Listening to this NPR program devoted to the life of Simon Wiesenthal, I couldn't help thinking of this legendary man as a real-life superhero.
Lord knows he's got the right back story: an unspeakable tragedy early on (including death of relatives) compels him to devote the remainder of his life to tracking down criminals and bringing them to justice, a somewhat controversial task he performs tirelessly, sacrificing any and all creature comforts, for decades. He generally works with the police, and always on the same side as them, but sometimes their negligence forces him to resort to other means. He's even got a nifty superhero moniker: "The Deputy."
With his story in mind, I get on an even deeper level the point made in Cavalier and Clay and several recent nonfiction histories of comic books, about the close ties between the Holocaust and the origins of the superhero genre. Many of these books, as we know, were the creations of Jewish immigrants.
They fought their battles in the realm of imagination. Wiesenthal fought his in the daylight world.
Me, I'm thankful to both for making my own life a better one.
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