Kertész, Imre

Imre Kertesz
Imre Kertesz

Imre Kertész (9 Nov. 1929 – 31 March 2016) was a Hungarian Jew who, at the age of 14, was deported to Auschwitz in 1944. After the war, he wrote a novel – and he insisted that it is a novel, not an autobiography! – titled Fatelessness. It was first published in 1975 in Hungary, and is only very loosely based on basic data of his own life, such as his brief presence at Auschwitz – where he presumably stayed only four days before being transferred on to Buchenwald (rather than being gassed on arrival, as was the fate of all other kids his age, or so the orthodoxy claims). Kertész received the Nobel Prize in Literature for this book in 2002.

A detailed analysis of the book shows that Kertész plagiarized platitudes from other texts, such as Elie Wiesel’s mendacious book Night. Vice versa, a scene described in the fictitious novel Fragments by Binjamin Wilkomirski (aka Bruno Doesekker) about an SS man wielding a whip was probably inspired by a passage in Kertész’s novel. In Kertész’s novel, we read, among other things:

  • A “real firework of flames and sparks” escaped from the Auschwitz crematorium chimneys – although that was technically impossible.
  • The crematorium chimneys also spread an unpleasant smell – which is also impossible, unless they were operated at such low temperatures that the bodies were not cremated but merely fried.
  • Poison gas streamed out of showerheads onto the victim’s heads – the morgues of Crematoria II and III had real showers, and the gas was supposedly supplied by throwing in Zyklon-B pellets.
  • Soap was handed out to those going into the gas chamber – which most certainly would not have happened.

What is the Nobel Prize in Literature worth if it is awarded to purveyors of lies exactly because they wrote a cock-and-bull story? And what about a civilization that celebrates such a literary fraud? (For more, see Springer 2004.)

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