Simon Wiesenthal: Fraudulent 'Nazi Hunter'
By Mark Weber
For more than 40 years, Simon Wiesenthal has been
tracking hundreds of "Nazi criminals" from his "Jewish
Documentation Center" in Vienna. For his work as the world's
most prominent "Nazi hunter," he has been awarded several
honorary degrees and numerous medals, including Germany's
highest decoration. In a formal White House ceremony in August
1980, a teary-eyed President Carter presented him with a
special gold medal awarded by the US Congress. President
Reagan praised him in November 1988 as one of the "true
heroes" of this century.
This living legend was portrayed in flattering terms by
the late Laurence Oliver in the 1978 film fantasy "The Boys
From Brazil," and by Ben Kingsley in the 1989 HBO
made-for-television movie "Murderers Among Us: The Simon
Wiesenthal Story." One of world's most prominent Holocaust
organizations bears his name: the Simon Wiesenthal Center of
Wiesenthal's reputation as a moral authority is
undeserved. The man whom The Washington Post has called
the "Holocaust's Avenging Angel"  has a little known but
well-documented record of reckless disregard for truth. He has
lied about his own wartime experiences, misrepresented his
postwar "Nazi-hunting" achievements, and has spread vile
falsehoods about alleged German atrocities.
Szymon (Simon) Wiesenthal was born on December 31,
1908, in Buczacz, a town in the province of Galicia (now
Buchach in Ukraine) in what was then the eastern fringe of the
Austro-Hungarian empire. His father was a prosperous wholesale
In spite of all that has been written about him, just
what Wiesenthal did during the war years under German
occupation remains unclear. He has given conflicting stories
in three separate accounts of his wartime activities. The
first was given under oath during a two day interrogation
session in May 1948 conducted by an official of the US
Nuremberg war crimes commission.  The second is a summary
of his life provided by Wiesenthal as part of a January 1949
"Application for Assistance" to the International Refugee
Committee.  And the third account is given in his
autobiography, The Murderers Among Us, first published
in 1967. 
Soviet Engineer or Factory Mechanic?
In his 1948 interrogation, Wiesenthal declared that
"between 1939 and 1941" he was a "Soviet chief engineer
working in Lvov and Odessa."  Consistent with that, he
stated in his 1949 declaration that from December 1939 to
April 1940 he worked as an architect in the Black Sea port of
Odessa. But according to his autobiography, he spent the
period between mid-September 1939 and June 1941 in
Soviet-ruled Lvov, where he worked "as a mechanic in a factory
that produced bedsprings." 
After the Germans took control of Galicia province in
June 1941, Wiesenthal was interned for a time in the Janowska
concentration camp near Lvov, from where he was transferred a
few months later to a camp affiliated with the repair works
(OAW) in Lvov of the Ostbahn ("Eastern Railroad") of
German-ruled Poland. Wiesenthal reported in his autobiography
that he worked there "as a technician and draftsman," that he
was rather well treated, and that his immediate superior, who
was "secretly anti-Nazi," even permitted him to own two
pistols. He had his own office in a "small wooden hut," and
enjoyed "relative freedom and was permitted to walk all over
the yards." 
The next segment of Wiesenthal's life -- from October
1943 to June 1944 -- is the most obscure, and his accounts of
this period are contradictory. During his 1948 interrogation,
Wiesenthal said that he fled from the Janowska camp in Lvov
and joined a "partisan group which operated in the
Tarnopol-Kamenopodolsk area."  He said that "I was a
partisan from October 6, 1943, until the middle of February
1944," and declared that his unit fought against Ukrainian
forces, both of the SS "Galicia" division and of the
independent UPA partisan force. 
Wiesenthal said that he held the rank of lieutenant and
then major, and was responsible for building bunkers and
fortification lines. Although he was not explicit, he
suggested that this (supposed) partisan unit was part of the
Armia Ludowa ("Peoples Army"), the Polish Communist military
force established and controlled by the Soviets.
He said that he and other partisans slipped into Lvov
in February 1944, where they were "hidden by friends of the
A.L. ['People's Army'] group." On June 13, 1944, his group was
captured by the German Secret Field Police. (Although Jewish
partisans caught in hiding were often shot, Wiesenthal reports
that he was somehow spared.) Wiesenthal told much the same
story in his 1949 statement. He said that he fled from
internment in early October 1943 and then "fought against the
Germans as a partisan in the forest" for eight months -- from
October 2, 1943, to March 1944. After that, he was "in hiding"
in Lvov from March to June 1944.
Wiesenthal tells a totally different story in his 1967
autobiography. He reports there that after escaping from the
Ostbahn Repair Works on Oct. 2, 1943, he lived in hiding in
the houses of various friends until June 13, 1944, when he was
discovered by Polish and German police and returned to a
concentration camp. He makes no mention of any partisan
membership or activity. 
According to both his 1948 interrogation and his 1967
autobiography, he tried to commit suicide on June 15, 1944, by
cutting his wrists. Remarkably, though, he was saved from
death by German SS doctors and recovered in an SS hospital.
 He remained in the Lvov concentration camp "with double
rations" for a time, and then, he reports in his
autobiography, he was transferred to various work camps. He
spent the remaining chaotic months, until the end of the war,
in different camps until he was liberated from Mauthausen (in
Austria) by American forces on May 5, 1945. 
Did Wiesenthal invent a past as a heroic wartime
partisan? Or did he later try to suppress his record as a
Communist fighter? Or is the true story altogether different
-- and too shameful to admit?
Did Wiesenthal voluntarily work for his wartime
oppressors? That's the accusation leveled by Austrian
Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, himself of Jewish ancestry and
leader for many years of his country's Socialist Party. During
an interview with foreign journalists in 1975, Kreisky charged
Wiesenthal with using "Mafia methods," rejected his pretense
of "moral authority," and suggested that he was an agent for
the German authorities. Some of his more pertinent remarks,
which appeared in Austria's leading news magazine Profil,
I really know Mr. Wiesenthal only from secret
reports, and they are bad, very nasty. I say this as Federal
Chancellor ... And I say that Mr. Wiesenthal had a different
relationship with the Gestapo than I did. Yes, and this can
be proven. I can't say more [now]. Everything else, I'll say
My relationship with the Gestapo is unambiguous. I
was their prisoner, their inmate, and I was interrogated.
His relationship was a different one, I can say, and this
will come out clearly. It's bad enough what I've already
said here. But he can't clear himself by charging me with
defaming his honor in the press, as he might wish. It's not
that simple, because that would mean a big court case ... A
man like this doesn't have the right to pretend to be a
moral authority. That's what I say. He doesn't have the
Whether a man who, in my view, is an agent, yes,
that's right, and who uses Mafia methods ... Such a man has
to go ...
He is no gentleman, and I would say, to make this
clear, so that he won't become a moral authority, because he
is not ... He shouldn't pretend to be a moral authority
I say that Mr. Wiesenthal lived in that time in the
Nazi sphere of influence without being persecuted. Right?
And he lived openly without being persecuted, right? Is that
clear? And you perhaps know, if you know what was going on,
that no one could risk that.
He wasn't a "submarine" ... that is, submerged and in
hiding, but instead, he was completely in the open without
having to, well, ever risk persecution. I think that's
enough. There were so many opportunities to be an agent. He
didn't have to be a Gestapo agent. There were many other
In response to these damning words, Wiesenthal began
efforts to bring a lawsuit against the Chancellor. Eventually,
though, both Wiesenthal and Kreisky backed away from a major
Before he became famous as a "Nazi hunter," he made a
name for himself as a propagandist. In 1946 Wiesenthal
published KZ Mauthausen, an 85-page work that consists mainly
of his own amateurish sketches purporting to represent the
horrors of the Mauthausen concentration camp. One drawing
depicts three inmates who had been bound to posts and brutally
put to death by the Germans. 
The sketch is completely phony. It was copied -- with
some minor alterations -- from photographs that appeared in
Life magazine in 1945, which graphically record the
firing-squad execution in December 1944 of three German
soldiers who had been caught operating as spies behind the
lines during the "Battle of the Bulge."  The source of the
Wiesenthal drawing is instantly obvious to anyone who compares
it with the Life photos. 
The irresponsible character of this book is also shown
by Wiesenthal's extensive citation therein of the supposed
"death bed confession" of Mauthausen Commandant Franz Ziereis,
according to which four million were gassed to death with
carbon monoxide at the nearby Hartheim satellite camp. 
This claim is totally absurd, and no serious Holocaust
historian still accepts it.  Also according to the Ziereis
"confession" cited by Wiesenthal, the Germans supposedly
killed another ten million people in Poland, Lithuania and
Latvia.  In fact, this fraudulent "confession" was
obtained by torture. 
Years later, Wiesenthal was still lying about
Mauthausen. In a 1983 interview with the daily newspaper USA
Today, he said of his experience in Mauthausen: "I was one of
34 prisoners alive out of 150,000 who had been put there."
 This is a blatant falsehood. The years have apparently
not been kind to Wiesenthal's memory, because in his own
autobiography he wrote that "almost 3,000 prisoners died in
Mauthausen after the Americans liberated us on May 5, 1945."
 Another former inmate, Evelyn Le Chene, reported in her
standard work about Mauthausen that there were 64,000 inmates
in the camp when it was liberated in May 1945.  And
according to the Encyclopaedia Judaica, at least 212,000
inmates survived internment in the Mauthausen camp complex.
After the war Wiesenthal worked for the US Office of
Strategic Services (the forerunner of the CIA) and the US
Army's Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC). He was also vice
chairman of the Jewish Central Committee in the US occupation
zone of Austria. 
Wiesenthal has given circulation and credence to one of
the most scurrilous Holocaust stories, the charge that the
Germans manufactured soap from the corpses of murdered Jews.
According to this tale, the letters "RIF" in bars of
German-made soap allegedly stood for "Pure Jewish Fat" ("Rein
judisches Fett"). In reality, the initials stood for "National
Center for Industrial Fat Provisioning" ("Reichstelle fur
industrielle Fettversorgung"). 
Wiesenthal promoted the "human soap" legend in articles
published in 1946 in the Austrian Jewish community paper Der
Neue Weg ("The New Path"). In an article entitled "RIF," he
wrote: "The terrible words 'transport for soap' were first
heard at the end of 1942. It was in the [Polish] General
Government, and the factory was in Galicia, in Belzec. From
April 1942 until May 1943, 900,000 Jews were used as raw
material in this factory." After the corpses were turned into
various raw materials, Wiesenthal wrote, "The rest, the
residual fat stuff, was used for soap production."
He continued: "After 1942 people in the General
Government knew quite well what the RIF soap meant. The
civilized world may not believe the joy with which the Nazis
and their women in the General Government thought of this
soap. In each piece of soap they saw a Jew who had been
magically put there, and had thus been prevented from growing
into a second Freud, Ehrlich or Einstein." 
In another imaginative article published in 1946
entitled "Belzec Soap Factory," Wiesenthal alleged that masses
of Jews were exterminated in electrocution showers:
The people, pressed together and driven on by the SS,
Latvians and Ukrainians, go through the open door into the
"bath." Five hundred persons could fit at a time. The floor
of the "bath chamber" was made of metal and shower heads
hung from the ceiling. When the room was full, the SS turned
on the 5,000 volts of electric current in the metal plate.
At the same time water poured from the shower heads. A short
scream and the execution was over. An SS chief physician
named Schmidt determined through a peep hole that the
victims were dead. The second door was opened and the
"corpse commando" came in and quickly removed the dead. It
was ready for the next 500.
Today no serious historian accepts the stories that
Jewish corpses were manufactured into bars of soap or that
Jews were electrocuted to death at Belzec (or
Wiesenthal's imaginative view of history is not limited
to the twentieth century. In his 1973 book Sails of Hope, he
argued that Christopher Columbus was a secret Jew, and that
his famous voyage to the western hemisphere in 1492 was
actually a search for a new homeland for Europe's Jews.
Wiesenthal is not always wrong, of course. In 1975 and
again in 1993 he publicly acknowledged that "there were no
extermination camps on German soil."  He thus implicitly
conceded that the claims made at the postwar Nuremberg
Tribunal and elsewhere that Buchenwald, Dachau and other camps
in Germany proper were "extermination camps" are not
'Fabrications' About Eichmann
In more than 40 years of "Nazi hunting," Wiesenthal's
role in locating and capturing Adolf Eichmann is often
considered his greatest achievement.  (Eichmann headed the
wartime SS Jewish affairs department. He was kidnapped by
Israeli agents in Argentina in May 1960 and hanged in
Jerusalem after a trial that received worldwide media
But Isser Harel, the Israeli official who headed the
team that seized Eichmann, has declared unequivocally that
Wiesenthal had "absolutely nothing" to do with the capture.
(Harel is a former head of both the Mossad and Shin Bet,
Israel's foreign and domestic security agencies.)
Wiesenthal not only "had no role whatsoever" in the
apprehension, said Harel, but in fact he endangered the entire
Eichmann operation. In a 278-page manuscript, Harel carefully
refuted every claim by Wiesenthal about his supposed role in
identifying and capturing Eichmann. Claims by Wiesenthal and
his many friends about his supposedly crucial role in
capturing the former SS officer, said Harel, have no
foundation in fact. Many specific assertions and incidents
described in two books by Wiesenthal, said the Israeli
official, are "complete fabrications." 
"Wiesenthal's reports and statements at that period
prove beyond any doubt that he had no notion of Eichmann's
whereabouts," said Harel.  (For example, just before
Eichmann's capture in Argentina, Wiesenthal was placing him in
Japan and Saudi Arabia.) 
Characterizing Wiesenthal as a rank opportunist, Harel
summed up: "All the information supplied by Wiesenthal before
and in anticipation of the [Eichmann] operation was utterly
worthless, and sometimes even misleading and of negative
Reckless Charges in Walus Case
One of Wiesenthal's most spectacular cases involved a
Polish-born Chicago man named Frank Walus. In a letter dated
December 10, 1974, he charged that Walus "delivered Jews to
the Gestapo" in Czestochowa and Kielce in Poland during the
war. This letter prompted a US government investigation and
legal action.  The Washington Post dealt with the case in
a 1981 article entitled "The Nazi Who Never Was: How a witch
hunt by judge, press and investigators branded an innocent man
a war criminal." The lengthy piece, which was copyrighted by
the American Bar Association, reported: 
In January 1977, the United States government accused
a Chicagoan named Frank Walus of having committed atrocities
in Poland during World War II.
In the following years, this retired factory worker
went into debt in order to raise more than $60,000 to defend
himself. He sat in a courtroom while eleven Jewish survivors
of the Nazi occupation of Poland testified that they saw him
murder children, an old woman, a young woman, a hunchback
and others ...
Overwhelming evidence shows that Walus was not a Nazi
War criminal, that he was not even in Poland during World
... In an atmosphere of hatred and loathing verging
on hysteria, the government persecuted an innocent man. In
1974, Simon Wiesenthal, the famous "Nazi hunter" of Vienna,
denounced Walus as "a Pole in Chicago who performed duties
with the Gestapo in the ghettos of Czestochowa and Kielce
and handed over a number of Jews to the
The Chicago weekly newspaper Reader also reported on
the case in a detailed 1981 article headlined: "The
Persecution of Frank Walus: To Catch a Nazi: The U.S.
government wanted a war criminal. So, with the help of Simon
Wiesenthal, the Israeli police, the local press and Judge
Julius Hoffman, they invented one."  The article
... It is logical to assume that the "reports
received by Wiesenthal [against Walus] actually were
rumors... In other words, Simon Wiesenthal had no evidence
against Walus. He denounced him anyway.
While [Judge] Hoffman had the Walus case under
advisement, Holocaust aired on television. During the same
period, in April 1978, Simon Wiesenthal came to Chicago,
where he gave interviews taking credit for the Walus case.
"How Nazi-Hunter Helped Find Walus," was the Sun-Times
headline on a story by Bob Olmstead. Wiesenthal told
Sun-Times Abe Peck that he "has never had a case of mistaken
identity." "I know there are thousands of people who wait
for my mistake," he said.
It was only after an exhausting legal battle that the
man who was vilified and physically attacked as "the butcher
of Kielce" was finally able to prove that he had spent the war
years as a peaceful farm laborer in Germany. Frank Walus died
in August 1994, a broken and bitterly disappointed man,
Wiesenthal's recklessness in the Walus case should have
been enough to permanently discredit him as a reliable
investigator. But his Teflon reputation survived even
Wrong about Mengele
Much of the Wiesenthal myth is based on his hunt for
Joseph Mengele, the wartime physician at Auschwitz known as
the "Angel of Death." Time and time again, Wiesenthal claimed
to be close on Mengele's heels. Wiesenthal reported that his
informants had "seen" or "just missed" the elusive physician
in Peru, Chile, Brazil, Spain, Greece, and half a dozen
locations in Paraguay. 
One of the closest shaves came in the summer of 1960.
Wiesenthal reported that Mengele had been hiding out on a
small Greek island, from where he escaped by just a few hours.
Wiesenthal continued to peddle this story, complete with
precise details, even after a reporter whom he had hired to
check it out informed him that the tale was false from
beginning to end. 
According to another Wiesenthal report, Mengele
arranged for the murder in 1960 of one of his former victims,
a woman he had supposedly sterilized in Auschwitz. After
spotting her, and her distinctive camp tattoo, at a hotel in
Argentina where he was staying, Mengele allegedly arranged to
have her killed because he feared that she would expose him.
It turned out that the woman was never in a concentration
camp, had no tattoo, had never met Mengele, and her death was
a simple mountaineering accident. 
Mengele regularly dined at the finest restaurants in
Asuncion, the Paraguayan capital, Wiesenthal said in 1977, and
supposedly drove around the city with a bevy of armed guards
in his black Mercedes Benz. 
Wiesenthal announced in 1985 that he was "100 percent
sure" that Mengele had been hiding out in Paraguay until at
least June 1984, and charged that the Mengele family in
Germany knew exactly where. As it turned out, Wiesenthal was
completely wrong. It was later definitively established that
Mengele had died in 1979 in Brazil, where he had been living
for years in anonymous poverty. 
Israel's ambassador to Paraguay from 1968 to 1972,
Benjamin (Benno) Varon, remarked in 1983 on the Mengele
campaign: "Wiesenthal makes periodic statements that he is
about to catch him, perhaps since Wiesenthal must raise funds
for his activities and the name Mengele is always good for a
plug." Wiesenthal "failed miserably" in the Mengele case, the
diplomat said on another occasion.  In the Mengele case,
former Mossad chief Harel remarked, "Wiesenthal's folly
borders on the criminal." 
In truth, the bulging Mengele file in Wiesenthal's
Vienna "Documentation Center" was such a jumble of useless
information that, in the words of the London Times, it "only
sustained his self-confirmatory myths and gave scant
satisfaction to those who apparently needed a definitive
answer to Mengele's fate." 
In the considered view of Gerald Posner and John Ware,
coauthors of Mengele: The Complete Story, Wiesenthal spent
years assiduously cultivating a mythical "self-image of a
tireless, dogged sleuth, pitted against the omnipotent and
sinister might of Mengele and a vast Nazi network." Because of
his "knack of playing to the gallery," Posner and Ware
concluded, Wiesenthal "ultimately compromised his
'Incompetence and Arrogance'
Eli Rosenbaum, an official with the US government's
"Nazi hunting" Office of Special Investigations and an
investigator for the World Jewish Congress, took aim at
Wiesenthal's carefully cultivated "Nazi hunter" reputation in
a detailed 1993 book, Betrayal.  For example, Rosenbaum
mentioned, Wiesenthal "had all these reports placing Mengele
in almost every country in Latin America except the one he was
in -- namely, Brazil." 
Wiesenthal, wrote Rosenbaum, has been a "pathetically
ineffective" investigator who had "gone far beyond the
buffoonery and false boasts in prior years." Much of his
illustrious career, Rosenbaum said, has been characterized by
"incompetence and arrogance." 
Bruno Kreisky once summed up his attitude towards the
"Nazi hunter" in these words: 
The engineer Wiesenthal, or whatever else his title
is, hates me because he knows that I despise his activity.
The Wiesenthal group is a quasi-political Mafia that works
against Austria with disgraceful methods. Wiesenthal is
known as someone who isn't very careful about the truth, who
is not very selective about his methods and who uses tricks.
He pretends to be the "Eichmann hunter," even though
everyone knows that this was the work of a secret service,
and that Wiesenthal only takes credit for
'Commercializing' the Holocaust
The Los Angeles Wiesenthal Center pays the Vienna "Nazi
Hunter" $75,000 a year for the use of his name, the director
of Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust center said in
Both the Center and Wiesenthal "commercialize" and
"trivialize" the Holocaust, the director added.
Wiesenthal "threw out" the figure of "11 million who
were murdered in the Holocaust -- six million Jews and five
million non-Jews," said the Yad Vashem official. When asked
why he gave these figures, Wiesenthal replied: "The gentiles
will not pay attention if we do not mention their victims,
too." Wiesenthal "chose 'five million (gentiles)' because he
wanted a 'diplomatic' number, one that told of a large number
of gentile victims but in no way was larger than that of Jews
"What Wiesenthal and the Los Angeles Center that bears
his name do is to trivialize the Holocaust," commented The
Jewish Press, a weekly that claims to be the
largest-circulation English-language Jewish community paper in
In recent years Wiesenthal has been concerned about the
growing impact of Holocaust revisionism. In "A Message from
Simon Wiesenthal" published by the Center that bears his name,
he said: "Today, when I see the rise of antisemitism here in
Europe ... the popularity of Le Pen, of David Duke, of the
Holocaust revisionists, then I am convinced more than ever
about the need for our new [Wiesenthal Center] Beit
Hashoah-Museum of Tolerance" in Los Angeles. 
Wiesenthal is often asked why he does not forgive those
who persecuted Jews half a century ago. His stock answer is
that although he has the right to forgive for himself, he does
not have the right to forgive on behalf of others.  On the
basis of this sophistical logic, though, neither does he have
the right to accuse and track down anyone in the name of
others. Wiesenthal has never confined his "hunt" to those who
victimized him personally.
'Driven by Hatred'
It is difficult to say just what drives this remarkable
man. Is it a craving for fame and praise? Or is he trying to
live down a shameful episode from his past?
Wiesenthal clearly enjoys the praise he receives. "He
is a man of considerable ego, proud of testimonials and
honorary degrees," the Los Angeles Times has reported. 
Bruno Kreisky has given a simpler explanation. He said that
Wiesenthal is "driven by hatred." 
In light of his well-documented record of deceit, lies
and incompetence, the extravagant praise heaped upon this
contemptible man is a sorry reflection of the venal
corruptibility and unprincipled self-deception of our
- Quoted in: M. Weber, "'Nazi Hunter' Caught Lying,"
The Spotlight (Washington, DC), Oct. 26, 1981, p.
- Interrogation of S. Wiesenthal on May 27 and 28,
1948, conducted by Curt Ponger of the Interrogation Branch
of the Evidence Division of the Office (U.S.) Chief of
Counsel for War Crimes. Interrogation No. 2820. On file at
the National Archives (Washington, DC), "Records of the U.S.
Nürnberg War Crimes Trials Interrogations, 1946-49," Record
Group 238, microfilm M-1019, roll 79, frames 460-469 and
470-476. Also cited in: "New Documents Raise New Doubts
About Simon Wiesenthal's War Years," The Journal of
Historical Review, Winter 1988-89 (Vol. 8, No. 4), pp.
- PCIRO (International Refugee Organization, Austria)
"Application for Assistance" filled out and signed by
Wiesenthal. Dated Jan. 16,1949. (This was a trial exhibit in
the Walus court case. Photocopy in author's
- Simon Wiesenthal, The Murderers Among Us: The
Simon Wiesenthal Memoirs. Edited by Joseph Wechsberg.
(New York: McGraw Hill, 1967)
- Interrogation of S. Wiesenthal, May 27, 1948, pp.
- The Murderers Among Us, p. 27.
- The Murderers Among Us, pp. 29-35. This
account is not inconsistent with his 1948 and 1949
statements; See also: Simon Wiesenthal, Justice Not
Vengeance (New York: Grove Weidenfeld: 1989), pp.
- Interrogation of May 27, 1948, p. 2. In a signed 1945
statement, Wiesenthal wrote:
"... I escaped on October
18, 1943, from the Lemberg [Lvov] hard labor camp where I
was kept as a prisoner during my two years of labor at the
railroad works... and went into hiding until joining Jewish
partisans on November 21, 1943, who operated there. It was
while fighting in the partisan ranks against the Nazis that
we managed to collect and bury for safekeeping considerable
amount of evidence... When the partisans were dispersed by
the Germans I fled to Lemberg on February 10, 1944, and
again went 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 ..." Source: "Curriculum
Vitae of Ing. Wiesenthal, Szymon." SHAEF, Subject: War
Crimes, July 6, 1945. Records of USAEUR, War Crimes Branch,
National Archives (Suitland, Maryland), Records Group 338,
Box 534, Folder 000-50-59. Wiesenthal's alleged partisans
activities are also recounted in Alan Levy, The
Wiesenthal File (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1994),
- Interrogation of May 28, 1948, pp. 1-2.
- Interrogation of May 28, 1948, p. 5.
- The Murderers Among Us, pp. 35-37.
- The Murderers Among Us, pp. 37-38;
Interrogation, May 27, 1948, p. 2, and May 28, 1948, p. 5;
A. Levy, The Wiesenthal File (1994), p. 54.
- The Murderers Among Us, pp. 39-44;
Interrogation, May 27, 1948, pp. 2-3.
- Interview with foreign journalists in Vienna, Nov.
10, 1975. Text published in: "War Wiesenthal ein
Gestapo-Kollaborateur?," Profil (Vienna), No. 47,
Nov. 18, 1975, pp. 16, 22-23; Reprinted in: Robert H.
Drechsler, Simon Wiesenthal: Dokumentation (Vienna:
1982), pp. 215-218, 222-223; Quoted in part in A. Levy,
The Wiesenthal File (1994), p. 349, and in, S.
Wiesenthal, Justice Not Vengeance (New York: 1989),
pp. 7, 299. Kreisky was not alone in charging that
Wiesenthal had collaborated with the German Gestapo. Wim Van
Leer, columnist for the English-language daily Jerusalem
Post, stated in May 1986 that a high-level police official
in Vienna, citing confidential police records, had told him
during the early 1960s that these and other charges against
Wiesenthal were true. Source: J. Bushinsky, "Nazi hunter
sues over charges of links to Gestapo," Chicago
Sun-Times, Jan. 31, 1987.
- Simon Wiesenthal, KZ Mauthausen (Linz and
Vienna: Ibis-Verlag, 1946). Facsimile reprint in: Robert H.
Drechsler, Simon Wiesenthal: Dokumentation (Vienna:
1982), p. 64.
- "Firing Squad," Life magazine, US edition,
June 11, 1945, p. 50.
- M. Weber and K. Stimely, "The Sleight-of-Hand of
Simon Wiesenthal," The Journal of Historical Review,
Spring 1984 (Vol. 5, No. 1), pp. 120-122; D.
National-Zeitung (Munich), May 21, 1993, p. 3.
- S. Wiesenthal, KZ Mauthausen (1946). See also
facsimile reprint in: Robert H. Drechsler, Simon
Wiesenthal: Dokumentation (Vienna: 1982), pp. 42, 46.
This "confession" is a somewhat altered version of Nuremberg
document NO-1973; A new edition of Wiesenthal's 1946 book
has been published under the title Denn sie Wussten, was sie
tun: Zeichnungen und Aufzeichnungen aus dem KZ Mauthausen
(Vienna: F. Deuticke, 1995). I am grateful to Robert
Faurisson for bringing this to my attention. He points out
in a July 1995 essay that Wiesenthal has deleted from this
new edition both the "death bed confession" of Ziereis as
well as his drawing of the three Mauthausen inmates.
- According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica
("Mauthausen,", Vol. 11, p. 1138), a grand total of 206,000
persons were inmates of Mauthausen and its satellite camps
(including Hartheim) at one time or another.
- S. Wiesenthal, KZ Mauthausen (1946). Facsimile
reprint in: R. Drechsler, Simon Wiesenthal:
Dokumentation, p. 47.
- R. Faurisson, "The Gas Chambers: Truth or Lie?,"
The Journal of Historical Review, Winter 1981, pp.
330, 361. See also: Hans Fritzsche, The Sword in the
Scales (London: 1953), p. 185; Gerald Reitlinger, The
Final Solution (London: Sphere, pb., 1971), p. 515; M.
Weber, "The Nuremberg Trials and the Holocaust," The
Journal of Historical Review, Summer 1992 (Vol. 12, No.
2), p. 182.
- USA Today, April 21, 1983, p. 9A.
- The Murderers Among Us, p. 44.
- Evelyn Le Chene, Mauthausen: The History of a
Death Camp (London: 1971), pp. 166-168 and
- "Mauthausen", Encyclopaedia Judaica (New York
and Jerusalem: 1971), vol. 11, p. 1138.
- C. Moritz, ed., Current Biography 1975 (New
York: H.W. Wilson, 1975), p. 442; Wiesenthal interrogation
of May 27, 1948, p. 3.
- Mark Weber, "Jewish Soap," The Journal of
Historical Review, Summer 1991 (Vol. 11, No. 2), pp.
217-227; See also: Robert Faurisson, "La savon juif,"
Annales d'Histoire Revisionniste (Paris), No. 1,
Printemps 1987, pp. 153-159.
- Der Neue Weg (Vienna), No. 17/18, 1946, pp.
4-5. Article entitled "RIF" by "Ing. Wiesenth." (Simon
- Der Neue Weg (Vienna), Nr. 19/20, 1946, pp.
14-15. Article entitled "Seifenfabrik Belsetz" ("Belzec Soap
Factory"), by "Ing. S.Wiesenth."
- S. Wiesenthal, Sails of Hope (Macmillan,
- Letters by Wiesenthal in Books and Bookmen
(London), April 1975, p. 5, and in Stars and Stripes
(European edition), Jan. 24, 1993, p. 14. Facsimile of
Stars and Stripes letter in The Journal of
Historical Review, May-June 1993, p. 10; In 1986 Wiesenthal lied about his 1975
statement. In a letter dated May 12, 1986, to Prof. John
George of Central State University in Edmond, Oklahoma (copy
in author's possession), Wiesenthal wrote: "I have never
stated that 'there were no extermination camps on German
soil.' This quote is false, I could never have said such a
- For example, in a letter (dated Sept. 13, 1993),
published in The New York Times, Sept. 29, 1993,
Wiesenthal boasted: "I succeeded in putting a number of
Nazis on trial who had perpetrated horrendous crimes in the
Nazi era, including Adolf Eichmann, Franz Stangl, Gustav
- S. Birnbaum, "Wiesenthal's Claim on Eichmann Disputed
by Former Mossad Head," Jewish Telegraphic Agency Daily
News Bulletin (New York), April 4, 1989. (Dispatch dated
- J. Schachter, "Wiesenthal had no role in Eichmann
capture," The Jerusalem Post,
May 18, 1991. Facsimile reprint in Christian News,
May 27, 1991, p. 19. See also: Ruth Sinai, "Wiesenthal's
role in Eichmann's capture disputed," Associated Press,
The Orange County Register, Feb. 25, 1990, p. A 26;
L. Lagnado, "How Simon Wiesenthal Helped a Secret Nazi,"
Forward (New York), Sept. 24, 1993, pp. 1, 3.
- J. Schachter, The Jerusalem Post, May 18, 1991
(cited above). Facsimile in Christian News, May 27,
1991, p. 19.
- Arnold Forster, Square One (New York: 1988),
pp. 187-189. (Forster was general counsel of the
Anti-Defamation League, a major Zionist
- J. Goldberg, "Top Spy Says Wiesenthal Lied About His
Exploits," Forward (New York), Nov. 12, 1993, pp. 1,
4; R. Sinai, "Wiesenthal's role...," The Orange County
Register, Feb. 25, 1990 (cited above).
- Michael Arndt, "The Wrong Man," The Chicago
Tribune Magazine, Dec. 2, 1984, pp. 15-35, esp. p. 23;
Charles Ashman and Robert J. Wagman, The Nazi Hunters
(New York: Pharos Books, 1988), pp. 193-195.
- "The Nazi Who Never Was," The Washington Post,
May 10, 1981, pp. B5, B8.
- "The Persecution of Frank Walus," Reader
(Chicago), Jan. 23, 1981, pp. 19, 30. After Wiesenthal was
ultimately proven wrong in a similar case in Canada, the
Toronto Sun newspaper commented in an editorial: "It seems
that material provided by professional Nazi hunter Simon
Wiesenthal is wrong, but repeated anyway [in the media]."
(Quoted by M. Weber in The Journal of Historical
Review, Spring 1984, pp. 120-122.)
- Gerald L. Posner and John Ware, Mengele: The
Complete Story (New York: Dell, 1987), pp. 220-221;
Gerald Astor, The 'Last' Nazi: The Life and Times of Dr.
Joseph Mengele (Toronto: Paperjacks, 1986), p.
- G. Posner and J. Ware, Mengele: The Complete
Story (cited above), p. 220.
- G. Posner and J. Ware, Mengele (cited above),
pp. 179-180; G. Astor, The 'Last' Nazi (cited above),
- Time magazine, Sept. 26, 1977, pp. 36-38.
Cited in: G. Posner and J. Ware, Mengele (cited
above), p. 219.
- "Hunting the 'Angel of Death'," Newsweek, May
20, 1985, pp. 36-38. See also: M. Weber, "Lessons of the
Mengele Affair," Journal of Historical Review, Fall
1985 (Vol. 6, No. 3), p. 382. On Wiesenthal's distortion of
truth in the Mermelstein-IHR case, see: M. Weber,
"Declaration," Journal of Historical Review, Spring
1982 (Vol. 3, No. 1), pp. 42-43; M. Weber, "Albert Speer and
the 'Holocaust,"' Journal of Historical Review,
Winter 1984 (Vol. 5, Nos. 2-4), p. 439.
- Midstream, Dec. 1983, p. 24. Quoted in: G. Posner and
J. Ware, Mengele (cited above), p. 219; Los
Angeles Times, Nov. 15, 1985, p. 2.
- J. Schachter, "Wiesenthal had no role in Eichmann
capture," The Jerusalem Post, May 18, 1991. Facsimile
reprint in Christian News, May 27, 1991, p.
- Tom Bower in The Times (London), June 14,
1985, p. 14. Quoted in: G. Posner and J. Ware,
Mengele (cited above), pp. 222-223.
- G. Posner and J. Ware, Mengele (cited above),
- Betrayal, by Eli M. Rosenbaum, with William
Hoffer. Published in 1993 by St. Martin's Press (New
York). Reviewed by Jacob Heilbrunn in The New York Times
Book Review, Oct. 10, 1993, p. 9.
- Quoted in L. Lagnado, "How Simon Wiesenthal...,"
Forward (New York), Sept. 24, 1993, p. 3.
- The New York Times Book Review, Oct. 10, 1993,
p. 9; Forward (New York), Sept. 24, 1993, p.
- "Was hat Wiesenthal zu verbergen?," D.
National-Zeitung (Munich), Nov. 11, 1988, p. 4.
- David Sinai, "News We Doubt You've Seen," The
Jewish Press (Brooklyn, NY), Dec. 23, 1988. Based on
report in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, Dec. 16,
- "A Message from Simon Wiesenthal," Response: The
Wiesenthal Center World Report, Winter 1992, p.
- Charles Ashman and Robert J. Wagman, The Nazi
Hunters (New York: Pharos Books, 1988), p. 286; A.
Popkin, "Nazi-Hunter Simon Wiesenthal: 'Information is Our
Best Defense'," Washington Jewish Week, Oct. 29,
1987, p. 2.
- Quoted in: M. Weber, The Spotlight, Oct. 26,
1981, p. 9.
- Quoted in D. National-Zeitung (Munich), July
8, 1988, p. 7, and in, R. Drechsler, Simon Wiesenthal:
Dokumentation (Vienna: 1982), p. 199.
From The Journal of Historical Review,
July-August 1995 (Vol. 15, No. 4), pages 8-16. This is a
revised and updated version of an article that first appeared
in the Winter 1989-90 issue of The Journal of Historical
About the author
Mark Weber is director of the Institute for Historical
Review. He studied history at the University of Illinois
(Chicago), the University of Munich, Portland State University
and Indiana University (M.A., 1977). For nine years he served
as editor of the IHR's Journal of Historical
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