Last but not least: plagiarism from the underworld

About a week ago, a foreign editor in Weltwoche reported on a new book by historian Antony Beevor. As it turned out, the editor not only made use of the preliminary work of a British newspaper, but also plagiarized a telephone conversation.

The historian Beevor has in his book the war crimes during the last offensive battle of the German troops in the Ardennes in the winter of 1944/45, as the NZZ am Sonntag writes. The author thus sparked a debate about war crimes committed by American soldiers as well, it said. Urs Gehringer wrote in his article "Lotse in der Unterwelt" (Pilot in the Underworld) the author had "sleepless nights" and had described his troubles with the historical material to him on the phone.

Six weeks earlier, according to NZZ am Sonntag, an article about Beevor's book appeared in the British newspaper Telegraph, which begins with this sentence and shows strikingly many other similarities of this kind. Thus one finds the entire description of Beevor about his handling of the terrible historical facts and how they nevertheless catch up with him, also in the Telegraph. The only difference with the Weltwoche article: The Telegraph's conversation does not take place by telephone, but in Beevor's London home, as the NZZ am Sonntag writes. Gehringer had taken over whole text sections word for word for his Weltwoche article.

And what does British editor Keith Lowe have to say about it? "If someone found my article so irresistible that they wanted to copy large parts of it - well, that's the highest form of praise. A somewhat indecent one, to be sure, but still praise." (This quote was indecently taken directly from the well-researched NZZ am Sonntag article - a telephone conversation between Lowe and Werbewoche did not take place). (uma)

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