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Nobel Peace laureate and Holocaust scholar Elie Wiesel was dragged from an elevator and roughed up, possibly by a Holocaust denier, during a peace conference at a San Francisco hotel last week, police said Friday.
According to San Francisco Police Sgt. Neville Gittens, a man approached Wiesel, the author of Night, a memoir chronicling his time in a concentration camp, in an elevator and requested an interview with the author on the evening of February 1 at the Argent Hotel.
When Wiesel consented to talk in the hotel's lobby, the man insisted it be done in a hotel room and dragged the 78-year-old off the elevator on the sixth floor, Gittens said. The assailant fled after Wiesel began to scream, and Wiesel went to the lobby and called police.
Gittens said police are investigating the incident as a crime. Wiesel could not be immediately reached for comment at Boston University, where he teaches, or through his institute in New York.
A posting on a virulent anti-Semitic Web site Tuesday by a person identifying himself as Eric Hunt claimed responsibility.
"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.
The poster also said "I had been trailing Wiesel for weeks" and had hoped to get "Wiesel into my custody, with a cornered Wiesel finally forced to state the truth on videotape."
Gittens said investigators were aware of the posting and declined to comment further on the investigation.
The anti-Semitic Web site was disabled late Friday. It is registered to Andrew Winkler in North Sydney, Australia.