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September 24, 2011

Registration card for Lazar Wiesel at Buchenwald

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:14 am

A new post has just gone up on Carolyn Yeager’s website Elie Wiesel Cons the World.  This website (or blog) is devoted to the study of Elie Wiesel, the world’s most famous Holocaust survivor.  This latest post shows a photo of a Buchenwald registration card for Lazar Wiesel.  The Germans were famous for keeping detailed records during World War II.  Strangely, there is no Buchenwald registration card for Elie Wiesel, the most famous survivor of Buchenwald.  I previously blogged about this here. Maybe Lazar Wiesel was a relative of Elie Wiesel.  You’ll have to read Carolyn’s latest post to find out.

September 13, 2010

Keeping up with the Wiesels…

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 12:09 pm

No, the title of this blog post does not refer to a new TV reality show.  This is about the ongoing controversy regarding two men named Wiesel: Elie Wiesel and Lázár Wiesel.  Elie Wiesel is the author of the famous book, Night, that is currently assigned reading for virtually every school kid in America.  Lázár Wiesel is the name of a young man from Elie Wiesel’s home town in Hungary, who was a prisoner in the Buchenwald concentration camp, the same place where Elie Wiesel claims to have been a prisoner in 1945.

Elie’s full name is Eliezer Wiesel and there has been some speculation that he and Lázár Wiesel might be the same person. Both were born around the same time in 1928 and both were allegedly liberated from the Buchenwald concentration camp on April 11, 1945.

There are documents which prove that Lázár Wiesel was one of the 904 “orphans” at Buchenwald and that he was sent to France in July 1945.  Elie Wiesel was living in France after World War II and he also claims to have been on that list of “orphans,” although there are no documents to prove his claim.  There are no documents to prove that Elie was registered in Buchenwald, nor even that he was registered in Auschwitz.

Now a researcher has proved that Eliezer Wiesel and Lázár Wiesel are definitely not the same person because their signatures are not the same.  Some people might say “So what?”  Others are outraged. Elie Wiesel is an icon; he has made millions off his books and speeches about the Holocaust, and has been awarded prizes for his stories.  But is he a fraud?

I believe that Elie Wiesel wrote the book Night, but there is no proof that he wrote the original book, that Night was based on.  You can read the three part essay entitled Shadowy Origins of “Night” here.

In 1948, America changed the laws which had previously limited the number of immigrants from Germany coming to America, and thousands of Holocaust survivors came here, while thousands of others emigrated to Israel.   Almost none of these survivors wrote books about their experience in the Nazi death camps in the 50s and 60s, probably because they did not want to be confronted with the obvious question: “How did you manage to survive when 6 million Jews were killed?”  Many people thought that the obvious answer to that question was that the survivors had co-operated with the Nazis.

In 1954, at a time when there was no market for Holocaust survivor books, Elie Wiesel allegedly wrote an 862 page book called Un di Velt Hot Gesvign (And the World Remained Silent). This 862 page book became the basis for the book Night.  Elie claims that he typed up this book, which was written  in Yiddish, while he was on an ocean voyage to Brazil in the Spring of 1954.  Yiddish is a dialect of German, but it is written with Hebrew letters.

The researcher, who questions whether Elie Wiesel wrote the original book, brings up the question of where the author got enough typewriter ribbons to type up a 862 page book while he was in the middle of the ocean.

Elie Wiesel worked for a Yiddish newspaper in 1954, so that’s why he had a Yiddish typewriter. There is a photo of a Yiddish typewriter included in part III of the article about the Shadowy Origins of Night.

March 27, 2010

Elie Wiesel — Holocaust survivor # A7713?

On March 25, 2010, Elie Wiesel spoke to students at the University of Dayton in Ohio as reported by the Dayton Daily News.

Here is a quote from the Dayton Daily News article:

One student wondered if Wiesel still has his concentration camp number and if it serves as a reminder of those terrible experiences.

“I don’t need that to remember, I think about my past every day,” he responded. “But I still have it on my arm – A7713. At that time, we were numbers. No names, no identity.”

At the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp where Elie Wiesel says he was a prisoner from May 1944 to January 1945, the Jews, who were chosen to work, had an identification number tattooed on their arm. The Jews who arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau in May 1944 were tattooed with a number preceded by the letter A. (more…)

March 6, 2010

“Night” — Did Elie Wiesel really write this book?

Filed under: Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 7:33 am

There is a bit of a controversy going on, regarding Elie Wiesel’s book Night. This book was first published in Paris in 1955, and it has sold over 10 million copies. For years, Night has been assigned reading for students in almost every High School in America.  Now, a famous revisionist historian, Carlo Mattogno, has written an article in which he suggests that Night was actually written by a man named Lázár Wiesel, and that Elie Wiesel is an imposter who stole the identity of Lázár Wiesel.

You can read the article by Carlo Mattogno on this blog.

For what it’s worth, my opinion, and it’s just an opinion, is that Lázár Wiesel is not the author of Night.  My opinion is not based on any research, but on common sense. Elie Wiesel has written around 50 more books since Night was published.  How many books did Lázár Wiesel write after he allegedly wrote Night?  None, that I know of.

After World War II ended, Elie Wiesel studied philosophy at the Sorbonne in France; then he became a professional journalist, writing for newspapers in France and Israel. Was Lázár Wiesel a professional writer with a college education?  Not that I know of.

Night is not just a Holocaust memoir — it is a work of literature.  It was written by someone who had most likely taken a course in creative writing.  The book is full of literary devices such as symbolism, anaphora (the repetition of phrases like “Never shall I forget…”) and parallel structure (the similar grammatical structure of adjacent phrases or clauses that show equality of importance).

This quote from Night illustrates parallel structure:

The night was gone. The morning star was shining in the sky. I too had become a completely different person. The student of the Talmud, the child that I was, had been consumed in the flames… A dark flame had entered my soul and devoured it.

In the above quote, the author used parallel structure in order to draw attention to the two equal things which died, his religious faith and his childhood.

This quote from Night illustrates anaphora:

Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.

Using the phrase “Never shall I forget” three times in the same paragraph highlights the main theme of Night which is “Never forget the Holocaust.”

Then the author repeats the same phrase again in the next passage:

Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.

Literary devices are used to get across several themes in the book.  For example, in the book, “the last night” is mentioned many times to call attention to one of the important themes.  The last night at home, the last night in the ghetto, the last night on the train to Auschwitz, and the last night in the Buna (Monowitz) camp are all part of a theme.

There are 400 or more Holocaust memoirs in print, but only one Night. This book is studied in English class, not history class.  It is not supposed to be a historical account of Auschwitz-Birkenau.  If Lázár Wiesel had written it, Night would have exact dates and accurate descriptions of Birkenau.  For example, the gas chambers at Birkenau are not even mentioned in Night.  Instead, there are burning pits which are much more horrible and have a greater impact on the reader.

In real life, the burning of bodies at Birkenau took place outside Krema IV, and especially outside Krema V, after the ovens in these crematoriums broke down.  But in Night, the author sees the burning pits as he is walking down a road at night, after getting off the train at Birkenau.  At the last minute, the prisoners are ordered to turn left.  Later, in the book, the author mentions that there was a Gypsy Kapo in the section of the camp where he and his father entered the barracks.  I am not positive, but I think that all the Gypsies were gone from Birkenau by 1944, but that doesn’t matter since this is not a history book.  The Gypsy camp was nowhere near Krema IV and Krema V; it was to the left of the road that bisects the camp, going from the women’s camp to the new section called Mexico.  The exact location of the burning pits might be important in a memoir, but it is not important when you are doing creative writing.  The burning pits are symbolic.

Before Oprah Winfrey selected Night for her Book Club, it was classified as a novel on Elie Wiesel’s own web site.  This was changed when the book became an Oprah Book Club selection.

Schindler’s List is classified as a novel because, although it is based loosely on history, it is fiction.  Night is  fiction, that is loosely based on history, and it should also be classified as a novel.