Sunday, 16 May 2010

WWII survivor event canceled amid fraud accusations

A public presentation in Wausau by a man who claimed to have survived Auschwitz has been canceled as family members have come forward disputing the veracity of his story.

Gunther Skaletz was scheduled to speak publicly Tuesday evening at Wausau East High School, hosted by a Wausau group A Walk in Their Shoes. In a statement Monday morning, the group said it could not verify or confirm allegations that Skaletz was lying, but that it was canceling the event due to a "cloud of controversy."

Skaletz, who lives in Manitowoc and is a frequent speaker for schools, churches and other Wisconsin organizations, claimed in his book that he was sent to and later released from the Nazi death camp Auschwitz, conscripted by the German army and forced to fight the Soviets on the Western Front, then captured and sent to a Russian work camp, from which he escaped.

In addition to the public event Tuesday, Skaletz was also scheduled to speak to classrooms today and tomorrow. Those events have also been canceled.

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