Nevertheless, in later years, Karski promoted himself as a hero who tried to save Jews, on the basis of the problematic account in "Secret State". "

As for the question of his anti-semitism, it may have been one thing for a person to an anti-Semite before 1939, but the events in Poland after the occupation would certainly have had only the most stone hearted not have had a change of heart.

As I said, Karski, before the Lanzman affair, lived the life of a taciturn academic in the Washington area. For what it is worth, his wife was Jewish, and he again disappeared from the public eye when she suffered from a long and serious illness. By the time that trail was over, Karski was not well himself.

It is a pity that the documentary about Karski made during the late 80s, early 90s has disappeared - I could not find on IMDB.COM - but I think it was, along with some of footage of him in SHOAH, the truest portrait of a man suffering and tormented by what he saw, and tried to do. In no way would I have ever thought his public persona was one of either hypocrisy or self-serving. I for one, morn his passing, and will remember him for what he was.

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