Sunday, April 12, 2009

And who is this Doug Weiss fellow?

Today, I went on a group tiyul (tour) of the archeological park at Caesarea and the detention-turned-transit camp at Atlit. There I saw something curious. In a corner of the main hall of the park--a building which served then as a receiving center--a glass-encased rectangular board hung on the wall. Names --grafitti style--were etched on the board. A sign next to the board explained that the board had been restored. It was displayed in honor of the people who passed through the hall.

Some of the names were in Hebrew. Some of the names were in this or another European language. Refugees--the remnants of European Jewry--caught as they tried to escape the graveyard that Europe had become.

But one of the names was completely different. "Doug Weiss. NJ (?), U.S.A.". Not European. Not a refugee. But distinctly carved into the board, nonetheless.

How and why did a nice Jewish-American boy with a nice, first-generation, born-in-the-United-States, Jewish-American name end up scratching up the walls of a British detention camp in Mandate Palestine? Half of me wonders if this were later, random vandalism. The rest of me thinks that there has got to be a great story in there, somewhere.

4 comments:

Jack said...

I once caught an American using a pen to write his name on the side of Masada. We made eye contact and glared at me as if he was daring me to do something.

I made it clear that he would remove it or be privileged to take the express route down to the bottom.

I was shocked that he saw nothing wrong with it.

Mo-ha-med said...

Given the number of 'Ahmed+Mona=heart' and 'Michael was here' that I saw carved on Pharaonic temples in Egypt - I'll vote vandalism.

Anonymous said...

I'd vote for the "interesting story" option. According to my great-grandparents and grandparents, also Americans were involved in the rescue of Jews, especially in the rescue of the children. (I guess they must know because without that help, this family branch would have ceased to exist.) Maybe Doug Weiss was one of them and was caught by the Brits when he brought children to Israel?

Asher said...

there seem to be a lot of Weiss's recently around this blog

seriously, can anybody help locate?

I remember Treppenwitz did a location thing a way back, but I'm banned there...