BERLIN – A German poet and anti-Israel activist has acknowledged that she
fabricated her supposed service in the IDF during the First Lebanon
“I said I was in the IDF,” but “it was a lie,” Irena Wachendorff, 51, told
The Jerusalem Post, in a telephone interview on Friday.
She has termed
strong pro- Israel activists “the neo-Nazi troop among the Jews,” and expressed
support for Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
As an 18-year-old, she said, she
left Germany for Israel and wanted to serve in the army, adding that she was in
Israel when the IDF went into Lebanon to stop cross-border terrorist attacks, in
a preliminary to the First Lebanon War, and departed Israel after six weeks.
Asked why she lied, she said she was “ashamed” of her
Wachendorff further claims that her father is Jewish and fled to
England in 1936, and her mother survived Auschwitz.
The Post and Jennifer
Pyka, a dogged investigative journalist in Munich, obtained evidence that
contradicted Wachendorff’s alleged Jewish identity.
According to Pyka’s
investigative essay, Wachendorff’s father, Raymund, served in the German Army
during the Third Reich and her mother, Barbara, denies being incarcerated in
Wachendorff admitted to the Post on Friday that her father was
an officer in the Wehrmacht. She asserted on Facebook that her father served as
an “adviser to a rabbi and a tzadik.” She could offer no proof that the former
army officer performed advisory work for rabbis.
Wachendorff wrote on
Facebook that her mother was “four months in Auschwitz” and has a “tattooed
number on her arm.”
Wachendorff, however, told the Post that she could not
recall the name of the extermination camp where her mother was imprisoned and
that there is “something” on her mother’s arm, but she cannot identify whether
it is a number. After Friday’s Post interview, Wachendorff closed her Facebook
account on Saturday.
In a telephone interview on Saturday, Pyka told the
Post that she smelled a fraudulent history almost two years ago and unraveled a
string of deceptions and contradiction in Wachendorff’s Facebook assertions. In
a long essay that appeared late last month on the German website Die Achse des
Guten (The Axis of Good), Pyka uncovered a series of alleged half-truths and
lies. Spiegel Online and the cultural website Perlentaucher cited Pyka’s expose
as one of the top blog entries of the week.
Wachendorff repeatedly told
the Post, “I am Jewish. I am member of a liberal Jewish community and I am not
According to Pyka’s research, there is no documentation
supporting Wachendorff’s assertions that she is Jewish or a member of a German
Pyka sharply criticized Wachendorff for having traded
on the tragedy of the Holocaust for personal and commercial gain. It is
“perverse and brazen that Wachendorff presents herself as a Jew and the daughter
of Holocaust survivors and engages in educational work in schools about
anti-Semitism and Jewish life in the Third Reich,” she said.
dead Jews serve her own publicity and at the same time she undertakes a
perfidious victim-perpetrator inversion to damage Israel and all Jews,” the
Pyka summed up the growing scandal: “The entire thing is
a Grusical [comic horror musical] that is made in Germany and only those who are
themselves fake Jews or anti- Semites can stage and applaud the
Ruprecht Polenz, a senior deputy in the Bundestag, vehemently
defends the anti- Israel activist’s work.
Polenz, the head of the
Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee, welcomed a group of Iranian lawmakers to
Berlin last year. He has served as Wachendorff’s main advocate.
email to the Post, he declined to provide specific comments on the string of
alleged lies from Wachendorff.
In addition to being under fire for
defending Wachendorff, critics accuse the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)
deputy of allowing his Facebook site to be turned into a magnet for jihadists,
raging anti-Semites, haters of Israel and extremist leftists. In a number of
entries examined by the Post, which appeared on Polenz’s Facebook, writers
posted “that rich, industrial Jews planned the genocide on the Jewish people in
order to create Israel.”
In another entry, Darwisch Salman Khorassani
wrote that if “USREAL [Israel and the US] attack, I will register as a suicide
bomber. Not from Islamic motives but from pure humanistic motives.”
asked about hate and anti-Semitism on his Facebook page, Polenz wrote the Post,
“When in doubt, decide in favor of freedom of opinion – every person is
responsible for his opinion.”
In an email to the Post on Saturday from the
US, the German Jewish author and expert in modern anti-Semitism, Henryk M.
Broder, slammed Polenz for advancing Wachendorff’s stature in
“Irena Wachendorff is not the first lunatic to fantasize her
role as a Jew. This has occurred before. The scandal regarding this story is
that she was tolerated and sponsored for years by a politician from the CDU, who
used her for his goals and she used him for her racket. This is the
curtain-raiser to the climax of the German- Jewish symbiosis,” Broder wrote.