Love in the Shadow of the Holocaust

April 16 2015

The discovery of a series of letters among the papers of her grandfather launched Sarah Wildman on a quest for information about their sender; she has now turned her findings into a book. Walter Laqueur, who knew some of the book’s characters, writes in his review:

The letter writer was . . . a young [woman] doctor named Valy Scheftel from his native Vienna. They had been lovers. He had the good fortune to escape just in time; she was caught in the deadly trap.

Wildman, a highly accomplished journalist, wanted to find out everything she could about Valy. How did she take the separation? Could anything have been done to bring her to America? Why did [her grandfather] Karl answer Valy’s letters so infrequently? Even the vocabulary raised questions. What exactly was a “certificate”? What did “Chamada” mean and who was Paltreu? Why did the possession of $150 make the difference between life and death in a case like Valy’s? (It was the price of a visa for Chile.) . . .

I was a witness not exactly to what Sarah Wildman relates, but to some of the events that preceded her story, and I am one of the very few still alive who knew some of those who figure in it. I may be forgiven therefore for beginning with my own recollections, which go back a long time. They do not concern Karl or Valy but a boy of my acquaintance named Hans Fabisch.

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More about: Austrian Jewry, German Jewry, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Love, Vienna

 

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror