I’ve recently read your interesting thesis Red Nations: The transatlantic relations of the American Indian radical sovereignty movement in the late Cold War, published December 2012.
About “Gerhardt” you write that “Gerhardt was giving himself too much credit.” More than you can imagine…
But first a few minor – and not so minor – points:
On page 157 you write about the Danish author Jacob Holdt that the authorities “stripped him of his press credentials”. Your source to this piece of information is Wounded Knee Seed. The said document was a special supplement to the local newspaper Shannon County News. A careful reading tells us that it was Holdt’s “souvenir Republican Convention Press Pass” (my emphasis) that got manhandled by local members of the Indian police.
On page 165 in your thesis you claim that “It has been not proven who shot Aquash”. This is hardly the facts. Two low ranking AIM-members were convicted of the kidnapping, rape and murder of AIM-member Anne Mae Aquash. Fritz Arlo Looking Glass was convicted in 2004 and John “Johnny Boy” Graham in 2010. Russell Means has claimed that the order was given by the Bellecourt brothers. Others point to Dennis Banks.
One of your key source documents is a mysterious text in German – Nierderlage in Wounded Knee? – translated into English by you. Based on expert opinion you assume confidently that the unknown author is a native German, whom you for practical reasons name “Gerhardt”. Your guess is that the article is from a magazine or an anthology.
You compare “Gerhardt’s” experience with that of the German left wing journalist Claus Biegert’s and write:
“While Gerhardt’s embodied immersion in Wounded Knee led to burnout and disillusionment with sovereignty as a revolutionary project, Biegert’s inability to visit the actual site served as a pledge to the transatlantic alliance.”
Well, “Gerhardt” never made it to Wounded Knee either.
“Gerhardt” is identical with the very same Danish author Jacob Holdt that we’ve already mentioned. And Nierderlage in Wounded Knee? is a German translation from Danish of the chapter Nederlag i Wounded Knee? in Holdt’s book Amerikanske Billeder.
The book was published in 1977 and became a huge success in Denmark. That very same year Jacob Holdt secretly began as a paid agent of influence for the Soviet secret police KGB.
The book also sold well in Germany. Jacob Holdt’s translator was his personal friend Jörg Meyer. Indeed a native German, living in Copenhagen. And a spy for the East German secret police STASI.
In the early nineteen eighties Amerikanske Billeder was translated into English and Jacob Holdt tried to self-publish the book in America. It failed to earn him any real money and since around 1996 a free copy has been available on his website. You’ll find the chapter Defeat at Wounded Knee? here.
In 1992 Jacob Holdt was exposed as a paid KGB-collaborator during the Cold War. He has just recently been exposed again. This time as a fraud.
I discovered that Jacob Holdt never was inside Wounded Knee, did not smuggle guns, did not see combat and was not shot at. He arrived as late as April 28 and stayed primarily on Rosebud. He tried on a few occasions to enter Pine Ridge and was twice arrested. He was at Frank Clearwater’s funeral, taking pictures. Maybe also in Porcupine the day Buddy Lamont was buried in Wounded Knee. That’s it.
Last Friday the Danish press confronted Jacob Holdt with my findings. He first admitted to his lies, but has since tried (not very successfully) to retract. Among other things he now claims that his book has been analyzed by prominent universities like Yale and Harvard and that they have found no fault in it.
I don’t think Holdt’s latest claim is true. Your thesis, Dr. Tóth, is actually the very first scholarly reading of Holdt’s story I’ve ever seen. And you clearly have your reservations about the truthfulness of “Gerhardt”.