Elie Wiesel Attacked
People are just fucking crazy.
San Francisco Chronicle
Nobel prizewinner, author attacked at S.F. hotel
Matthai Chakko Kuruvila, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, February 9, 2007
Elie Wiesel, the renowned Holocaust author and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was attacked and dragged out of a San Francisco hotel elevator last week, possibly by a Holocaust denier who claims to have stalked Wiesel for weeks, police said Friday.
Wiesel, 78, was at the Argent Hotel on Feb. 1 for an interfaith conference when he was confronted around 6:30 p.m. in an elevator by a man insisting that he wanted to interview the author, said police spokesman Sgt. Neville Gittens.
Wiesel said he would do the interview in the lobby of the Third Street hotel, but the man insisted on going to Wiesel's room. The man then stopped the elevator at the sixth floor, dragged Wiesel out and tried to force him into a room on that floor.
"That's when (Wiesel) started yelling," Gittens said. The man fled, and Wiesel went down to the lobby and called police.
Wiesel was not injured. He decided to leave the conference on "Facing Violence: Justice, Religion and Conflict Resolution," and police escorted him to the airport.
On Tuesday, a man identifying himself Eric Hunt and claiming to be the attacker posted an account of the incident on a virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Web site. The account matches the description of the attack that police later released.
"After ensuring no women would be traumatized by what I had to do (I had been trailing Wiesel for weeks), I stopped the elevator at the sixth floor," Hunt wrote. "I said I wanted to interview him. He protested, grabbed at his chest as if he was having a heart attack. He then screamed HELP! HELP! at the top of his lungs.
"I told him, 'Why, you don't want people to know the truth?' " Hunt wrote. "After pulling him about fifteen feet out of the elevator ... I decided that it was time for me to go."
Gittens said that police were aware of the Web site and that they had a suspect in mind, but would not confirm that they were looking for the person who posted the account online.
"We're not commenting on statements made on the Web site," Gittens said.
The site has articles on a number of topics, some of which repeat centuries-old slurs against Jews. It is registered to Andrew Winkler of Sydney, who also writes on the site. Phone calls and an e-mail to Winkler were not returned Friday.
Wiesel did not return calls made to his offices in New York and at Boston University, where he is a professor in the religion and philosophy departments.
Wiesel, a native of Romania, was sent by the Nazis in 1944 to Auschwitz, where his mother and three sisters were killed. His father died on a forced march to Buchenwald, another concentration camp, three months before the camp was liberated in 1945.
Wiesel has written more than 40 books based on his Holocaust experiences. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter named him to lead the effort to build the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. In 1986, Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Hunt said in his posting that he had intended to corner Wiesel and force him to admit that the Holocaust never happened.
"I had planned to bring Wiesel to my hotel room, where he would truthfully answer my questions regarding the fact that his non-fiction Holocaust memoir, 'Night,' is almost entirely fictitious," Hunt wrote on the site.
E-mail Matthai Chakko Kuruvila at firstname.lastname@example.org.