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TUVIAH FRIEDMAN WRITES TO KURT WALDHEIM

First posted on www.xoxol.org/dem/friedman/friedman01.html 06 Dec 2011 03:42 pm Pacific Standard Time
Last modified 12 Jan 2012 09:33 am Pacific Standard Time



Who was Tuviah Friedman?

Tuviah Friedman, credited with helping to find Adolf Eichmann, dies at 88

  Nazi Hunter Tuviah Friedman, director of Historical Documentation is shown in his Haifa, Israel, office in 1960
Nazi Hunter Tuviah Friedman, director of Historical Documentation is shown in his Haifa, Israel, office in 1960.

By T. Rees Shapiro
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 20, 2011; 11:28 PM


Tuviah Friedman survived years in a series of concentration camps during World War II.  His parents and two siblings perished, and he had seen Nazis kill dozens of others.

Mr. Friedman, who died Jan. 13 at 88 in Haifa, Israel, made it his life's work to bring his captors to justice.  As a Nazi hunter in the decades after the war, he was credited with helping to find Adolf Eichmann, the German officer considered a major architect of the Holocaust.

Born to a Jewish family in Poland, Mr. Friedman "was an indefatigable and sometimes brash or even intemperate voice for justice on behalf of the victims of Nazi inhumanity," said Eli Rosenbaum, a prosecutor with the Justice Department who has investigated Nazi war crimes cases.

After the war ended in Europe, Mr. Friedman worked with Soviet and Polish authorities who were seeking evidence of German atrocities.  In the spring of 1945, they sent him to inspect an abandoned Nazi facility on the outskirts of what was then Danzig (now Gdansk), Poland.

"One room was filled with naked corpses," Mr. Friedman wrote in his 1961 memoir, "The Hunter."  "Another room was filled with boards on which were stretched human skins.  Nearby was a smaller building, with a heavy padlock.  We broke in and found an oven in which the Germans had experimented in the manufacture of soap, using human fat as raw material."

Mr. Friedman was often described as working in the shadow of Simon Wiesenthal, a renowned Nazi hunter who died in 2005.

Unlike Wiesenthal, a self-promoter, Mr. Friedman toiled in obscurity for most of his career.

In the postwar period, Mr. Friedman worked in Vienna with the support of the Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary group. He and a small team chased down leads all over Europe.

[...]

The Washington Post   www.washingtonpost.com~



Tuviah Friedman, Tireless Pursuer of Nazis, Dies at 88
By DOUGLAS MARTIN
Published: February 5, 2011

Tuviah Friedman in 1971 holding up photos of Josef Mengele, and with his autobiography, The Hunter, in the foreground  
Tuviah Friedman in 1971 holding up photos of Josef Mengele, and with his autobiography, The Hunter, in the foreground.

In the months before and after the end of World War II, Tuviah Friedman tirelessly hunted Nazis as part of a militia in liberated Poland, and he reveled in his nickname, the Merciless One.

By his account, he hunted, captured, tortured and sometimes killed Nazis as he roamed the Polish countryside, seeking to avenge the deaths of every member of his immediate family except for his sister, Bella.

Sometimes he whipped his prey, just as he had been whipped in the Nazi labor camp from which he escaped in 1944 before he could be sent to the gas chambers.

He particularly sought Nazis who had killed Jews in and around his hometown, Radom, Poland — men like Wilhelm Blum, an SS officer who sent tens of thousands of Jews to the Treblinka extermination camp and who was executed in 1947.

To find the SS operative Konrad Buchmayer in a prisoner of war camp in 1945, Mr. Friedman posed as a captured Nazi officer wearing a tattered SS jacket.

He went on to work with Simon Wiesenthal, the legendary Nazi hunter, in post-war Vienna. Together they helped capture as many as 250 former Nazis linked to war crimes. Mr. Friedman died on Jan. 13 in Haifa, Israel, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said. He was 88.

[...]

New York Times   www.nytimes.com~


Herbert Schein knew Tuviah Friedman

Evidence of friendship between Herbert Schein and Tuviah Friedman increases the credibility of Herbert Schein being in possession of authentic documents pertaining to Tuviah Friedman.

Herbert Schein, Angela Schein, Tuviah Friedman at Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
Herbert and Angela Schein with Tuviah Friedman at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin.

Tuviah Friedman with Herbert Schein, Brandenburg Gate in the background, Berlin
Tuviah Friedman with Herbert Schein, Brandenburg Gate in the background, Berlin.

Angela Schein, Tuviah Friedman, Herbert Schein in Berlin
Angela Schein, Tuviah Friedman, Herbert Schein in Berlin.

Herbert Schein with Tuviah Friedman at the Institute for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes in Haifa, Israel
TOP:  Herbert Schein with Tuviah Friedman at the Institute for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes in Haifa, Israel.
BOTTOM:  Tuviah Friedman alias during WWII.

Herbert Schein with Tuviah Friedman at the Institute for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes in Haifa, Israel
Higher-resolution image of Herbert Schein with Tuviah Friedman at the Institute for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes in Haifa, Israel.

Tuviah Friedman National Federation of Israeli Journalists press card. Herbert Schein with Tuviah Friedman in Friedman's office in Haifa, Israel.
TOP:  Tuviah Friedman National Federation of Israeli Journalists press card.
BOTTOM:  Herbert Schein with Tuviah Friedman in Friedman's office in Haifa, Israel.

Who was Kurt Waldheim?

Kurt Waldheim as secretary general of the United Nations
Kurt Waldheim as secretary general of the United Nations

Former U.N. Chief Waldheim Dies at 88

By John M. Goshko
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, June 14, 2007; 12:20 PM


Kurt Waldheim, 88, a seemingly colorless diplomat who became secretary general of the United Nations and president of his native Austria only to be barred from the United States for suspected involvement in Nazi war crimes, died today at a Vienna hospital.  He had been treated for an infection since last month.

When Waldheim was put on the Justice Department's "watch list" of prohibited persons in 1987, it was the first time in U.S. history that the head of a friendly country had been branded an undesirable alien suspected of war crimes with the German army in World War II.

He would remain on the "watch list" for the rest of his life — which made him an international pariah despite his denials of Nazi sympathies and the high positions he had held in Austria and at the United Nations.  For most of his six years in the largely ceremonial Austrian presidency, Waldheim was a virtual prisoner within his country, shunned by all but a handful of other countries.

The facts about what Waldheim did during the war years were never clearly established, and there was no clear-cut proof that he participated personally in murder or other war crimes.  But there was strong evidence that he had concealed his role as a lieutenant between 1942 and 1945 with Nazi Army units involved in atrocities against Yugoslav partisans and had lied about his whereabouts during that period.

Although he was never tried, public disclosures in the mid-1980s included a secret 1948 finding by the U.N. War Crimes Commission that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute Waldheim for "murder" and "putting hostages to death."

In a corollary development, whose validity was never established, a former Yugoslav intelligence officer charged that the Soviet Union may have used the information to enlist Waldheim as a Soviet agent after the war when he was serving in Austria's diplomatic service.  There also was speculation that Waldheim had forged postwar ties with the Central Intelligence Agency and had worked secretly for the United States in exchange for the CIA concealing his background.

[...]

The Washington Post   www.washingtonpost.com~


Kurt Waldheim, Former U.N. Chief, Is Dead at 88

By JONATHAN KANDELL
Published: June 15, 2007


Kurt Waldheim, the former United Nations secretary general and president of Austria whose hidden ties to Nazi organizations and war crimes were exposed late in his career, died yesterday at his home in Vienna.  He was 88.

Lt. Kurt Waldheim in Yugoslavia on May 22, 1943  
MAY 1943  Lt. Kurt Waldheim, second from left, stands at a meeting on May 22, 1943, at an airstrip in former Yugoslavia.

His death was announced by his wife, Elisabeth, and the office of the Austrian president, Heinz Fischer.  The cause was heart failure, the state broadcaster ORF reported.

It was never proved that Mr. Waldheim himself committed atrocities during World War II.  But he was a lieutenant in army intelligence attached to German military units that executed thousands of Yugoslav partisans and civilians and deported thousands of Greek Jews to death camps between 1942 and 1944.

Mr. Waldheim concealed his wartime service in the Balkans, saying his military career ended in 1942, after he was wounded on the Russian front.

But more than four decades later, his assertions were contradicted by witnesses, photographs, medals and commendations given to Mr. Waldheim, and by his own signature on documents linked to massacres and deportations.

[...]

New York Times   www.nytimes.com~


Tuviah Friedman was friends with Kurt Waldheim

Photographic support for the impression given in the Friedman-to-Waldheim letter that the two were well acquainted.

Tuviah Friedman with President and Mrs Kurt Waldheim
Tuviah Friedman with President and Mrs Kurt Waldheim.

Who was Eliahu/Eliyahu/Elijahu Rosenberg?

Eliahu Rosenberg (b. 10 May 1921) is the only one of the four Eichmann-trial Treblinka witnesses to also testify against John Demjanjuk in Jerusalem.  John Demjanjuk persecutors could not allow Tuviah Friedman to discredit Rosenberg not only because Rosenberg was the Demjanjuk prosecution's star witness, but also because such discredit would reflect back on Rosenberg's Eichmann testimony.

Eliahu Rosenberg being sworn in at the Eichmann trial in 1961

Eliahu Rosenberg being sworn in at the Jerusalem trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961.  Rosenberg claimed during his Eichmann testimony to have been transported from Warsaw to Treblinka 11 Jul 1942, and in other sources claimed also to have escaped from Treblinka during a revolt on 02 Aug 1943.

  Eliahu Rosenberg testifying against John Demjanjuk in Jerusalem in 1987

Eliahu Rosenberg testifying against John Demjanjuk in Jerusalem in 1987.

Eliahu Rosenberg emoting against John Demjanjuk in Jerusalem in 1987

Eliahu Rosenberg overpowered by emotion.

The significance of Friedman's letter to Waldheim about Rosenberg

The Friedman-to-Waldheim letter below serves to reveal a heretofore-undiscovered instance of evidence tampering by the prosecution in the show trial of John Demjanjuk in Israel, yet another instance of evidence tampering which can now be appended to the long list of instances already known — namely, the suppression of Tuviah Friedman testimony concerning the mendacity of prosecution eyewitness Eliahu Rosenberg.

In a nutshell, in 1947 Tuviah Friedman had taken a deposition from putative Treblinka survivor Eliahu Rosenberg in which Rosenberg stated that during the 02 Aug 1943 Treblinka uprising, he had either killed, or seen killed, a Ukrainian guard Ivan — not Ivan the Terrible, as that expression was invented only in the 1970s in order to justify hanging John Demjanjuk, but just plain Ivan.  And yet, as the defense pointed out, here was Rosenberg in 1986 testifying that the very same Ivan had appeared alive in the Jerusalem courtroom in the person of John Demjanjuk.

In attempting to extricate himself from this self-contradiction, Rosenberg first proposed that Friedman had misheard him in 1947: where Rosenberg had said "beaten" (geschlagen), Friedman had misheard "killed" (erschlagen).  Ivan had only been beaten during that uprising, and that is why he was still alive today, sitting right there among them.  According to Rosenberg, then, the mixup was not his fault at all, it was entirely the fault of Friedman.  Tuviah Friedman, of course, was eager to give his side of the story, which was that he had made no mistake.  One can imagine the prosecution fearing that if Friedman were allowed to testify, he would elaborate by saying that his taking of depositions had always been attentive and meticulous, that he had read the entire deposition back to Rosenberg, that he had handed it over to Rosenberg for his own inspection, and that he had had Rosenberg sign not only the bottom of the deposition, but the bottom of every page in the deposition.  And of course Friedman would be sure to remind the court of what he points out in his letter to Waldheim — that during the four decades following his 1947 deposition, Rosenberg had seen no need to revise or correct it, even though he was reminded of its contents every time it was adduced in evidence in other proceedings, as for example in the 1963 trial of eight Germans for crimes committed at Treblinka.

But in his eagerness to clear his name, Friedman had unknowingly ventured into dangerous waters.  Eliahu Rosenberg was not just one of several eyewitnesses in the Demjanjuk show trial, he was the star eyewitness.  No one could emote while delivering his testimony the way Rosenberg could, no one could despair with the same pathos, no one could rage with the same fury.  His recoiling in horror when Demjanjuk reached his hand out to him, his shrieking epithets at Demjanjuk — that was the work of a master performer.  To demonstrate that Eliahu Rosenberg was lying would have been to discredit the most vivid and the most memorable and the most broadcastable eyewitness in the case — which demonstration the prosecution was not going to allow, and which the court was not going to allow, and which the government of Israel was not going to allow.

What the prosecution did next was to have Rosenberg stand up in front of the press and in front of television cameras to accuse Friedman of having doctored the 1947 deposition by substituting "killed" for "beaten", and then having sold that doctored deposition to Demjanjuk's lawyer, O'Connor.  In other words, Tuviah Friedman, who had dedicated the last 42 years of his life to hunting Nazis, suddenly found himself being accused on national television of having gone over to the Nazis for filthy lucre.  When Friedman saw this accusation being broadcast into his own living room, he was understandably both devastated and outraged.  He asked the court to be allowed to defend himself, to explain the truth, and was pleased to hear that indeed he would be given that opportunity, but was frustrated to hear also that unfortunately the court schedule being so very tight, it might not be for six more weeks.  Six weeks!  That would be six weeks of the world believing that he had sold out to the Nazis!  But six weeks was the best that the court could manage.  And Friedman was further informed that during his painful wait he is forbidden to address the issue in public, whose import was that whereas Rosenberg had been permitted to tell the public lies, Friedman was being prohibited from telling the public the truth.

Tuviah Friedman thought he understood — that justice would be done, but at its own pace.  He just had to wait.  But he was not happy waiting.  He likened his emotion to spitting blood with his mouth shut.  And from every direction he was being assailed with accusations of disloyalty to the Jewish people and betrayal of their cause, as if the Jewish cause could properly include the hanging of an innocent man, or as if the Jewish cause could properly exclude the pursuit of truth.

But at the time that Tuviah Friedman was writing his letter to Waldheim, his understanding was imperfect, he was still laboring under the illusion that although justice might be slow, it would eventually arrive, in other words that he could look forward to his day in court and to clearing his name and to discrediting the mendacious and treacherous Eliahu Rosenberg.  It was only some time after writing to Waldheim that the full horror of his situation dawned on him — that he never was going to be allowed to take the witness stand.  He was, instead, going to be taught the painful lesson that if he continued to entertain hopes of discrediting prize witness Eliahu Rosenberg, then his career would be ruined, and he would become a pariah throughout Israel, and indeed throughout the Jewish world.  He was going to be taught that unless he gave up his opposition to Rosenberg, vile lies would continue to be broadcast about him, and the lies would stick because he would be given no opportunity to reply.

Tuviah Friedman had seriously underestimated the lawlessness and the ruthlessness of the John Demjanjuk persecution.  Former Israeli judge Dov Eitan who joined the defense team to argue John Demjanjuk's appeal had not yet been thrown to his death out of a fifteen-story window — that did not take place until 29 Nov 1988, and so was unavailable as a lesson of what can happen to a Jew who ventures to the assistance of John Demjanjuk.  And defense attorney Yoram Sheftel had not yet had acid thrown into his face — that did not take place until 01 Dec 1988, and so also was unavailable as a lesson of what can happen to a Jew who gets in the way of an Israeli leadership that is counting on the successful persecution of John Demjanjuk to gain political advantages and concessions.  And so Tuviah Friedman, having appeared on the scene before such examples were at hand to deter him, himself became such an example, perhaps serving to deter others.

That star prosecution witness Eliahu Rosenberg had not merely dropped a lie or two, but was rather an inveterate liar, is a conclusion which is based on more than just his discrepant accounts of what happened to Ivan during the Treblinka uprising.  It is a conclusion more importantly based on Rosenberg testifying with absolute certainty that he recognized John Demjanjuk as Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, when everyone today agrees that John Demjanjuk had never set foot in Treblinka, and when it is evident today, and always has been evident, that there never had existed any Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, as can be read in brief in the Lubomyr Prytulak Email Correspondence With Allan Ryan, and as can be read in greater detail in Blurb Biograph Of John Demjanjuk, So Far.



Tuviah Friedman's letter to Kurt Waldheim

Tuviah Friedman to Kurt Waldheim letter, p. 1 Tuviah Friedman to Kurt Waldheim letter, p. 2

English Translation

The German-to-English translation proved difficult because of occasional illegibility, and because Tuviah Friedman employs Austrian colloquialisms, and occasionally even relapses into Yiddish.  He recites two jokes, putatively to clarify some point that he is making, but the Ticket-to-Vienna joke, rendered in a Yiddish accent, could not be deciphered, and is thought to be making some dark allusion to transportation to a death camp, and the Rabbi-and-the-Shiksa joke seems to be included more for its humor than its relevance.

Institute of Documentation of the Holocaust Era, Inc.
15 East 26th Street, Room 1303  •  New York, N.Y. 10010  •  (212) 213-8750

Dr. Kurt Waldheim,
President of Austria
A-1014 Vienna, P.O. Box 10
Vienna, Austria


Honorable President, Dr. Waldheim,

Thank you for your kind letter of Feb. 9, 1987, which I received in Israel.  As you, perhaps, may know, the Treblinka trial began in Jerusalem in February and is directed primarily against the Ukrainian guard "Ivan Grozny", known today as Demjanjuk.  In 1947, I took a deposition at the Documentation [Institute of the Holocaust Era] from a Jewish witness by the name of Rosenberg, who had survived the Treblinka death camp.

The witness R. testified at that time that on August 2, 1943 an uprising took place in Treblinka during which several SS men had been killed and several Ukrainian guards had been battered to death with shovels by participants of the uprising.  To help you understand the difference between "battered to death" (erschlagen) and "beaten" (geschlagen), I would like to tell you a Jewish joke which also happens to be true:  A Polish Jew wanted to buy a ticket from a train conductor: "Sell me a ticket no Vienna"  "There is no 'no Vienna'!" answered the conductor.  "But I want a ticket no Vienna, not to Vienna."  "Either to Vienna" answered the ticket master "or no ticket at all".  "Fine" said the Polish Jew, "let it be to Vienna, and then I will walk back the short distance."

Rosenberg’s testimony remained uncontested for almost 40 years.  He appeared as a witness at the Treblinka trial in Duesseldorf and the testimony he had given in 1947 was found to be faultless.  [However,] when Demjanjuk was announced as Ivan in Cleveland, it was Rosenberg who, apparently, stepped forward and identified him.  Demjanjuk’s lawyer O’Connor knew of the 1947 testimony of Rosenberg, in which he had stated that Ivan had been battered to death.  Rosenberg appeared as witness at the trial in Jerusalem at the end of February, 1987 and stated to the press and television that I had misunderstood him; I had supposedly falsified his testimony and then sold it to O’Connor.  I had to watch this on the 9 o'clock news, but was not allowed myself to speak out until after I had testified in court.  Upon inquiring when that would be, I was told maybe in six weeks.  In the meantime, I could spit blood and hold my mouth shut.  Because of one word "beaten" or "killed" ["geschlagen" or "erschlagen"], I became a victim going through hell because my fellow Jews attack me.  "How can you do this?  How can you defend a mass murderer and take his side?" they asked.  People believe the primitive witness more than they believe me, though, since 1945, I have dedicated 42 years of my life to searching for Nazi criminals.

After this incident in Israel, all hell broke loose and people started attacking me; my Jewish friends in the US have been doing the same thing ever since I arrived here 10 days ago and I can now better understand "the wrath of the masses" who have attacked you and refuse to listen or accept the fact that you have not committed any crime against the Jewish people.

Before planning to visit you, I consulted in writing with the President of Israel and also the Foreign Affairs Minister concerning this matter.  The Secretary of the President, after much thought, answered me, as did the Secretary of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peres.  They said they had nothing against it, but that I should make my own decision.  I understood this to mean that they didn’t have the courage to say "yes", because, sooner or later, an official or unofficial guest will come to visit you [that is, visit Dr. Waldheim].

I want to tell you yet another joke so that you might understand the situation.  A Rabbi’s servant was mad at his Rabbi and thought of how he might hurt him.  The Shammes-hireling told the Rabbi that there was a rumor going around in town that last week the Rabbi slept with a Shicksa (a Christian girl).  The Rabbi became very upset and shouted: "How can they say something like that about me?  It is not true!"  To which the Shammes-servant replied: "You want it to be also true?  Is'nt it enough that they are talking about you doing it?"

Now the journalists in Israel are recalling that I took your side and stated that what they were saying about you, Dr. Waldheim, cannot be true.  What has happened to Tuviah?  First he defends Waldheim and we let him get away with it, though we don’t forget it, and then he wants to testify in favor of Ivan?

Imagine what will happen when I come to Vienna in March or April and the President of Austria receives me, all hell will break loose and they will brand me as spineless, or as a lunatic.  It will not help you this time — on the contrary, it might even hurt you and the people will again start saying that I received bribes to explain my point of view.  You will certainly agree with me on this point and you yourself, Dr. Waldheim, will want to forgo meeting me at that time.

If I am given a chance to speak in court, and if my name and testimony is more respected than the testimony of witness Rosenberg, then we will be able to reevaluate the possibility of a meeting or a reception.  At any rate, I will come to Vienna to get a few things done, but I think that can only be after my appearance at the trial in Jerusalem.

In any case, beware of "your good friend", because you already know how to protect yourself against your enemies.  Don't forget my two jokes.  Please don't lose your Viennese humor.


Best regards,

Yours, Tuviah Friedman



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