One out of 40 escaped shooting
"It looks very much, Mr. Safer, as if on your 60 Minutes broadcast of 23Oct94, The Ugly Face of Freedom, your chief witness testifying to Ukrainian collaboration with the Nazis was himself a war criminal of substantial proportions, a former Gestapo agent with the blood of many on his hands, perhaps much of it Jewish blood." — Lubomyr Prytulak
60 Minutes, CBS Television
51 W 52nd Street
New York, NY
I bring to your attention the following excerpt from an article by L. A. Ruvinsky published in the Ukrainian Historical Journal in 1985:
After the end of the Second World War, the former head of the Lviv Gestapo, P. Krause, replying to a question put by the writer V. P. Bieliaev, testified: "If on our side, in the Gestapo, there had not worked several agents from among the Zionists, we would never have been able to capture and destroy such a large number of Jews, who were living under false documents and assumed names." For example, in July 1941, Zionist Simon Wiesenthal, together with 39 other representatives of the Lviv intelligentsia, found himself in prison. Somehow, as a result of a "mysterious confluence of circumstances" all the arrested except for himself were shot, and he was freed. It is not surprising that after this, this Zionist provocateur became a regular Nazi agent. Polish journalists have established this as an indisputable fact. That is why the Hitlerites did not throw Wiesenthal into prison, which he frequently confirms, but rather sent him there to organize subsequent provocations. Evidently he was not lying when he said that he passed through 5 Nazi prisons and 12 prison camps. In any case, it is not difficult to imagine how many innocent victims are on the conscience of this impenitent Zionist provocateur. It is such loathsome services for the Fascist killers that were performed in the Yanivsky concentration camp, in which people of various nationalities found themselves — Ukrainians, Poles, and Jews.
L. A. Ruvinsky, The criminal conspiracy of Zionists and Fascists on the eve of, and during the years of, the Second World War, Ukrainian Historical Journal, 1985, No. 9, pp. 99-109, p. 105, translated from the Ukrainian by Lubomyr Prytulak.
The above statement, by itself, is certainly insufficient to establish that Simon Wiesenthal passed the war years as a Gestapo agent. However, it is — even by itself — sufficient to lead an investigative journalist to ask Mr. Wiesenthal certain questions:
(1) Was Simon Wiesenthal in fact arrested along with 39 other members of the Lviv intelligentsia?
(2) Was Simon Wiesenthal the only one of the 40 who avoided execution?
(3) Did Simon Wiesenthal pass through 5 Nazi prisons and 12 prison camps?
(4) How could Simon Wiesenthal have avoided execution, and how could he have passed through so many Nazi institutions, unless he had agreed to serve as a Gestapo agent?
Had you asked Mr. Wiesenthal any such questions in your 60 Minutes broadcast of 23Oct94, The Ugly Face of Freedom, you would have taken a step toward digging underneath the surface, a step of the sort that some 60 Minutes viewers have come to expect as standard from investigative journalists.
I bring to your attention further that the above quotation from Ruvinsky is not the only reason that we have for thinking that Simon Wiesenthal may have worked for the Gestapo. Further reasons can be found in my following three letters to Simon Wiesenthal:
(1) 15Dec94 in which I ask Simon Wiesenthal, among other things, why he kept detailed notes on the Polish partisans who were sheltering him, and why he allowed these notes to be captured by the Nazis.
(2) 14Aug97 in which I ask Simon Wiesenthal why the Nazis allowed him, a Jew and supposedly a prisoner, to keep two pistols.
(3) 28Aug97 in which I ask Simon Wiesenthal why, where other prisoners were shot upon being recaptured following their escape, he was instead relieved from work and put on double rations.
It looks very much, Mr. Safer, as if on your 60 Minutes broadcast of 23Oct94, The Ugly Face of Freedom, your chief witness testifying to Ukrainian collaboration with the Nazis was himself a war criminal of substantial proportions, a former Gestapo agent with the blood of many on his hands, perhaps much of it Jewish blood, and who may have used your interview with him to cast blame on Ukrainians so as to deflect attention away from his own guilt.
If this blunder of yours is allowed to stand, then it threatens in the end to be remembered as your chief legacy to 60 Minutes. Would it not be better to finally break your long silence and by embracing truth to make some attempt to redeem your reputation?
cc: Ed Bradley, Jeffrey Fager, Don Hewitt, Steve Kroft, Andy Rooney, Lesley Stahl, Mike Wallace, Simon Wiesenthal.