For years, Joseph Hirt gave public speeches concerning his time spent in a concentration camp. Hirt’s story started with seeing Hitler turn his back on Jesse Owens at the Olympics (which didn’t happen), then segued into his arrest, after which he was placed in Auschwitz. There he met Mengele, the psychotic doctor who was obsessed with twins, before escaping under a fence. As a bizarre coda, after making his way to the United States, he ended up meeting Eleanor Roosevelt and Jesse Owens. When people set their forgiving sympathy aside to doubt this incredible bullshit, Hirst couldn’t even bring himself to apologize for his vile opportunism, instead claiming that he did this to keep memories of the Holocaust alive — despite the fact that his “memories” are, y’know, “lies.”
“Would Jewish Santa lie to you? Really?

Then there’s the famous memoir Fragments: Memories Of A Wartime Childhood by Binjamin Wilkomirski, which was hailed as “achingly beautiful” and “one of the great works about the Holocaust,” delving into the true horror of the era, like babies devouring their own fingers. Except that it turned out that Binjamin Wilkomirski was really Bruno Dossekker, a man who had lived out the war in relative comfort in Switzerland. If it weren’t for a journalist named Daniel Ganzfried, a Jewish journalist who has a reporter’s instinct that Lois Lane would be proud of, people might still be hailing the book as a masterpiece of nonfiction instead of a schlocky lie about imagined human suffering.

Stop making children and people who know how to spell their name correctly look bad.

That’s a bummer note to end this article on, so let’s look at it from a much-needed optimistic angle: Stupid, greedy con men will always get caught. Smart people will always smell opportunistic bullshit from a mile away. And even now, when we’re all drowning in low-rent, no-class Danny Oceans, it’s the Ferris Buellers who always come out on top.

Nimby Smith would like to remind you that, for the love of God, anyone can get clergy clothing, so have some solid shibboleths ready.

For more incredible liars, read The 7 Most Heroic Con Artists Of All Time and 5 Badass Con Men Who Fooled The Experts There To Catch Them.

And be sure to check out 9 Types Of Coworkers To Make You Want Your Head To Explode, and let us know about other headsplosion-worthy employees we may have missed.

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An interesting read via Cracked: All Posts