Thursday June 22, 2000
Holocaust Survivor Doubted
BALTIMORE (AP) - A Jewish group
has removed a popular Holocaust survivor from its
list of recommended speakers after experts said
they found inaccuracies in her wartime
"This is an attempt at getting to the truth, at
making sure we give no ammunition to the deniers of
the Holocaust, and making sure that children are
given the historical truth," said Arthur
Abramson, executive director of the Baltimore
Jewish Council, the community relations and
political arm of The Associated: Jewish Community
Federation of Baltimore.
An expert review cast doubt on the harrowing
descriptions of concentration camp life by Deli
Strummer, 78, who has become known throughout
Maryland for her spellbinding tales.
Strummer acknowledged during an interview with
The (Baltimore) Sun that she made "innocent errors"
and getting dates wrong, but remained adamant about
the truthfulness of her accounts.
The experts who reviewed Strummer's story and
historical records say she
probably was a captive
of the Nazis. Strummer says her name was Adele
comment: aufrichtig is German for "upright,
honest, decent"] in the 1940s, and there
are records of a woman by that name born in 1922 in
to a Jewish father and Christian mother and
deported from Vienna in 1943.
Records are unclear on what happened to
Aufrichtig after that, but Lawrence L.
Langer, an expert in
Holocaust testimony, said, "My hunch is 95
percent that (Strummer) is Adele Aufrichtig."
But Strummer has said
she spent nine months in Auschwitz, while
records suggest that if she was there, it was
for no longer than eight days. Strummer has
since said she was probably in Auschwitz for
about three weeks.
Langer also said Strummer's claim that she saw
Nazi guards at Auschwitz line
up children and shoot them for target practice in
front of their mothers was "highly
Historian Raul Hilberg said Strummer's
claim of seeing bones in a
gas chamber is "invented," since research
shows it would have been impossible for her to see
bones in a shower or even a gas chamber.
Langer said Strummer's dramatic account of her
liberation from a gas
chamber at Mauthausen on May 5, 1945, also
is inaccurate. Records show that the last gassing
there took place April 28.
Strummer said she's "disgusted" at the scrutiny
she's fallen under.
"I didn't think about timing," she said. "All I
wanted was to tell the world, 'Please don't let
this happen again."'
For more than 12 years, the Baltimore Jewish
Council has supported Strummer's speaking
activities. She was featured in two documentaries
and on video presentations for two Holocaust
Related item on this website: The
Washington Post reports on the Deli Strummer