Monday, June 05, 2006

More from The Octogenarian

Mort Reichek is The Octogenarian, the blogger I came across last week.

Here is a great story he tells about his father, how he achieved local fame in the Bronx among his Jewish neighbors by cursing the Nazi airship Hindenberg just hours before it burned in one of history's most famous disasters.

"If there is a God in this world," my father suddenly shouted in Yiddish, pointing to the sky, "may He destroy [the German dirigible]. May no trace or memory remain of it." He punctuated his curse by spitting on the ground. My father was normally a mild-mannered man, and his friends were shocked at his violent outburst. But they nodded grimly, putting their stamp of approval on his vehement declaration.

That evening as our family was having dinner, my mother turned on the radio. Through the crackling static, we heard a reporter broadcasting from Lakehurst. He was describing the intricate maneuvers required to bring Hindenburg down. Suddenly he began to scream that the airship had exploded.

While the landing lines were being tied to the mooring mast, the explosion ripped open the dirigible's tail and the Hindenburg burst into flames. In less than a minute, it was reduced to a mass of twisted, burning metal. Twenty-two crewmen, 13 passengers, and a U.S. Navy ground crewman were dead.

My father was horrified by the radio account. He sat as if paralyzed, the memory of the curse fresh in his mind. Many of the victims were Americans, and he had wished them no harm. He did not say a word all evening and went to bed early.

Take a moment to read the whole story. Quick read. Great snapshot.
If time allows, check out yesterday's link to a NY Times feature with Mort's picture and an audio link in which he talks about blogging.

1 comment:

Mortart said...

Thanks very much for plugging my blog. With kind readers like you, I don't need a press agent.