The American dream

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Weishaupt was living in...

As a young man Kurt Weishaupt fled the Nazi Holocaust, narrowly escaping death in a concentration camp. When he reached the shores of America, he was determined to pay back his debt to humanity. He did so in spectacular fashion.

Weishaupt was living in Germany when Hitler came to power. He first fled to Milan, Italy and later to nice, France, where he met his wife. There Weishaupt and his wife were placed in a concentration camp before being put on a train en route to Africa. They escaped and eventually boarded a boat headed for America. Even then he was nearly captured by German submarine officers who boarded his ship at sea in search of Jewish refugees.

On his 80th birthday, Weishaupt, a longtime resident of Flushing, explained his world view. “There is a wisdom of the ages. First with years of hard work, then by providing security for your loved ones and your children's futures. Finally, the most satisfying phase, when showing gratitude for all you have been given.”

If showing gratitude is indeed the most satisfying phase of life, then Weishaupt must have died a truly happy man. We can think of no man who was more generous with his wealth and his time than this beloved philanthropist. On June 30, at the age of 90, Weishaupt died at New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens in Flushing after suffering a stroke.

Weishaupt said surviving the Nazi ordeal was nothing less than a “miracle.” Since he landed on the American shores at the age of 27, countless people have benefited from that miracle. Weishaupt made his fortune a stamp maker and wholesaler. As a member of the Flushing Rotary and chairman of the board of the Gift of Life organization, he helped to bring children from impoverished countries to America for life-saving surgery.

Those who knew Weishaupt best say his humanitarian spirit and generosity knew no bounds. In addition to the Gift of Life, he was active in many organizations, including St. Mary's Children's Hospital, the Salvation Army, the Ronald McDonald House, the American Cancer Society, the Flushing Y, March of Dimes and the United Jewish Appeal.

Quietly, with little fanfare, Weishaupt and his wife lived the American dream. They came to this country with nothing but the shirt on their backs. They worked hard and built a successful life. Through it all they never forgot to share their blessings with the less fortunate.

Nobody knows nuthin’

Unfortunately it’s hard to believe. The wife of a Chinese worker killed in an accident at an Elmhurst construction site several weeks ago claims she as been denied a visa to come to the United States and recover his body.

According to the Chinese Consulate, Jian Guo Shen's wife, who lives in Shanghai was denied an entry visa at the US consulate in Shanghai. The State Department claims that they don’t have any record of her application. We don’t know how that could be. But even if it’s true, the State Department should be going out of its way to facilitate the travel arrangements for the grieving widow.

This isn’t rocket science. The US officials should cut the nonsense and do whatever it takes to get Ms. Shen to America. The Chinese officials have made it clear that are willing to work with American authorities.

Yes, there’s always a danger that the wife will decide to stay here, adding to the population of illegal aliens. But that pales in importance compared to the reality a family has lost a beloved husband and father who came to this country to provide a better life for his family.

Posted 7:08 pm, October 10, 2011
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