LESSONS FROM THE HOLOCAUST 3

This will be my final entry on this subject regardless of what may transpire after I post it.

It will be the longest entry and the most difficult for me to write.

This week I have sent an email to dozens of friends and attorneys, Jewish and not Jewish, that I feel close enough to, asking them to read the last two entries in my blog.

On the 23rd I sent such an email to Matt Landau, asking him to forward it to Stuart Mellon, CEO of the Jewish Federation, one to Nathan Rothschild and one to Bryan Davis.

On the 24th I emailed Matt again, asking if he had forwarded my email to Mr. Mellon. He has not responded to me.

On the 24th I called Bryan Davis and spoke with a woman at the Holocaust Museum, asking her to give him a message to please call me. She said that he was there and that she would find him and would give him the message. I gave her both my office and home telephone numbers.

On the 23rd I wrote a letter to Mayor Jonathan Rothschild asking him to read those entries. Brian Davis had told me that the Mayor was aware of the Lessons program. The Mayor is Nathan Rothschild’s father and is a Jew. The letter left my office for delivery by the runner yesterday morning. I had written the word “Personal” on the front and the back of the envelope in red ink in hope that it would reach him.

I have never heard back from Amelia Cramer, Kat Wyler nor the Jewish Anti-Defamation League

Of the thirty to forty folks I contacted after I spoke with the four attorneys I mentioned in my first Lessons entry, seven got back to me:

My friend, Barbara Osborne, told me that what I had written had made her cry. Barbara is an animal advocate who fosters sick cats.

My friend, Sean Clancey, told me that usually people don’t do anything about situations like mine until after it’s a fait accompli. Sean is a business attorney in Scottsdale. We were Public Defenders together in Phoenix thirty years ago. He is a true patriot and one of my true friends.

My friend, William Koch, told me that he supported me in what I am doing, that he understood how important this is to me. William works at Raytheon and has very high security clearances. I don’t know what he does out there. I do know that he is a Christian who is truly Christian and embodies the finest of Christ’s teachings.

My friend, Weaver Barkman, told me that it has to do what he calls “malignant indifference”. He told that Simon Weisenthal had said something to the effect that indifference is more dangerous than hate. He sent me Martin Niemoller’s quote (which was one of those shown and read in the Lessons) that ends with “Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”. Weaver is a retired Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy and a superb private detective.

My friend, David Curl, told me that it would be so easy to remedy Lessons, that all they would have to do is to say “We are all the guardians of freedom” instead of “…the police are the guardians of freedom.”. We spoke about the growing intolerance for many races and creeds here and abroad. David is an excellent insurance defense attorney and a good, enlightened being.

My friend, Harvey Karchmer, told me that he is frightened by what is taking place in America today. Harvey is my oldest living friend. We graduated from Catalina High School together in 1966. We lived a few blocks apart. Our senior year he was Student Body President and I was Chief Justice of the Student Court. Harvey met his wife of almost 50 years in Israel. They are both retired and are going to go see Russia soon. I hope that they are allowed to leave.

And last, I heard from my friend, Tom Schaumberg, the little boy who bit into a raw egg at the time of the liberation. Nothing about the Holocaust nor my blog was mentioned. There was no need for this. Tom is the older brother that I never had. Look at his law firm’s web site in Washington, D.C. Next to Tom’s skill, expertise and achievements I look like a country bumpkin.

So here’s the back story on all of this:

My mother taught me that when called names a gentleman should turn the other cheek, take the higher road, walk away. My father taught me to say to a bully “Look, you big dumb son of a bitch, if you don’t leave me alone I’ll break your arm.”. He taught me that bullies bully because every one is afraid to stand up to them which encourages them to continue to bully.

My best, dearly departed, friend, Charles Timberlake Callison, left Tucson with his family after the end of our junior year at Catalina.

Early in my senior year, his dearly departed mother, Betty, called me. Tim had loaned his drum set to a guy named Gary (I can’t remember his last name) who was refusing to return it. She asked me if I would get the drums back.

I spoke with Gary. He brought the drums to school. And when I went to get them he started calling me a dirty Jew in front of whichever students were outside the front doors of the school at that moment.

Remembering my mother’s teachings, I did and said nothing.

I felt disgusted with my self.

And I decided within my self “never again”.

My next test came later that year.

My kid brother came home and told me that Eugene Brown, a football player, was picking on him.

Brownie was over 6 feet tall and had to weight 180 to 200 pounds. I’m still 5′ 9 1/2″ , 145, just like I was then.

The next day at school I walked up to Brownie. He said “Hi Jeff. How are you doing?”. And I said “Look Brown, if you don’t leave my brother alone I’m going to kick the shit out of you.”. I can still remember, more than 50 years later as I write this, that millisecond, waiting for him to clobber me. He said “I’m really sorry, Jeff.”. And he left my brother alone.

The next time was at my dad’s store, Stereo-A-Go-Go, on  Speedway a few doors down from where the Orange Julius used to be. Two guys from school came into the store. One of them wanted to beat me up for some reason long forgotten. I told them to walk around to the back of the building and that I would go through the store and meet them there.

I met them out in the alley, put my arms at my side and told the fighter “Go ahead and hit me.”. He said “What?”. I said “Go ahead and hit me. I want to be able to tell them that it was self defense when they see what I’ve done to you.”. His friend was yelling “Go on, go on, hit him.”.  The fighter just turned and walked away.

After that, all of my confrontations, as fate would have it, had to do with anti-Semitism.

The first time was at a ball game at Hi Corbett field. Three or four guys about 10 rows behind us were yelling about the “Jew” playing in right field. I left the folks I was with, walked up to those guys, looked them dead in their eyes and told them that I was a Jew and if they didn’t shut up I was going to beat the shit out of all of them. They shut up.

There was an afternoon when I was sitting at a table with a date in a pub in London, England, having a beer. Two men and a woman were standing at the bar yelling out about the Jews this and the Jews that. I stood up, told my date that I would be right back, picked up my beer bottle, held it by the neck in my right hand and walked up to the bar. I got in their faces and said “I’m a Jew and an American and you’re all a bunch of assholes.”. The pub was instantly silent. They apologized and the bartender chastised them.

I think that you get the picture.

I have done this many times in many places in many countries.

I spent the Gulf War working in the tape factory at Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev Desert making the tape for the sealed rooms.

I remember being out in the open in a small town in Israel when the sirens started to blare, the warning that scuds were on their way, running full tilt boogie, trying to get my gas mask on.

Helping my brothers and sister in Israel during that war was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

I once had a close friend here in Tucson, a dentist named Ralph Clary. He was a fine athlete of German descent. We played tennis together regularly. Our rule was that the receiver made the call. One night at Reid Park he hit one deep far left. I paused and then gave the hand signal for “out”. And he started yelling “Juden. Juden. Juden.” I walked across the court to the bench where our gear was, picked my stuff up and walked away. I have never spoken to him again.

The Lesson from the Holocaust is that hatred, intolerance and bigotry come in many shapes and sizes, all of which are poisonous.

I am what I am because I don’t know how to be any other way.

When someone attacks the Jews they are attacking my parents, my brother, my grandparents, my cousins, my friends, my people. And all non Jews who are the target of hatred and discrimination.

It is my job to protect them.

The only fear that I have known my entire adult life is that I would turn my back upon what I know in my heart and in my soul to be right, that I would look the other way, that I would remain silent and do nothing.

I think that when we get to the end of the trail it won’t matter much to us what we owned nor the status we achieved. I think we’ll remember those we loved, a few special moments and the things we believed in and stood up for and the things we did in their regard.

If I have a mantra, it is these lines from Frank Herbert’s “Dune”:

I shall not fear. Fear is the mind killer, the little death that brings total obliteration. I shall face my fear. I shall allow it to pass over me and through me. And when the fear is gone I shall remain.

I typed that up and had it taped to my bathroom mirror for years so that I would read it every morning when I shaved.

The New York Times got my name as one of the 100 American volunteers going over to Israel before the Gulf War had begun from whatever agency it was that sponsored the flight. They called me here in Tucson and asked me why I was going. My answer was I was going so that I’d be able to look my self in the eyes when I shaved in the morning.

I left Tucson for New York on a Thursday, got into New York on Friday and flew out for Israel later that day, the day the first scud was fired.

I was renting office space from Deborah Ward and James Hunter at the time.

We must all be Maccabees.

We must all be eternally vigilant and look after the weak and those unable to help themselves.

We are all the guardians of freedom.

Read My Glorious Brothers by Howard Fast.

Read Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally.

Finally, this:

All of my heroes are dead. John Kennedy. Martin Luther King Jr.. Robert Kennedy. John Engeman. Ralph Blackman.

We need brave souls from every corner of the world to pick up and carry the torch of freedom.

May 30, 2018:

I am very happy to report that yesterday morning William Meinecke Jr., from the United States Holocaust Museum, and Nathan Rothschild called me.

I asked Mr. Meinecke to please read my blogs and then to call me so that we may discuss them.

I had a fine conversation with Nathan Rothschild. He agreed that the police are not the guardians of freedom.

This afternoon I received an email from Lisa Schachter-Brooks, Director of Operations at the Tucson Holocaust Museum, with a message from Bryan Davis. The message is that Amelia Cramer would like me to call her assistant to arrange a time to speak with her. I emailed back and thanked her, asking her to ask Bryan to call me. He did.

He encouraged me to call Amelia Cramer.

He told me that people are contacting him and complaining about my blogs, believing that there are inaccuracies.

I wrote Lisa back and told her that as far as I know everything in my three Lessons blogs is completely accurate and that if Bryan or anyone else feels this is not so that all they have to do is call me, that I would be happy to speak with any one and change any inaccuracies.

June 1, 2018:

All of the following occurred yesterday:

Lisa Schachter-Brooks emailed me, thanking me for my sentiment, telling me that she would pass it on.

I called William Meinecke Jr. at the United States Holocaust Museum. I left him a voice message asking him if he had read my blogs and if he would call me so we may discuss them. He has not yet returned my call.

I called and emailed Nathan Rothschild, asking him to call me. He has not yet returned my call.

I wrote Amelia Cramer the following letter. It was delivered to her. A copy was delivered to Nathan Rothschild and a copy was mailed to Bryan Davis.

“Dear Amelia Cramer,

I called you, speaking with your secretary, the day after your presentation of the Lessons From the Holocaust program, telling her that I was an attorney who had attended the program and that I wanted to speak with you regarding it. She told me that you would be in later in the day and that she would give you my message.

My call was never returned.

Yesterday I received an email from the Director of Operations of the Jewish History Museum which passed along a message from Bryan Davis. The message was that I was to call your assistant a second time to arrange a time to speak with you on the telephone.

I have no intention of doing that.

Please read the blogs on my web site, JBattorney.com, beginning with Lessons From the Holocaust on May 20, 2018.

I would like to speak with you in person at a neutral site with Nathan Rothschild and Bryan Davis present to discuss your presentation. Please contact me to arrange this.

Sincerely, Jeffrey Blackman”

I called Lt. Doug Hanna, leaving him a voice message, asking him to please read my Lessons blogs and to call me so that we may discuss them. He called me back from Florida where he is on vacation with his family, preparing to go on a cruise. He told me that he would read my blogs before he returns to Tucson on June 11th and that after he returns he will call me so we can arrange a time to meet and speak.

June 8, 2018:

On June 4th William Meinecke from the United States Holocaust Museum called me. He told me that he had read my blog. He informed me that Sheila Polk, the Yavapai County Attorney, and Lt. Doug Hanna are the co-chairs of the Lessons program in Arizona. I told him that when Amelia Cramer read the quote from Thomas Jefferson, which is in the Declaration of Independence, that “…all men are created equal…”, that she left the program’s script and related a personal story. She told us that when she was presenting the program to law enforcement personnel in northern Arizona and got to this point in the presentation, instead of reading what was on the screen, she stated that “…all men and women are created equal…”. She told us that all of her reviews from her audience were negative and then she laughed.  I told Mr. Meinecke that I was embarrassed for Lt. Hanna and the unnamed audience members and that I felt that the Holocaust is not a laughing matter and that such off the script stories are inappropriate. He agreed.

Later that day I received an email from Penny Cramer, an administrative assistant to Sheila Polk. It read:

“Dear Mr. Blackman: Dr. Meinecke from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has shared with the Arizona team your concerns about the Arizona training titled “What You Do Matters: Lessons From the Holocaust.” Your comments and perspectives will be taken into consideration as we move forward. Thank you.”

I wrote back and stated that I should be hearing from her boss, not from her. I asked her to have her boss contact me. She wrote back, stating that she had read my blog. I wrote back and stated that it is her boss that I need to deal with and that the program is offensive to Jews, that the police are not the guardians of freedom.

I wrote her again on June 5th, asking her to have her boss contact me directly, that there needs to be a change in what her boss is doing.

I have not heard from her nor her boss.

On June 5th I spoke with Nathan Rothschild. He told me that he has called and emailed Lt. Hanna, asking him to get back to him. We are hoping that Lt. Hanna will meet with Bryan Davis, him and me.

On June 7th I received a letter dated June 5th from Amelia Cramer. She stated that she tried calling me three times and that each time she got a recording stating that I was unavailable and that a voicemail could not be left for me.

She stated that she had read my blogs.

Regarding my request that she meet with Bryan Davis, Nathan Rothschild me and me, she stated they don’t have involvement with the Lessons program.

She did not address meeting with me. Her office is at 32 North Stone and mine is at 257 North Stone.

She stated that I can call her assistant to set up a time to speak with her on the telephone.

In the almost 8 years that I have been in this office this is the first time that anyone has told me that she or he received a recording like the one she related to me in her letter.

I have never heard back from Matt Landau, Stuart Mellon nor any of the unknown people who were complaining about inaccuracies to be found in my blogs.

June 13, 2018:

Lt. Doug Hanna called me today. He’s agreeable to meeting with Nathan Rothschild, Bryan Davis and my self. I have contacted Nathan and Bryan. I am hoping we shall meet next week or the week after. Lt. Hanna is willing to meet downtown, where the three of us work.

This is terrific.

Lt. Hanna told me that Doug Bartosh,  retired from law enforcement, who lives in Cottonwood, is the co-chair of the Lessons program with Sheila Polk, and not him, as William Meinecke had told me.