February 09, 2007

Elie Wiesel attacked in S.F. hotel

Via Examiner:

In a bizarre attack, Elie Wiesel - Holocaust scholar and author - was dragged out of a San Francisco hotel elevator by an apparent Holocaust denier who reportedly had been trailing him for weeks.

Police escorted Elie Wiesel to San Francisco International Airport on Feb. 1 after a man accosted Wiesel in the elevator at the Argent Hotel, at 50 Third St., after Wiesel participated in a panel discussion at a peace conference and before Wiesel was scheduled to catch a flight back to New York.

Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and author of more than 40 books, including the memoir “Night,” about his experiences at Auschwitz, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. Last fall, the Boston University professor was suggested as a possible replacement for Israeli President Moshe Katsav, who faces sexual assault charges.

Police confirmed this week that the attack took place and that officers escorted Wiesel to the airport following the attack. According to police, the suspect accosted Wiesel in the hotel elevator at around 6:30 p.m., saying he wanted to interview him. Wiesel said he would do the interview in the lobby. That’s when the attacker pulled him out of the elevator, police reported.

In a posting Tuesday on the anti-Zionist Web site ZioPedia, a writer using the name Eric Hunt takes credit for the attack: “After ensuring no women would be traumatized by what I had to do (I had been trailing Wiesel for weeks), I stopped the elevator at the sixth floor. I pulled Wiesel out of the elevator. I said I wanted to interview him.”

Wiesel grabbed at his chest and yelled for help, according to the posting. “I told him, ‘Why don’t you want people to know the truth?’ His expression changed, and he began screaming again. …” the posting reads. Police reported that the suspect tried to force Wiesel into one of the rooms, but ran away when Wiesel started yelling.

The online posting states that the writer intended to “bring Wiesel to my hotel room where he would truthfully answer my questions regarding the fact that his non-fiction Holocaust memoir, Night, is almost entirely fictitious.” Later in the posting, the Holocaust is portrayed as a “myth.”

Police haven’t officially idenitifed a suspect, but a source close to the investigation said Eric Hunt is the focus of their probe.