At the CIA headquarters in Langley, one of the most recently uncovered artifacts in the agency’s private museum is a message from a father to his toddler son. And, get this! The gold-embossed letterhead features a swastika and the name Adolf Hitler.
The letter reads:
“Dear Dennis… The man who might have written on this card once controlled Europe — three short years ago when you were born. Today he is dead, his memory despised, his country in ruins.”
Dennis is the 69-year-old Dennis Helms, intellectual-property barrister in New Jersey. The writer of the letter was his father, Richard Helms, the CIA director during the Vietnam War and Watergate eras, who died in 2002. Directly after Germany’s surrender, Lt. Helms, an intelligence operative, snuck into Hitler’s chancellery in Berlin and filched the Fuehrer’s stationery. He dated the letter “V-E day” for May 8, 1945.
The letter flabbergasted the CIA museum’s curatorial staff when it was first acquired in May. Mainly because it also conveyed a certain historical intuition about the evil which one man could do. The letter happened to arrive at Langley only one day after Osama bin Laden was discovered and shot to death in May.
In other news, the cardinal who helms Vatican relations with Jews found himself in hot water during his very first United States visit in his new position. After a speech on theology and Jewish-Catholic dialogue at Seton Hall University, Swiss Cardinal, Kurt Koch, repeated a comment he made earlier this year in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
Rabbi Alan Brill, a Seton Hall professor who assisted in organizing Koch’s talk.
Koch wrote that:
“Since the cross of Jesus erases any desire for vengeance and calls everyone to reconciliation, it rises above us as the permanent and universal Yom Kippur.”
Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni of Rome had erstwhile complained that Koch seemed to be indicating that Jews should consider Christian beliefs as definitive.