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Was George Soros, anathema to the political right, an SS officer? A photo of a young man in glasses and a uniform, eyes looking away from the camera, has been attributed to the businessman who invests in Democratic causes.
"This is George Soros," reads the text stamped above the photo in a post to Facebook on Oct. 18. "Remember this the next time the Soros-funded liberals call you a racist, fascist, or Nazi."
This story was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The photo isn’t a fake, but it’s not George Soros. It’s an old photo of Oskar Gröning, one of 300 Auschwitz staff members.
Gröning, who died in March, was a corporal in Hitler’s Waffen SS and he became known as the bookkeeper of Auschwitz, according to the New York Times’s obituary of one of the last Germans to face war-crime charges connected to the Holocaust. He was accused of being an accomplice in the murder of about 300,000 Hungarian Jews, and though he maintained that he only played an office role managing money confiscated from Jews at the death camp, he admitted to witnessing atrocities, including the gassing of Jews who had tried to escape. He was sentenced to four years in jail at age 94.
Soros, meanwhile, fled fascism. When the Nazis invaded Hungary, his father obtained false identities for Soros and his brother, according to a 2018 profile of the billionaire in the New York Times. He sent Soros to live with an agricultural official who passed him off as his Christian godson.
"The official’s job included taking inventory of a confiscated Jewish-owned property," according to the story. "He took George with him. These episodes have become the basis for the claim that George was a Nazi collaborator. In fact, though, there is no credible evidence that he collaborated with or was sympathetic to Nazis."
We rate this statement Pants on Fire!
Facebook post, Oct. 18, 2018
The Guardian, "How Nazi guard Oskar Gröning escaped justice in 1947 for crimes at Auschwitz," July 16, 2015
The New York Times, "Oskar Gröning, the ‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz,’ is dead at 96," March 12, 2018
The New York Times, "George Soros bet big on liberal democracy. Now he fears he is losing," July 17, 2018
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