To Dr. György Tóth concerning “Gerhardt”

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.

WKS

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.

OK.

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”.

***

Dette indlæg blev udgivet i Jacob Holdt. Bogmærk permalinket.

2 svar til To Dr. György Tóth concerning “Gerhardt”

  1. George T siger:

    Dear Mr. Kasler –

    Thank you for your critical reflection on my thesis. Your passion and insights show both the limits of my academic research and knowledge, and how we continue to live with the past, with burning questions for which we continue to seek answers which we can debate. It is obvious that my answers can only be completed by people like you, who passionately seek truth and justice.

    It is humbling to know that my thesis is a contribution to the larger discussion of our shared past – indeed, a past shared across the Atlantic between Europeans and American Indian sovereignty activists.

    Thank you and wishing you all the best,

    Gyorgy Toth

    • Martin Kasler siger:

      Thanks for your very kind comment, Dr. Tóth. Your thesis was a pleasure to read.

      To you who are not into reading academic texts, I may explain why György Tóth didn’t discovered that the German text was Holdt’s, since he actually mentions the now notorious fraud.

      First of all: How can Jacob Holdt – the famous cultural icon – be so completely unknown to Tóth? That’s very simple. Contrary to Holdt’s claim he is only world famous here in Denmark. Very few people know of him in the US and fewer have read his book.

      Tóth found a photocopy of the German translation of the WK-chapter in an American archive. Not knowing that the page from Shannon County News in the same archive also was from the book, he didn’t connect the two texts. How could he?

      I myself googled “Niederlage in Wounded Knee” and found absolutely nothing (except Tóth’s thesis where I got the title from.) To Tóth the text was a complete mystery and based on an expert’s opinion worked from the assumption the it had been written by a German.

      Tóth’s logic and psychological insights are spotless. But the two basic assumptions were wrong: That it was a German’s story and that the author in fact had been in Wounded Knee.

      Jacob Holdt’s devout fans refuse to see the seriousness of his lies. Dr. Tóth’s thesis shows the seriousness of the matter (a point made by a young academic I debated the thesis with on Facebook.)

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