Lipstadt: Am I my brother’s keeper?

AN American, Professor Marc Kalmann, told the world’s media that he had been thrown out of a Bruges, Belgium, restaurant because he was a Jew wearing a yarmulke.

That was bad. The mayor has apologized already. The city council apologized already. The media pundits did not bother to check, but apologized already. The story echoed around the world. Now the sequel echoes too, but only around the Internet.

In the numerous press articles it is reported that Kalmann was born in Auschwitz in 1945, that he was sexually molested as an infant in an institution, that he was thrown out of the bar for being Jewish (in fact he had refused to pay for his high-priced coffee – on which we sympathise with him, but the news item leaves open the question whether he had drunk the costly beverage or not), that the police refused to write down his enquiry in English, that he is a professor, and much of the same.

Now comes the interesting bit. Kalmann is the brother of Atlanta Professor Deborah Lipstadt, anda she hasa gone straight into brother-denial. (Don’t ask us how they come to use different family names: I remember once interviewing Julius Streicher’s son, also a Streicher, for Hard Copy (US television), and him retorting, “We are not the sort of people who change our names.”)

Changing names is the kind of things that the Lipstadt’s of this world do more often than others.

Next interesting bit –- a comparison of Dichtung und Wahrheit, fiction and fact: Lipstadt frère was not born in Auschwitz but in Amsterdam; nor in wartime 1945 but in 1948 – tough, he misses out on the gravy train then; he was not sexually molested as a child; he was not thrown out of the bar; and as for the language, Flemish police are required to communicate in their own – in which Kalmann is anyway fluent –, not English, unless an interpreter is present; he is not a professor; and much of the same.

It now emerges that he had once or more acted similarly earlier in The Netherlands (for Americans: that’s the country next to Belgium), where he alleged that he had been “terrorized by antisemitic Moroccon immigrants.” Two months after that enquiry police officials outed him as a liar and hoaxer.

And now the same situation in Flanders, Belgium.

AGHAST, and fearing no doubt that this episode might come to my ears, Deborah Lipstadt has rushed to her damage-control panel, groped in the darkness of her own delirium for the button marked “DENIAL!” but pushed the one marked “PANIC” by mistake. The Internet is awash with fun at her expense.

We report faithfully the painful denial from Lipstadt’s blog:

“Let me quickly shed some light on Marc Kalmann, my brother. He was born in 1948 in Amsterdam and not in Auschwitz in 1945. He lives in the Netherlands and is fluent in Dutch. He lived in the USA for 22 years and was sometimes employed as a teacher of languages at community colleges. He liked the title professor and has used it since. He tends to believe his own fantasies. I love him but I am concerned that his fantasies take over his world. And through the magic of the Internet it is taking the world by storm. I wanted to set some part of the record straight. I have no knowledge of what did or did not happen at the restaurant in Bruges”.

My thanks to my many friends around the world who have sent me this item for our website. Please send more. (Does Professor Richard J “Skunky” Evans have embarrassing siblings, I wonder?)