Machne Menachem

1996, First Day of Camp Total Mess – Transcripts: Meir Hershkop

Posted in Transcript by machnemenachem on June 12, 2009

G-d willing I plan to post the complete transcripts (from all the directors, including Spritzer).

Pages:103-107 (out of 127 pages)

M. Hershkop

Q.      What happened on the first day
of the camp in 1996 when you went to the
campgrounds?

A.       Do you want the whole story?

Q.       Take it from the top.

A.       Okay. There were twelve buses
who left the place in Crown Heights.
Somebody came and told me that Meir
Kahanov who was then a director, a
director of the camp, that myself, my
brother Mendel and Mr. Spritzer hired him.
The buses left and saw him roaming around
in the city where usually such a director
should be at camp a day earlier in order
to receive the children.  So he asked him
what are you doing here; and he said, I
have to go shopping, but in the evening
hours, I will be in camp.
So when I heard that, I realized
that there will be nobody from the
directors and the Board of Directors —
from the board.  There will be nobody
there.
This was almost an hour after
the buses left.  I called my son. He came
with an EMT car. I was allowed to drive
fast with the lights. I came over flying
to the camp very, very fast.   And I saw a
picture that I can’t forget.   I saw the
buses standing there and the children were
coming down all over the place.    They
didn’t know where to go, what to do.
There was enough room in the camp for the
buses to get straight to that spot, a
special place to come down and remove
their belongings. It was amazing.
Amazing.
Usually, I, myself, am a very
well-organized man.   I immediately
collected all of the counselors because
they complained. They didn’t know where
the children were supposed to go to.   It
was such a mess that I can’t even describe
it to you.
The first thing I did was to
calm the staff down, and I began to help
and to organize the places and the camp,
and I even have witnesses who saw me doing
it because this thing to this day bothers
me.

Q.  Can I interrupt? Who are the
witnesses?

A.  I have the names. I have the
names.   No problem.  No problem.
(Continuing) I prepared the
rooms.   In short, Meir Kahanov was not
there.   Then when I made sure everybody
has the bed and they got a place, somebody
came over and told me Meir Kahanov arrived
at the camp. If I’m not mistaken, it was
between 9:15 and quarter to 10 at night.
I went to his room and didn’t
see him. I called him that I wanted to
talk to him. He closed the door.
didn’t even see his face. Like I said, I
didn’t see him.  And I told him to explain
to me what is this supposed to mean.   He
said to me, I’m not asking you.    You are
not the owner over here.  The owner over
here is Mr. Spritzer.

Q.  Can I just stop you for a
second.

Q.  Did you just say the word “baal
habayit”?

A.  No.

THE INTERPRETER: Yes. He said
that Spritzer was “baal habayit.”

Q.  Did he say to you that you were
not a “baal habayit”?

A.  He told it to me in English “I
am not the owner.”

Q.  Okay.

A.  The meaning in Hebrew of “baal
habayit” is not the same as “owner” in
English, but he meant owner.
(Continuing) Okay.    Then I told
him tomorrow morning I want to see you at
Rabbi Marlow’s room, and I left the area.
I left him.
Nobody threatened him.    I was
there with my children, and they worked
like horses to fix the rooms and
everything, to straighten everything up.
And Meir Kahanov left the camp.    He didn’t
do anything. Nobody even saw him.
This is what happened on that day in camp.

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