My dear friend Ruthie (retired Associate Professor of Law at the University of Waikato Ruth Busch) tells a story about her Uncle Isaac. For those of you who have heard Ruthie speak, you know what a brilliant storyteller she is.
Ruthie’s extended family died in the Holocaust, though her parents and two older brothers made it to the States, where Ruthie was born in the Bronx in 1944. First touching on the family’s experience in World War I, Ruthie tells the story of her Uncle Isaac Weisz, an officer with the Czech Legion who fought with the Russians against Hitler.
Some background for Ruth’s story, ‘Uncle Isaac’:
Ruthie was inspired to write this story after listening to author, academic and critic Daniel Mendelsohn who tracked down what happened to his extended family in the war. On a trip to the Czech Republic with her partner Jan in 2011, Ruthie recognised a photo of Isaac in the Spanish Synagogue in Prague. He is honoured there as a martyr who protested against the virulent anti-semitism sweeping Czechoslovakia after the War. He died in 1947.
A letter from Ruthie’s cousin Meyer Weicz, an Auschwitz survivor, provides some context about Isaac’s life:
He was instrumental in organizing the Czech legion with General Svoboda. After the war he was in the cabinet [of the Czech government]. However, the secret police had him killed (and claimed it was suicide).
Want to hear more Ruthie? Listen to the Kim Hill interview from last October.