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Holocaust Scholar Finds “Fifth Diamond” to Be a Work of Fiction

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by Carolyn Yeager

Joachim Neander, PhD, an independent scholar from Cracow, Poland, examines Irene Weisberg Zisblatt’s holocaust survivor narrative and concludes it is “not in accordance with the historically established facts,” is “exaggerated,” “implausible” and not true overall. Neander has contributed to publications in Poland, Germany, Israel and the USA. In 2001-02 he had a Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellowship for Archival Research at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

His January 9th article Irene Zisblatt, the “Diamond Girl”- Fact or Fiction? can be read here:

Dr. Neander asks in the title of his critical review of Irene Zisblatt’s autobiography The Fifth Diamond, which purports to be a Holocaust survivor ‘true story,’ or memoir, whether it is fact or fiction. He comes to the only conclusion possible for a man who wishes to maintain his reputation as a scholar—that it is mostly fiction.

However, probably for the reason that he seems to have been assigned this project by some well-known Holocaust defenders (Kenneth Waltzer, Chairman of the Jewish Studies Dept. at the University of Michigan, who provided him with the Seigelstein documents, for one) and he is a Holocaust defender himself, he has tried to soften the blow wherever he thinks he can, going out of his way to find some positive things to say about “Mrs. Zisblatt” and her narrative. These positives are mainly in the realm of having a forgiving spirit and a sympathetic attitude toward an “elderly lady” who has suffered in her life. But Neander rightly decides that truth must be upheld, it being more important that not hurting someone’s feelings. (Read more…)