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The Riddle of Lazar-Lázár-Eliezer-Elie Wiesel

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By Carlo Mattogno

Two important document sources to which I have had access recently prompt me to write a sequel, with some revisions, to the two articles I have published earlier on the present subject [1], in order to bring the matter up to date.

1) The accusations of Miklos Grüner

In his book Stolen Identity. Auschwitz Number A-7713 [2], Miklos Grüner, a Hungarian Jew and former deportee to Auschwitz (ID number A-11104) and to Buchenwald (120762), accuses Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate of 1986, to have appropriated the identity of another Hungarian Jewish inmate of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, Lazar Wiesel, as well as the Yiddish publication Un di velt hot geschwign (And the world remained silent) which Lazar Wiesel published in Buenos Aires in 1956. Grüner’s account contains a sizable documentation, parts of which are new, although it must be said that the author’s interpretation of some of these documents appears somewhat questionable.

Grüner’s credentials as a former deportee are beyond reproach. A letter from the Auschwitz Museum dated 7 July 2003 and addressed to him (cf. below) states that the detainee Grüner Miklos, a Hungarian Jew born on 6 April 1928 at Nyiregyhaza, was attributed the Auschwitz ID number A-11104. As far as Buchenwald is concerened, Grüner is mentioned in a “Concentration Camp Inmates Questionnaire” of the Military Government of Germany which I have published in my first article, and in the register of Block 66 to which he had been assigned: ID number (120762), last name and and first name (Grüner Miklos) and the note “U. Jun. A2” which probably means “Ungarischer Junge” (Hungarian boy).[3]

According to his book Night,[4] Elie Wiesel was deported to Auschwitz on 3 June 1944.[5] He spent one night at Birkenau and was moved to Auschwitz the following day here he was tattooed with the ID number A-7713.[6] Yet, according to Wiesel, “it was a beautiful day in April”.[7]

In my first article, I stated that the time sequence is pure invention. If Wiesel did leave his hometown of Sighet on 3 June 1944, he could not have arrived at Auschwitz in April. Moreover, the ID number A-7713 was issued on 24 May when 2,000 Hungarian Jews were assigned the numbers A-5729 through A-7728.[8] In his book, Elie Wiesel writes that he was tattooed as A-7713,[9] a statement he repeated under oath at the trial of the State of California vs. Eric Hunt on 8 July 2008,[10] adding that his father’s number was A-7712.

Grüner disputes, above all, that Elie Wiesel was assigned the Auschwitz ID number A-7713 and his father A-7712. Actually, these numbers were assigned to two Hungarian Jewish inmates who Grüner claims to have befriended – the brothers Lazar and Abraham Wiesel.

The existing documents do not allow any doubt in this matter:

  –  A letter from the Auschwitz Museum to Miklos Grüner, dated 7 July 2003, stating that the detainee with this ID number appears in a list established by the SS Hygiene Institute, dated 7 December 1944 – Monowitz, which provides the following data:

A-11104 Grüner Miklos, Hungarian Jew, born 6.04.28 at Nyiregyhaza
A-7712 Viesel Abram, born 10.10.1900 at Marmarossiget†
A-7713 Wiesel Lazar, born 4.9.1913 at Marmarossiget, locksmith [11]

This list, published by Grüner,[12] is not very helpful, however, as the title is illegible and the significance unclear. It is not even clear what the stamped date of 7 December 1944 refers to, possibly a transfer of these detainees to Monowitz or something else.

  –  A letter dated 15 May 2002 addressed to Grüner by the Buchenwald Memorial (Gedenkstätte) gives the following details:

Lazar Wiesel, born on 4 September 1913 at Maromarossziget, arrived at Buchenwald with a transport from Auschwitz (Buchenwald archives, microfilm Auschwitz, p. 41). On this page, 41, under entry number 2438, you will find the data on Lazar Wiesel: Buchenwald number 123565, born on 4 September 1913, Auschwitz number A-7713. These data are confirmed by the numerical file card at the camp office [Schreibstube].[13] Lazar Wiesel appears on the American questionnaire (NARA Washington, RG 242, microfilm 60) with the number 123165 and a different date of birth (4 October 1928); he went to Paris on 16 July 1945 with a convoy of surviving children (Buchenwald archives, 56-6-12, p. 9). Here, however, there is a disgreement with respect to the numerical file card. The Schreibstube file card numbered 123165 was made out for a Slovenian Jewish detainee, Pavel Kun, who died at Buchenwald on 8 March 1945.”[14]

The list of new arrivals drawn up at Buchenwald on 26 January 1945 (Zugänge vom 26. Januar 1945) for the date in question has, in fact:

2438 123565 Wiesel Lazar 4.9.13
Marmarossziget Schlol.[15] A 7713 [16]”:

Document 1 (Click to enlarge)

Also:

“2372 123488 Viezel Abram 10.10.00
Marmaros Schl. A 7712″[17]:

Document 2 (Click to enlarge)

  –  The personal file card for Lazar Wiesel, which I have published in my first article.

In this document,[18] we have, in the upper left hand corner, the handwritten note “Ung. Jude” (Hungarian Jew), at center: Ausch. A 7713 (Auschwitz A-7713) the former Auschwitz ID number, on the right “Gef.-Nr. 123565” (prisoner number 123565) the new ID number for Buchenwald. The date of birth is given as 4 September 1913.

A registration card for detainees, probably stemming from the Buchenwald archives, has the following data:

123565
Wiesel Lazar
Political.

Born 4.9.13 at Maromarossiget
Hungarian Jew
26 Januar 1945
apprentice locksmith
“:

Document 3 (Click to enlarge)

  –  “Variations account” of Buchenwald from the set of documents entitled “Veränderungsmeldungen Buchenwald”:


Datensatz: 9315
Häftlingnr.: 123488 [A 7712]
Name: Viezel, Abraham
geboren: 10.10.00
Nationalität:
Kategorie: polit. Jude
Einlieferung:
gestorben: 02.02.45 in:
Block 57
Meldung vom: 03.02.45
“[20]

This means that Abraham Viezel, born 10 October 1900, a political detainee registered as A-7712 at Auschwitz and as 123488 at Buchenwald, died on 2 February 1945 in Block 57 , as reported on 3 February.

For this detainee, there exists a further document concerning his death, giving his ID number, which I have published in my second article.

It is thus an established fact that Lazar Wiesel was deported to Auschwitz and registered there as A-7713, then to Buchenwald where he became 123565, and that his brother Abraham had the Auschwitz number A-7712, the Buchenwald number 123488 and died there on 2 February 1945.

Therefore, these numbers were not assigned to Elie Wiesel and/or his father Shlomo.

Problems arise when we want to trace Lazar Wiesel’s fate at Buchenwald and after this departure from the camp. Actually, this Lazar Wiesel, born at Máramarossziget on 4 September 1913, registered at Buchenwald as 123565, disappears and instead we have a Lázár Wiesel who takes his place, but with a different date of birth and a different ID number.[21]

The “Concentration Camp Inmates Questionnaire” of the Military Government of Germany for the Buchenwald camp does, in fact, mention a Lázár Wiesel, ID number 123165, born on 4 October 1928 at Mármarossziget, in Romania who was interned at Auschwitz for four weeks, at Monowitz for eight months and at Buchenwald where he stayed for a further three months [22] (cf. my second article). On the subject of this Lázár Wiesel, Grüner supplies us with two significant documents. The registry for Block 66 mentioned above, provides the following information:

“[123]565 Wiesel Lazar U. Jun. A 4”[23]:

Document 4 (Click to enlarge)

Furthermore, an excerpt of the list of children moved from Buchenwald to Paris on 16 July 1945 has, under number 405, the entry:

“Wiesel, Lazar, 4/10/28 Marmorossziget, Romanian”[24]:

Document 5 (Click to enlarge)

Grüner explains several times what he believes happened. Lazar Wiesel was assigned to Block 66:

“About a week later, I couldn’t believe my own eyes to see Lazar in our Block 66. He told me that Abraham had passed away four days after our arrival at Buchenwald. He made it clear that he had received special permission to join us children in Block 66, since he was so much older than us.”[25]

A few pages on, he affirms Lazar Wiesel’s presence in Block 66.[26] Nothing strange about that, so far. But then he states in a somewhat confused and enigmatic way:

“From the Archive’s of Buchenwald: Sabine Stein; 08.12.00 and 15.05.02. Stating that: Lazar Wiesel’s identity Number; 123565 according to the Military Government of Germany’s Inmates Questionnaire (NARA Washington, RG 242, film 60) were changed to Number 123165 and the date of birth to 04.10.1928. With this new identity he (Lazar Wiesel) left Buchenwald with a HIAS [Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] convoy of 675 survived children (S-414) on the 16th of July 1945 to Paris. However there is a noticeable difference of contents between Lazar Wiesel’s original registration card 123563 (???) and the new Number 123165; this latter number originally belonged to a Jewish inmate from Slovakia; Pavel Kun, who died on the 8th of March 1945 in Buchenwald.”[27]

Further along, commenting on the questionnaire mentioned above, Grüner adds:

“Concerning Number: 123165 the inmate “Wiesel Lazar” Male; Born, October 4.-1928 Dated Buchenwald: April 22- 1945 to follow.

This Affidavit [28] was drawn up in good faith to benefit Wiesel Lazar who was originally Born 04.09.1913 in Maramorossziget, and his registered Number in Buchenwald is 123565 was changed to 123165 for reason to suit Wiesel Lazar’s future and the purpose to benefit his coming future.”[29]

Elsewhere, he speaks of a “falsified Buchenwald number 123165”.[30]

Hence, according to Grüner, someone (he does not say who) gave “in good faith (?)” false indications in the questionnaire mentioned. But the reasons he proposes are absolutely ludicrous: In what way would the true date of birth (4 September 1913) and the true Buchenwald ID number (123565) not have suited “Wiesel Lazar’s future” and not benefitted “his coming future”? And how could anyone seriously hope to slip a man of 32 into a convoy of youths bound for Paris by making him 17?

Grüner supplies us with two documents (one page from the list of new arrivals at Buchenwald on 26 January 1945, and a personal file card) from which we can see that the Buchenwald number 123165 was assigned to the detainee Pavel Kun, born on 6.7.1926 at Velka Bytca, registered at Auschwitz as B-14131 who died on 8 March 1945.[31] But why would the number of this detainee have been assigned to Lazar Wiesel by “falsifying” the latter’s real number 123565?

One could also think that this ID number, precisely because it had already been assigned to Pavel Kun, was caused by a mistake – 123165 instead of 123565, but then how are we to explain the date of birth of 4 October 1928?

The questionnaire was surely established by one of the three British officers who are listed at the end of the document and it is not unlikely that they made such a mistake: but then, the detainee in question signed the document personally, using the surname “Wiesel”, thereby accepting the alleged mistake and/or the alleged falsification; hence, in any case, he would be responsible for the deception.

Furthermore, we must take into account the fact that Lázár Wiesel named as a reference a certain Sámuel Jakobovits (or Jakubowits). This young man was born on 2 October 1926, deported to Auschwitz where he was assigned the ID number A-5763 on 24 May 1944 (together with 2,000 other Hungarian Jews who where given the numbers A-5729 through 7728, among them both Abram Wiesel [A-7712] and Lazar Wiesel [A-7713], born on 4.9.1913, but – according to the questionnaire dated 22 April 1945 – also Lázár Wiesel born on 4 October 1928) and then moved to Buchenwald where he was registered as 121761 on 26 January 1945 and also assigned to Block 66.

That Lázár should have named Sámuel as one of three trustworthy persons, is perhaps in better agreement with the hypothesis of a 17-year-old boy giving as a reference a youth of 19 than with the idea that a man, 32 years of age, would name a boy 15 years his junior as a reference.

It is thus difficult to give credence to the falsification of Lazar Wiesel’s personal data, even though this might explain the Lazar Wiesel’s exit and the appearance of Lázár Wiesel. On the other hand, if we are dealing with two different persons, why is the Lázár born on 4 October 1928 not mentioned on the list of the detainees who arrived at Buchenwald from Auschwitz on 26 January 1945? And why is there no trace of his ever having been deported to Auschwitz in the first place?

It is here that we face the riddle of Elie Wiesel. Grüner does not explain in what way he may partly have taken over Lazar Wiesel’s personal data. Maybe on the basis of documents? As we have seen, Lazar Wiesel appears in in a number of documents, but the names of his parents are given only in his personal file for Buchenwald, where his date of birth is still 4 September 1913, however. If he had wanted to turn himself into Lazar Wiesel, Elie would also have had to know the documentation regarding Lázár Wiesel (especially with respect to his story about Block 66, where the youngsters were housed, but then why did he not assume the date of birth of 4 October 1928 as well, to be more convincing? And why did he never speak of either of the two Buchenwald ID numbers (123165 or 123565)?

The alternative to the use of documents is a personal contact. Elie Wiesel may have known Lazar Wiesel and built his own story on the latter’s account, embellished where needed. Here, however, we are moving into the region of conjecture, even though it is likely that the truth will have to be looked for in this direction.

The other possibility – that Elie Wiesel is himself Lazar Wiesel – must be excluded for obvious reasons of chronology: he would now be 97 years of age! On the other hand, why “change” the date of his birth once again, to 30 September 1928, after having “falsified” it to 4 October 1928?

The birth certificate issued by the Romanian authorities on 27 November 1996 for Lazar Vizel, born at Sighet to Solomon Vizel and Sura Feig, does give the date of birth as 30 September 1928 (and not 6 October 1928 as is handwritten at the top of the document, but also typed in the lower part, and as I gave it in my second article: this is the date the document was issued),[32] but does not prove anything because we don’t know to whom it refers, who requested it and why. In particular, even if it were to refer to Elie Wiesel, it could still be based on a self-declaration, as is the case for Elie Wiesel’s father whose name was added to the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names [33] at Yad Vashem on 8 October 2004 at Elie Wiesel’s request.

Document 6 (Click to enlarge)

The relationships between these four persons, which I have set out in my second article, have not yet found a satisfactory explanation:

  Lazar Wiesel Lázár Wiesel Lazar Vizel Elie Wiesel
Auschwitz ID number A-7713 ? ? A-7713
Buchenwald ID number 123565 123165 ? ?
Date of birth 4 September 1913 4 October 1928 30 September 1928 30 September 1928
Place of birth Máramarossziget = Sighet Máramarossziget Sighet Sighet
Father’s name Szalamo = Shlomo ? Solomon Shlomo
Mother’s name Serena Feig ? Sura Feig Sarah Feig
Residence in early 1945 Buchenwald ? ? Buchenwald

For Grüner, the whole matter hinges upon the book Un di velt hot geschwign. He asserts that Lazar Wiesel, with the new name of Lázár, wrote a manuscript of 862 pages in Yiddish which the publisher Mark Turkov cut down to 253 pages.[34] The book, according to him was “published in Paris in 1955”[35] and “is a Copyright by the then 43 year old Eliezer Wiesel, Paris. Published 1955, Buenos Aires. The copyright shall prove that he was tattooed in Birkenau with the number A-7713”.[36] Elsewhere, Grüner writes that the book is a “Copyright by Eliezer (in Yiddish the name means the same as Lazar) Wiesel, Paris 1954”.[37] Elie Wiesel, appropriating Lazar Wiesel’s copyright, is said to have published a summary of Un di velt hot geschwign entitled La Nuit in 1958.[38]

However, there is no proof that the author of the Yiddish book really is Lazar Wiesel. Grüner believes this, because on p. 87 of the book the author states that he was assigned the Auschwitz ID number A-7713 [39] and on p. 239 that he was housed at Buchenwald in Block 66,[40] but this is not sufficient to accept beyond doubt that Lazar Wiesel was the author of the book.

On the other hand, why would he have used the name “Eliezer” instead of “Lazar”? It is not correct, as Grüner will have it, that the two names, in Yiddish, “meant the same”: they certainly are not interchangeable. As I have stressed in my second article, while Lazar is indeed a diminuitive of Eliezer, its Yiddish pronunciation sounds more like Leizer or Lozer. Why would Lazar Wiesel, who appears as “Lazar” in all known documents, have chosen to call himself “Eliezer”? This is all the more mysterious, as Wiesel’s naturalization certificate, dated 21 January 1963, is made out for “Lazare” and not for Eliezer.[41]

The question of “copyright” to which Grüner seems to attach so much weight, says nothing about the author of the book. In this connection, it is not at all clear why the “copyright” was issued in Paris if the book actually appeared in Buenos Aires. If Lazar Wiesel was indeed the author, he would have cried out against the blatant plagiarism committed by Elie Wiesel less than two years later, and the publisher Mark Turkov would have sued him (unless, of course, both had somehow entitled Elie Wiesel to do so). But nothing like that happened.

Grüner apparently believes that Elie Wiesel’s alleged plagiarism altered Lazar Wiesel’s original text to a certain degree by inventing false stories and thereby exposing the true survivors to criticism by the revisionists. In this respect, he writes:

“The book “Night” is a masterpiece designed to defame us and our Jewish God, while spreading lies about the Holocaust without any kind of reasonable explanation. To mention the horribly twisted story making account for the huge flames coming from the ditches holding incinerated bodies of men, women and children, without mentioning of course, that they were dead, or that they were under the circumstances, already suffucated to death on arrival at the flaming ditches.”[42]

Elsewhere he notes:

“I had never seen or even come close to ditches burning with open fire, where people or children could be seen burning on my way to the washroom in Birkenau, as written in ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel.”[43]

Hence, Grüner accuses Elie Wiesel to have invented at least the story of the babies being burned “alive” in the cremation trenches, which I have analyzed in my first article.

Actually, though, the same description is given in the Yiddish text, as we can see from a comparison of the two corresponding excerpts (On the left, the excerpt taken from Night [44], on the right, the text as per Un di velt hot geschwign [45]).

“Not far from us, flames were leaping up from a ditch, gigantic flames. A lorry drew up at the pit and delivered its load – little children. Babies! Yes, I saw it – saw it with my own eyes… those children in the flames.[…]

So this was where we were going. A little farther on was another and larger ditch for adults. […] Still twenty steps to go. […]. Our line had now only fifteen paces to cover. […]. Ten steps still. Eight. Seven. We marched slowly on, as though following a hearse at our own funeral. Four steps more. Three steps. There it was now, right in front of us, the pit and its flames. […]

No. Two steps from the pit we were ordered to turn to the left and made to go into a barracks.”

“Sixty meters away from us, flames rose from a ditch; something was burning there: what was it?

A lorry drew up near the ditch and unloaded its load automatically; suddenly I saw what it carried, what he dumped into the ditch: Small children! Sucklings! Babies! Yes, I saw it with my own eyes… I saw how they threw live babies into the flames! … We are really walking along on our path, towards the gigantic flaming ditch; right in front [of us] a little further on, there is another ditch, a larger one: for adults, for us.[…]

Another twenty steps to go, another fifteen, another ten, eight, seven steps […] four steps.

There it is, three steps ahead, the ditch and the flames.

Two steps away from the ditch, they made us turn left, towards a bath-house.”

The Yiddish text contains another passage, also found in Night (p.41), which raises further doubts on Lazar Wiesel’s authorship. An Auschwitz detainee asks the protagonist about his age:

“‘I’m not quite fifteen yet.’
‘No. Eighteen.’ […]
Then he questioned my father, who replied:
‘Fifty.’
The other grew more furious than ever.
‘No, not fifty. Forty. Do you understand? Eighteen and forty.’

Why would Lazar Wiesel – who was 31 years old when he arrived at Auschwitz – have stated that he was not yet fifteen? This would mean that he was born in 1929, something that is in disagreement with both Lazar Wiesel (allegedly turned into Lázár Wiesel later) who was born on 4 October 1928 and with Elie Wiesel whose date of birth was 30 September 1928.

In this puzzle, the only thing which is certain is that Elie Wiesel lied about the ID numbers assigned to himself and to his father at Auschwitz – but why would he do that if he and his father actually were deported to Auschwitz? In that case, they would necessarily have been assigned ID numbers different from A-7713 and A-7712, but for what reason would Elie Wiesel have had to hide their real numbers?

As far as Stolen Identity is concerned, Grüner, as we have seen, accuses Elie Wiesel to have discredited the true witnesses by his fantasies, but he himself follows that very same line. We will not go into this aspect of the book and will only present one quotation to back this up:

“They had saved my skin from being turned into lampshades or from being made into a burning torch. Most of all, I was spared from being turned into a cake of soap bearing the initials R.J.F. (reine jüdische fett [46] [sic]) on it.”[47]

 
Carlo Mattogno

10 April 2010


[1] Elie Wiesel: “The Most Authoritative Living Witness” of The Shoah?: http://www.revblog.codoh.com/2010/02/elie-wiesel-the-most-authoritative-living-witness-of-the-shoah/; Elie Wiesel: New Documents: http://www.revblog.codoh.com/2010/03/elie-wiesel-new-documents/
[2] Printed in Stockholm, Sweden, 2007 (private printing by the author).
[3] Idem, section entitled The Evidence, figure 2 (no page number). It is not clear whether the letter “A” stands for “Auschwitz”, but one may exclude that “A2” indicated “Auschwitz 2(II)”, because on the same list we have the entry “U. Jun. A8”.
[4] Elie Wiesel, Night, Penguin Books, New York 1981.
[5] Elie Wiesel: “The Most Authoritative Living Witness” of The Shoah?, art.cit.
[6] E. Wiesel, Night, op. cit., pp. 53-54.
[7] Idem, p. 45.
[8] Liste der Judentransporte, Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau, microfilm no. 727/27.
[9] E. Wiesel, Night, op. cit., pp. 53-54.
[10] Elie Wiesel: “The Most Authoritative Living Witness” of The Shoah?
[11] Text in Stolen Identity. Auschwitz Number A-7713, op. cit., figure 18.1; http://kuruc.info/r/6/51815/, figure 17 (in English) and 19 (in Polish).
[12] Idem, figure 19.1-3.
[13] Document 2 published in the first article.
[14] Stolen Identity. Auschwitz Number A-7713, op. cit., figure 11.1; http://kuruc.info/r/6/51815/, figure 5.
[15] Abbreviation of Schlosserlehrling, apprentice locksmith.
[16] Stolen Identity. Auschwitz Number A-7713, op. cit., figure 11.3.
[17] Idem, figure 11.5.
[18] NARA, A 3355, RG 242.
[19] Idem, figure 7.1; http://kuruc.info/r/6/51815/, figure 6.
[20] Text in: http://kuruc.info/r/6/51815/, figure 7.
[21] I am writing “Lazar” for the person Wiesel born on 4 September 1913, and “Lázár” for the person Wiesel born on 4 October 1928.
[22] NARA, A 3355, RG 242.
[23] Stolen Identity. Auschwitz Number A-7713, op. cit., figure 2.
[24] Idem, figure 12.4.
[25] Idem, p. 28.
[26] Idem, p. 49.
[27] Idem, p. 51.
[28] Obviously, the questionnaire cannot be considered to be an “affidavit”, i.e. a declaration under oath.
[29] Stolen Identity. Auschwitz Number A-7713, op. cit., p. 59.
[30] Idem, p. 34.
[31] Idem, figure 7, 12.1 and 12.3.
[32] Text in: http://kuruc.info/r/6/51815/, figure 8.
[33] http://www.yadvashem.org/wps/portal/IY_HON_Welcome
[34] Idem, p. 43. Actually, the story ends on p. 245, with an explicit “Sof” (The End, in Yiddish). The remaining pages contain publicity (a list of the works published in the series Der poilische jidntum, Polish Judaism).
[35] Idem, p. 44.
[36] Idem, p. 55.
[37] Idem, p. 46. Printing of the book ended on 10 November 1955 and it was published in 1956, it contains the printed indication “Copyright by: Eliezer Wiesel, Paris”, undated.
[38] Idem, p. 44, 46 and figure 17.
[39] Idem, pp. 55-56.
[40] Idem, p. 57.
[41] http://www.codoh.com/forum/download/file.php?id=203&sid=4fe256698b50783e96cf239458dea8d6&mode=view
[42] Idem, p. 45.
[43] Idem, pp. 34-35.
[44] E. Wiesel, Night, op.cit., pp. 43-45.
[45] Eliezer Wiesel, Un di velt hot geschwign, op. cit., pp. 67-70.
[46] R.I.F. (and not R.J.F.) actually stands for Reichsstelle für industrielle Fettversorgung, Reich agency for industrial fat supply.
[47] Stolen Identity. Auschwitz Number A-7713, op. cit., unnumbered page entitled “In Gratitude”.