June 18, 2020 / 3:41 PM / 20 days ago

Fact check: Photograph shows Nazi bookkeeper, not George Soros  

Social media users are sharing a photo of a young man wearing the Schutzstaffel (SS) official uniform and incorrectly claiming it is billionaire philanthropist George Soros. The post implies Soros was in the SS and in the Socialist German Workers (Nazi) party. This is false.  

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

An example of the claim can be seen  here  and here

A reverse search of this image reveals that this photograph is of Oskar Groening (see  here ), who worked as an accountant/bookkeeper at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp (see  here ). The photograph can be found in articles by the Washington Post  here  and the New York Times  here . Groening was born in 1921 and died in 2018. He volunteered for the Waffen SS and worked at Auschwitz from 1942. Germany surrendered in 1945.  

In 2015, Oskar Groening was found guilty of being an accessory to mass murder and sentenced to four years in prison, in what is likely to have been one of the last big Holocaust trials. His job was to collect the belongings of deportees after they arrived at the camp by train and had been put through a selection process that resulted in many being sent directly to the gas chambers. He inspected their luggage, removing and counting any bank notes that were inside, and sending them on to SS offices in Berlin, where they helped to fund the Nazi war effort. 

Groening said that he was an “enthusiastic Nazi” when he was sent to work at Auschwitz in 1942, at the age of 21 ( here ). 

George Soros was born in August 1930. Soros would have been 12 years old when the man in the photograph joined the SS and was nine when World War II broke out. Reuters was unable to confirm the date the photo was taken, but even if this was in the war’s final year, Soros would have been 14 or 15 years old. In 1943, the mandatory age for boys to serve in the military was 17 or older ( here ).  

Soros and his family were Hungarian Jews and they lived in Budapest throughout the war with false identity papers, hiding their background. In 1947 at age 17, Soros moved to London to attend university. (More  here )  

By the time Soros was 17, the fall of Nazi Germany had already happened. Therefore, Soros could not have been involved in the Nazi party, which was active between 1920-1945. He is also a Hungarian Jew, making this even more impossible.  

VERDICT 

False. This photograph shows Oskar Groening, not George Soros. 

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts  here  . 

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