Many years ago my mother was the bookkeeper for Haas Linens in New Rochelle, NY, where I was born. While Mom worked in the office in the back, her co-worker, Trudy Oberlander, sold linens in the front. Trudy was a cultured, sophisticated, charming, beautiful, intelligent Austrian Jewish woman. Chatting with Trudy was always the highlight of any visit I made to Haas Linens.
Trudy shared a little of what her life in Austria was like. She had to leave Austria, as many did and many others, tragically, failed to do. She always said that anti-semitism was more virulent, more deeply rooted in Austria than anywhere else, including Germany. Trudy would it have been surprised what Winters’ said or her lame attempt to escape responsibility.
Kurt Waldheim, former UN Secretary General and president of Austria, tried to hide his Nazi past and received the help of other important Austrians to do so. Can we be surprised at what is just another example of the gemutlich quality of Austrian Jew hatred? —Rabbi Kerry Baker