In February of 1996 - right in the middle of the cyberwar around the Zundelsite when all the blue ribbons appeared - there was an interesting German television broadcast called "Panorama" beamed across Germany. It told of a serious rift between the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Simon Wiesenthal himself.
It was, by all standards, an extraordinary broadcast.
Important Jewish dignitaries really did a number on the gent, refuting Mr. Wiesenthal's "usefulness" for the international "war criminals" manhunt, and stating very clearly that even though Wiesenthal ***claimed*** to have assisted in and played a crucial role in the locating and persecuting of 1,200 war time criminals, in reality it had been ***less than ten***"!
This television piece was utterly ignored by the Western media and never, to my knowledge, mentioned in any SWC publications!
I had more than a passing interest in this story. It has been nagging and nagging at me for years: How could an outfit that carried this man's name so vilify him and discredit him in a nationwide broadcast or, at the very least, know of his vilification - and yet not inform its supporters? How could they go on collecting shekls in his name - yet know or at least claim he was a phony?
Now I have come across an extremely interesting item that appeared in a Letter to the Editor to the Toronto Star a few days ago, October 26, 1998 A21. It was written by one Matthias Schlaepfer of Toronto, Ontario in response to an article titled "Do our jurists need Holocaust classes?", (Oct.20) and is, hence, in the public domain:
"Sol Littman, Canadian director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre (SWC), thinks that our "effort to prosecute World War II criminals has been severely plagued by governmental callousness, lack of experience and internal conflict".
He may be right. Given the SWC's own strained ties to historical facts, though, his call for sending judges "back to school" surprises.
In January, 1998, the SWC released a report entitled The Unwanted Guests: Swiss Forced Labor Camps 1940-1944, accusing Switzerland of serious wartime crimes, and demanded compensation for the victims.
The author, Alan Morris Schom - a U.S. historian and specialist in French colonial history - had never even visited the Swiss federal archives and ignored the seminal work of Andre Lasserre.
Worse, a subsequent painstaking investigation by Australian businessman Ken Newman (who, as Austrian Jew Kresimir Neumann had been one of the alleged victims), revealed that the overwhelming majority of the survivors reached not only contradicted Schom's account and expressed gratitude for their wartime refuge, they had never been contacted by the SWC about any compensation demands.
In June, 1998, Rabbi Marvin Hier presented the SWC's second hatchet job entitled Survey Of Nazi And Pro Nazi Groups In Switzerland 1930-1945.
The even more laughable allegations scraped together by Schom prompted Swiss Jewish leaders ***to consider a class action suit for defamation against the SWC.*** (Emphasis added)
Nazi hunter Wiesenthal publicly distanced himself from the centre that carries his name.
Those associated with such shenanigans, perhaps, are poorly placed to teach history lessons."
So what do we have here - other than the ". . . Revolution eating its own children?" Inquiring minds want to know.
Thought for the Day:
"Seek hard enough and I guarantee that ye shall find."
(Letter to the Zundelsite)
Back to Table of Contents of the Nov. 1998 ZGrams