Simon Wiesenthal   Letter 22   22-Sep-1997   Why lose two front teeth?
September 22, 1997

Simon Wiesenthal
Jewish Documentation Center
Salztorgasse 6
1010 Vienna

Dear Mr. Wiesenthal:

One other detail of the story of how the Ukrainian police auxiliary Bodnar saved your life has been bothering me.  You say that Bodnar informs you and another prisoner of the cover story he will use for getting you released into his care.  An hour goes by why, we don't know.  Then,

both prisoners were dragged from the cell and mauled by their Ukrainian jailers for a decent interval long enough for Wiesenthal to lose two front teeth until Bodnar shouted: "Enough! We need names and information from them before we kill them."  (Alan Levy, The Wiesenthal File, 1993, p. 37)

I take this to mean that Bodnar can now pretend to take you and your fellow prisoner to the "commissar" for questioning but that in reality he intends to let you escape.

Concerning this detail of losing two front teeth, I have just two questions:

(1)  Why couldn't Bodnar take you away to the commissar for questioning without mauling you first?

(2)  If some display of mauling was obligatory, then why not a show of loud cursing combined with a flurry of cuffing with the flat of the hand and kicking with the side of the foot, which could have looked impressive but need not have done any damage?  When Bodnar holds you in such high esteem that he is about to risk his life in order to save yours, then why would he begin by beating you so badly as to knock out two of your teeth?

In view of the low credibility of your biographies, Mr. Wiesenthal, you must expect that a reader who comes across an incongruous detail such as the above is bound to supply his own interpretation.  In this case, the interpretation might be that you lost two front teeth in some politically-irrelevant manner, but decided to put the loss to the service of career enhancement.  Specifically, the reader may well wonder whether you simply decided to blame the loss of two front teeth on a hated Ukrainian so as to place your image more squarely among the victims of evil rather than among the perpetrators, and so as to further fan the flames of hatred toward Ukrainians on which your career in part depends.

Yours truly,

Lubomyr Prytulak