A Pennsylvania man who for years traveled the country giving speeches and media interviews about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor acknowledged that he had been lying and apologized.
In a letter published Thursday on the LancasterOnline news site, Joseph Hirt, of Lancaster County said he lied not for personal gain but in hopes of raising awareness about the problems faced by Holocaust survivors.
Earlier this month, Andrew Reid, a history teacher in Turin, New York, publicly questioned Hirt’s claims about being a prisoner in Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in Poland, Pennlive.com reported. Reid, who is Christian, said he had become suspicious after hearing Hirt speak in Lowville, New York on April 15, three weeks before Yom Hashoah, Holocaust memorial day.
According to Pennlive.com, the Poland-born Hirt, who says he is 91, wrote Thursday that he apologizes “for harm caused to anyone because of my inserting myself into the descriptions of life in Auschwitz. I was not a prisoner there. I did not intend to lessen or overshadow the events which truly happened there by falsely claiming to have been personally involved.”