In Response to
Holocaust survivor jailed for tax lie
Brendon O'Connell writes:
"A previous life".
I have had dreams where I was a humble cobbler from the back alley slums of Kracow. One day I escape the nazi brutes and kiss my love goodbye for she cannot leave her family still trapped inside but she will follow later and I sware we will meet again. I leave a trail of shoes in the snow for my love and others to follow to safety. Just short of the Swiss border, I realize I need one more shoe to ensure safe passage for my chosen comrades. Not having any spare I use the shoe off my left foot. This shoe was given to me by my Great Grandfather - the rabbi of Krakow, who swore he would set foot in Jerusalem before he died. Alas he died but as he lay expiring, with his last gasp, he made me swear I would set foot in Jerusalem wearing his shoes. This creates an enormous pain as I decide what is best? A safe passage for chosen comrades or to uphold the sacred oath I swore to my dying Grandfather. After much wailing to the heavens I leave my left shoe in the snow and pray God my Great Grandfather forgives me.
I make my way over the border into Switzerland with the final help of a bear that had escaped from Belsen and several Iranian midgets escaping from Dr Mengele's scalpel and lamp shade business. I pen a memoir, 60 years later, as the pain eases and the memories return having never breathed a word of my escape to anyone.
As I bear witness around the world of the horrors of the nazi brutes, I return home to New York and attend my small but thriving cobblers store. Whilst there, between small scale scams and rip off plans, I lament the loss of my Great Grandfathers left shoe. How can I fulfill his wishes? I look longingly at the right shoe I have kept close to me since that time. Now sealed in a glass box and on display so I may never forget, nor forgive and also never forget to cash the cheques from the German government. I beg god to help ease the pain of my choice from so long ago..."swear to me little Shlomo, next year Jerusalem...
in, in, in ...my shoes [gasp]".And now...it cannot happen.
Along with the pain of failing my Great Grandfather is of course the loss of my love. I never saw her again. Nor was her fate known to me. I had married in the United States and had children. Never breathing a word of my suffering until I began penning the memoir on rough paper after the I.R.S sent a bill for tax evasion. The pain of state persecution had unlocked the bitter memories of the camps.
One day the door bell tinkles and in walks a lady in her late 70s. Tall and graceful she brings back instantly the pain of my lost love from so long ago. She walks in smiling and as I ask her what this humble cobbler survivor may do for her she hands me a shoe. Old. Battered. Just one...a left shoe. My heart pounds...can it be? "Can you please repair this shoe? I know it is old but it is very dear to me. I am making ayliya tomorrow and I want to wear this shoe as I step off the plane in israel. It's an oath I must keep so help me god." I gasp. It is my love. She made it out. And now we are together again...
Many memoirs later, film scripts and New York Times articles, we are married and we each wear a shoe as we make our way to the wailing wall stepping over the dead bodies of some Palestinian children. I gently wipe the blood off the shoe and we embrace..."next year in jerusalem..." we are home.
Holocaust survivor jailed for tax lie
Sunday 25th April, 2010
A man, whose parents were caught by the Nazis during World War II and spent time in a POW camp, has been jailed for tax evasion.
65 year-old watchmaker, Jack Barouh, placed funds in a Swiss account of the UBS bank to hide them from the Internal Revenue Service.
He told the court he hid funds in the Swiss bank account because his parents instilled in him a paranoia of losing his wealth, and always encouraged him to have a secret nest-egg.
He said he was motivated by his fear as a Jew of persecution and sudden loss.
Mr Barouh had pleaded guilty in February to filing a false tax return and hiding around US$10 million.
After being jailed for ten months, IRS officials said the Holocaust defence was no excuse for the defendant to break the law.
Both Mr Barouh's parents survived the killing of Jews during the Second World War and fled Europe.
Dalton's Holocaust Radio Debate on April 24, 2010:
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Amazon's: DEBATING THE HOLOCAUST: A New Look At Both Sides by Thomas Dalton