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The author of the original Spiegel report has replied.

Why the Spiegel had to report on the Marie Sophie Hingst case - Martin Doerry

The death of the historian Marie Sophie Hingst moves me day and night ... Was it right and necessary to report on the young woman and her lies?

... A historian, a lawyer, an archivist and a genealogist had independently disovered discrepancies... After Ms Hingst had reacted to calls to remove those stories with indignation and aggressively, two notable historians were asked to intervene - without success. Eventually, I was informed because I had published a similar case, the story of the con man Wolfgang Seibert...

... She reacted to my criticisim confidently and in a focused way, and defended herself with skillful rhetoric. At the end I gave her a detailed catalogue of questions to give her a chance to comment in writing. Which she didnt use. If [she] had publicly corrected her lies the article would not have been published in that form.

... Derek Scally visited [her] a week after publication... He paints the portrait of a confused helpless person that clinged to her fake Jewish family history. He claims that I had overlooked her catastrophic psychological state. What he overlooks is that before the article, Ms Hingst was in no way desperate and despondent but confident, fierce, and determined. He only met her when her fictional identity had broken down. We met the same person but under two very different life circumstances.

... the quote that she felt as if she had been "skinned alive" by the Spiegel was seen as proof of mental cruelty. The fact that [she] had systematically spread lies about her ancestors having been murdered during the Holocaust ... was often seen as a slight sin or wasnt discussed at all.

But her made-up stories must have been regarded by the real Holocaust survivors and their families as a mockery of the victims. Also, these fictions give Holocaust deniers dangerous arguments. ... I am disturbed that I have to point this out repeatedly. And I'm also irritated by some comments that licentiously refer to my grandmother Lilli who was actually murdered in Auschwitz. The innuendo being: that man is a bit to sensitive when it comes to this topic. But perhaps especially those Germans who didn't lose family in the Holocaust should be particularly sensitive in such cases.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Mon Aug 5th, 2019 at 12:05:19 AM EST
A good riposte. I don't think there is much fault on any side here. Neither reporter is a psychologist or psychiatrist and their primary responsibility is to publish the story as they see it, not to take responsibility for her psychological state, which, in any case, seems to have changed rather dramatically as the story unfolded.

If news publications were to hold off publishing every story because to do so might cause pain and anguish to confidence tricksters and fraudsters then very few might get published. The public good lies in the publication of the truth and the private psychological health of those exposed is a separate issue.

Sophie had options and she chose not to take the better ones. Short of some court ordering her detention in a psychiatric hospital, little could have been done to prevent this. Family and friends will be wondering if they could have done more, but few might have known how troubled she was under a confident and successful exterior. The case is best consider a personal tragedy rather than public issue with huge implications for journalistic integrity and media intrusion.

No harm was intended, and without a full coroners report we don't know the exact circumstances of her death. Many suicides are cries for help gone wrong. In hindsight some might have done things differently, but then hindsight is a wonderful thing...

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 5th, 2019 at 11:49:01 AM EST
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