December 13, 1994
Jewish Documentation Center
Dear Mr. Wiesenthal:
Alan Levy tells the following story of your visit to his home:
My daughters, then ten and eleven, took his topcoat and hat. A
minute or two later, one of them tiptoed into the living-room and
whispered, "Daddy, that man has a gun in his pocket."
I asked Simon and he said, yes, the police had told him, in lieu of a bodyguard he'd declined, to carry the snub-nosed revolver he now showed us and then pocketed in his tweed jacket. (My daughters always frisked his topcoat on subsequent visits and never again struck heavy metal.) (Alan Levy, The Wiesenthal File, 1993, p. 16)
Concerning this story, I have several questions:
(1) Is there not some legal obligation in Austria to maintain control over a weapon — especially a loaded weapon — either by locking it up, or else keeping it on one's person?
(2) If there is not any such legal obligation, then do you not yourself feel that it would be prudent of anyone in possession of a loaded weapon to nevertheless impose such an obligation upon himself?
(3) Did you not anticipate that children carrying your coat, and then perhaps hanging it up in a closet, would have noticed the bulky and heavy revolver, and that they might take it out and thinking it was a toy, they might have aimed it and pulled the trigger?
(4) How is it that Mr. Levy expressed no displeasure at you for having exposed his family to such a danger?
It would appear to me that either this story is true and you are absent-minded to the point of gross negligence, or else that the story is untrue. I await your clarification.