Erwin Stiebel was a German Jew who fought WWI for Germany. He was born in Fulda and believed that German civilization (including literature and the arts) were the pinnacle of human civilization. However, in the 1920s anti-Semitism and the fascist movement drove him to emigrate to neighboring Switzerland where he and his family survived WWII. Like some people today, he needed to channel his despair and emotions into a positive cause. He bought some land in Israel in the 1930s and donated it to a nascent Zionist organization for Jewish children orphaned by the wars. In 1951 this became Kibutz Kiriath Yearim, which still exists today. My brother recently discovered a fundraising letter from Jan. 17th 1947, which demonstrates renewed efforts to fund the project, called “Jugendalijah”. It had been stifled during WWII.
Out of despair, some extraordinary activist projects can be born. Perhaps this is an example for many of us in present times.
David Posnett MD, East Hampton, NY 11937