March 4, 2009
Translated from the Hungarian by our Budapest Bureau
Miklos Gruner, 15, was deported from Hungary to Auschwitz-Birkenau in May 1944, with his mother, father as well as a younger and an elder brother. He says that his mother and his younger brother were immediately killed after their arrival in the camp. Then he, his elder brother and their father had an inmate number tattooed on their arms and were sent to perform hard work in a synthetic fuel factory linked to IG Farben where the father died six months later. After that, the elder brother was sent to Mauthausen and, as the young Miklos was then alone, two elder Jewish inmates who were also Hungarians and friends with his late father took him under their protection. These two protectors of the young Miklos were the Lazar and Abraham Wiesel brothers.
In the following months, Miklos Gruner and Lazar Wiesel became good friends. Lazar Wiesel was 31 years old in 1944. Miklos never forgot the number Lazar was tattooed with by the Nazis: A-7713. In January 1945, as the Russian army was coming, the inmates were transferred to Buchenwald. During the three months this transfer took, partly by foot, partly by train, more than half of the inmates died and amongst them was Abraham, the elder brother of Lazar Wiesel. In April 8, 1945, the US army liberated Buchenwald. Miklos and Lazar were amongst the survivors of the camp. As Miklos had tuberculosis, he was sent in a Swiss clinic and therefore was separated from Lazar. After recovering, Miklos emigrated to Australia while his elder brother, who also survived the war, established himself in Sweden.
Years later, in 1986, Miklos was contacted in Australia by a Swedish journal and was invited to come in Sweden in order to meet "an old friend" named Elie Wiesel... As Miklos answered that he doesn`t know anyone with this name, he was told Elie Wiesel was the same person Miklos knew in the Nazi camps under the name Lazar Wiesel and with the inmate number A-7713... Miklos still remembered that number and he was therefore convinced at that point that he was going to meet his old friend Lazar and happily accepted the invitation to fly to Sweden in December 14, 1986. Miklos recalls:
" I was very happy at the idea of meeting Lazar but when I got out of the plane, I was stunned to see a man I didn`t recognize at all, who didn`t even speak Hungarian and who was speaking English in a strong French accent... so, our meeting was over in about ten minutes. As a goodbye gift, the man gave me a book titled "Night" of which he claimed to be the author. I accepted the book I didn`t know at that time but told everyone there that this man was not the person he pretended to be!"
Miklos recalls that during this strange meeting, Elie Wiesel refused to show him the tattooed number on his arm, saying he didn`t want to exhibit his body. Miklos adds that Elie Wiesel showed his tattooed number afterward to an Israeli journalist who Miklos met and this journalist told Miklos that he didn`t have time to identify the number but... was certain it wasn`t a tattoo. Miklos says:
- After that meeting with Elie Wiesel, I did research everywhere I could for twenty years and found out that the man calling himself Elie Wiesel has never been in a Nazi camp since he doesn`t figure on any official list of detainees.
Miklos also found out that the book Elie Wiesel gave him in 1986 as something he has written himself was in fact written in Hungarian in 1955 by Miklos old friend Lazar Wiesel and published in Paris under the title "A Világ Hallgat", meaning approximately "The Silence of the World". The book was then shortened and rewritten in French as well as in English in order to be published under the author`s name Elie Wiesel in 1958, under the french title "La Nuit" and the English title "Night". Ten million copies of the book were sold in the world by Elie Wiesel who even received a Nobel prize for it in 1986 while -says Miklos- the real author Lazar Wiesel was mysteriously missing...
- Elie Wiesel never wanted to meet me again, says Miklos. He became very successful; he takes 25 thousand dollars for a 45 minutes speech on the Holocaust. I have officially reported to the FBI that Elie Wiesel is an impostor but had no answer. I have also complained to the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences with no result. The American and the Swedish media which I tried to contact were indifferent. I have received anonymous calls telling me I could be shot if I don`t shut up but I am not afraid of death any more. I have deposited the whole dossier in four different countries and, if I died suddenly, they would be made public. The world must know that Elie Wiesel is an impostor and I am going to tell it, I am going to publish the truth in a book called "The Story of a Stolen Nobel Prize Identity".