My father’s father, my zeida, Lazar ben Yitzchok Chighel ז”ל, pulled his family through the Second World War in Siberia, fought as a Red Army soldier until he was wounded in the January 1945 Vistula-Oder Offensive against the Wehrmacht, only to end up incarcerated in 1950 in a Communist Romanian prison in Aiud for twelve years on the charges of espionage and high treason. It is to the memory of his days in prison that I dedicate this blog.

On the simplest level, a criticism of the Communist regime that jailed Lazar Chighel for twelve years for helping a business associate to file for emigration papers might be in order in such a dedication. The flogging of dead horses, alas, is a business of negligible gains. More significantly, besides, what I know is that, for all the heavy challenges hurled at him by the last century, the more severe penitence undergone by my grandfather throughout his entire life took place in an inner penitentiary. Accordingly, the general problem to which the present blog is dedicated is the complex of phenomena that, constructed over the last two millennia, resulted, among so many other things, in my grandfather’s incarceration, both external and internal, a prison-like phenomenon-complex known as the fourth and final Golus.


Penal Registration Papers, Aiud Prison, 1950-1962


Be’er Sheva, 1965. Lazar Chighel holding me.
To his right, my mother’s father, Aryeh ben Zelig Badinter ז”ל.