His reputation is built on sand, however. He was a liar — and a bad one at that. From the end of the second world war to the end of his life in 2005, he would lie repeatedly about his supposed hunt for Eichmann as well as his other Nazi-hunting exploits. He would also concoct outrageous stories about his war years and make false claims about his academic career. There are so many inconsistencies between his three main memoirs and between those memoirs and contemporaneous documents, that it is impossible to establish a reliable narrative from them. Wiesenthal’s scant regard for the truth makes it possible to doubt everything he ever wrote or said.
Some may feel I am too harsh on him and that I run a professional danger in seemingly allying myself with a vile host of neo-Nazis, revisionists, Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites. I belong firmly outside any of these squalid camps and it is my intention to wrestle criticism of Wiesenthal away from their clutches. His figure is a complex and important one. If there was a motive for his duplicity, it may well have been rooted in good intentions.
This article was published a month ago, but I just spotted it. I’m not surprised it didn’t get much traction.
I have no idea how accurate any of this is; are these lies about “lies”?
I do know that throughout history, people have lied about their exploits — often in the name of a “good cause.”
And in the 20th century, it became popular to pretend to be, not just a hero, but a victim-hero: fake Vietnam vets and Holocaust survivors and “brave, truthtelling” Satanic sex abuse victims with multiple personality disorder.
Lying for a good cause, especially in the fight against anti-semitism, is not unheard of. I’ve spend the last couple of years learning all about such people.
So that makes this article all the more plausible. Which is a shame.