INTO THE FRAY – A Port in Gaza: Preposterous & Perilous Proposal

By MARTIN SHERMAN

Hamas are not burrowing tunnels because Gaza has no port. They are burrowing them despite the fact it does not have one.

Israel’s intelligence and transport minister has long pushed the idea of an artificial island off the coast of the Gaza Strip, with plans for a port, cargo terminal and even an airport to boost the territory’s economy and connect it to the world. – A New Island in the Mediterranean… Just Off Gaza Reuters June 29, 2017.

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.

–Attributed to Albert Einstein.

A little over a year ago, I wrote a column harshly criticizing the proposal for the construction of a port of any sort for Gaza, particularly one to be located on a detachable artificial island, to be built 3-4 km off the Gazan coast. What I wrote then is just as pertinent today.

Harebrained and hazardous

The opening paragraph of the column was this: “Just when you thought that you could not possibly hear anything more preposterous on how to help resolve the  conflict with the Palestinian-Arabs, somehow someone always manages to prove you wrong—and comes out with a policy proposal so glaringly absurd that it transcends what you  mistakenly believed was the pinnacle of imbecility”. I continued: “Disturbingly, precisely such a hopelessly hare-brained scheme is now being repeatedly bandied about by Israelis in positions of influence.
Sadly these caustic remarks are still as relevant today—as unbelievable as that may seem.

For as harebrained, hazardous—indeed, hallucinatory—the idea is, it remains stubbornly on the agenda, refusing to fade into the distant realms of fantasy, where it clearly deserved to disappear.

Thus, in recent months Israel Katz, who holds the transport and intelligence portfolios, has been raising it incessantly and insistently, reportedly winning significant support from some of his fellow ministers, with only the opposition of Defense Minister Liberman, preventing a government decision to proceed with this preposterous and perilous plan.

Indeed, towards the end of last month, Reuters reported that “Israel’s intelligence and transport minister… Israel Katz, has released a slick, high-production video setting out his proposal in more detail, complete with a dramatic, English-speaking narration, colorful graphics and stirring music”.

Puzzling conundrums

The grandiose “vision” would include the construction of vast infrastructure facilities, including cargo and passenger ports, a marina, gas and electricity terminals, a desalination plant and, potentially, a future airport.

Of course, this leaves one to struggle with the trenchant question why it would be more feasible to build these ambitious installations on a detachable, multi-billion dollar, floating island rather than on dryland, just a few kilometers away, and where, despite decades of massive international aid, nothing even remotely similar has ever emerged.

Perhaps even more perplexing is the rationale given for the project. According to the previously mentioned promotional video, providing a port to Gaza will help Israel deal with the negative international perception that Gaza’s current unenviable condition is due to the fact that it is under siege by Israel: “Today, Israel continues to be perceived as being responsible for the Gaza Strip and is to a large extent the only lifeline to it, even though it withdrew from the strip over a decade ago“.

The narrator suggests that “Construction of an artificial island with a port and civilian infrastructure installations off the coast of Gaza will provide the Palestinians a humanitarian, economic and transportation gate to the world” adding reassuringly “without endangering Israel’s security”.

So, to put worried minds in Israel at rest, the video stipulates: “…in order to ensure that security threats are addressed, Israel will remain in control of security in the sea around the island and of security inspection in the port”.

Even more puzzling

So here’s the kicker: If Israel is to maintain its power to police what goes in and out of the port, and inspect what goes on inside it, how does that in anyway diminish its status as effectively controlling the fate of Gaza? And why would its control over the flow of goods into Gaza via a seaport be any less onerous than its control over that flow through the existing land routes into Gaza?

But that’s not all.  For then comes the following staggering suggestion:  “An international policing force will be responsible for security and public order for the island and for a checkpoint on the bridge which will connect the island to the coast”.

An international policing force? Really? Gee, what a god idea! Especially since that idea has failed so spectacularly in Bosnia and Somalia and Lebanon and Rwanda and ….

And are the port proponents seriously advocating that some international force will adequately man and manage a checkpoint on the narrow bridge between the Gaza mainland and the island, when it is precisely the IDF’s maintenance of such land-based checkpoints that has brought international condemnation of unjustified “humiliation of the Palestinians”.

Even more to the point, do they really believe—especially given past precedents—that after a single suicide attack by Islamist extremist, the international policing force will have the resolve and commitment to persist with its mission and not vacate the island—leaving Israel with the thorny dilemma of ether abandoning the island, port and all, to the Hamas (or some more radical successor) or taking over the island itself, negating the very rationale for its construction in the first place!!!

Reinforcing the rationale for terror

Moreover, the very rationale for the port is damaging, playing directly into the hands of Israel’s detractors.

After all, to suggest that by alleviating economic hardship in Gaza, Israel could diminish the motivation for terror is, in effect, not only inverting the causal relationship between the two, but it also implies that the victims of terror are to blame for their attackers’ aggression. Little could be more counterproductive—and misleading—for Israel.

Indeed, the dire situation in Gaza is not the cause of the terror that emanates from it.

It is the consequence of that terror.

Clearly, the onerous measures that Israel is compelled to undertake to ensure the safety of its citizens is not the reason for, but the result of that terror.  Equally if the latter were eliminated, there would be no need for the former—and far more rational solutions than a multi-billion dollar artificial island could be found to facilitate the flow of goods and people to and from Gaza.

This prosperity-prevents-terror thesis is wrong on virtually every level. Firstly, it is risible to believe that Hamas, who has deliberately put its own civilians in harm’s way, gives a hoot about their economic well-being. After all, if it has scant regard for their lives, why should their livelihood be of greater concern?

Port no panacea for poverty

Sadly then, the case presented for providing Gaza a port strongly reinforces the rationale justifying terror, implying that it is largely economic privation which is the primary cause of the Judeocidal terror emanating from Gaza, and if the residents of that ill-fated strip were afforded greater prosperity, this would operate to stifle the motivation to perpetrate acts of terror.

However, it is far more likely that, if the general economic situation were to improve, Hamas would coercively appropriate much of this new found wealth for its own belligerent needs–with prosperity thus making it more potent—not more pacific.

Accordingly, no great analytical acumen should be required to swiftly bring us to the conclusion that a port in Gaza will never be a panacea for the poverty of the population—and that Hamas, and its other terrorist cohorts, are not burrowing tunnels because Gaza has no port. They are burrowing them despite the fact it does not have one.

After all, in effect, Gaza already has a modern port at its disposal, under Israeli supervision, barely 35 km. north of it, far closer to it than many locations in Israel: The port of Ashdod.

Obviously, under conditions of peace (or even credible non-belligerency) Ashdod can supply all Gaza’s supervised civilian needs–without squandering billions on a fanciful floating island port.
However, under conditions of on-going belligerency, even under the strictest Israeli supervision, there is no way—short of taking control of Gaza—to ensure that dual purpose material such as cement, fertilizer and steel will not be used for belligerent purposes.

Detachable port detached from reality

The severity of this problem—and the futility of a Gaza port as a means of solving—or even alleviating—it, was vividly underscored  by  a report from last year’s UN World Humanitarian Summit, which revealed that Hamas had been siphoning off 95% of the cement transferred into the Gaza Strip to rebuild homes, using it instead for military purposes/tunnel construction.

So, even if the island port were to be placed under tight inspection, how could Israel ensure that the building materials that went to construct the labyrinth of tunnels underlying Gaza would be used for more benign purposes? How could it ensure that steel was not being used to fabricate missiles and the means to launch them? Or fertilizers being diverted for the manufacture of explosives?

Furthermore, how is Israeli supervision to be maintained, and the safety of the Israeli personnel together—with the international forces—be ensured in the isolated off-shore port, should they—as is far from implausible—be set upon by a local bloodthirsty mob?

There are also likely to be unknown environmental consequences, with serious concern being raised as to the detrimental effect such a large off-shore construction would have on Israel’s beaches to the north, which are likely to be severely eroded as they are deprived of sand deposits carried today by the northbound currents which would be disrupted by the artificial island.
These—along with numerous other questions clearly underscore how demonstrably detrimental and detached from reality the notion of a detachable port for Gaza really is.

Liberman’s disturbing ambivalence

Defense Minister Liberman is, of course, to be commended for his rejection of the ill-conceived initiative.  However, disturbingly, he is on record not so long ago, supporting it—true, basically on condition that Hamas would un-Hamas itself.

Thus, in February this year Liberman proposed an initiative for transforming Gaza “into the Singapore of the Middle East”,  which included building a seaport and an airport and by creating an industrial zone that would help produce 40,000 jobs in the strip, if Hamas agreed to demilitarization and to dismantling the tunnel and rocket systems it has built.

The Hamas response was quick to come. It was highly instructive and should have dispelled any illusions as to the efficacy of proposing a port as a means for providing any impetus for peace. Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas official, dismissed it derisively: “If we wanted to turn Gaza into Singapore, we would have done it ourselves. We do not need favors from anyone.

This tart retort prompted a stark comment from Gatestone scholar, Bassam Tawil :Why did Hamas reject an offer for a seaport, airport and tens of thousands of jobs for Palestinians? Because Hamas does not see its conflict with Israel as an economic issue. The dispute is not about improving the living conditions of Palestinians, as far as Hamas is concerned. Instead, it is about the very existence of Israel.”

He added caustically: “Hamas deserves credit for one thing: its honesty concerning its intentions to destroy Israel and kill as many Jews as possible. Hamas does not want 40,000 new jobs for the poor unemployed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It would rather see these unemployed Palestinians join its ranks and become soldiers in its quest to replace Israel with an Islamic empire.”

Only one way to ensure who rules Gaza…and who doesn’t
Clearly then, the grave economic situation that plagues Gaza will not be alleviated by providing it with access to port facilities, which, in principle, it already has.

As noted, Israeli restrictions on the flow of goods are not the cause of Arab enmity, but the consequence thereof. The crippling unemployment, reportedly above 40%, will not be alleviated by transferring Israeli supervision from Ashdod and the Gaza border crossings to an off-shore islet.

There is soaring unemployment because any creative energies that might exist, are not channeled by those who rule Gaza toward productive/constructive goals, but into fomenting violence against the hated “Zionist entity.” A port will not change those realities.

Indeed, it may well exacerbate them.

The penury of the enclave is not due to lack of resources, but to the preferences and priorities of the brigands who govern it. Accordingly, as past events show, Israel can only determine who governs Gaza – and who does not – if it governs it itself.

Martin Sherman is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

July 13, 2017 | 50 Comments » | 596 views

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  1. I really wonder about the intelligence of people who came up with the stupid idea for an island.

    The problem with Gaza is not getting goods there logistically but that is run a terror group who cares more about destroying Israel than having Gazans lead normal lives. The PA does not help as it cuts off funding.

    Want to solve Gaza’s take the first step. Get rid of the terrorists. Wholesale house keeping. Step one. Until this is done nothing else matters.

    Martin, said the above in longer version and is 100% correct!

  2. We’ve been hearing about this “OIsland” already for many years… and T.G. it still hasn’t been constructed. I used to have dreams about it, truly. Another over lengthy article from Sherman telling us what we already know, and have known for many years…Still it bears repeating for a new crop of readers. The plain and simple fact is that …..Katz is crazy….. looking for something to boost himself with, so maybe he has other troubles pending or is getting desperate enough to want to at least have his name linked with somthing=—– apart from stupidity and indolence.

    I notce that Sherman’s essay does not even mention another Arab country, …..EGYPT…where the closure of their border crossing is far more punitive than Israel’s. Israel trucks in hundreds of loads of neccessities every day, every single day, through more than one crossing, and allows thousands of Gazans through to Israel proper, for medical and other reasons. But EGYPT….

    Egypt, as a VERY BIG, VERY SPECIAL favour opens it’s border crossing..after first having flattened the homes of thousands of Gazans to create a clear zone, only about 3-4-5 times a year, soetimes for a day, sometimes for 2, at maximum 3 days. and that’s THAT. No criticism of Egypt from anyone. No even Gazans…..

    And it has been said with authority that there are certain parts of Gaza where the ambience is like that of any Mediterranean holiday spot, nice hotels, shops, malls, stores, etc.etc. We’ve even seen pictures of them…. Maybe the Gaza leaders live there….

    I suspect that many of the 40% unemployed arr actually working on tunnels. And..by the way, what happened to the 30-40- metre deep trench that Israel was digging all around the Gaza perimeter. Haven’t heard anything about that for a long time.

    And what about the paid-for-doing-nothing henchmen of Abbas, who was paying them up to very recently, for many years. Are they included in the 40%…?

  3. @ Edgar G.:

    I just added something, (twice) two sentences, to the above post, through the “Edit” facility and it did not print. Just so that Ted knows.

    It was that “we’ve been hearing about this island for years already, and T.G. so far it has come to nothing (or has not been built)..I used to have dreams about it.Truly”. This time the “Edit” worked…

  4. Just when you thought that you could not possibly hear anything more preposterous ..

    Look who’s talking.

  5. a detachable, multi-billion dollar, floating island ..

    This guy opposes somebody else’s plan for the Israeli Government to spend billions of tax dollars on building an island for Arabs, but is a fervent, unhesitant supporter of his own plan for the Government to spend trillions of tax dollars on sending the Arabs to an island further downstream.

  6. This was Peres’s last “contribution.” And Sadat’s. If you read the Eidelberg, you will see that turning Peres was the crowning piece de resistance of his grand strategy to destroy Israel.

    http://www.afsi.org/pamphlets/SadatsStrategy_Eidelberg%5B1%5D.pdf

    I am also reminded of “Blaumich Canal” by Ephraim Kishon.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaumilch_Canal

    “Blaumilch Canal (international release title: The Big Dig) is a 1969 Israeli comedy satire written and directed by Ephraim Kishon, depicting the madness of bureaucracy through a municipality’s reaction to the actions of a lunatic.
    The film was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

    ‘Plot summary
    Blaumilch is a lunatic with a digging compulsion who escapes from an insane asylum. Stealing a jackhammer, he proceeds to dig-up one of Tel Aviv’s busiest traffic arteries, at the junctions of Allenby, Ben Yehuda and Pinsker Streets, in front of iconic Mugrabi Cinema.
    Rather than question his actions, the police and city officials assume he is operating under the municipality’s orders, and aid him as much as they can. Complaints from local residents, whose lives become a living hell due to the noise and traffic jams, lead to infighting amongst city departments. To speed up the work, so that it can be completed before the upcoming municipal elections, the city sends armies of construction workers and heavy equipment to help the lone jackhammer-operator, turning a mere annoyance into a full-blown disaster.
    Hauled before a police commissioner to explain why they attempted to sabotage municipal construction equipment, the residents give a vocal rendition of the noises they are subjected to every day, until the commissioner himself yells for quiet.
    By the time city officials realize they are destroying a street without any plans or goals in sight, it is too late: Allenby Street is connected with the Mediterranean Sea and a canal is created. The mayor then declares, in a flamboyant opening ceremony, that Tel Aviv has been turned into the Venice of the Middle East.
    In an ironic twist Ziegler, a low-level municipal administrator, is the only one to realize that the ‘project’ was the work of a lunatic; he is laughed at and himself branded a lunatic. In the final scene, Blaumilch is seen digging up Kings of Israel Square (today Rabin Square)*, which fronts the Tel Aviv Municipality building.’

    *talk about unforseeable irony, If there is a God, he sure has a satirical sense of humor.

  7. @ Edgar G.:

    I just now am aware that the post to which I added 2 sentences, has never been printed. So my Grande Opus is floating around somewhere in the ether…I hope it descends in Gaza, which it was mainly about, although it peripherally brought in Egypt, which also has a”gateway to “freedom” meaning the Arab World, whcih one would think mught make the Gazans happier. But then where would they bring all their sick to, with a good chance of getting the best medical attention in the World….not in Egypt. And their food, building materials, medicines, oil and a thousand and one other things that Israel trucks in every day of the week in hundreds of trucks. So, blockaded it might be, but that’s using a very loose term, it’s only blockaded aginst Military Materiel.

  8. Not preposterous, irrational or stupid.
    What the Qalqillia plan and port and island represent was and remains part of the Oslo salami tactics plan to destroy Israel. Destroy Jewish Icons and villages, block, freeze construction, allow the enemy to gain foorholds are SOP. I give Netanyahu and other such about him credit for being intelligent and crafty. And, as it has been robustly proven, they are consummate betrayers and conniving liars. I know them in person since many years ago. Since disengagement I have dumped that element.
    Solutions? Plenty and none including that trash or their shills.
    The option to exterminate Hamas was intentionally blocked by the said fellowship and they will do so again. The general staff is composed of equally bound elements.

  9. @ SHmuel HaLevi 2:
    You are right about what it is but why would Netanyahu or Gabbay, Lapid, LIeberman, or any of these others support the piecemeal destruction of their own country unless they were stupid? Do they have someplace else to go? Swiss bank accounts maybe?

  10. @ Edgar G.:
    I have been working to make sure that comments do not go into moderation or trash in error. I thought I had a handle on the problem. But just today I checked spam and found over 36 legitimate comments there. I had no idea that was happening. I approved of about 10 of them from the last week.

  11. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    Sebastien,

    I haven’t read the Kishon book about Blaumilch, but your little desctiption reminds me very much of a film I saw many years ago, which I liked so much that I saw it several times. It’s still on Youtube I believe. It’s called “Captain of Kupernick” and a wonderful part is played by Albert Basserman if you ever heard of him. A great actor, whom I saw several times, and always excellent. I won;t go into the details but I’m sure your curiosity will impel you to either key in Youtube, or bring it up on the Internet.

  12. @ SHmuel HaLevi 2:

    What I didn’t and don’t like about Netanyahu’s “freezing” the Qalkilya give-away, is that he froze it, leaving the implication that it can be unfrozen in due course when the furore dies down. I would prefer that he stated that it was discarded completely and that it should never have been concocted..

  13. @ Edgar G.:

    My mistake. Here it is:

    The Captain from Köpenick (1931)
    Der Hauptmann von Köpenick (original title)
    1h 47min | Comedy | 22 December 1931 (Germany)
    user reviews: “incredible-but-true story of a cobbler’s attempt to gain a valid passport

    Director: Richard Oswald
    Writers: Albrecht Joseph, Carl Zuckmayer (play) | 1 more credit »
    Stars: Max Adalbert, Ernst Dernburg, Willi Schur | See full cast & crew »
    Reviews
    2 user
    10/10
    Author: bdherndon from United States
    14 November 2008
    This film is considered by German film historians to be one of the greatest ever. A valid passport was needed by all in Imperial Prussia to apply for a job, prove citizenship or even to travel. An old cobbler is denied a much-needed passport due to the Prussian bureaucracy. He breaks into City Hall to steal one, and is arrested. Finally, he procures old military uniform of a captain and makes use of his previous military experience (and the fact that nobody in that era would question the authority of any Prussian officer) to commandeer a group of active duty military members he happens to meet and use them to take over city hall. In a series of humorous events, he places the mayor and treasurer of the Berlin suburb of Koepenick under house arrest in his attempt to finally secure his desired passport. This event is still celebrated each year in a parade held in Berlin as the citizens of Berlin make fun of their well-documented habit of yielding almost totally to the whims of the Prussian military throughout much of their history. The film’s Berlin dialect can make it difficult for some viewers to understand the spoken dialog. This film has been remade several times, including the most popular 1956 version starring Heinz Rühmann. Nothing beats this 1931 version at rendering a period-correct atmosphere that takes one back in time.”

    “he Captain of Köpenick’ is a true story that could only have happened in Germany, where the authority of a uniform was (and still is?) obeyed without question.

    In 1906, an obscure Tilsiter cobbler named Wilhelm Voigt (1849-1922) purchased the second-hand uniform of a Prussian infantry captain. Wearing this, he travelled to the borough of Köpenick and ordered a troop of guardsmen to place themselves under his command. He then declared the town hall to be under military law, ordering the arrest of the mayor and treasurer and confiscating all the funds in the exchequer. (In this version it’s 4,000 deutschemarks, a tidy sum.) None of Voigt’s orders were questioned, and he got away with the dosh. When he was eventually caught, the German people regarded Voigt’s imposture as a jolly hoax that pricked the pomposity of petty bureaucrats. Although Voigt was clearly motivated by unlawful financial gain, he emerged from the affair as a folk hero.

    This film is based on a stage adaptation of the original incident; I can’t vouch for its accuracy. Some of the incidents here seem a bit far-fetched, but I accept that the original incident happened similarly to what we see here (although surely there weren’t so many women involved). The movie is a comedy, and succeeds on that level. I was especially impressed with the performance of Fritz Odemar as the apoplectic treasurer. Still, in one sense this subject is no laughing matter. Let’s recall what was the ultimate result of the Germans’ penchant for mindless obedience to authority figures. This story was funny in 1931, but a few years later nobody in Germany would be laughing. More as an artefact of its time than for its merits as a comedy, I’ll rate this movie 7 out of 10.”

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0021943/

    “The Captain from Köpenick (German: Der Hauptmann von Köpenick) is a 1931 German comedy film directed by Richard Oswald and produced by Gabriel Pascal. It is one of several films based on the 1931 play by the same name written by Carl Zuckmayer. The story centers on the Hauptmann von Köpenick affair in 1906.
    Plot[edit]
    Der Hauptmann von Köpenick is based on a true story that took place in Germany in 1906. A poor cobbler named Wilhelm Voigt purchased the second-hand uniform of a Prussian infantry captain. Wearing this, he travelled to the borough of Köpenick and ordered a troop of guardsmen to place themselves under his command. He then declared the town hall to be under military law, ordering the arrest of the mayor and treasurer and confiscating all the funds in the exchequer. In this film version it’s a considerable sum of 4,000 reichsmarks. Voigt’s orders were obeyed without question and he temporarily got away with the caper, although he was eventually caught”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Captain_from_K%C3%B6penick_(1931_film)

  14. @ Edgar G.:
    I wonder if the real protagonist, who carried this out in 1906, got the idea from the novel of “Scarlett Pimpernel” which came out in 1903?

    This is the mentality that Sir Percy Blakeney takes advantage of.

    And that the real-life Pimpernel, Raoul Wallenberg took advantage of in Budapest in 1944 after having seen and been inspired by the film, “Pimpernel Smith” (1941), also three years before.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%22Pimpernel%22_Smith

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P67A5xLoJcw

    https://www.amazon.com/Pimpernel-Fighting-Mister-NON-USA-FORMAT/dp/B00BHRTXGC

  15. I was just watching it again at the above youtube link, and when I heard Howard as Smith explain to his student his motivation at 36:30, I realized that this film, which came out in 1941, must have been based on Varian Frye (Whom FDR went out of his way to sabotage, incidentally.)

    “According to Yad Vashem The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority it is estimated that Fry and his team dealt with some 15,000 cases by May 1941. Of these, assistance was provided to approximately 4,000 people, over 1,000 of whom were smuggled from France in various ways.”

    “Varian Fry – today known as the American Schindler, a reference to Oscar Schindler, who saved 1200 Jews during the Holocaust – only recently began to win widespread recognition and his exploits are just coming to light. During World War II this quiet, faintly absent-minded American hero risked his life to save the heart and soul of Europe during the Holocaust and helped numerous writers, artists and thinkers escape the Nazis. One of the great men of the twentieth century, a Scarlet Pimpernel.

    Like Schindler Varian Fry also had a list of life, including 200 of the brightest names in art, science, literature and medicine. Among those on Fry’s list were painters Marc Chagall, Bernard Reder and Andrè Masson, Nobel laureate physiologist Otto Meyerhof, mathematician Jaques Hadamard, writers Franz Werfel, Hannah Arendt, Heinrich Mann and Lion Feuchtwanger, sculptor Jacques Lipchitz, the hebraic scholar Oscar Goldberg, Max Ernst, Konrad Heiden, Hans Habe, Wanda Landowska, and many more.

    At great personal risk, Varian Fry set up contacts with the French Resistance and the Corsican mob, hired forgers, bribed border guards, and he personally escorted Franz Werfel and Heinrich Mann over the Pyrenees – his rescue efforts made an indelible influence on our culture.

    But unlike Oscar Schindler, whose story became a best-selling book and an Oscar-winning movie, the legacy of Varian Fry is little known and his courageous acts went largely ignored for years…”

    http://www.varianfry.dk/

  16. “September 18, 1940

    AMERICAN EMBASSY,

    VICHY (France) FOR PARIS

    Your 539, September 11, 10 a.m. and 566, September 14, 6 p.m.

    You should inform Dr. Bohn and Mr. Fry in personal interview if this can be arranged immediately that while Department is sympathetic with the plight of unfortunate refugees, and has authorized consular officers to give immediate and sympathetic consideration to their applications for visas, this Government can not repeat not countenance the activities as reported of Dr. Bohn and Mr. Fry and other persons, however well-meaning their motives may be, in carrying on activities evading the laws of countries with which the United States maintains friendly relations.

    You are requested in your discretion, to inform the appropriate officials of the Foreign Office that while aliens who qualify for and obtain visas at American consular offices as meeting the requirements of American immigration laws have the required visa documentation to proceed to the United States, this Government does not repeat not countenance any activity by American citizens desiring to evade the laws of the governments with which this country maintains friendly relations. You may also ask Mr. Hurley to inform the Prefect at Marseille in this sense. Consul at Marseille should also be informed that Dr. Bohn has been requested to return to United States immediately. You may also advise Embassy Paris and Consuls at Bordeaux and Nice regarding situation. Keep Department advised of developments.”

    https://www.facinghistory.org/rescuers/cordell-hulls-telegram-hiram-bingham-september-18-1940

  17. “…Shortly before Herbert Hoover left office in March 1933, Jewish leaders sought a joint statement from Hoover and Roosevelt against the mistreatment of German Jews. FDR declined to take part.
    Hoover nonetheless instructed the American ambassador in Germany, Frederic Sackett, “to exert every influence of our government” on the Hitler regime to halt the persecutions.

    ‘By contrast, when William E. Dodd was chosen by Roosevelt later that year to replace Sackett, FDR informed Dodd that the persecution of German Jewry was “not a [U.S.] governmental affair” and therefore he should employ only “unofficial and personal influence,” except with regard to the handful of American citizens in Germany. A deeply disappointed Rabbi Wise confided to a friend that Roosevelt “has not by a single word or act intimated the faintest interest in what is going on” regarding the Jews in Germany.

    ‘Not only did Roosevelt refuse to speak out regarding German Jewry, but his administration also actively sought to discourage and disqualify German Jews seeking to immigrate to the United States. Although FDR inherited a strict immigration quota system from his predecessors, he made the situation much worse, by going above and beyond the law to suppress immigration below the legally permitted levels.”

    http://brandeiscenter.com/blog/when-brandeis-was-ashamed-of-america/

    “On December 18, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt held one of his regular,
    twice-a-week press conferences in the Oval Office. The day before, the Allied
    governments, including the United States, had issued a declaration confirming that the
    Germans were “now carrying into effect Hitler’s oft-repeated intention to exterminate the
    Jewish people in Europe.” The day of the press conference the announcement was frontpage
    news in many American newspapers. The New York Times’ story, which ran in onecolumn
    in the middle of the page, was typical. “11 Allies Condemn Nazi War on Jews,”
    its headline read.
    Roosevelt would have begun that day as his did almost every day, by reading the
    Times and five other morning newspapers in bed.1
    Even so, during the press conference
    that morning, the president never mentioned the Allied declaration heralded on the
    newspapers’ front pages. In fact, Roosevelt started the conference by saying, “I don’t
    think I have anything.” Nor did any of the 40 or so reporters who crowded into the Oval
    Office ask him about it. They inquired about a newly issued report on the expansion of
    Social Security in England, and about the War Labor Board’s jurisdiction over rail union
    demands for a wage increase. They fired a series of questions at the president about
    rationing. But the president did not tell of and the press did not ask about the
    authoritative report that confirmed that two million Jews had been killed and another five
    million Jews were threatened with extermination.2
    2
    The don’t-tell, don’t-ask pattern was repeated during the more than 500 press
    conferences the president gave during World War II.3
    And it was emblematic of both
    FDR’s and the press’ attitude throughout the war toward first the persecution and then the
    extermination of the Jews. Reliable information about what was happening to Europe’s
    Jews regularly reached the U.S. government as well as other reliable sources and much of
    it appeared in American newspapers.4
    Except in a few rare instances, the government did
    not suppress the information in the sense of refusing to release it or explicitly telling the
    press that it could not publish it, but neither the president nor the press chose to
    emphasize the news. The president rarely addressed the ongoing annihilation of the Jews
    in speeches, fireside chats, private conversations, or press conferences. The press
    published news accounts of the extermination campaign, but almost always in short
    articles on inside pages.5
    The front-page treatment of the Allies December 1942
    statement was the exception that proved the rule; it marked the only time in 1942 that The
    New York Times published news about the extermination campaign on page one. As a
    result, most Americans, who relied on the mass media for information about the war, did
    not learn about the Holocaust as it was happening.6”

    http://varianfry.org/documents_english/leff_fdr_press.pdf

  18. Now here’s a question: Did The original film version of the Scarlet Pimpernel Leslie Howard (1934) inspire Fry? So from Voigt To Orzcy to Pimpernel ’34 to Fry to Pimpernel Smith to Wallenberg? Life and Art inspiring each other in an unending spiral? And does it stop there? If the spiral has continued, will we every know?

  19. Correction – Voigt to Kopenick to Orczy to Pimpernel 34 to Fry to Pimpernel 41 to Wallenberg to….

  20. Amazing. The Scarlet Pimpernel has been redone in different forms, novels, films, many times and was the first super hero with a secret identity. The first film was in 1917. There were four silent versions before the one in ’34 and many after. A 1950s British TV series. There was a 1960 and 1982 TV movie, a 1997 Broadway show which was performed in Japan in Japanese in 2016. Among many others.

    And it was a series of novels originally.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scarlet_Pimpernel

    Was it an influence on Schindler, Sugihara, the Japanese Schindler, Maman?

    http://www.jewishpost.com/shalom/Chiune-Sugihara-The-Japanese-Schindler.html

    “Inspired by Oscar Schindler, Jewish Businessman Leads Effort to Rescue Christian, Yazidi Girls From ISIS” AUGUST 10, 2015
    https://www.algemeiner.com/2015/08/10/jewish-businessman-leads-effort-to-rescue-christian-yazidi-girls-kidnapped-and-sold-by-isis/

  21. @ Edgar G.:
    Got all that, Edgar G? I didn’t find it at first because of the spelling, It’s not Kuppernick, “Kopenick” with an umlaut over the o (not sure how to put in special characters, I have a chromebook, I’ve done it by accident but…)

    I think, upon reflection, that the business with the island is more like Kopenick in reverse. In Kopenick, he dons a thrift shop uniform and uses the power of the uniform to dragoon real soldiers to arrest the mayor and steal the city treasury — based on a true story which in turn, may have indirectly inspired Fry and Wallenberg. See above.

    But, this is more like “The Big Dig” in which all the top city officials help the lunatic to tear up the street and turn into a canal, despite the protests of local residents and a lower official who gets branded a lunatic because they believe he must have some authority or he wouldn’t be doing it.

    The push for the port in Gaza is like Captain Kopenick, in reverse. Hamas are the brigands, saying that if they wanted to turn Gaza into Singapore they would have done it themselves, and looking on in disbelief.

    They way the Pals did on the Temple Mount, Oslo, Gaza.

    Are we stupid, they are wondering?

  22. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    It’s there, called “The Captain FROM Kopenick”. I gather that you only looked it up on the internet. You jusr cannot see the real drama and apathetic obedience of the peaked cap and brass buttons syndrome until you see the movie.

  23. @ Edgar G.:
    It’s enough. You see the same phenomenon in the two Pimpernel films I enclosed links to on youtube. And, it is the way Wallenberg operated, as was noted in the article I earlier posted on how Pimpernel Smith inspired him in to rescue Hungarian Jews later.

    If you read carefully, it appears that Voigt, who carried out the actual theft Kopenick was based on, got the idea from the Pimpernel novels, the first of which came out in the year before and the second, the very same year he carried out this operation.

  24. @ Sebastien Zorn:
    I don’t think Blakeney takes advantage of this sort of mentality. You have to be mistaken here. Firstly, the Pimpernel stories-I re-read most of them only in the past couple of months and stopped temporarily at “The Laughing Cavalier- written by Orczy as being Blakeney’s ancestor-… are cast in a war era, and secondly the characters played by Blakeney and his band are all generally of the hoi polloi, in th most miserable condition possible to be and stay alive. Thirdly they are all aristocrats.

    Voight was a common shoemaker and had spent over half his working life in prison, and had only one dominating thought -for himself. And it exuded pathos all the way through. Nothing at all like any of the Pimperner stories, unless you include the Dickens denouement of “it’s a far far better thing I do”..etc. I’m only extempotising here. There are other glaring differences, but no point inmentioning them. But the ONLY point I was making when I brought it up was the blinding obedience to authority combined with utter negligence and stupidity of the salaried bureaucrats.

    I would be more inclined to link it loosely with “The Good Sioldier Schweik” by Jaroslav Hasek, which I first read when a kid. I actually have 2 copies somewhere (on is a Penguin) and re-read it several times. But I’m talking memories stretching back from at least 1987-8 when I returned from Israel, all my books packed in boxes (I had to give away over 2000 before leaving Israel including a Du Maurier 1st edition of “Trilby”..it broke my heart) I never got the chance nor space to unpack after arrival in Canada and they’re somewhere in storage many miles from where I now live.

    DID YOU LIKE THE MOVIE……. ???????

    Oh by the way I know all about Reinhart and etc, his wife and etc, it’s all on the internet and I’ve seen it several times. Basserman is by way of being a favourite of mine, more so since I got an inkliong of his life story, especially during the 1920s and on.

  25. @ ms

    On the issue of inducing Arabs to leave, as I’ve posted numerous times, abolish the welfare state and moochers will avoid coming to Israel; resident moochers will LEAVE.

    Since the western, sociali’zt-democracies have very powerful welfare magnets of their own (which, of course, I oppose), and they show no signs of ridding them any time soon, the moochers have every incentive to relocate to those places.

    NO Israeli taxpayer money required.

    Regarding the scheme to build a port for the Arabs, wirh the project subsidized by Israeli taxpayers, of course I oppose it, especially since ports are synonymous with tax/tariff collection stations.

  26. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    You’re assuming that Voigt, almost illiterate, nearly 60 year old, with most of his life in prison (nearly 40 years since age 14) knew English well enough to be interested and read the Scarlet Pimpernel…… and got it just as it he was out of prison, and long before it was ever translated into German……….I’m sure English novels however exciting didn’t do a big business in the Kaiser’s Germany. He actually spent all his time, after he left prison, dodging the police who had banned him from Berlin and he sneaked back, moving from place to place etc.

    I also don’t believe that a man like Voigt, indeed anyone, would get the idea that Voigt carried out from any Pimpernel book and he surely wasn;t a playgoer. He didn’t want to rescue anybody only wanted to get himself a passport and was upset with the bureaucracy..

    The only conection with the Scarlet Pimpernel was the movie name and the fact that Leslie Howard-a Jew- had starred in one of the earlier Pimpernel movies. I remember the movie well.. I thought that the fat man Francis Sullivan played an excellent role. Wallenberg, one of the great heroes of the War, and it was the Smith movie in which a handful were rescued, which gave him the inspiration to eventually save tens of thousands. You make the various linkages sound very interesting but they don’t stand up to even a casual scrutiny.. The “Pimpernel” nomenclature became popular for anything to do with escapes or rescues, for events which otherwise had no mutual resemblence.

  27. Not one. Both. In fact, he produced, wrote, directed and starred in Pimpernel Smith which directly inspired Wallenberg, as we know from his sister. He was half-Hungarian Jewish, on his father’s side. The Wehrmacht hunted for his plane and shot it down, then Goebbels printed in Banner headlines in his paper, larger than the news of the German retreat from Russia, “Pimpernel Howard Has Made His Last Journey!” Sound like a coincidence to you? [That was in a previous post.]

    A 1908 advertisement for the book noted that it had been translated into a number of languages, including German and Hungarian. She was Hungarian and an aristocrat.

    “Emmuska Orczy was born in Tarnaörs, Heves County, Hungary, and was the daughter of composer Baron Félix Orczy de Orci (1835–1892) and Countess Emma Wass de Szentegyed et Cege (1839–1892).[1] Her grandfather, Baron László Orczy (1787–1880) was a royal councillor, and also knight of the Sicilian order of Saint George,[2] her grandmother was the Baroness Magdolna Müller (1811–1879).[3] Her maternal grandparents were the Count Sámuel Wass de Szentegyed et Cege (1815–1879), member of the Hungarian parliament,[4] and Rozália Eperjessy de Károlyfejérvár (1814–1884).[5]
    Emma’s parents left their estate for Budapest in 1868, fearful of the threat of a peasant revolution. They lived in Budapest, Brussels, and Paris, where Emma studied music unsuccessfully. Finally, in 1880, the 14-year-old Emma and her family moved to London, England where they lodged with their countryman, Francis Pichler, at 162 Great Portland Street. Orczy attended West London School of Art and then Heatherley’s School of Fine Art…”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_Orczy

    Voigt lived from 1849 to 1922. He was 57 in 1906. So what? By the way, he was a kind of Willie Sutton. Everybody thought it very funny in a satirical way and he was pardoned. They have a parade in his honor in that town every year. Lot of stuff on the web, including the trailer and excerpts of the 31 and 52 remake of the Hauptmann Kupernic film you cited.

    It was a big international hit, and it was available in German, too, the year before he pulled his heist. This is a link to a Google Books excerpt of a publishing history of Scarlet Pimpernel

    https://books.google.com/books?id=z0QHDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA113&lpg=PA113&dq=was+the+scarlet+pimpernel+translated+into+german&source=bl&ots=4Md0fcZyrK&sig=B6OrsgyuQXKlvhivlQEb1ALncjU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiS7obypIvVAhXLMj4KHai5AZQQ6AEIWzAF#v=onepage&q=was%20the%20scarlet%20pimpernel%20translated%20into%20german&f=false

  28. The novel was the first to introduce the concept of what Voigt pulled off and established what became the super-hero genre.

    “Literary significance

    The title character, Sir Percy Blakeney, a wealthy English fop who transforms into a formidable swordsman and a quick-thinking escape artist, represents the original “hero with a secret identity” that was a precursor to subsequent literary creations such as Don Diego de la Vega (Zorro), Kent Allard/Lamont Cranston (The Shadow) and Bruce Wayne (Batman).[2]
    Establishing the notion of a hero with a secret identity into popular culture, the Scarlet Pimpernel exhibits characteristics that would become standard superhero conventions, including the penchant for disguise, use of a signature weapon (sword), ability to out-think and outwit his adversaries, and a calling card (he leaves behind a scarlet pimpernel at each of his interventions).[3] By drawing attention to his alter ego Blakeney he hides behind his public face as a slow thinking foppish playboy (like Bruce Wayne), and he also establishes a network of supporters, The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel, that aid his endeavours.[3]
    The popular success of the novel is considered to be based on the myth of the aristocratic hero with a double life, along with the love story and conflict of loyalties.[1] Dugan says that “Behind the wigs and Mechlin lace cuffs lies an enduring human story of love, misunderstandings, conflict of loyalties, audacious bravery – and a dramatic double life.” and this is a major part of the story’s enduring popularity.[1] Another aspect is the “Englishness” of the hero in the era when the British Empire began to shrink.[4]”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scarlet_Pimpernel

    And Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who was recruited by American Intelligence to save Hungarian Jews in 1944, hence the relevance of the last sentence of the paragraph quoted above. But, he’d been thinking about it for 3 years, ever since he saw the film, which he saw with his sister in 1941. He had said to her, he wished he could do something like that, at the time and then never mentioned it again.

  29. It’s a pattern. Life and art imitating each other in a never ending back and forth. Another I’ve mentioned: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was inspired by the most read novel in the Ghetto, “The Forty Days of Musa Degh” by Franz Werfel — who would later be rescued and spirited out of France by Varian Fry — which was inspired by the real life successful rebellion of a Christian Armenian town which held off the genocidal onslaught of the Turkish Muslim army — with the active assistance and oversight of the German military — for a month, in 1919. Hitler, himself, later said that they would be able to get away with murdering all the Jews because nobody had cared when they were murdering the Armenians. He was right.

    FDR refused to threaten chemical warfare on behalf of the Jews — as he did on behalf of Chinese Civilians, and Soldiers and civilians of allied countries — because Jews didn’t have a state and therefore weren’t an ally. So the argument went.

    Self-reliance. The world has never saved us. It never will.

  30. @ Edgar G.:
    Why do you assume he was almost illiterate?

    “In 1863, aged 14, he was sentenced to 14 days in prison for theft, which led to his expulsion from school. He learned shoemaking from his father…”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Voigt

    People read in those days, what else was there? and a fourth grade education was about average even in the U.S. School until 14 is not illiterate at all for the time.

  31. @ Edgar G.:
    “The Prussian education system refers to the system of education established in Prussia as a result of educational reforms in the late 18th and early 19th century, which has had widespread influence since. It is predominantly used as an American political slogan in educational reform debates, since it was adopted by all American K–12 public schools and major universities as early as the late 18th century, and is often used as a derogatory term for education in the service of nation-building, teaching children and young adults blind obedience to authority, and reinforcing class and race prejudice.[1] The actual Prussian education system was introduced as a basic concept in the late 18th century and was significantly enhanced after Prussia’s defeat in the early stages of the Napoleonic Wars. The Prussian educational reforms inspired other countries and remains important as a biopower in the Foucaultian sense for nation-building.[2] Compulsory education on the Prussian example was soon mirrored in Scandinavia, and United States started to adopt the Prussian example. Early American adopters include Daniel Coit Gilman, who set up The General Education Board, later renamed The Rockefeller Foundation, and first president of Johns Hopkins, John Dewey at the University of Chicago, James McKeen Cattell at The University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, Henry Philip Tappan at The University of Michigan, James Earl Russell at the New York College for the Training of Teachers, and many more. France and the UK failed to introduce similar systems until the 1880s.
    The term itself is not used in German literature, which refers to the primary aspects of the Humboldtian education ideal respectively as the Prussian reforms; however, the basic concept remains fruitful and has led to various debates and controversies. 21st century primary and secondary education in Germany and beyond still embodies the legacy of the Prussian education system….The basic foundations of a generic Prussian primary education system were laid out by Frederick the Great with his Generallandschulreglement, a decree of 1763,

    ‘…r’s seminary in Prussia. His concept of providing teachers with the means to cultivate mulberries for homespun silk, which was one of Frederick’s favorite projects, found the King’s favour.[3] It expanded the existing schooling system significantly and required that all young citizens, both girls and boys, be educated by mainly municipality-funded schools from the age of 5 to 13 or 14. Prussia was among the first countries in the world to introduce tax-funded and generally compulsory primary education.[4] In comparison, in France and Great Britain, compulsory schooling was not successfully enacted until the 1880s.[5]
    The Prussian system consisted of an eight-year course of primary education, called Volksschule. It provided not only basic technical skills needed in a modernizing world (such as reading and writing), but also music (singing) and religious (Christian) education in close cooperation with the churches and tried to impose a strict ethos of duty, sobriety and discipline. Mathematics and calculus were not compulsory at the start and taking such courses required additional payment by parents. Frederick the Great also formalized further educational stages, the Realschule and as the highest stage the gymnasium (state-funded secondary school), which served as a university-preparatory school.[6]…”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prussian_education_system

  32. @ Edgar G.:
    …By the turn of the century transitional period, blue collar workers can no longer be seen as a stratum to which reading culture was alien…”

    Reading Germany: Literature and Consumer Culture in Germany Before 1933
    By Gideon Reuveni

    Google Books Excerpt

    https://books.google.com/books?id=4KNdCjZ4OZgC&pg=PA71&lpg=PA71&dq=did+working+people+read+in+turn+of+the+century+germany&source=bl&ots=5d58bDQwMn&sig=L5j9sVXR_gORG-oLfaH2nhxCbxo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjYpr6g6ovVAhWEzz4KHbpYBTAQ6AEIQzAF#v=onepage&q&f=false

  33. @ Edgar G.:
    I was wondering if pro-Israel actor John Voight might be related but the German, albeit, partly Prussian side had a completely different name. Voight was a germanization of a Slovak name. He’s of Prussian, Bavarian, Slovak and maybe Hungarian descent.

    “Jon Voight is an American actor. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Coming Home (1978).

    He is the son of Barbara (Kamp) and Elmer Vojtka/Voight. His father was of Slovak descent and his mother was of German ancestry. Jon’s children, with ex-wife Marcheline Bertrand, are actors James Haven (James Haven Voight), who is also a producer, and Angelina Jolie (Angelina Jolie Voight), who is also a filmmaker and humanitarian. He is the brother of Barry Voight, a volcanologist, and Chip Taylor, a songwriter.

    Jon’s paternal grandparents were George Vojtka/Vojtech/Voytka and Helen “Nellie”. George was born in Kassa, Hungary (now in Košice, Slovakia). Helen was born in New Jersey, to Slovak parents.

    Jon’s maternal grandfather was Joseph H. Kamp (the son of Heinrich Kamp and Theresia Baum). Joseph was born in Büren, Germany. Heinrich was the son of Franz Kamp and Bernardina Thielemeyer. Theresia was the daughter of Christina Baum.

    Jon’s maternal grandmother was Margaret Franz (the daughter of Peter Franz and Barbara). Margaret was born in New York, to German parents, a father from Prussia and a mother from Bavaria.”

    http://ethnicelebs.com/jon-voight

    A Mensch. Really unusual for an actor.

    “Jon Voight Pens Letter to ‘Ignorant’ Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz on Israel: ‘Hang Your Heads in Shame’ (Guest Column)
    9:00 AM PDT 8/2/2014 by Jon Voight
    FACEBOOK
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    Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

    The actor urges colleagues to “examine their motives,” asking “Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now?”
    My name is Jon Voight and I am more than angry, I am heartsick that people like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused.

    They are obviously ignorant of the whole story of Israel’s birth, when in 1948 the Jewish people were offered by the UN a portion of the land originally set aside for them in 1921, and the Arab Palestinians were offered the other half. The Arabs rejected the offer, and the Jews accepted, only to be attacked by five surrounding Arab countries committed to driving them into the sea. But the Israelis won. The Arabs tried it again in 1967, and again in 1973, launching a sneak attack on the holiest Jewish holiday. Each time the Jews prevailed but not without great loss of life. And when Israel was not fighting a major war, it was defending itself against terrorist campaigns.

    And yet Israel has always labored for a peaceful relation with its Arab neighbors. It voluntarily returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in return for peace, and gave the Palestinians all of Gaza as a peace gesture. What was the response? The Palestinians elected Hamas, a terrorist organization, and they immediately began firing thousands of rockets into Israel.

    After years of trying to make peace, the wars they had to fight, being attacked by their enemies, and still being attacked, and finally after years of running into bomb shelters and having hundreds of civilians killed by suicide bombers, civilians being killed in their sleep, stabbed to pieces, finding enough is enough and finally retaliating, instead of my peers sticking up for the only democratic country in that region, they go and take out poison letters against them.

    You have forgotten how this war started. Did Hamas not kidnap and kill three young teenagers for the sake of killing, and celebrated after the killing? What a travesty of justice.

    I am asking all my peers who signed that poison letter against Israel to examine their motives. Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now?

    You have been able to become famous and have all your monetary gains because you are in a democratic country: America. Do you think you would have been able to accomplish this in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, et cetera? You had a great responsibility to use your celebrity for good. Instead, you have defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East: Israel.

    You should hang your heads in shame. You should all come forth with deep regrets for what you did, and ask forgiveness from the suffering people in Israel.”

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/jon-voight-pens-letter-ignorant-723007

    Jon Voight Sends Urgent Message to Israel (Exclusive Video)
    Published on Mar 18, 2015

    https://youtu.be/GdKNNHQMND4

  34. @ Edgar G.:
    Ha Ha. Nice riposte!

    I have made the amusing observation in the past, that if you want to insult somebody in a way that will be doubly effective, in as much as they will have no legitimate way of responding and then must simply implode with anger that has no place to go — Compliment them. Praise them for qualities they obviously lack. What are they gonna say?

    “I am not GENEROUS AND KIND!”

    This guy explodes from food, but I suppose it could happen from internalized anger, eh?

    Mr. Creosote Blows Up
    https://youtu.be/rXH_12QWWg8

  35. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    .. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    Sebastien, you have a wonderful imagination, it knows no bounds…..

    I unfortunately don’t have the advantage of being able to use the “Copy and Paste” system, whilst you do, extensively.

    I am well aware of the Prussian compulsory educational system, (mainly teaching obediance to authority), and Voigt left school able to read, but any 14 year old kid, scrambling for work and under a father doesn’t have time to expand his “learning” even if he has the interest in doing so. and do you know if Voigt did…? He most likely regressed. Regardless of the couple of weeks in prison at his beginning of crime, he was from then on plunged into it. He was born in 1849, and between 14 and age 42 had 30-31 years in prison for various crimes not resembling any “Willie Sutton” armed holdups.. He didn’t live that sort of life…how could he? Was likely never in a bank in his life.

    Besides, your “Willie Sutton” remark comes only from some news or movie PR reporter’s coining the phrase, because of the publicity surrounding the “Captain” when it was made internationally public through the movie, As Sutton’s remark about “going where the money is” gave them a laugh so did the “Captain” for different reasons. There was no obvious other connection, as Sutton was a violent bank holdup man and Voigt was a habitual small criminal.

    The first movie, in German in 1931 the second-in English-the one I saw, in 1945. Willie Sutton was only born when Voigt was in the middle of his last (but one) prison sentence of 15 years, and already 50 years old with no thought of the “Captain” in his head……yet.

    Between 1849 (his birth and 1905 (his release) he’s spent about 40 years in prison. He was then 57 years old, so you could say…straight from school to prison in an enending bureaucratic mish-mash of crimes to keep alive, and punitive sentences

  36. @ Edgar G.:
    People read back then and he had almost completed the 8 years of compulsory education.

    Voigt was pardoned by the Kaiser. Sutton, who also lived a life of crime, was released from prison for good behavior and became a consultant for banks on robbery.

    The point is they were both folk heroes. I wasn’t drawing a connection between them.

    And why can’t you copy and paste? Is it brain surgery? just google the basic editing instructions for whatever machine you have. There are certain universal short cuts. Ctrl C is copy, Ctrl v is paste. Ctrl a is select all. Left click at the beginning of a passage you want to copy, shift left click at the end. or left button drag and release.

    right click on a link for shortcut menu and you can select, “copy link.”

    My skills are primitive, I assure you. This is basic.

    I didn’t see the comment in which you asked if I liked the movie. Unfortunately, only clips without subtitles are available, and not the relevant clip or clips. I gather you didn’t look for yourself.

    I haven’t read the Pimpernel series. I am assuming that the films faithfully reproduce his intimidation techniques, assuming authority he doesn’t have. My father did the same thing, rescuing Jews by posing as a Nazi and intimidating the real Nazis with authority he didn’t have during the siege of Budapest. Never thought to ask if he’s seen it.

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