On the 72nd anniversary of Kristallnacht, Glenn Beck debuted the first of a multi-episode attack on Jewish philanthropist George Soros by falsely suggesting that he was a Holocaust collaborator, and that he felt no guilt about it.
Beck claimed that when Soros was 14, after the Nazis invaded his native Hungary, "he had to help the government confiscate the lands of his fellow Jewish friends and neighbors." Beck commented:
But when he had to go over and take the lands from the people, his Jewish friends and neighbors who were being sent to the gas chambers, I can't imagine what that would do to a teenager, or anybody, an adult. Well, what did it do to George Soros? In an interview with Steve Kroft, Soros was asked if he felt guilt at all about taking the property from the Jews as a teenager. He responded, no.
In fact, in his interview with Kroft, aired on the December 20, 1998 edition of 60 Minutes, Soros explained that he felt no guilt because he "had no role in taking away that property" (from Nexis):
KROFT: My understanding is that you went out with this protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson.
Mr. SOROS: Yes. Yes.
KROFT: Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews.
Mr. SOROS: Yes. That's right. Yes.
KROFT: I mean, that's--that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?
Mr. SOROS: Not--not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don't--you don't see the connection. But it was--it created no--no problem at all.
KROFT: No feeling of guilt?
Mr. SOROS: No.
KROFT: For example that, 'I'm Jewish and here I am, watching these people go. I could just as easily be there. I should be there.' None of that?
Mr. SOROS: Well, of course I c--I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn't be there, because that was--well, actually, in a funny way, it's just like in markets--that if I weren't there--of course, I wasn't doing it, but somebody else would--would--would be taking it away anyhow. And it was the--whether I was there or not, I was only a spectator, the property was being taken away. So the--I had no role in taking away that property. So I had no sense of guilt.
In Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire - a book cited by Beck during today's program -- Michael T. Kaufman detailed Soros's reaction during the interview, as well as Soros' actions in Nazi-occupied Hungary:
While he was living with Baumbach as Sandor Kiss, an event occurred that more than a half a century later would become the basis of charges that George Soros, the international financier and billionaire, had somehow collaborated with the Nazi occupiers of his homeland and had exploited his fellow Jews. The issue was raised in a bizarre television profile and interview of Soros aired on the CBS television program 60 Minutes in December of 1998. In the segment, Steve Kroft, the interviewer, noted with prosecutorial gusto that George's father had "bribed a government official to swear that you were his godson," and added that this survival strategy "carried a heavy price tag." For, he continued, "as hundreds of thousands of Jews were being shipped off to the Nazi death camps, a thirteen-year-old George Soros accompanied his phony godfather on his rounds, confiscating property from the Jews." Visibly dumbfounded by the line of questioning, Soros could only manage to say that he had no role in the seizure of property and was merely a spectator. To underscore Kroft's point, film footage showed masses of Hungarian Jews being led away at gunpoint.
This is what actually happened. Shortly after George went to live with Baumbach, the man was assigned to take inventory on the vast estate of Mor Kornfeld, an extremely wealthy aristocrat of Jewish origin. The Kornfeld family had the wealth, wisdom, and connections to be able to leave some of its belongings behind in exchange for permission to make their way to Lisbon. Baumbach was ordered to go to the Kornfeld estate and inventory the artworks, furnishings, and other property. Rather than leave his "godson" behind in Budapest for three days, he took the boy with him. As Baumbach itemized the material, George walked around the grounds and spent time with Kornfeld's staff. It was his first visit to such a mansion, and the first time he rode a horse. He collaborated with no one and he paid attention to what he understood to be his primary responsibility: making sure that no one doubted that he was Sandor Kiss. Among his practical concerns was to make sure that no one saw him pee. [Page 37]
Beck then announced that he is not an anti-Semite for reporting this, and in fact is "probably more supportive of Israel and the Jews than George Soros is."
After explaining how he's not at all anti-Semitic, Beck segued directly into common anti-Semitic stereotypes about Soros being at the center of a vast web that is "collapsing our economy" and remaking our government. Elsewhere in the show, he detailed Soros' efforts to create a "media empire" and control the U.S. government. And of course, Beck's central frame for the entire program is that Soros is the "puppet master," devilishly manipulating all other players to his own ends:
But Beck's definitely not anti-Semitic.