To the Editor:
For sheer sloppiness, the Review article of Feb. 23 on Magdalena Müllner and her talk at Kade House - not King! - takes the cake.
The title, "German visitor rediscovers `family'," ignores that fifty years ago the allied armies undid Hitler's Anschluss, and that Mullner's hometown, Laa an der Thaya, lies just where it always did - in Austria. Contrary to what you write, she's an Austrian.
Why you placed the "family" of your title in quotation marks - what family, whose family? - is anyone's guess. This aside, the prefix re- denotes an action done again. To state, then, that Mullner "rediscovered" some family or other that she's too young ever to have known, is akin to claiming that Columbus rediscovered America or, more to the point, that the Review has rediscovered the knack of reporting accurately and lucidly.
In the dim light of such prose, one wonders whether the synagogue "from" Laa was displaced along with the thirty Jewish families that once lived there and, unlikely though it may seem, whether the other 4,500 people "from" Laa were displaced with them. And since the surviving Jews of Laa were "displaced" almost forty years before Mullner herself was born, one must also ask just what "friends from their past" she wished to let them know about. Were they fellow Jewish survivors from Laa, whom she has located on four continents, or were they the former friends and neighbors who looked on silently as the Jews were being hounded into flight and, later, freighted to their deaths?
Finally, the misspelling of my first name leads me to suspect that you were really thinking of Australia when you transferred Ms. Mullner from Vienna University to the nonexistent "University of Austria" and it was only a misprint that saved you, luckily, from a still more lamentable error.
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 124, Number 16; March 1, 1996
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