"Even paranoid people have real enemies."
This was whispered in my ear more than thirty years ago, while I sat in a pot-induced haze, attempting to make sense of the universe in my fifteen-year old brain. It was, at the time, the most profound thing I had ever heard. Yesterday, it popped into my mind while I read the New York Times Obituaries.
Do we all read the obituaries? I do as did my father. He read them so he would never miss a funeral. Rabbis say that attending a funeral is the greatest mitzvah that one can do because it was one that could never be re-paid. My father wasn't Jewish but that was the kind of logic that he understood.
I read the obituaries because I believe that, at this point in human history, we are at a draw in the battle between good and evil. I know we lose a lot of good people so I just like to check and make sure that we are also losing some of the evil folk. Saturday was a particularly good day in the battle against evil. Paul Schaeffer died. No, not that Paul Schaeffer (even Leno isn't THAT powerful).
The New York Times reports that this Paul Schaeffer was a "Nazi era German solider." In other words he was a Nazi. Schaeffer founded "a secretive German cult in southern Chile." In other words he was still a Nazi. At the time of his death he was serving a "25 year sentence for the sexual abuse of minors." Apparently, for years, he was abusing minors and giving shelter to Nazis who were being hunted. The Times is quick to mention that he was never hunted for being a Nazi.
Buried in the story is the fact that he was also investigated for the 1985 disappearance of Boris Weisfeiler, a Russian born Jew who was an American citizen, who vanished while on a hiking trip in Chile.
"The Chilean Government said [Boris] drowned while trying to ford a river." This would seem to be Nazi propaganda. The State Department and the CIA report in later declassified documents, that Boris "was probably kidnapped by Chilean security forces then handed over to Mr. Schaeffer's heavily armed Colonia Dignidad religious sect". One military source said Mr. Weisfeiler was held captive there and later tortured and executed.
So what the New York Times is actually saying (or trying its hardest not to say) is that in 1985, a Nazi killed a Jew with the support of a state government.
My wife says that I'm paranoid when I tell her that I don't want to travel to places where they still hate Jews.
Still, I would never have put hiking in Chile on the list of unsafe places to travel as a Jew. Frankly, I probably wouldn't have put Chile on the travel list to begin with.
Yisrael Campbell is currently starring off-Broadway in "Circumcise Me" at The Bleecker Street Theater in New York City