19 May 2011

Australia: False Holocaust memoir?

Forensic genealogist Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick is featured in an Australian story concerning allegations that a wartime memoir is false.

The Herald Sun story on Alex Kurzem, 75, who authored an international best-selling book ("The Mascot") describes the investigation by Fitzpatrick and her team.

She was instrumental in exposing Holocaust fakes Misha Defonseca and Herman Rosenblat some three years ago. Defonseca was forced to admit that "Surviving with Wolves" was false, and Rosenblat confessed he made up much of his "Angel at the Fence."

Kurzem has refused the newspaper's offer "to organise and pay for medical and DNA tests to help prove his identity and whether or not he is Jewish." He has refused unless he is paid $100,000 to undergo those tests.

His book allegedly describes his life as a Russian Jewish child, age 5, who survived the Holocaust by becoming the mascot of a Latvian military unit. The story was an award-winning 2004 ABC documentary and a movie about his life is being made by a French company.

According to the news story, Dr. Fitzpatrick's team also includes Melbourne Holocaust Centre senior staff and US psychologist Dr. Barry Resnick. Their files detail doubt about Kurzem, which has sparked three investigations by the Jewish Claims Conference, the German government compensation and pension department and the US Attorney's office.

Kurzem claims he watched his Jewish mother and siblings executed by the Nazis.

Read the complete story at the link above.

1 comment:

  1. Based solely on his surname, I have my doubts as to whom he is. Is that his birth surname? Latvian and Lithuanian Jews were more likely to have either Yiddish or Slavic surnames, not Latvian or Lithuanian. Kurzem seems to me to be more Latvian, whereas the Yiddish form of the name would have been Kurlander (as in the famed screenwriter Carl Kurlander).