Thank you for printing Edwin Black's article "How IBM Created Hitler's Death Camp Database" [April 2]. I'm a president of a small software company, and when I first read Black's wonderful book IBM and the Holocaust, I e-mailed various business magazines, asking that they cover his story in detail. I am so glad that you have given him a podium to present the case. The story is very appropriate in today's global economy.
Shokan, New York
Edwin Black's piece on IBM's staggering involvement in Nazi Germany's "final solution" was riveting. It makes allegations about the Dulles family's involvement with German armaments (monies filtered through Switzerland) look like small potatoes.
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In response to Edwin Black's article on IBM: Muhammad Ali was labeled a traitor for opposing the war in Vietnam straight up and publicly. IBM was definitely a traitor. It should be, even at this late date, considered a traitor. Leave Microsoft alone. Go after IBM. I was planning to buy a ThinkPad; I think that now I will buy a Toshiba. Hmmmm.
Thomas Elias Weatherly
Thank you for Sharon Lerner's comprehensive article about Leah Grove and others like her who are victims of a medical system that protects its own ["When Medicine Is Murder," April 2]. It is important for people to understand that the victims of incompetent and/or negligent physicians often cannot speak for themselves, and that their loved ones face heartbreak and frustration in their quest for justice.
My son, Kevin O'Brien, left a promising career to sit by Leah's bedside while she struggled to die, and then tried to find meaning in her death. Sadly, there is none, but we hope that her story might encourage others to question their doctors about their history, their qualifications, and their recommendationsand to question a profession that buries its atrocities by allowing perpetrators to move from one state to another.
Albany, New York
Having served five years as an army military policeman and having spent most of 1996 patrolling the Bosnian-Croatian border, I find Ted Rall's insinuation that U.S. soldiers are ignorant insulting, offensive, and ignorant in its own right [Search and Destroy, March 26]. I'm not sure what kind of utopia Mr. Rall lives in, but most of us realize that sometimes we need people willing to "kill people they've never met because someone tells them to." If Mr. Rall has doubts, perhaps he could ask a survivor of World War II Europe. I wonder what the world would look like without these people, whom Mr. Rall feels the need to scorn.
Mr. Rall's perspective is clearly that of a privileged outsider who has no understanding of the sacrifices involved in military service. Soldiers risking their lives in Afghanistan are sacrificing time that could be spent pursuing their dreams and living with their families. And Mr. Rall is obviously unfamiliar with the long, exhausting days these soldiers put in for months on end in order to complete their mission. Otherwise, he wouldn't be wondering why soldiers don't spend their precious downtime reading Sartre.
As a student in the same program at Columbia University from which Mr. Rall graduated, and considering the number of well-read and intelligent former servicemen and -women who attend this school, I have to wonder why Mr. Rall feels that the intelligence of those currently serving is so questionable. In fact, some of the quotations that were used in his cartoon are merely less sophisticated versions of many of the questions I've heard asked by well-educated Columbia students. Bottom line, Mr. Rall: Those who are not willing to sacrifice for the greater good of their society have no business mocking those who are.
I am very grateful to Rebecca Segall for her kind words about the reading series at the Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre and to The Village Voice for printing something about our theater after not sending a reviewer to any of our shows for the past three years ["Hasid on the Aisle," Stage Left, March 26]. However, I must take exception to the portrayal of my work as anomalous instead of part of an integrated whole.
Our goal is to serve as large a part of the theater community and the Jewish community as possible. To this end executive director Zalmen Mlotek has spearheaded a show for children that has become a holiday favorite, and the list goes on.
Perhaps, in our rush to accomplish many things at once, we have given an appearance of confusion instead of cohesion. Again, I thank you for your attention to our work, and hope it is part of an ongoing interest in what we are doing.
Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre
VOICE OF NEW YORK
Tom Robbins's "The Importance of Jimmy Breslin" [March 26] was a wonderful story. I will never forget seeing Breslin speak to students at John Jay College in the 1980s. Hundreds of students showed up and hung on to every one of his words. He spoke about what the city is really like. They felt that he was speaking for them. He was.
Gale A. Brewer
FOR BAEDEKER AND VERSE
I appreciated David Mills's intelligent review of my book of poetry, Sleeping With the Dictionary ["Words of Mouth," March 19]. I found it informed and balanced. I even thought Mills was right to point out that not all of the poems are equally compelling. Thanks for continuing to give space for reviews of poetry in the Voice.
Los Angeles, California
DOG IS DEAD (BUT RISEN)
Don McKellar has it all wrong about E.T., or backward perhaps ["His Life as a Dog," March 26]. A more accurate title for his review would have been "His Life as a God." E.T. is a thinly veiled story of Christ. Discovered by three wise children in the moonlit backyard toolshed of a single mother (named Mary!), E.T. goes on to perform a couple of miracles, get tempted by earthly delights, and narrowly avoid the clutches of rational ("God is dead") scientists. His pleas to the heavens go unheard and he dies. But wait! He arises anew, puts the love of God in Elliot's heart, and ascends to heaven. Some dog!
Tarrytown, New York
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