A German historian who was stripped of a “Golden Blogger” award amid revelations that she had faked a family Holocaust history has been found dead at age 31, according to a report.
Marie Sophie Hingst was found dead in her Dublin, Ireland, home on July 17, according to the Times of Israel. The cause of death has not been determined but police said no foul play is suspected.
The German Der Spiegel magazine last month reported that Hingst sent 22 pages of testimony from made-up people to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, in 2013.
She reported about her “family” in her blog, “Read on My Dear, Read On,” which she later removed.
Hingst “sought to establish close ties to the Jewish community,” the magazine reported. “She moderated panel discussions for the Association for the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, she works for the Selma Stern Center for Jewish Studies Berlin-Brandenburg and she became involved in the Jewish Society at Trinity College.”
Der Spiegel editor Martin Doerry wrote: “This kind of con job may not be a crime per se, but it is nevertheless scandalous. Inventing Holocaust victims is essentially a mockery of all those who really were tortured and killed by the Nazis.”
Archivists from the German city of Stralsund who read the blog investigated Hingst’s biography and informed Der Spiegel that she had a Protestant background — and that few of her named relatives had actually existed, the Times of Israel reported.
“I strongly deny all accusations made by Der Spiegel. I have never falsified anything,” Hingst told The University Times, an Irish newspaper, in a statement.
Doerry, who recently met with Hingst in Dublin, reported that although she initially denied his allegations, she later admitted that she had made up the family history and claimed her blog was merely literature.
Reporter Derek Scally, who interviewed Hingst for the Times of Ireland, said it was clear to him that she suffered from mental illness.
Hingst — who had earned a degree in history at Trinity College in Dublin and was working for the high-tech company Intel — told him that she felt she had been “skinned alive.”
Her mother told the reporter that the young woman had several personalities.