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August 19, 1988 - Image 46

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-08-19

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I 855-0480

We Want to
Belong to
Family. fir


Here's what's waiting for you.

Michigan's oldest congregation—getting younger every day.

A vibrant, growing membership keeps Temple Beth El young, with
strong ideals and new ideas.

An excellent religious school—for students of all ages.

No matter how young or how old, our students enrich themselves by
studying their spiritual and cultural identity
■ Nursery School and Extended ■ Confirmation
■ High School
■ Kindergarten
■ Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah
■ Complete Special Education
■ College of Jewish Studies
■ Bar/Bat Mitzvah
■ Weekly Torah Study

A friendly place to pray and grow—a family of families.

Temple Beth El appeals to many groups for social and spiritual
■ Middle Years Group
■ Young People's Society
■ Beth Elders
■ Singles
■ Mixed-faith families
■ Sisterhood and Brotherhood
■ Single-parent families
■ Married Group

Rabbi Daniel Polish—a national leader in Reform Judaism.

Rabbi Polish comes to us from Temple Israel
in Los Angeles, where he was a respected
leader in the Reform Jewish community.

We'd Like to Meet You

Open House for Prospective Members

Monday, August 29, 7 pm-9 pm
at Temple Beth El. Come see how
easy it is to belong. For more
information, call 851-1100, or stop
by during office hours.

Temple Beth El

7400 Telegraph Road
Birmingham, Michigan 48010


FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 1988 -

How I Came To Cover
The Second World War


Temple Beth El



Special to The Jewish News



ext year marks the
50th anniversary of
the start of World
War II, with almost endless
reminiscences, recollections
and reflections on the effects
of what began on September
1, 1939.
My own World War II ex-
perience actually started 50
years ago this week, when, in
the summer of 1938, a friend
and colleague, Frank Gervasi,
home on leave from his post
as a foreign correspondent in
Rome, came to New Hamp-
shire to visit me on the farm.
For six years I had been in
semi-retirement, trying (not
very successfully) to raise
chickens and write books.
He suggested that I cover
one more story before I retired
permanently, the war which
he figured would break out in
Europe "about the first of
September, next year."
Having read no newspapers
for six years, and owning no
radio, I was in such ignorance
about the world beyond the
road up to my farm that I ask-
ed Gervasi to explain who the
belligerents would be.
He replied that the best
way to prepare myself would
be to read just two books:
Hitler's "Mein Kampf' and
Machiavelli's "The Prince."
When I applied to my
former employer, the Asso-
ciated Press, for a job as a war
correspondent I was told (a)
the New York office of the AP
didn't think there was going
to be a war, and (b) even if so,
I was much too old (I was then
36) to become a war
During the next few months
I saved enough money for
steamship tickets to Europe
(plus a few hundred dollars)
and arrived on August 28,
1939, in Paris, which I found
to be overrun with foreign
correspondents, about half of
whom agreed with the AP
that no war was imminent.
So I took what remained of
the nest egg and bought
railroad tickets to Bucharest,
Romania, with the idea that
if the Gervasi prediction came
true there would be less com-
petition for a job as a war cor-
respondent in Bucharest than
in Paris, and if the prediction
was wrong, I could gather
material for a biography of
King Carol and his red-haired
Jewish mistress, Mme.
Magda Lupescu, which might
possibly become a best-seller.
While changing trains in
Budapest I learned that

precisely on the day Gervasi
had named, September 1,
while we were asleep in a
railroad train between Paris
and Budapest, the Nazis had
attacked. Poland. The AP of-
fice in Budapest was in
desperate need of experienced
professional help. And so,
aged 37 though I now was, I
became a war correspondent.
First for AP and then for
NBC, by written then spoken
word, I reported on World War
II. Eventually I did get to
Bucharest, not to write a
Carol-Lupescu biography, but
to report on how Carol, under
pressure from Berlin, invited
two divisions of Nazi troops
into his country for the osten-
sible purpose of "training the
Romanian army in methods
of modern warfare" — the
cheapest of all the Nazis'
takeover of a country.
Before moving from Buda-
pest to Bucharest, I helped
fish out of the Danube River
the dead body of a colleague-
friend, Walter Bertram, a
British-Jewish newspaper-
man, who had been picked up
by Gestapo agents, bound
hand and foot with copper
wire, and then dumped into
the Danube.
But it was in Bucharest
that I saw savage anti-
Semitism at its vilest and it
was there and then I became
what David Ben-Gurion later
called me, "a goyisher
Reporting World War II and
the subsequent five Arab-
Israeli wars, I have often
smelled the odor of burning
human flesh, but my in-
troduction to this sickly-sweet
scent was during the 1941
pogrom in Bucharest.
It happened on a street cor-
ner in the Romanian capital,
when a hundred or more
members of the Brotherhood
of the Archangel Michael,
commonly called the Iron
Guard, set fire to one of their
Jewish prisoners — then
danced in a circle around the
burning body as they chanted
the Christian hymn they
habitually used as their bat-
tle cry.
There were other never-to-
be-forgotten experiences
before the Romanian Fascist
pogrom finally ended, the
worst taking place at the
Bucharest abattoir, where the
Brotherhood slaughtered
several hundred Jewish men
and women as if they were
That all happened almost
half a century ago but the
memories are still as poi-
gnant as is that smell.

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