CLAIM

During World War II, George Soros was a member of the SS, a Nazi paramilitary organization. See Example(s)

EXAMPLES
Collected via e-mail, November 2016

I just saw this shared on Facebook. Please debunk this for me:

soros-ss-photo

False

RATING

False

ORIGIN

As a prominent political activist and supporter of left-wing causes, Hungarian-born billionaire financier George Soros has frequently been the target of smear campaigns, none more ridiculous than the claim (which first surfaced in November 2016) that he served as an officer of the Schutzstaffel (SS) in Nazi Germany during World War II.

The rumor made the social media rounds in late 2016 in the form of a black-and-white photograph of a young man — supposedly Soros — wearing an SS uniform, accompanied by this descriptive text:

.. I give you George Soros. A SS in the National Socialist German workers party. Nazi party. He served under Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler. He said it was the best time of his life. The destruction and agony around him was euphoric to him. This man was making policy with Hillary Clinton. And some of you think Trump is dangerous. Wow!

Wow, indeed. As hoaxes go, this one was neither plausible nor hard to disprove. Given that Soros — born in 1930 — was only nine years old when World War II began and 14 when the war ended in Europe in 1945, he couldn’t have joined the SS, whose minimum age requirement was 17, even if he had wanted to. Moreover, Soros would never have met the SS requirement for pure “Aryan” heritage. Quite to the contrary, Soros grew to adolescence as a persecuted Jew in Nazi-occupied Budapest.

The mislabeled photo is easily debunked using a reverse image search. The young man portrayed in the Waffen SS uniform is Oskar Groening, a Nazi who served at Auschwitz from 1942 through the end of World War II:

oskar-groening-2

 

More than 70 years after this photograph was taken, Groening was found guilty of being an accessory to the murder of at least 300,000 Jews.

Sources:

Phillip, Abby.   “The Moral Guilt of Oskar Groening, the ‘Accountant of Auschwitz.'”
   The Washington Post.   21 April 2015.

BBC News.   “‘Auschwitz Bookkeeper’ Oskar Groening Sentenced to Four Years.”
   15 July 2015.

Biography.com.   “George Soros.”
   23 August 2016.