June 22nd 2011, 09:05 PM #1
Kareen Abdul Jabbar & Chief Rabbi Yisrael LauThe former NBA star is making a film about none other than World War II, and will honor the final wish of his father. You see, Ferdinand L. Alcindor Sr., had one dying wish. He requested that his son visit Israel and meet the little boy that he personally rescued from Buchenwald and turned into a prominent Rabbi. This Rabbi is none other than Rabbi Lau!Micah 6:6. With what shall I come before the Lord, bow before the Most High G-d? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves? 7. Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8. He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord demands of you; but to do justice, to love loving-kindness, and to walk discreetly with your G-d.
January 17th 2012, 11:31 AM #2
It's a beautiful story but the facts are all wrong. See this interview excerpt:
I have heard this amazing tale about your dad and a boy he helped liberate from a concentration camp at the end of World War II. Would you mind recounting briefly the story of Rabbi Lau and your dad?That story -- people have gotten that all mixed up. There was a reporter in Israel who put my father into the tank battalion that liberated Dachau.
My dad was a police officer in New York.
One of the guys that he was a police officer with was in a tank battalion that liberated Dachau. Rabbi Lau was a boy in Buchenwald, which was also liberated by black troops, but it was a totally different group than the one that my dad's friend was in.
The group that helped liberate Buchenwald was the 183rd Combat Engineers, an all black unit.
And that's who you wrote the book about?
No, I wrote the book about the 761st Tank Batallion. That was the unit my dad's friend was in. They liberated Dachau. The reporter in Israel mixed all of the facts up, and got it all conflated. People were thinking my dad was a lieutenant in the 761st Tank Battalion. My dad was a lieutenant in the New York City Transit Police!
And that's how he got to know Smitty, who was one of the liberators of Dachau and other camps.
I met Rabbi Lau when I was in Israel in 1997. I just wanted to say hi to him because he had a particular regard for the black Americans that were involved in his liberation. I had participated in a couple of events they had in New York where they had reunited the people what were liberated with the people who liberated with them. Smitty, my dad's friend, participated in that.
It's a good example of how events from 50 years prior to an account can be conflated and unintentionally distorted even while some of the participants in the event are still alive.
The actual events are no less profound when the embellishments are removed.וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ אֲנִי יְהוָה
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