Hedy Epstein 1924-2016 – Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, 91, died at her home in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, on May 26, 2016. An internationally renowned, respected and admired advocate for human and civil rights, Hedy was encircled by friends who lovingly cared for her at home. Born August 15, 1924, in the Bavarian region of Germany, her lifelong commitment to human rights was formed by the horrific experiences she and her family endured under the repressive Nazi regime. Unable to secure travel documents for themselves, Hedy’s parents, Hugo and Ella (Eichel) Wachenheimer, arranged for 14-year-old Hedy to leave Germany on a Kindertransport. Hedy credited her parents with giving her life a second time when they sent her to England to live with kind-hearted strangers. Hedy’s parents, grandparents, and most of her aunts, uncles and cousins did not survive the Holocaust. Hedy remained in England until 1945 when she returned to Germany to work for the United States Civil Service. She joined the Nuremberg Doctors Trial prosecution in 1946 as a research analyst.
Hedy Epstein – [wikipedia] Epstein spoke about the situation in the occupied territories, and about her own life and experiences, for audiences in the United States. Prior to a talk at Stanford University on 20 October 2004, fliers promoting her presentation “juxtaposed an image of Jews in Nazi Germany with an image of Palestinians at Israeli checkpoints,” according to a news article in The Stanford Daily. (Anonymous fliers also appeared which accused Epstein’s ISM of advocating terrorism.) After an “appalled” reaction from members of Stanford’s Jewish community, event organizers stated that no “direct comparison” was intended by the posters, or would be heard in Epstein’s remarks. Epstein echoed these sentiments, avoided comparisons between Nazis and Israelis, and spent little time discussing her background in Nazi Germany, wrote The Daily. However, throughout the speech, audience members, many associated with off-campus Jewish organizations, interrupted her talk with shouts of outrage, and extra campus security quietly moved in. Reactions to the talk were sharply divided. Adina Danzig, president of Stanford’s Hillel organization called the lecture “an abuse of history,” hoped that “this event and the isolated interruptions by a few individuals were an aberration,” and, while acknowledging Epstein’s general statement about avoiding comparison, said that “that disclaimer did not undo the damage” and that “[Epstein] made several remarks drawing the [Israeli-Nazi] parallel.”  Nathan Mintz, vice-president of the Stanford Israel Alliance, condemned “Epstein’s rhetoric of drawing comparisons of the initial stages of the Holocaust to the current situation in Gaza and the West Bank” as “outright demonization of Jews” representing “only one piece of what is a much larger trend of anti-Semitism on college campuses today.” He added that Epstein’s ISM colleagues have “direct ties to terrorist organizations,” and that “The atmosphere currently on campuses is not one in which a constructive dialogue about the conflict can legitimately take place.” In contrast, a supporter of Epstein condemned these as “misrepresentations and false charges,” citing off-campus activists who, “with the intention of disrupting the event,” handed out fliers “demonizing” Epstein and “frequently yelled at and interrupted” her. “At one point,” he wrote a man suddenly jumped up while Epstein was talking and recited what appeared to be a prepared statement informing her of pending legal actions against her.” He asked why Mintz “failed to mention any of the egregious events” of this sort and “submitted his op-ed before actually seeing the event.” In response to controversy over the paper’s initial coverage of the story, “an issue that has come to define more than one volume of the paper,” The Stanford Daily’s reader editor Jennifer Graham acknowledged that “plenty — if not unfairly too much” coverage was given to the claims of Epstein’s critics. She also apologized for the “wrong” and “misleading” decision to run Mintz’s op-ed criticizing Epstein’s speech before it had happened. “There are claims, that I can neither confirm nor deny, that Mintz’s column factually misrepresents the substance of Epstein’s speech,” she wrote.
Hedy Epstein: a great friend of Palestine – Middle East Monitor – Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein is coming to the last stages of a remarkable life’s journey which began in hate-filled Nazi Germany more than 90 years ago. Her final days surrounded by loving friends in a Missouri hospice could not be more different from those frightening, early years that she endured at the hands of the fascists. This diminutive 91-year-old icon of freedom and justice is loved and adored by everyone whose lives she has inspired or touched. As far as many Israelis are concerned, though, she can burn in hell. Some of them have actually said much, much worse about this frail, gentle, loving little Jewish lady who has put her life on the line continually for Palestine. That such Israelis can be so vicious speaks volumes about the mentality that the Zionist creed evokes. The venom and hate channelled towards Hedy from some Israelis and their supporters is shocking; I have reeled at their vile comments on a Facebook wall set up as a living memorial to her. Such abuse is not the work of some brainwashed, unsophisticated youth either; comments have been left by middle-aged mothers and fathers living in Israel. Their words are brazenly toxic and reveal far more about the hate-filled lives of the Zionists than anything about Hedy Epstein. Most of the hate-messages seem to come from extremist Jewish settlers living illegally in settlements across the occupied West Bank. It is the sort of irrational hatred which confronted Hedy as a child in her home town of Frieberg. It was there, she once told me, that her maths teacher, in full Nazi uniform, pointed a gun at her in the classroom as he demanded that she provide the answer to a complicated equation.