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October 29, 1982 - Image 66

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Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-10-29

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

66 Friday, October 29, 1982

New Novel About the Concentration Camp Doctors

ESIGN-I

Laminated Tables

Residential & Commercial

Graphic Wall Design
KEITH SCHARE

Designer

569-2462 543-0203,

rial South America, ruled
by the tyrant El Presidente.
There, Dr. Langhof
built for himself an or-
chard nursery, lived in
constant fear, and
forever reminisced about
the crimes he had com-
mitted in camp.
For his protection, Lan-
ghof paid El Presidente 'an
annual fee in diamonds,
once the property of the
camp victims.
.Dr. Ludtz, the novel's
other major character, like
Langhof lived in perpetual
dread of being caught by the
agents of Arnstein who de-
voted his life to catching

By ALLEN A. WARSEN
"Sometimes I dream that
in the end all the innocent
blood that has been shed
will be gathered in a great
pit and those who spilled it
will be forced to swim in it
forever."
The above passage is from
Thomas H. Cook's novel
' "The Orchids" (Houghton
Mifflin).
The novel's principal
character, Dr. Peter Lan-
ghof, the notorious camp
doctor, at the end of World
War II escaped from Ger-
many via Switzerland to El
Caliz, a village in the Re-
public, a country in equato-

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former Camp "officials" and
bringing them to justice.
But Ludtz vowed he would
never be caught alive. In-
stead, like the Third Reich
Minister of Air, he would
kill himself first with
cyanide.
They considered the in-
mates as vermin and not as
humans, in their effort to
ease in their conscience.
At El Caliz, Dr. Ludtz
insisted on speaking only
English for he considered
his native tongue a "ver-
bal fingerprint." Neither
would he speak Spanish,
a peasant-tongue.
Curiously, Dr. Ludtz be-
lieved in life after death.
But in camp he
enthusiastically ex-
perimented with elec-
troshock devices on young
children, measured the to-
nenails of sets of twins,
examined the brains of
young boys and performed
other unimaginable tests on
both the living and the
dead.
Interestingly, prior to his
escape from camp, he at-
tempted to destory all the
evidence of his bestial acts
by various means, including
tearing, burning and swal-
lowing some of the most in-
criminating.
He died in El Caliz of old
age.
The novel's other char-
acters are El Presidente,
Esperanza and Juan.
El Presidente, the Re-
public's egotistic and de-
spotic ruler, proclaimed
himself God's chosen
representative. Accord-
ing to the "Official His-

orchid nursery, like Es-
peranza, is superstitious
and "lives utterly withOut
benefit of subtlety, respond-
ing only to gods and demons
who are wholly visible to
him." Juan, moreover, be-
lieves that these super-
natural forces "drown the
fields, bake the stream beds,
humiliate the orchids, dis-
pense blessings or malici-
ously withhold them."
Like Esperanza, Juan
looks down at Dr. Langhof
for his curious notions about
curing sicknesses and disbe-
lieving the beneficial and
evil spirits.
Curiously, Langhof
portrayed the Leader
(Hitler) as a caricature
with rounded shoulders,
Moorish eyes, trembling
double chin and a "Chap-
linesque mustache whose
oddity seemed to blur the
surrounding face." He,
moreover, regarded the
Leader as "a crude
parody of what he
thought himself to be, a
posturing little hysteric
who somehow managed
to vitalize the inert
mindlessness that sur-
rounded him."
Unlike Dr. Ludtz, Lan-
ghof did not believe in a
world beyond this world.

tory," El Presidente's
mother, Mary, fought for
three days for his life. Fi-
nally, he was delivered
"unto the world wholly
clean, without taint or
blemish." It is recorded
that "the sun broke over
the ridge at the precise
moment of his birth." It is
that
also reported
"among the peasants, he
was known to be one who
could divine the mys-
teries of wind and water
." and save the country
from terrible storms "by
confronting the rampag-
ing elements with his own
body and demanding
their retreat."
In contrast to El
Presidente, who evoked fear
but not respect from the
people he was ruling, was
Esperanza, Dr. Langhofs
housemaid, a poor woman,
whom the villagers
genuinely revered and
whose futures and fortunes
she foretold and sicknesses
cured by means of spells and
charms.
Juan, a villager who
takes care of Dr. Langhofs

Oct. 22 — To Mr. and Mrs.
Roby Wolson (Anne
Stewart), former Michigan
residents of North Miami,
Fla., a daughter, Rachel
Stewart. -

Move to Capital

JERUSALEM (JNI) —
The Association of Ameri-
cans and Canadians in Is-
rael moved its national
headquarters from Tel Aviv
to Jerusalem on Oct. 14.
So far, there are no signs
that any other of the other
dozen immigrant associa-
tions will follow the AACI
move.

r

Yet, he would often think
about the possibility of the
existence of such a world.
Should it really exist, he
thought, "we would be re-
born into it not as our physi-
cal selves, but as the simple
irreducible essences of what
we were. The killer would
be born again, not as a man
or woman, but as some per-
fect engine of destruction —
a pistol or an ice pick .. .
Ludtz might be reborn as a
crusty little tomb and Lan-
ghof as a maggot impris-
oned in a tear."
As an official of the Spe-
cial Section, Dr. Langhof
performed experiments on
human beings too gruesome
to mention. He would watch
the flames emerging from
the crematoria chimneys.
meeting the oncoming
trains and follow "the hud-
dled crowds to the mouths of
the gas chambers."
Like the Roman Emperor
Nero, he imagined himself
as a kind of artist, observing
the camp from all angles,
scribbling notes, conducting
interviews . . ."
But in El Caliz, Dr. Lan-
ghof, who had been reliving
mentally and emotionally
his past life, suddenly,
whether from fear or re-
morse, committed suicide.

Births

Oct. 22 — -To former De-
troiter and Mrs. Jeffrey
Weiss (Janice Cohan) of
Canoga Park, Calif., a son,
Daniel Scott.

* * *

* * *

Oct. 21 — To Mr. and Mrs.
Sam Fried (Gigi Panush),
former Detroiters of
Evanston, Ill. a daughter,
Only Zepporah.
* * *
Oct. 20 — To Mr. and Mrs.
Ronald Schulman (Helen
Majzner), former Detroiters
of Encino, Calif., a son,
Aaron Michael.
* * *
Oct. 17 — To Mr. and Mrs.
Mark Kaploe (Linda
Schwartz) of Southfield, a
son, Brandon Scott.

Aug. 28 — To Dr. and
Mrs. Ronald Spalter (Betsy
Kaine) of Southfield, a
daughter, Alison Beth.
* * *
Aug. 21 — To Mr. and
Mrs. Seymour Israel
(former Detroiter Gayle
Benderoff) of New York
City, a daughter, Laura Re-
nee.
* * *
To Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence
Singer (Linda Mayden) of
Berkley, a son, Eric Scott.
• ---

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Oct. 17 — To Mr. and Mrs.
Jerry Feig (Cynthia Leven)
of Southfield, a son, Ian
Matthew.

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Oct. 15 — To Mr. and Mrs.
Lawrence Krohn (Barbara
Salzenstein) of Oak Park, a
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Oct. 9 — To Mr. and Mrs.
Larry Bogrow (Susan
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Matthew.

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Oct. 8 — To former De-
troiter Dr. David Schneider
and Mrs. Schneider (Linda
Wallace of Ithaca, N.Y.) of
Oakland, Calif., a son, Peter
Grant.

REV. REIM

ROTH

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557-0888

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