Posts By: Jason

Luisa Capetillo












  1. That’s a direct quote, as given by the main book on her (by Norma Valle-Ferrer, alluded to later in this post). This arrest was made while she was in Cuba, and she was tossed in jail for a bit, but made bail.
  2. Her parents were both fairly well-educated blue-collar types. Her mom was a governess who’d been born in France, and her dad was from Spain. The two never married, and her dad left the picture sometime in adolescence (details are scarce).
  3. Her parents schooled her well beyond the education she’d get elsewhere, and she was a voracious reader from very young. Luisa felt a particular fondness for her mom, about whom she wrote: “You, dear mother of mine, who never tried to control me, or make me think traditionally. You allowed me to inquire freely, only reproaching what you thought were exaggerations, without forcing me any way.”
  4. I am fudging her age here, but the sentiments she expressed were in full effect by age 20 or so. She was raised Catholic and remained religious, although she abhorred the institution of the church.
  5. She met her partner, Manuel Ledesma, through her mother: she was working for his family. Luisa and Manuel hit it off, and had two children: Manuela and Gregorio. His family and most of the town looked down on the relationship, as he was heir to a large fortune, and would go on to become the mayor of the town (Arecibo).
  6. The duelists here are Manuel (who won her hand) and his friend, Dr. Susoni.
  7. Luisa wrote of her longing for Manuel: “Remembering the one I waited for on endless nights, with an unbearable loneliness that I wrapped myself in so I could feel comfortable… thinking and waiting to hear the sound of the small bronze door knocker that would end my eternal longing, a longing that destroyed my illusions and cruelly humiliated me: the desire to have the master of my thoughts and feelings by my side, the one who made life blossom in me, duplicating itself in two beings, fruit of my spontaneous level, without trammels or subterfuge, without hypocrisy or self interest… only tarnished by one detail… a woman, mother, who symbolized for me all social norms.”
  8. Manuel stayed involved with the kids’ lives and provided for them, and by most accounts, they had an amicable separation. Their kids were closer to Manuel than to Luisa — in fact, the boarding school which Manuela attended didn’t even allow Luisa, a dangerous radical, to see her. (It was an insanely conservative school — heck, Manuela had to shower with clothes on.) When Manuela married, her husband wouldn’t let Luisa see her either.
  9. Despite all this, Luisa thought it was the highest honor to be a mother, although she seemingly directed most of her motherly efforts to helping out workers (much like her contemporary, Mother Jones).
  10. Although Manuel continued to provide, Luisa wanted to prove she didn’t need him to. There is some indication that her seeking a job was a source of friction between the two. In her words: “I have made a living from my work for a long time; perhaps he believed he had the responsibility to support me, and he really did. That didn’t bother me, but I wanted to prove that I could support myself, producing something without nonsense or exaggeration.” (side note: she continually used the word “exaggeration” in unexpected ways, and I’m unsure what that word really signified for her.)
  11. Employers understandably hated lectors and lectoras, and repeatedly tried to get them banned from their factories, but the unions fought for them tooth and nail.
  12. Seriously, go look up the Ludlow Massacre, or the Coal Wars, or… really, any of the early labor movement. I know I barely got taught any of that in school, and it’s criminal that it got glossed over.
  13. In the early strikes and protests, Luisa worked as a reader, shouting out stuff from the top of benches in the plaza. She quickly started getting hustled all over the island to rally workers everywhere.
  14. It’s worth noting here that her brand of anarchism was based around a lot of communal struggle — ever an optimist, she envisioned everyone helping each other by desire instead of state-mandated obligation. She wasn’t advocating a violent free-for-all, but for the government to stop oppressing people, and let them revert to a natural state of Edenic community. Like I said, optimist.
  15. I have to say, reading about this made me laugh pretty hard, because the exact same stuff is still happening constantly today, from the “just read these seventeen books” to the fuckbo-er, comrades wandering around to hit on women.
  16. Of some note — she did have a second major relationship, with a pharmacist, that produced a third child, Luis. They never married and the pharmacist seemed to wander off fairly soon after the kid.
  17. I’m not here to debate the finer details of whether these are good or bad ideas — but she didn’t really have a smooth transition from point A to point B in her writing. It was a quasi-religious belief that the natural state of men is noble, when freed of the influence of government and oppression.
  18. Hoo boy. So I wrote about this on Twitter here, but the long and the short of this: US newspapers blamed Puerto Ricans for being lazy and greedy; PR tried currying public favor by doing a ton to support the WWI war effort; its governor then had to publicly beg for assistance in Washington DC; it showed up much later, in diminished form.
  19. There was a lot of grumbling in the states about the Puerto Ricans, who’d had a lot of labor agitation, essentially being too big for their britches. Relief drives were anemic, even among Spanish-speaking populations. Luisa spoke out forcefully against this trend.
  20. This is on top of one of the worst hurricanes in recorded history having ravaged the island just 20 years prior. The excellent Stuff You Missed in History Class covers that in more depth here.
  21. It was during this period that she was arrested for wearing pants, and later for inciting a riot.
  22. She also tried organizing an Agricultural Farm School to help educate Puerto Rico’s poor children. Funding was an issue, though.
  23. Something I don’t get into here was that the PR labor movement was being partnered with the American AFL at this time — and the AFL was staunchly anti-anarchist. Additionally, the USSR became a dictatorship, further tarnishing the ideas she’d espoused. More ardent activists, like Luisa, got sidelined.
  24. Hurricane Hugo in 1989 destroyed much of the archives of her work, so a lot seems to be lost to history. However, in 2014, Luisa, along with 11 other women, were honored with plaques in Puerto Rico’s La Plaza en Honor a la Mujer Puertorriqueña.

Mkabayi kaJama













Her full poem goes like this:

Father of guile!
Cunning one of the Hoshoza people,
Who devours a person tempting him with a story;
She killed Bhedu amongst the medicine men,
And destroyed Mkhongoyiyana amongst the Ngadini,
And killed Bheje amongst the diviners.
Morass of Menzi,
That caught people and finished them off;
I saw by Nohela son of Mlilo,
The fire-that-burns-on-every-hill,
For it caught him and he disappeared.
Beast that bellows at Sangoyana,
It bellowed and its voice pierced the sky,
It went and it was heard by Gwabalanda
Son of Ndaba of Khumalo clan.
Maid that matured and her mouth dried up,
And then they criticized her amongst old women.
Who shoots down birds for her people,
As they catch them she is simply watching on.
The opener of all main gates so that all people may enter,
The owners of the home enter by the narrow side-gates.
Sipper of others of the venom of the cobra,
The Mhlathuze River will flood at midday.
Little mouse that started the runs at Malandela’s,
And thought it was the people of Malandela
Who would thereby walk along all the paths.

This translation comes from James Stuart and Trevor Cope’s 1968 book Izibongo: Zulu praise-poems. Oxford, Clarendon Press. It was reprinted in the Maxwell Shamase paper listed in the “citations” section.

  1. Mkabayi is sometimes also spelled Mnkabayi. kaJama just means “of Jama” — Jama being her father. Shaka’s name, for example, was Shaka kaSenzangakhona, and not Shaka Zulu. Actually, technically his name wasn’t even Shaka. More on that in a later footnote.
  2. The military unit referenced here is the izigodlo, described by Maxwell Shamase as a “military harem.” Hers were the ebaQulusini, which translates to “where they pushed out buttocks.” I do not have more information on that name.
  3. I could not find the name of Mkabayi’s mother. She had, I believe, one other sister, Mawa. Mawa may be a half-sister. The three of them were often described as acting as a political unit, but Mkabayi was always in the lead.
  4. Jama’s erratic behavior included marrying a pregnant woman, who gave birth to a son, Sojiyisa, who was totally unrelated by blood to Jama. This muddied the lines of succession and was not a popular move.
  5. Jama’s new wife was named Mthaniya. Some books listed her as Mkabayi’s mother, which… is impossible.
  6. So when Mkabayi presented Mthaniya to Jama, he said Nenzengakhona, usually translated as “you have done accordingly,” which I interpret as something closer to “you have done well.” Senzangakhona’s name means “we have done accordingly.”
  7. Mkabayi’s half-brother with whom she ruled was named Mudhli. As half-brother to Mkabayi, he was ineligible to take the throne himself. Shaka killed Mudhli pretty early on in his reign.
  8. Her praise poem (mentioned later) indicated she was an effective and fair-minded gatekeeper, controlling access to the king — likely meaning both Senzangakhona, and, later, Shaka.
  9. The poison beer plot is a little confusing. Mthaniya, the woman Mkabayi had set up with Jama, married Jama’s brother Vubkulwayo, and had a kid. Vubkulwayo wanted his son to be king, and sent poisoned beer to kill Senzangakhona. Mkabayi intercepted it and sent it back. In one (likely apocryphal) version, Vubkulwayo’s mother dies from drinking the poison beer. In another story, though, she shows up later on, so this whole story is a little suspect.
  10. The illegitimate child in question was the previously-mentioned Sojiyisa, who was of no blood relation to Jama (Jama had married Sojiyisa’s pregnant mother, but wasn’t the father). One source said Sojiyisa was killed because of tribal differences more than a succession claim.
  11. This part of the story is one of the most unclear, due to multiple versions. What’s known is that Nandi got pregnant when she was thought unable to do so, and it was a scandal. Most versions indicate she was in danger should Senzangakhona find out about it. She fled, and in several versions, Mkabayi enabled this, through warning her and/or killing a man who was going to tell the king about it. In another version, Mkabayi told Senzangakhona that she’d killed the newborn, though she hadn’t. Some of this may be later reinventions. Regardless: because Shaka was illegitimate, he and Nandi were heretics for most of his childhood.
  12. Shaka isn’t actually his given name. It is a reference to a type of parasite that was supposed to have prevented Nandi’s pregnancy, and a reference to his illegitimacy. According to this speech by a Zulu chief, his given name was Sgidi.
  13. This half-brother was named Sigujana. Although he would briefly take the throne before Shaka wrested it from him, Mkabayi denied Sigujana the ceremonial honor of participating in the royal funeral as the symbolic heir. She and her sisters arranged political backing for Shaka.
  14. Here’s where you can dive into any of a hundred different history pieces about the life of Shaka. Summary: he was brutal, he was effective, he was quite warlike. This story isn’t about him, so, skipping it.
  15. Shaka’s matricide is the conclusion of historian Caellagh Morrissey. The reason being that he suspected her of having another child who might be to the throne. Others say she died of dysentery. The story may be a smear campaign concocted later on by Shaka’s enemies, but it’s pretty widespread.
  16. The scale of the mourning is a bit hard to pin down, but sources cite between 1,500 and 7,500 people killed during this period. What of this is true and what is rumor is a bit difficult to determine, but it’s agreed there was famine and suffering.
  17. The conspirators with Mkabayi were his half-brothers Dingane and Mhlangana, and his servant Mbopha. In the most detailed telling, Mbopha struck him first with an assegai (spear) in the cattle kraal.
  18. Yeah, her praise poem refers to her with male pronouns. Zulu oral tradition meant it as an honor.
  19. Poems about Shaka’s mother Nandi, by comparison, describe her uncharitably as loud-mouthed, flirty, long-limbed, and ungainly. Phrases used include “father of laziness” and “she whose legs are never closed, except at the view of her husband.”
  20. Dingane was not well-respected, and was deposed by his brother Mpande (who was backed by the Boers) 12 years after Shaka’s death, in 1840. Mkabayi died in either 1840 or 1843, depending on the source.











  1. So the sourcing for this comes from two different works of Plutarch, which have subtle differences between them. I’ve basically chosen a mix of the two to make the most dramatic retelling, but I’m not making anything up. You’ll find links to my sources, as ever, at the bottom of this entry.
  2. The captain in question here was confusingly also named Alexander. I omitted his name for clarity’s sake. He was a Thracian conscript, not Macedonian (like Alexander was). Plutarch makes this very clear — “this was the act of those nasty alcoholic Thracians, not the virtuous Macedonians!”
  3. This is adapted from Plutarch saying that he flattered her and toyed with the possibility of treating her like a wife, while also threatening her.
  4. I am unclear how old she was supposed to be. No husband is mentioned — they usually are in these sorts of cases — and she’s just mentioned as having a brother who’d died in the fight against Alexander’s forces. I realized a little late that in one of the sources, Plutarch refers to her as a matron, but there’s no mention of her kids. I think she’s supposed to be a younger mom, and maybe her husband died in the invasion…? The invasion of Thebes was quite violent.
  5. Plutarch gives her a long speech in one of the versions, in which she flatters him back. This is an adaptation of that — basically, she says she wished she had died and that this day had never come, but now that it has, she has to be a dutiful woman and obey her man, and not withhold anything from him.
  6. In one version, she tricks him to walk down into the well. I prefer this version for obvious reasons.
  7. The servant on the left is modeled after Christina, one of the RP Patreon supporters! Thank you Christina!
  8. Timoclea’s servants only show up in one of the versions, but they do so to  help lugging over rocks with which to kill the dude.
  9. The timeline for this is a bit murky, but I think it all happened in one day.
  10. In  the background in the bottom panel, that’s Olympias of Macedon — Alexander’s mom — and Antipater, her nemesis. I cover her in book two. It’s a bit unlikely she would have been there to accompany him on his campaigns, but I wanted the throwback.
  11. Art error: her manacles were behind her back in the previous page, and in front of her on this one. Ugh. I’ll fix it later.
  12. Her speech is pretty true to what Plutarch recorded her as having said — however, she also leaned hard into the “do you know who I AM?” defense, making her class the central issue.
  13. This is a bit of an extrapolation of Alexander’s response. The histories said he was impressed by her demeanor and eloquence. Her freedom is a bit of a question mark — in one version, he says she and her family and free to go wherever they please, in the other he tells his men to look after her specially. I interpret this as her being no longer imprisoned and allowed around Thebes, but not outside of the walls. So in the context of this trial, she’s free to go (no longer shackled).
  14. The chamber he’s in is modeled after one on Crete. Most other depictions have him in a big tent with a lot of people standing around, but I really did not want to draw a crowd scene.
  15. This is a bit of a fudging, to keep the central point that I wanted to convey intact. When he says “no abuse like this,” it would mean that only the nobility are to be shown this level of consideration. The lower classes, presumably, were not shown nearly the same level of civility. Nevertheless, the point I wanted to get across was that Alexander, one of the most prominent rulers of Western history, was lauded in his own biography for believing a survivor of sexual assault, even one who didn’t like him very much, and treating her well. I thought that spoke to the moment we’re in.

Vitka Kempner






























And with that, I am going off grid for a while to get away from the inevitable slew of messages accusing me variously of Zionism and anti-Semitism. Spending a month in the headspace of atrocities for a month has been hard enough.

  1. Okay. So right off the bat, the main problem here is sourcing. The main book written on the subject, The Avengers by Rich Cohen, is well-researched… but also full of poorly-sourced claims and stuff that’s rightly in dispute. As an example, he uncritically repeats a claim that the group got their first batch of poison partially from Chaim Wiezmann, Israel’s First President, when it’s been shown that it couldn’t have happened, as he wasn’t in the country at the time. When possible, I’ve tempered Cohen’s reporting with that of historian Dina Porat, whose book on Abba Kovner covers a lot of this, but with little focus on Vitka. Since most of the primary sourcing is in languages I don’t speak, in countries I’ve never visited, I’ve also relied on translated video interviews to back up claims. The latest of which is Channel 4’s documentary Holocaust: the Revenge Plot – which is also in many places a poor summary. I’ve tried my best here.
  2. As an aside, I think Dina Porat, the historian, might be a distant relative of mine…? We share a pretty uncommon last name.
  3. The banning of jobs started as an informal thing and ended up codified into law later on. Anti-Jewish pogroms were a semi-regular occurrence, but I’m choosing to highlight a handful of times when counter-measures were attempted, and thwarted.
  4. The poster in the top panel is actual anti-semitic propaganda poster, but it’s an anachronism – it’s from 1941, and the period I’m depicting here is pre-1939. You can find the poster here.   
  5. What the Nazi actually said, I don’t know, but those were common talking points, as seen in German propaganda like the film The Eternal Jew.
  6. Vitka escaped along with her 13-year-old brother, seen here. She left him at her grandparents’ place. They all died in the war.
  7. According to Cohen, the trains that the Germans rolled in on had racist caricatures of Jews. I couldn’t verify that, and I didn’t particularly want to draw that.
  8. Vilnius is Lithuania’s capital, and is called Vilna in many other languages. You’ll find better hits on Google if you search Vilna ghetto, for example.
  9. The ghetto here has a sign warning of plague, which is verifiable in historical photos. They had, I believe, used plague as an excuse to vacate the previous residents — all destitute Jews (after all, many avenues of work were closed to them).
  10. The population question here is a REALLY difficult one to answer. Cohen’s book said that there were around 15,000 Jews, out of about 200,000 people total in Vilnius, prior to the arrival of Polish refugees. This website claims the total number of Jews to have ballooned up to around 60,000-80,000. Regardless, around 5,000 were seemingly “evicted” from the ghetto, and another 20,000 forced in after them.
  11. Ruzka had a similar horror story prior to her arrival in Vilnius. Also a Polish refugee, she’d been pulled out of school at fifteen after suffering extreme discrimination. She’d fled the Nazis by making an arduous trek across a great distance,  becoming a leader to the kids who were making the trip alongside her.
  12. Abba was leading the Young Guard (Ha-Shomer Ha-Tza’ir) group in the ghetto – which was a secular socialist Zionist movement of which Ruzka was already a part. Vitka had originally joined a far more conservative group called Betar, but proved too cheery for it. They met him in passing, but it was not until the girl from Ponar arrived – and he moved back into Vilnius from a church outside of town – that they really met him. Vitka was the one to bring him in from the church.
  13. I use the word “triad” here knowing the implications to certain people. Cohen’s book heavily hints that they had some form of polyamory going on, even if not totally physical. Again: totally unsourceable, but they were a close-knit trio almost all their lives. I’ve tried to provide direct quotes where possible.
  14. The way it worked was that the ghetto leader (Gens, whom you’ll meet in two pages) would get word that the Nazis wanted 3,000 people for the labor camps, and then have to use the Jewish police to round them up. In the early days, a handful of people went willingly. Later on, they didn’t. The Nazis often used the Jewish police, under control of people like Gens, as tools to pacify the Jews and get them on to trains. It’s pretty horrible stuff.
  15. This is the worst thing I’ve ever drawn. It made me sad for a week.
  16. She was lying right next to her dead mother, whose face she turned away from. Not everyone died instantly — many moaned and died slowly and horribly. One other woman realized that Sara (the woman depicted here) was alive, and urged her to be quiet. When night fell, the woman was too injured to climb out of the pit. Sara stayed in the brush and then fled back to civilization, where she was found by some Jews who were scavenging for food. She was quietly brought to the Vilnius hospital, where the next scene takes place.
  17. The staging here is a bit of shorthand. Initially Abba met her alone, then told the Young Guard, and then, on December 31, 1939 told folk he thought they could trust (he gave a famous speech using the phrase “We will not go like lambs to the slaughter.”). In telling the Young Guard, someone did bring up the German retaliation policy, and according to Cohen, Ruzka made that blistering retort in panel 2, which would be in character.
  18. The guy in the white armband in panels 2 and 4, alongside Gens, is meant to symbolize the Jewish police, who often didn’t really act in the interests of the ghetto residents.
  19. This was June 8, 1942. Cohen’s book claims this to be the first act of sabotage in occupied Europe, and I couldn’t find an earlier one. It also claims that upwards of 200 men were killed, which I couldn’t verify. One of Vitka’s comrades was killed in the returned fire, and Vitka’s leg was wounded. In return, the Germans killed 60 peasants in a nearby town.
  20.  Here, they’re throwing lightbulbs filled with gasoline as improvised grenades. I believe they got this trick from a Finnish partisan’s manual that Ruzka found in the Vilnius library.
  21. On December 31, 1942, the partisans, led by a woman named Rachel Markowicz, blew up another train.
  22. They did have a theater — Vilnius was a center of Jewish culture and learning, prior to the war — but the partisans handed out flyers urging them not to get complacent when they put on a show.
  23. The guy getting arrested here is Yitzhak Wittenberg, a communist who was heading the UPO (also called the FPO) — an umbrella group of partisans of all stripes. His identity had been given up to the SS by a captured partisan (who then killed himself). Gens called in Wittenberg and Abba to a midnight meeting, where he turned around and had Wittenberg arrested.
  24. This was the night of July 8, 1943, I think. She dressed him up as an old lady.
  25. They sent people out in waves, and Vitka would escotrt them out. Often they’d stop by the Jewish cemetery, where she’d bury weapons. They’d dig them up and then head out of town. Some were caught and killed, and then their families were killed.
  26. Not mentioned in this was that the Nazis were dramatically ramping up their quotas for work camps. Gens started running out of people to give them, and near the end even gave up the Jewish police he’d been using as an enforcement group.
  27. The staging of this is a bit confusing. There were two battalions, and Gens knew where one of them was meeting. They didn’t have weapons on them, and a courier was bringing them in. But the courier wasn’t quick enough, and they got ambushed by the SS. This was September 1st, 1943.
  28. This top panel was the second-toughest thing for me to draw. If you’re not Jewish, you may not know the extreme importance placed on the holy books. Each Torah is written out by hand, and you’re not allowed to actually touch it — you have to use a special pointer device to keep your place. You’re supposed to fast for forty days if you drop one. It’s one of the most nerve-wracking parts of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, to carry one around the synagogue. The thought of using Talmuds and the like for bullet shielding is just… immensely, crushingly sad to me.
  29. Vitka wasn’t actually in Unit 1 (and it wasn’t called Unit 1) – but for streamlining purposes, I’ve depicted it in this way.
  30. Ruzka was put into command when the person running Unit 1 was shot to death, She leapt out the back into the courtyard.
  31. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising had lasted a month, starting in April of that year (the Vilnius revolt took place on September 1st). The Warsaw uprising saw around 15,000 Jews and around 150 Germans killed in bitter fighting, which ended with the Germans burning down much of the ghetto, and its inhabitants with it.
  32. They couldn’t bring many people through the sewers, and had to turn away even their own parents. The last words Abba’s mother said to him were, as he was heading into the sewers, “What about me?”
  33. A handful of Jews stayed in Vilnius, only so they could work at the fur factory.
  34. This area had been a hunting camp for the Polish royal family. Some of the partisan structures still stand today.
  35. I can’t verify how bad conditions were in the camp between the different factions, but it sounds horrifying – the Jews were the only group that had women, and so other groups would try to rape them at night. They’d sing anti-semitic songs, on and on.
  36. They had no force supplying them. The Polish partisans and Soviet partisans would get reinforcements – and the peasants were sometimes okay with them – but the Jews, not so much.
  37. Abba would leave notes saying “killed for betraying a Jew” on the bodies of peasants upon he took revenge at first. In the later days of their time in the woods, he ramped it up to killing anyone who stumbled upon them. They even destroyed much of the town of Konyuchi, which did halt peasants from turning on them, but… at a great cost.
  38. These stories at the bottom are a mix of false and true. Many of them were repeated verbatim in the Cohen book and I can’t verify at all. The guard who stomped women to death was real, and Abba had seen a Nazi kill an infant by hitting it against the wall. Ilse Koch was famously accused of making lampshades out of human skin, but experts claimed it was goat skin. Regardless: the point I’m trying to get at here is how un-fact-checked stories can feed dark things in people, regardless of ideology. This has been a recurrent theme in the entries I’ve done here, and it’s obviously a problem with this story itself.
  39. Abba’s in the middle, looking left. Ruzka is next to him, with the beret and the light-colored buttons. Vitka is on the far right.
  40. Ruzka was their advance guard throughout this. Many in the group got medals from the Soviet union, which afforded them some mobility on the trains, but it was still not easy.
  41. This drive to get Jews out of post-Nazi Europe and to Palestine was known as the Bricha.
  42. I’m honestly a little confused as to what Ruzka was saying to everyone in her tour of Palestine. Much of her talks were about the horrors of the Nazis, but her stated goal was to help the Jews in Europe. I’m a little unclear as to how she approached Ben-Gurion, to make him react in that way. Everyone believed what she said, though.
  43. Notably, Abba claimed that Weizmann, seen here, was instrumental in supplying the poison for the plot that unfolds in the next couple pages. The historian Porat disputes this, saying that Weizmann couldn’t have, as he wasn’t even in the country at the time.
  44. The revenge plot began at Passover in 1945. The dialogue at the top is verbatim as reported in Cohen’s book, but the attitude is backed up by explanations given in interviews. The bottom summarizes his attitude – that Jews had no standing, no nation, and  thus couldn’t bring charges up in international court. I mentioned the 100-killed-for-every-dead-Germans policy earlier to have a direct echo of what he says at the bottom.
  45. Cohen claims they wanted to poison the waters of Munich, Berlin, Weimar, Nuremberg, and Hamburg all at once. Other sources indicate they only wanted to attack four cities.
  46. It’s important to note that the overwhelming majority of survivors didn’t seek vengeance. Porat estimates that between Nakam and all other vigilante groups (i.e. non-Mossad), there were only maybe 250 Jews worldwide who tried to seek revenge.
  47. Abba only rarely approached talking of killing 6 million Germans — mostly he’d present his stated goal as plan B (targeted POW killing, which shows up on the next page). Most people, even if sympathetic, were against it, although some did help him.
  48. I’m a bit perplexed on Ruzka’s stance here, honestly. Her daughter says she never would have gone along with the plot, but she did introduce him to people. Ruzka’s diary talks about how someone would do this, even if it wasn’t Abba, and chalks it up to fate. Porat’s book even notes how she didn’t like Ya’ari, and felt like he didn’t get it. Ya’ari’s lines are as reported in Cohen’s book.
  49. Vitka was living in Paris, and the others were scattered across Europe. Many were in close proximity to Germans, which was causing them extreme mental anguish.
  50. Abba’s arrest is a matter of some curiosity. He did get a large quantity of poison from someone (as I’ve mentioned, who is still debated), but threw it overboard when the British came to question him (he was on a boat under a false identity). He died thinking someone, likely Ben-Gurion, tipped off the British. Porat finds it more likely that he was just too suspicious in general.
  51. There were other poison-the-POWs plots that were simultaneously attempted, but this was the only successful one. The suspicion of the officially-reported story come from some of the Nakam members. One historian in the Channel 4 documentary states he thinks upwards of a hundred died, but it was suppressed to prevent panic. Nobody knows for sure. It would be kind of amazing if nobody did die, though – arsenic is horrifying.
  52. I am here talking of groups like Irgun and Lehi.
  53. Ruzka is on far left, holding the child. Abba’s far right, Vitka’s next to him. Ruzka’s husband was named Avi.

‘Sade’, A Pitch About An African Princess, Sells To Disney

EXCLUSIVE: Disney has acquired a pitch for Sadé, a live-action fairytale film about an African Princess, based on an original idea by Ola Shokunbi and Lindsey Reed Palmer, which has Dope director R…

’bout damn time.

Inge Ginsberg

As we get older, family and friends may pass away or leave us somehow, but for many of us creativity can be our solace.

This is so great.


Mary Ellis

The 101-year-old was one of the last surviving female pilots from World War Two.

Older than the RAF by one year. Rest In Peace.

In Nairobi’s Largest Slum, These Young Ballerinas Dream Big

Ballet classes offer youth a chance to experience a different side of life.

Ballet classes offer youth a chance to experience a different side of life.

Jess Wade

Researcher Jess Wade says efforts to attract girls into science are not evidence-based – and are not working

“I had a target for doing one a day, but sometimes I get too excited and do three.”

Miriam O’Brien Underhill

She pioneered and argued for “manless” climbing in a hugely influential 1934 essay.

From an essay she wrote:

I saw no reason, why women, ipso facto, should be incapable of leading a good climb. They had, as a matter of fact, already done so, on some few scattered occasions. But why not make it a regular thing, on the usual climbs of the day?…I decided to try some climbs not only guideless, but manless.

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