Efraim Zuroff doesn't believe you either

"I strongly doubt whether the material he claims to have found is anywhere near as incriminating as he would have us all believe." — Efraim Zuroff speaking of Steven Rambam

Steven Rambam comes to the light side — he releases the grasp of Darth Wharrrf, and allows him to float away.

  11 June 2003
Steven Rambam
Pallorium, Inc
PO Box 155 — Midwood Station
Brooklyn, New York
USA      11230

Steven Rambam:

You chose the wrong place to try to inflate your old balloon

When you claimed in your 03-Oct-2002 testimony in Rambam v Prytulak BC271433 that you had "exposed a number of Nazi war criminals" in Canada, you must have forgotten that it was me who had taken a leading role in exposing your Canadian project as a fraud, first in my 30-Apr-2000 letter to Irving Abella, Rambam-Abella Fifty Confessions Hoax, and after that in greater detail in my 04-Jul-2002 letter to Mike Wallace, Mike Wallace's Dark Secret:

•  p. 13, lines 19-22.

This balloon has been punctured by professionals

Although your above claim falls short of the original Canadian Jewish Congress claim that you had tape-recorded fifty confessions of Nazi war crimes, I wonder if even in its reduced form it can gain credence in a world which increasingly doubts your allegations, and goes on to question your general Nazi-hunting credentials, as for example does Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, and who (in the passage emphasized in blue) sticks his own pin into the already-punctured balloon of the Fifty-Confessions Hoax that you never stop puffing to inflate:

Nazi-hunting Is Bigger Than One Man

As someone who has devoted more than 22 years to efforts to facilitate the prosecution of Nazi war criminals all over the world, I think it is particularly unfortunate that Moment chose the personal story of private investigator Steve Rambam as the prism through which to reflect on the current state of Nazi hunting ("The Last Days of Nazi Hunting," December 2002).  Although the Brooklyn-born and -based detective can certainly provide lots of good stories about his antics — and he no doubt is an extremely talented storyteller — his analysis of the current situation is distorted and more a product of his failed fantasy to be crowned the world’s leading Nazi hunter than from any knowledge, expertise, and/or understanding of the complex and painful issue of the contemporary efforts to bring Holocaust perpetrators to justice.

Instead of providing readers with a serious, in-depth analysis of current developments in the field of Nazi hunting, Steven Kotler simply turned the stage over to Rambam, who quite frankly is no expert and has his own personal agenda.  The result is an article replete with errors of commission and omission, which leaves the average reader with the totally mistaken impression that if only Rambam had been entrusted years ago with the task of hunting Nazi war criminals, not a single Holocaust perpetrator would be left un-prosecuted anywhere in the world.

The fact that Rambam directs his criticism primarily at Jewish organizations, is the best proof that he understands very little about what it really takes to get Nazis prosecuted these days.  The proverbial bottom line is — and always has been — that only governments can prosecute Nazi war criminals.  Thus even if Jewish organizations or private individuals were able to uncover Holocaust perpetrators and find incriminating evidence against them, there is no guarantee that such individuals would ever be prosecuted.  The key issue in this regard is whether there is sufficient political will to take legal action against an individual in the country in which the crime was committed and/or in the criminal’s current country of residence.  A refusal to proceed by the judicial authorities in either country could prevent such a prosecution.

Thus while Rambam unequivocally blames the major Jewish organizations as the main culprits ("My main problem is with the major Jewish organizations who, for 50 years, have allowed the Jewish community to believe that Nazi war criminals are being aggressively and efficiently hunted."), the real problem is the outright refusal or reluctance of governments to take action.  Kotler does mention Canada and Australia in this regard (because Rambam has been active in the former and has set his sights on the latter), but the problem is worldwide.  Sweden, for example, refuses in principle to investigate, let alone prosecute Holocaust perpetrators (due to a statute of limitations on murder), and in post-Communist Eastern Europe — and especially in the Baltic region — where numerous Nazi war criminals currently reside, it is almost impossible to convince local governments to take legal action against these criminals.  But since Rambam has not (yet?) set out to make waves in these countries, they are not on Kotler’s radar screen.

Another problem is that Kotler uncritically accepts Rambam’s totally fallacious equation that only detective work equals serious Nazi hunting.  Thus, he almost derisively writes about someone like me who uncovered more than 2,000 suspected Nazis since 1986 but who (honestly) "concedes that little shoe leather has been expended in the process."  Besides the condescending manner in which Kotler refers to those who apparently do not have to travel to the boondocks to be able to find Nazis, it’s incredible chutzpa to suggest that it is merely a lack of good detective work a la Rambam that is plaguing contemporary Nazi hunting.  That is simply not the case.

Kotler also makes the mistake of taking everything Rambam tells him at face value as if it were Torah from Sinai.  Thus, for example, it is a little hard to take seriously his assertion that "Rambam went undercover in Canada for five years," (even Rambam admits he is only a part-time Nazi hunter) or to accept his figures.  In fact, despite repeated requests for copies of his interviews or at least the supposed confessions, I have never received a single page and have only heard one taped interview — the one with Antanas Kenstavicius, whose name and home town Rambam received from me personally.  In fact, I strongly doubt whether the material he claims to have found is anywhere near as incriminating as he would have us all believe.  In that respect, the results are very indicative.  Not a single prosecution has been initiated in Canada based on Rambam’s "evidence," and even his only legal achievement to date — the Julius Viel case — came about because Adalbert Lallier, a key witness, contacted him, not the opposite.  Rambam had no idea that Lallier existed.

If I add the numerous factual errors and contradictions in the article itself, one can only wonder why on earth a serious magazine like Moment agreed to publish Kotler’s shoddy reporting, let alone make it a cover story.  Thus, for example, he writes that "All told the American catch [125 denaturalizations and deportations] has been bigger than every other nation in the world combined," but two pages later writes in his Nazi Hunting Report Card that Germany has convicted nearly 7,000 people.

Other mistakes include his reference to a photo of Marvin Hier and Eli Rosenbaum "at the trial of U.N. Secretary General and subsequent President of Austria Kurt Waldheim" (such a trial unfortunately never took place); and a life sentence for Viel (who was sentenced to 12 years in prison), as well as referring to the Simon Wiesenthal Center dean and founder Rabbi Marvin Hier as "acting director" of that institution.

It is apparent that this important subject deserves far more serious treatment.  One can only hope that Moment will fulfill that responsibility to its readers in the near future.

Dr. Efraim Zuroff
Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center

Originally, but no longer, at www.momentmag.com/forum/forum.html

Steven Kotler tries to inflate a new Single-Confession Hoax balloon

In reply to Efraim Zuroff, Steven Kotler makes an attempt to defend your claim of taped confessions, but enthusiastic though he is, goes nowhere near the original claim of fifty, instead limiting himself to defending the possible existence of only a single taped confession, that of Antanas Kenstavicius, and even that claim evaporates as he speaks, because Kotler fails to disclose where the public might find the recording, together with the transcript, of whatever it was that Kenstavicius said — and not just the snippets which Mike Wallace let us hear on 60 Minutes, but the complete and unedited tape with transcript.  With 49 of the original claims discredited, what can you expect from the public except skepticism concerning the 50th, and some impatience in demanding that the hard evidence be finally produced?

As for Dr. Zuroff’s assertion that Rambam’s Canadian undercover work did not last five years, I can only assume several key facts might have slipped his mind.  Specifically, Rambam’s investigation was an ongoing undercover investigation and lasted five years.  When he was done, his work was applauded by major Canadian Jewish organizations.  Marvin Hier, the director of Dr. Zuroff’s organization, wrote a letter to the Canadian minister of justice, urging him to take Rambam’s work seriously.  On top of all of that, the story of his undercover investigation was profiled on 60 Minutes, Nightline, and America’s Most Wanted.  Then again, Mr. Zuroff knows all of this because he was in direct contact with Rambam throughout that period.

Which brings me to Dr. Zuroff’s assertion that "despite repeated requests for copies of his interviews or at least the supposed confessions, I have never received a single page ..."  In a three-month period from February 1996 to May 1996, Steven Rambam faxed Dr. Zuroff more than 100 pages of documents at his request, including the names and locations of 15 suspected Nazi war criminals living in both the U.S. and Canada.  As for the taped confessions Dr. Zuroff speaks about — the one he has never seen nor heard — was entered into evidence as prosecution exhibit 51 in the trial of Kenstavicius and was played on a number of the aforementioned news programs.

Originally, but no longer, at www.momentmag.com/forum/forum.html

On the question of whether you tape-recorded even a single confession, then, there is growing doubt — your critic, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, denies ever having seen one, and your supporter, Steven Kotler, can't say that he has either.  Everything Kotler does say is just smoke and mirrors to cover up the fact that the Kenstavicius tape recording is being concealed from public inspection.

The time to settle the issue is now

Your tape recordings having been handed over to the RCMP in December 1996 (approaching six and a half years ago), and the single best recording (that of Antanas Kenstavicius) still remaining unpublished, suggests that even that one falls short of a confession, and so that you in fact tape-recorded not fifty confessions, and not one confession, but a grand total of zero confessions.  This is the conclusion that I drew years ago, and this is the conclusion that Efraim Zuroff draws today.  Therefore, if you did once succeed in gathering any evidence at all of Nazi war criminality among Canadians, the time to publish it is now, and if you did not have any such success, then the time to confess it is now as well.

You have injured the Jewish people

Genuine and substantial Jewish losses during WW II are wrongly thrown into doubt by the prevalence of Jewish-holocaust fabulists like yourself who seek advancement by flooding the information media with hyperbolization.  If anti-Semites wished to injure the reputation of the Jewish people, and to lower their credibility, they could not have done better than to plant you to do as you have done.

By confessing to the Hoax, you would project the appearance that Jews valued truth even when it cost them to do so, thereby mitigating the damage.

And you have injured others

The Fifty Confessions Hoax played a major role in pressing the Canadian government to take tough action against Nazi war criminals; however, as none could be found, the government satisfied its critics by taking action instead against aging, defenseless immigrants who could be conjectured to have committed immigration infractions more than half a century ago — justice so Draconian that if applied in every sphere of activity would put three out of every four Canadians behind bars.  Typically, law-abiding Canadians who as teenagers were conscripted into German forces, even though it may have been against their will and even under threat of death, and against whom no crimes are proven or even alleged, today are subjected to prosecution, as for example happened to Wasyl Odynsky.  A trail of ruined lives is one of the legacies of your work.  Another legacy is discord between religious and ethnic groups, and still another is lowered respect for Canadian justice.  If as a result you suffer setbacks, you must accept this as just punishment, and be thankful how mild it is in comparison to the suffering and dislocation which you have recklessly and unjustifiably helped inflict upon others.

By confessing to the Hoax, you would take some of the pressure off the Canadian government to continue flagellating the innocent.

You may be preoccupied with your troubled youth, but the rest of the world isn't

You propose that disclosure of events from your youth has lost you business in your career as private investigator, as was touched on in my 05-Jun-2003 letter to you, Why didn't you sue Robert I. Friedman?  However, potential clients are ready to overlook your troubled youth; it is your troubled adulthood that they have a hard time countenancing.  The most plausible explanation of your business losses, assuming for the sake of argument that you have any, would be that potential clients shy away from someone who as an adult tries to build a career on hoax, and who as an adult continues to lie about that hoax in court as part of an attempt to confiscate someone else's property.

By confessing to the Hoax, you would be taking a step toward restoring both your credibility and your career.

Why is it only Steven Kotler who defends you?

Not one of the other conspirators from the WHARRRF (Wallace, Hewitt, Abella, Radler, Rambam, Ronen, Farber) group of seven who are responsible for the Fifty-Confessions Hoax steps forward to defend you from Zuroff's attack.  And why not?  Because they can see that the Hoax has been exposed, and will only discredit anybody who continues to defend it.  They are happy to leave you as the sole WHARRRF member defending the Hoax because that reinforces the image that it was your hoax, that you were its author and executor, that if there was any misrepresentation or exaggeration, then it was your doing; and they are happy to leave you as the sole WHARRRF member defending the Hoax because you are the most expendable.  The result of your co-conspirators leaving you holding the bag is that you suffer economic loss and disrepute while they continue their lives unscathed: Mike Wallace is still the revered patriarch of 60 Minutes; Don Hewitt continues as Executive Producer of 60 Minutes; Irving Abella continues as History Professor at York University; F. David Radler continues as COO of Hollinger International, world's largest newspaper empire; then comes you, the exception; Moshe Ronen continues as National President of the Canadian Jewish Congress; and Bernie Farber's participation in the Fifty-Confessions Hoax has resulted not in any loss, but rather in his being promoted to Executive Director of the Canadian Jewish Congress.  You were the junior member of that team, the lowest guy on the totem pole, the guy with the smallest salary, and yet years later we see you who only took orders getting blamed, and all the others who gave the orders going blameless.

By exposing the Hoax, you would be taking some of the blame off your own shoulders, and distributing it to others who have the primary obligation to carry it.

Come to the light side!

The story of how the Jewish Defense League recruited you while you were a 12-year-old in a psychiatric facility, how you were present when the JDL was taken over by Mossad to implement its bombing and assassination campaign on American soil, how you were apprehended and imprisoned for the part you played, how you were set up as the front man in the Fifty-Confessions Hoax, how when the hoax was exposed, you were pushed forward to be the fall guy, and how ultimately (it may be hoped) you dedicated the rest of your life to telling the truth, and in consequence became known as a man of integrity, a man who could be believed and trusted, a man who deserved respect, a man whom it was profitable to hire — this is a gripping drama which could lead to a best-selling book and a blockbuster movie.

Efraim Zuroff says above — I hope not sarcastically — that you are an "extremely talented storyteller," to which I would only add the qualification that, extremely talented or not, you are headed for disaster telling the old stories that are false, but can have the world at your feet if you begin telling some new stories that are true.  If you do that, and only if you do that, you will have some chance of attaining the same happiness and security that is being enjoyed by the other six WHARRRF members.

Lubomyr Prytulak