DAILYKENN.com -- Joseph Hirt said he escaped the Auschwitz labor camp where he met Josef Mengele. He also claims to have met track and field star Jesse Owens.
Now he says the whole story was a fabrication; a lie.
“I am writing today to apologize publicly for harm caused to anyone because of my inserting myself into the descriptions of life in Auschwitz,” Joseph Hirt, 86, wrote in a letter sent to his local paper, LNP, this week. “I was not a prisoner there. I did not intend to lessen or overshadow the events which truly happened there by falsely claiming to have been personally involved.”Hirt's lie helped form the image of life in Germany during the National Socialist era.
For years, Hirt gave public speeches about his experiences in the second world war, including his Jewish family’s flight from Poland to Belgrade. But he also told people that he was arrested by the Nazis, sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz, and met Mengele . . . Hirt claimed to have escaped under an electric fence at the camp.
Hirt, who lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, said he concocted the story so the horror of the camps would not be forgotten.
The lesson learned: Question "official" accounts of history.
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