Sol Littman   Letter 03   24-Sep-1999   Comments on Littman reply
And I do have a witness that Wiesenthal kept records on the Polish partisans who sheltered him and that he allowed these records to be captured by the Nazis that witness is Simon Wiesenthal himself.  And I do have a witness that as a slave laborer of the Nazis, Simon Wiesenthal was allowed to keep two pistols that witness is Simon Wiesenthal himself.  And I do have a witness that whereas other recaptured prisoners were executed, Simon Wiesenthal was relieved of work and put on double rations that witness is Simon Wiesenthal himself.
  September 24, 1999

Sol Littman
Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center
8 King Street East, Suite 710
Toronto, ON

Tel: (416) 864-9735
Fax: (416) 864-1083

Sol Littman:

In replying to your letter of 21Sep99, I reproduce each of your paragraphs within a blue box, and follow each of these with my response.  By means of this practice, I hope to eliminate all possibility of either misquoting you, or taking what you say out of context, or neglecting any of your points, as so easily happens in this sort of correspondence.

Unhappily I must refuse your offer to collaborate in the hunt for World War II war criminals because it is evident that it is not meant sincerely.  Both the subject matter and the fact that you have published your challenge on the Internet indicates that your real intention is to embarrass me rather than work with me.  I am too busy to engage in games of one-uppmanship on any subject, let alone one as important as the search for war criminals.

I am sincere in hunting war criminals and you are not.  My offer was sincere.  I would like nothing better than to collaborate in the hunting down of anyone who has committed war crimes against Ukrainians, whether the perpetrator was a Nazi or a Communist, whether he was a Ukrainian or a Jew.  And it would give me almost equal satisfaction to hunt down anyone who has committed war crimes against any group, whether that victimized group is Canadian or German or Russian or Jewish.  However, I did expect that you would not take me up on my offer because I could see that you have no similar interest.  Your interest is the narrower one of crimes committed against Jews by Gentiles, primarily by Ukrainians.  Thus, I could see that my sincere offer would be rejected because your committment to pursuing war criminals was insincere.

A public hunt is necessary.  In the case of Simon Wiesenthal, furthermore, there is no reason to conduct an investigation of him in secret.  Rather, the only way to make progress would be to proceed publicly, generating interest in order to more widely solicit testimony.  Thus, my making our correspondence public does not indicate any lack of sincerity on my part, but rather accords with optimal procedure.  Your objection to a public hunt appears to be motivated by your awareness of its effectiveness.

Nevertheless, let me respond in part to your two letters (September 15 and 16, 1999).  First of all, "self-confessed" or not, Israel Roitman whose story appeared in the May 5, 1998 issue of the Russian language magazine, "Our View" does not walk the streets of Toronto as you so vehemently claimed.  ("Israel Roitman, then, walks Toronto streets as one of the murderers among us, and I ask you to explain why [he] does so with your blessing.")  Nor does he have my blessing in any form since I have never heard of Roitman before and do not read "Our View."  Not surprising in view of the fact that Roitman lives in Moscow and has never lived or as far as I can tell has never visited Canada.

Our View is Toronto-based.  You appear to overlook that Our View is a small-circulation, free newspaper published in Toronto.  It was from this that I inferred that anyone who writes for it must be a local reader and contributor, although I can see that in this I may have been mistaken.  It surprises me that anyone living in Moscow would know of, let alone publish in, a small-circulation, Toronto-based, free newspaper.

How do you know?  Below, you give me methodological advice, and so I venture to give you some in return in science, including social science, and in intellectual discourse, it is customary not only to state what you know, but to disclose also how you know it.  How, then, do you know that Israel Roitman lives in Moscow?  What reason have you for supposing that he has never visited Canada?  If you telephoned Our View in Toronto and were told these things, how do you know that the Our View staff was not lying to you in order to conceal the location of its contributor, Israel Roitman, and to be spared the embarrassment of an investigation of an individual with whom the paper was associated?

Israel Roitman stands for a class of war criminals.  In any case, let us please return to the big picture.  Communist war criminals do exist, and there is a high probability that they are Jewish.  Please consult my analysis of the Shapoval data if you want justification for this expectation.  And yet, Canada has never undertaken any war crimes prosecutions in which the accused was either a Communist or a Jew.  Whether Israel Roitman has been or is in Canada is a secondary question some people of his sort must necessarily have been in Canada and some must still be in Canada.  That the Our View staff would publish Israel Roitman's gruesome reminiscences indicates that they are like-minded, and so the staff might easily be in contact with several such butchers as Canada has too long neglected to prosecute.

Israel Roitman does have your blessing.  And whether you had previously heard of Israel Roitman or not, he did have your blessing because all Jews who committed crimes under Communism have your blessing.  If you are blind to their presence in Canada, it is because you choose to close your eyes.  And today you cannot argue that you have never heard of Israel Roitman, and yet today, I'll wager, you continue to neglect to complain of Israel Roitman to war crimes prosecutors, which further demonstrates that he has your blessing.

This does not take away from the nature of his crime, but it does shift jurisdictions.  It also shifts the definition of "crime."  It is doubtful if the KGB will consider Roitman a war criminal for having murdered a Banderist at the request of Smersh.

You give the impression of wanting to hide Israel Roitman.  We might discuss the matter of jurisdictions further when we find out where Israel Roitman really is.  I wonder if you came across a Ukrainian who confessed in a small-circulation Toronto periodical to torturing and murdering Jews during WW II, would you be so ready to believe that he had never walked the streets of Toronto and had never even visited Canada, or would you rather persist in demanding that the RCMP overturn heaven and earth looking for him?

Next, the question of Simon Wiesenthal.  The accusations that you have listed have been known for some time.  Yet, despite them, Simon seems to grow in stature and public acclaim every year.  Not that he doesn't have enemies and detractors.  However, none of them seems to [have] succeeded in bringing anything convincing against him.

The accusations against Wiesenthal are not as yet widely known.  The accusations against Simon Wiesenthal have been long known, but only among a small minority.  These accusations have been kept out of the mainstream media, which is biased toward portraying Jews favorably.  Although Simon Wiesenthal does enjoy some stature in this mainstream, that stature is shrinking.  For example, now that CBS has been advised of Simon Wiesenthal's unreliability, it is inconceivable that CBS would give him the same broadcast time that it gave him on 23Oct94, and even doubtful that CBS would allow him to make more than a token appearance.

Outside the mainstream, Simon Wiesenthal is the object of disrespect.  Outside the mainstream, in contrast, Simon Wiesenthal is sometimes the object of contempt and ridicule, perhaps most surprisingly among Holocaust survivors.  For example, below I quote a Jewish faculty member at an American University.  Had you agreed to collaborate with me in investigating Simon Wiesenthal, I would have begun by asking this faculty member's permission to disclose his name, and then we could have together asked him for particulars of Wiesenthal's terrible deeds in the Austrian DP camps, and then we could have proceeded to solicit testimony from fellow inmates of such camps as to exactly what it was that Simon Wiesenthal was supposed to have done in them, and whether it was to his fellow Jews that he did it:

I do not doubt for a moment [...] that Simon Wiesenthal is a fabulist which is the fancy literary word for an unmitigated liar.  My father (an Auschwitz inmate) told me many terrible stories about Wiesenthal's role after the war in the Austrian DP camps.  Wiesenthal is of the same ilk as Elie Wiesel: a secular saint, he can make the most absurd claims without fear of exposure.

Simon Wiesenthal's mental confusion and duplicity have been proven.  And you say above that no one seems to have succeeded in bringing anything convincing against Simon Wiesenthal.  I beg to differ.  I myself have caught him in a hundred lies, chief among which is the Wiesenthal-Safer Calumny.

Simon, 90 years old, is still tough, alert and stubborn.  All of the events you mentioned in your letter were freely described by him in his own books.  Surely, someone as astute as Wiesenthal is not going to describe events that shine an evil light on himself.  You will note that every one of your accusations involves an insinuation, ("There is no better way to explain...") but no actual proof, no documents, no witness.  As a social scientist, you should know better than to accept insinuation as proof of wrongdoing.

My best to Simon Wiesenthal.  I am delighted to hear that Simon Wiesenthal is in good health, is still feisty, and to his friends gives the impression of being mentally alert, and I wish him a long continuation of all such blessings.

Documenting his own culpability may be a symptom of Simon Wiesenthal's disorientation or of his desire to confess.  However, I do not agree that his describing three inculpatory events is demonstrative of his innocence.  To me Wiesenthal appears to describe the three events because he imagines that the infantile excuses that he attaches to them will be believed, which strikes me as further symptomatic of the lack of judgement that is evident throughout his writing.  In the alternative, Simon Wiesenthal's writing is sometimes so transparently fraudulent that he gives the impression of wanting to get caught.

Truth equals the best explanation at hand.  I am not sure what you mean by an "insinuation," but I do know that the sentence fragment you put in quotation marks ("There is no better way to explain...") gives the appearance of being taken from my letters, and yet does not appear in either of them.  At the same time, I propose to you that even though I nowhere write that sentence fragment, I do believe it to be true necessarily and inescapably true.  That is, every conclusion based on evidence is a conclusion that is accepted because no better one can be conceived.  I would even go so far as to say that this approach is the hallmark of science, and it is what distinguishes science from other intellectual pursuits that science gives every factual situation an explanation which is the best at hand, but which is admittedly tentative and subject to replacement by any better that may come along.

I do have documents, and I do have a witness.  You say that I have no proof, no documents, no witnesses.  I never said that I had proof of Simon Wiesenthal's guilt, I only said that I had strong reason to begin investigating him.  Furthermore, I do have documents, and I do have witnesses.  My documents are the books written by Simon Wiesenthal, or in collaboration with Simon Wiesenthal.  And I do have a witness that Wiesenthal kept records on the Polish partisans who sheltered him and that he allowed these records to be captured by the Nazis that witness is Simon Wiesenthal himself.  And I do have a witness that as a slave laborer of the Nazis, Simon Wiesenthal was allowed to keep two pistols that witness is Simon Wiesenthal himself.  And I do have a witness that whereas other recaptured prisoners were executed, Simon Wiesenthal was relieved of work and put on double rations that witness is Simon Wiesenthal himself.

Finally, there is the repeated implication in your Internet communications that Ukrainians are somehow being especially singled out and victimized by organizations such as the OSI and the Wiesenthal Center.  I cannot speak for the OSI, but the feeling I have is that they have dealt just as frequently with Germans, Lithuanians, Estonians and Latvians as Ukrainians.  The OSI has expelled approximately 60 people since it began its operations.  As a statistician it should not be difficult for you to check the list of those expelled and determine whether Ukrainians have been disproportionately prosecuted.

Deschênes and the Soviet-OSI coalition have been preoccupied with Ukrainians.  I believe that all 217 names on the list that Simon Wiesenthal submitted to the Deschênes Commission were the names of Ukrainians, and that this list of Ukrainians was one of the two chief reasons that the Deschênes Commission was created.  As for the Soviet-OSI coalition, it initiated the persecution of John Demjanjuk in 1977, for years obtruded him almost daily into the newspapers, and continues to harass him even to this day, and Demjanjuk is a Ukrainian.  If one were to analyze all newspaper coverage of war crimes prosecutions in Canada and the US over the last two decades, one would be unable to avoid the conclusion that the predominant association was with Ukrainians.  The media coverage of the Deschênes Commission and of the Demjanjuk persecutions alone guarantee this.

As for myself, the list which I handed Deschênes included Frenchmen, Netherlanders, Slovaks, Germans, Austrians, Romanians, Hungarians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians and Ukrainians.  If you examine the list of eighteen people who have been named by the Canadian Justice Department so far, there is hardly an excess of Ukrainians.

Why no Jews on these lists?  I don't know what eighteen you mean, but I do know that among them is not a single Jew!  And yet Jews inflicted Communist atrocities upon Eastern Europeans, and Jews collaborated with the Nazis to a far greater extent than did Ukrainians, and then after the war Jews tortured and murdered masses of Germans in prison camps that they ran throughout Poland, and then Jews ethnically cleansed the Palestinians.  As Ukrainian participation in all of the above ranged from less to none, one would expect more Jews to be prosecuted for war crimes in Canada today than Ukrainians.  However, of the eight cases in process since 1995, four are Ukrainians and none are Jews.  Fifty percent are Ukrainians and zero percent are Jews.  Thus, these Canadian prosecutions are invalid, they are demonstrated to be political show trials, because they are staged at the behest of Jews, and yet Jews are never among the defendants.  Ukrainians were among the foremost victims of the Nazis, and among the leading conquerors of the Nazis, and yet today are being scapegoated by Jews as the leading accomplices of the Nazis.

The eight current Canadian prosecutions.  To provide particulars, the eight cases in process since 1995 are the four Ukrainians Bogutin, Katriuk, Kisluk, and Odynsky, and are the four non-Ukrainians Baumgartner, Nebel, Oberlander, and Podins.  My source is Government of Canada, Public Report: Canada's War Crimes Program, 1998-1999, p. 9.

Let me add, that the names I handed to Deschênes and only to Deschênes; they have never been released publicly was much more fully investigated than the two cases with which you sought to embarrass me.  There were eyewitnesses, lengthy protocols and sometimes photographs.  Fully half of the persons included in Deschênes' list of 20 preferred cases, were supplied by me.  And once having supplied the names, it was my policy to let the wheels of justice grind on at its own pace even though I agonized at the slowness with which the Justice Department proceeded.

What "two cases"?  I have re-read my two letters and cannot find what you mean by "the two cases" with which I sought to embarrass you.

You breached the injunction of the Commission.  It is curious that you take credit for following ethical restrictions concerning not divulging the names of those who have been denounced when in fact Judge Deschênes faults you, and throughout his report nobody else but you, for having violated this very restriction:

For the protection of reputations, the Commission has made it a duty not to divulge any of those names and has enjoined parties appearing before it in public sittings to adhere to the same policy.  The Commission has received general understanding and co-operation in this respect, though Mr. Sol Littman came very close to breaching this injunction when he gave a press conference in Ottawa and distributed a list of suspects on 30 October 1986.
In Jules Deschênes, Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, 1986, p. 48

Were you saved by the responsibility of the press?  As you are described above as having actually handed out the names to the press, I wonder what Judge Deschênes could have meant when he said that you "came very close to" breaching the injunction?  It would seem that you did actually breach it.  Perhaps what Judge Deschênes meant is that although you did breach the injunction, because the press showing more responsibility that you did declined to publish the names that you had released, the harm was minimized, and so that Judge Deschênes opted to not antagonize the Jewish community by stating outright that you had breached the injunction and then perhaps having to sanction you for your violation.

I question your claim of ten hits.  You state above that "Fully half of the persons included in Deschênes' list of 20 preferred cases, were supplied by me."  The Deschênes Commission Report mentions 29 cases that were recommended for further action, as on pp. 21 and 262.  If I can take "fully half of 20" to mean 10, then you take credit for bringing to the attention of the Commission 10 of the 29 individuals that the Commission recommended for further action.  Concerning your claim, the following reflections spring to mind.

(1) You must be a far better Nazi hunter than Simon Wiesenthal.  You claim that your track record is better than Simon Wiesenthal's who scored zero out of his list of 217.

(2) You re-submitted the lists of others.  You seem to have offered the Deschênes Commission a list of 171 that was uniquely your own, but on top of that kept on re-submitting lists that had already been submitted by others.  Specifically, p. 47 of the Commission Report has you re-submitting the 219 names that had been already offered by Simon Wiesenthal (Vienna), re-submitting the 209 names already offered by the Canadian Jewish Congress, and re-submitting the 63 names already offered by the Simon Wiesenthal Center (Los Angeles).  So, is that how you managed to take credit for 10 names that the Commission recommended for further processing by re-submitting the lists of others and taking credit for any of their hits along with any of your own?  If that is the case, then why not re-submit all the names already offered by everyone, and then take credit for all 29 of the 29 names that the Commission recommended for further action?

(3) Not a single successful criminal prosecution.  One notes that in the years since the Deschênes Commission, Canada has been unable to win a criminal conviction against a single individual accused of Nazi war crimes, but instead has diverted the energies of its so-called war crimes unit to piddling away in civil court at immigration infractions among people who had served as soldiers or guards or police while their country was under German occupation.  From this, one might be tempted to conclude that the success rate of both yourself and Simon Wiesenthal in locating demonstrable war criminals has been exactly nil.

(4) Please provide detail.  You would be violating no prohibition, but would only be enhancing the credibility of your claim, if you indicated the ten case numbers of the individuals you say that you brought to the Commission's attention and whom the Commission recommended for further action.  Neither would you be violating any prohibition if you pointed to those individuals whom you fingered and who were subsequently prosecuted.

Enough for now.  Having examined the bulk of your Internet output, I have no doubt that you will not allow the matter to rest and that we will be corresponding further.  But let's leave it for another day.

Allow the matter to rest yourself.  I will rest from defending Ukraine from calumniation after you rest from calumniating Ukraine.

Lubomyr Prytulak