The Great Pretenders

In April 1998, the cover of The Jewish Journal featured the person who called himself Binjamin Wilkomirski. Naomi Pfefferman (“Memories of a Holocaust Childhood,” April 24, 1998) compared his writing — his one and only book, called “Fragments” — to that of Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel. During an emotionally filled performance at a Beverly Boulevard synagogue, Wilkomirski was accompanied by a lady who called herself Laura Grabowski. Both claimed to be soul mates who, at long last, were reunited survivors of Dr. Mengele’s experiments in Auschwitz.

Though a number of people — like historian Raul Hilberg — had already cast doubts about Wilkomirski’s veracity, several months after these two appeared in Los Angeles, a Jewish Swiss writer proved that Wilkomirski had invented his identity. It took a little longer to demonstrate that Grabowski had also invented hers. Neither Wilkomirski (Bruno Doesseker) nor Grabowski (Lauren Wilson) were Jewish. Both were born as illegitimate children in the early 1940’s, adopted and raised as Christians in upper middle-class surroundings; he in Switzerland and she in Washington State.

During the past year there have been several major in-depth publications and documentaries providing decisive proof that both Wilkomirski and Grabowski were fakes. With all the evidence at hand and the forthcoming publication of a book detailing the results of a comprehensive investigation, The Journal never saw fit to mention the uncovering of these shameless persons who used and abused the Holocaust as part of their prop to reinvent themselves for profit and fame.

The Journal has not printed a single word about this unraveling hoax. It is as if The Journal were afraid to admit having been duped.

Leon Stabinsky
President, California Association of Holocaust Child Survivors