My attention was drawn by friends to a Hungarian item on the Internet referring to the story of a Holocaust survivor, Mr. Nikolaus Gruner (Grüner Miklós) from Nyíregyháza, Hungary now living in Malmö, Sweden who is searching for his missing friend and fellow concentration camp inmate, Mr. Lázár Wiesel. In a local internet newspaper Hajdu Online in Hungary Mr. Gruner stated or rather implied that the identity of his missing friend was stolen and was being used by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel.
After reading this strange online article in Hungarian a couple of days ago I decided to check it on the Internet particularly in foreign languages, first of all the English and German web-sites. Surprisingly I did not find any reliable source or trace even references, or just mention in any of the world leading newspapers or news agencies available on Internet. I have not given up my search for the truth, although it was and is limited only to the Internet. Nevertheless, I find it most interesting to see how certain topics and information are spread around the world.
The interview with Mr. Gruner was posted on March 03, 2009 in Hungarian on Hajdu Online (Nyíregyháza, East Hungary, home town of Mr. Grüner) and the following day it was distributed by another Hungarian web-site, an overseas distributor operating far-right homepage (kuruc.info), and two days later they issued the English translation. Since then you can find unnumbered items, sites and forums on the Internet with such titles like “Auschwitz Survivor Claims Elie Wiesel is an Impostor”. (please write reference into Google: Gruner Wiesel)
I would like to present my own research and opinion about the “Gruner case” which is all based on information collected from the net.
Mr. Gruner’s story on the Hajdu Online
In 1944 Mr. Miklós Grüner from Nyíregyháza, Hungary was deported with his family to Auschwitz . He was forcibly separated from his mother and sister, but managed to stay with his father and brother in BUNA Werke near Auschwitz as a forced labourer. Later on his father became so sick that he was sent back to Auschwitz to die and his brother was transported to Mauthausen. The 15 years old Miklós felt himself despairing alone and found mentors in the Wiesel brothers (Lázár and Ábrahám) from Maramarossziget then Hungary. Ábrahám Wiesel died on the way from Auschwitz to Buchenwald. Miklós Grüner and Lázár Wiesel were liberated from Buchenwald by the US Army and a picture was immediately taken of the survivors and then the world press presented it to the world showing Mr. Gruner and Mr. Wiesel in a barrack. After the war all prisoners went their own way.
More than 40 years later Mr. Grüner received an invitation to meet former fellow prisoner Mr. Wiesel who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 1986. At this meeting Mr. Grüner did not recognize his helper, mental mentor and rescuer Lázár. He was disappointed, felt to be betrayed and decided to look for his friend, the “real” Wiesel. In the interview with Hajdu Online he stated, that in the last 20 years he has dedicated his life to find out the truth and find his Lázár and his whereabouts, without success. Nobody wanted to listen his story. Every attempt was rejected or denied publication. Finally Mr. Grüner wrote down his own story and in 2007 he deposited it in the Swedish State Library.
When I compared Mr. Grüner’s words in Hungarian on Hajdu Online to the English translation published two days later by kuruc.info and soon after distributed by a self proclaimed Canadian conspiracy expert, Mr. Henry Makow, on the Internet, I found a lot of discrepancies. Generally the English translation was more specific than the original Hungarian text. Some examples
“….In 1986 I received a call from a southern Swedish newspaper…”
(Egy dél-svédországi újságtól 1986-ban kaptam egy telefonhívást)
- In the English version the translator knew exactly and named the newspaper: it was the Sydsvenska Dagbladet in Malmo
“……I was very glad and flew to Sweden on December 14, 1986….”
(Nagyon megörültem és repültem Svédországba 1986. december 14-kén).
- In the English version the translator knows pretty precisely: it was at the Savoj Hotel in Stockholm, on December 14, 1986
How come? The translator knew better than the interviewee in Hungarian?
Certain parts of the translation seemed to me to be turning a bit Anti-Semitic or at least (Jewish) incitement of the people.
“…..A man stood in front of me, who could not speak Hungarian and spoke English with very heavy French accent….”
(egy idegen férfi áll előttem, aki magyarul nem is tudott, az angolt is erős francia akcentussal beszéli)
- The English translation added another language too
a man I didn`t recognize at all, who didn`t even speak Hungarian or Yiddish and instead he was speaking English in a strong French accent.
“…..He became a successful rich man, who receives USD 25.000 for a 45 minutes speech….”
(Sikeres, gazdag ember lett, aki 25 ezer dollárért tart egy 45 perces előadást)
- In the English version the translator reduces the possible topics only one
he takes 25 thousand dollars for a 45 minutes speech on the Holocaust
Actually this sentence is suggesting that Mr. Wiesel is a member of the so called Holocaust business.
Finally a very strange and confusing translation:
“…..The world famous book was published in 1955 by my old friend Lázár under the name Eliezer with the title “The world keeps silent” in Paris ….”
(A világhírű könyvet 1955-ben Lázár, az én egykori barátom adta ki Eliezer néven Párizsban és „A világ hallgat” címmel)
- In the English version can be read the followings
in fact written in Hungarian in 1955 by Miklos' old friend Lazar Wiesel and published in Paris under the title "Un di Velt hot Gesvigen ",
(Note to the translator: if the book was written in Hungarian, why was the title (suddenly) written in Yiddish?)
Reading and comparing these two (actually one and same) news items, I decided to start my own investigation about Mr. Grüner’s story. As I already mentioned, all my information is obtained from the Internet.
I have not found any reliable biography of Mr. Grüner. On a self proclaimed Canadian conspiracy expert’s, Mr. Henry Makow’s web-site can read some clue about Mr. Grüner’s life.
“…….In 1944, Lazar Wiesel, 31, befriended the 15-year- old Gruner in Auschwitz and saved his life more than once. Gruner is in the bottom left-hand corner of the famous Buchenwald photo. Now Gruner is outing Elie Wiesel who he claims stole his friend's identity and work……
After the war, Gruner went to Australia and became a successful painter and sculptor. He speaks English with an Australian accent. In 1962, he joined his sister in Sweden where he still lives. He did well manufacturing Hungarian sausages but was put out of business after he exposed Swedish complicity in the holocaust. He married and his wife passed away five years ago….”
If this resume is only partly genuine, then there are a lot of discrepancies and false statements in Mr. Grüner’s story and in his search result for Elie Wiesel and his identity. The first and undoubted fact:
Grüner claims that he met with the Wiesel brothers: Lázár and Ábrahám in Auschwitz.
According to Elie Wiesel’s autobiography, he had only (three) sisters and no brother. In this case Mr. Grüner befriended a different person, who is a namesake of Elie Wiesel.
Mr. Grüner’s story which appeared on the Hajdu Online Hungary and was later translated for Internet usage had a lot of discrepancies.
1. Gruner’s translated words “….happily accepted the invitation to meet him at the Savoj Hotel in Stockholm on December 14, 1986 …”
The occasion was the award ceremony and of the Nobel Peace Prize given to Mr. Elie Wiesel. This occasion takes place every year in Oslo, Norway, on December 10 and not Stockholm where Mr. Grüner supposed to meet Wiesel. (Incidentally, dear translator, there is neither a Savoj Hotel nor Hotel Savoy in Stockholm, Sweden!)
2. Mr. Grüner was flown at the expense of a southern Swedish newspaper to Sweden.
If Mr. Grüner had been living in Malmö, Sweden since 1962, why should he have flown to Sweden, or even to Stockholm, if the occasion took place in Oslo, Norway ? Not to mention the name of the hotel in Stockholm!
3. In 2006 the Germans and the world media “discovered” Mr. Grüner for the public. On the 68th anniversary of the Night of Pogroms (Kristallnacht) the organiser invited three of still surviving members of the world famous photo taken in Buchenwald concentration camp just after the liberation, to Germany. Since 2006 Mr. Grüner is a frequent visitor and guest of German events to remember the darkest period of history. Visiting these web-sites (e.g. Anno-Gymnasium, haGalil.com) I have not found any accusation or even just an indication on Elie Wiesel’s personality by Mr. Grüner, although it should have been a perfect opportunity for his unveiling.
I really do not know Mr. Grüner’s intention to do this. I cannot read his mind, I have only a couple of suggestions as to what should be behind these accusations.
Argument No.1. Mr. Grüner has a bad memory. He mixed two different persons with the same or similar name. Mr. Grüner is convinced that the Hungarian first name Lázár equals the Jewish-Yiddish Eliezer and Lázár Wiesel later took on the pen name: "Elie" for publishing his book.
Argument No.2. Mr. Grüner was jealous, because Elie Wiesel made a much bigger, prosperous career than others from the famous photograph.
Argument No.3. Mr. Grüner realized his mistake, but would publicly not talk about it. Instead, he deposited his imagination and findings in the Swedish State Library.
Argument No.4. Mr. Grüner was fed up with the Holocaust deniers. He wanted to show and prove that the Holocaust occurred and that he was one of the survivors according to this famous picture. Furthermore, he can demonstrate and argue some identity-change as part of the Holocaust business.
In addition, Mr. Grüner had an ill-faith testimony in Hungarian, which was picked up, translated and distributed on the Internet by far-right Anti-Semites. The final and biggest question:
Does Mr. Grüner know the aftermath of his interview on the Internet?