October 30, 2012
Notes From a WASP Boyhood

This is from our local weekly, The Lakeville Journal:

LAKEVILLE — Diplomat John L. Loeb shared a startling memory with students at The Hotchkiss School in a talk on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

It was the fall of 1945 and Loeb was one of a handful of Jewish students at the school.

During movie night, the students saw newsreel footage of Nazi concentration camps.

Far from being horrified, Loeb said his fellow students “cheered and hooted.”

Afterward, one young man told Loeb, “We don’t like Hitler but at least he killed Jews.”

I didn’t know Ambassador Loeb, who was an upperclassman and, if I remember right, editor of the school newspaper. But one of my classmates was Jewish, as well as being musical, intelligent, small, and unathletic. He was, that is to say, asking for it.

So he was taken to the woods alongside the golf course, depantsed, and made to mimic masturbation. Photos of this were circulated. The following year he was expelled for stealing a watch that one of his tormentors had planted in his bureau drawer.

This was long ago and I’m told by people familiar with the school today that sadism and hate crimes are no longer condoned and tacitly approved at Hotchkiss. This may well be, as a fish rots from the top. In my day the headmaster turned a blind and benign eye on this sort of thing. His successors, I understand, have not.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at October 30, 2012 05:20 PM
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