Re: the cartoon, Bariloche …

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:

The cartoon published in The Times on March 23 depicting Sheik Yassin as a Christ figure being crucified by Israel was disgusting and, as a Jew with Israeli family, I feel the publisher and editor owe me and my family and all Jewish people in the community a personal apology. This was a man who had declared forever his everlasting dedication to the destruction of my family and the State of Israel. If we have the right to hunt bin Laden, the Israelis have the right to protect themselves against such people.

On the subject of Aspen’s relationship with Bariloche, I feel strongly that Aspen can do much better. As has been expressed previously by others, I often feel that since my family has not resided in this valley for generations, I have little right to comment on local issues of significance. On this issue, however, I must comment because it seems that Bariloche took in and embraced and still honor the memory of high-ranking Nazi Germans after World War II.

There’s a field outside the city of Rovno in the Ukraine where, in the fall of 1941, the Germans marched more than 20,000 of its Jewish residents, including four of my great-grandparents and about 80 other direct relatives, stripped them naked and shot them dead. They’re buried there in a mass grave.

These Germans who survived the war and escaped to a good life in Bariloche might not themselves have been there to do this to my family, but they most certainly participated in and condoned such acts elsewhere. Why do we need a relationship with a community that willingly gave these people succor?

Who knows? Maybe if such horrendous things had never happened, my great-grandparents might have emigrated to America after the war, come to Aspen in the 1940s and at public meetings, I could say “my family came here in …”

Joel Soroka