Why I Was Right to Report on Marie Sophie Hingst’s Lies
The death of historian Marie Sophie Hingst, who was found lifeless in her apartment in mid-July, bothers me by day along with keeps me awake at night. I find myself occupied by the same question in which others are also asking inside the wake of in which dramatic event: Was the idea right along with necessary to report about the young woman along with her lies?
My article, which was published on June 1 in DER NewsGerman, had a prehistory. Her lies were first noticed by a handful of researchers who came together by chance. A historian, a lawyer, an archivist along using a genealogist specializing in Jewish families all independently noticed inconsistencies inside the blog “Read On My Dear, Read On,” written by Hingst. The group corresponded via Facebook along with email, along with discovered the Jewish family biographies she had written about on her blog were false, along with in which she had falsely registered 22 alleged Holocaust victims at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial center in Israel, to support her claims.
When Hingst reacted aggressively along with angrily to numerous calls for her to stop spreading her stories along with for her to withdraw the Yad Vashem entries, two renowned German historians were asked to intervene, however they never did. I was ultimately informed because, together with Moritz Gerlach, I had brought a similar case to light the previous year: the story of Wolfgang Seibert, a con man who had added fictional Holocaust victims to his family history on his way to becoming chairman of the Jewish community in Pinneberg, a town near Hamburg.
After further research, I asked Hingst for a meeting in Dublin. The conversation, which took place in May, centered on her recently published book “Kunstgeschichte als Brotbelag,” a coffee-table book depicting replicas of well-known paintings inside the form of open-face sandwiches, along with on her supposed Jewish family history. Her responses to my criticisms of her biographical fabrications were both focused along with confident along with she was rhetorically skillful in her defense. At the end of the conversation, I gave her a detailed list of questions to give her the opportunity to take more time with her answers should she so desire. however she chose not to. If Hingst had offered a public correction of her false stories during or after our conversation, the article never would certainly have been published inside the form the idea was. Eight days separated our conversation on May 23 via the publication of the story along with they passed without any action taken on her part.
The Berlin correspondent of the Irish Times, Derek Scally, met with Marie Sophie Hingst about a week after the article’s publication along with he painted a very different picture of her. His profile portrayed her as a confused, helpless person desperately clinging to her Jewish family legend. He claims in which I failed to notice the catastrophic psychological state in which Hingst had been in. however when I met her, she did not seem in any way frustrated or depressed. Rather, she came across as confident, combative along with determined. He only encountered her after the collapse of her fictional identity. We may have met the same person, however in two completely different states.
Scally’s article triggered a powerful response across social media. Many of the comments viewed her claim quoted inside the Irish Times in which she had felt “skinned alive” by DER NewsGerman as proof of emotional cruelty. The fact in which Marie Sophie Hingst had systematically spread lies about relatives whom she claimed had died inside the Holocaust — not only on her well-liked along with award-winning blog, however also in public talks in front of large audiences — can be instead treated as a permissible sin, or isn’t even mentioned.
Hingst’s lies, however, should be seen by real Holocaust survivors along with their families as a mockery of the victims. Furthermore, these fabrications provide Holocaust deniers with ammunition. If — as inside the Hingst case — some victims were invented, then perhaps many more victims were invented as well. the idea bothers me in which in which point must still be made. along with the idea also bothers me in which some comments refer obliquely to the fact in which my grandmother Lilli was murdered in Auschwitz, the suggestion being in which I am a bit oversensitive on in which topic. Perhaps, though, the idea can be those Germans who didn’t lose any relatives inside the Holocaust who should be especially sensitive in cases like these.