Donald J. Watt

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Donald Joseph Watt (born 1918) is an Australian ex-serviceman (Army) and the author of a literary hoax, a fictitious Holocaust memoir entitled Stoker : the story of an Australian soldier who survived Auschwitz-Birkenau published in 1995 by Simon & Schuster. Only the disclosure of Watt's fabrications altered the status of the book which was initially praised by various Jewish organizations as the most important work written in Australia.[1][2]

In the book, Watt described being sent to Auschwitz concentration camp by the Nazis soon after he was recaptured trying to escape from a German POW camp. He claimed to have been forced to work as Sonderkommando in the crematorium attached to the gas chambers. Reportedly, the fraud enabled Watt to receive monetary compensation from the Australian government as a Holocaust victim.[1] A number of institutions unknowingly associated themselves with the forgery partly because it was published with the financial help from the popular Jewish-Australian benefactor John Saunders. The memoir was discredited by historical experts from Yad Vashem, the Auschwitz Museum, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and, most importantly, by Professor Konrad Kwiet, historian at the Sydney Jewish Museum and the former chief historian of the Australian War Crimes Commission.[2][3]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Donald Watt, Stoker : the story of an Australian soldier who survived Auschwitz-Birkenau, 1995, English, Illustrated edition. Other Authors: Mazal Holocaust Collection. Published: East Roseville, N.S.W. : Simon & Schuster.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Simon Caterson, The Age (4 January 2009). "Lies between lines when write stuff is wrong". Book reviews. The Age.com.au. pp. 2 of 2. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b Guy Walters (17 November 2011). "The curious case of the "break into Auschwitz"". Culture : Books. The New Statesman magazine. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  3. ^ Anthony Daniels (1999). "Literary victimhood". Book reviews. Farlex Free Library.com. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  4. ^ Editions (2015). "Stoker : the story of an Australian soldier who survived Auschwitz-Birkenau / Donald Watt - Version details". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 24 June 2015.