On August 31, convicted felon and right-wing provocateur Dinesh D’Souza tweeted that he thought it would be “interesting to see” the liberal financier and philanthropist George Soros “extradited to Israel & tried for his complicity in Nazi atrocities against Jews.”
As he hawks his most recent book, The Big Lie—ironically, a near-perfect description of its contents, which claim to reveal the Nazi roots of the American left—D’Souza has tweeted countless versions of this particular big lie. With childish faux cleverness, he refers to Soros as “Hitler’s collection boy” and claims that Soros “literally worked for Hitler.” Right-wing talk-radio shows, websites, and even a Republican gubernatorial candidate from Pennsylvania have parroted lines from his anti-Soros campaign.
D’Souza told a right-wing talk-show host that he was “delighted to uncover” Soros’s history. But, as with almost every alleged discovery made by pro-Trump partisans, it is not only factually false and morally reprehensible; it is also old news. The charge has already been made by such far-right luminaries as Glenn Beck, David Horowitz, Ann Coulter, Alex Jones, and Tony Blankley (who retracted it after I asked him to back it up). Perhaps most shamefully of all, former New Republic owner and editor Marty Peretz smeared Soros, calling him “a young cog in the Hitlerite wheel.”
The microscopic kernel of truth in the accusation lies in the fact that Soros survived the Holocaust as a 14-year-old child in Budapest because he was hidden by a Ministry of Agriculture official who had a Jewish wife. Soros’s father, Tivadar Soros, helped protect her, and in return the official agreed to let George pretend to be his Christian godson. On one occasion, rather than be left alone in Budapest for three days, the young teen accompanied the official, who was sent to inventory the estate of a Jewish family that had fled the country. That’s it. The details of this episode are readily available and were covered in Michael Kaufman’s 2002 book Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire. (I have also written about it in the past.)