Pennsylvania Jew, who claimed for years to have escaped from Auschwitz, confessed on Friday that he had fabricated the entire story.
“I am writing today to apologise publicly for harm caused to anyone because of my inserting myself into the descriptions of life in Auschwitz,” Joseph Hirt, 91, wrote in a letter sent to his local paper, LNP, this week.
“I was not a prisoner there… I was wrong. I ask forgiveness,” he added.
His confession came after his story was questioned by a New York history teacher, Andrew Reid, who attended an April presentation by him with his students and realised his claims did not match Auschwitz incidents given in history books.
For years, Hirt gave public speeches about his claimed experiences in the second world war, including his Jewish family’s flight from Poland to Belgrade.
He claimed he was arrested by the Nazis, sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz, and met Mengele, the SS physician who tortured prisoners of the concentration camp. Hirt claimed to have escaped under an electric fence at the camp.