Letters

published: January 20, 2000

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THANKS FOR CLEARING THAT UP

I can understand what you must think of my father, I mean, not even knowing him let alone knowing the story behind Josef Bischof ("Oooompah: Re-creating the Old World," Dec. 31). I was raised in Huntington Beach and have always had friends who were not of the so-called Aryan race. In fact, my best friend is Mexican, and I myself participate in many of the Mexican traditions. In fact, throughout high school, my friends were black, Jewish, Latino, Asian and Lebanese. My father very much accepted all my friends and never made them feel uncomfortable.

Though my father is very strict in his beliefs about many things in life, he is a good man. Yes, to many, this is unbelievable, but those who know him well agree. My father came to this country in the early 1950s and worked many years as a tailor in downtown Los Angeles. Only after 10 years of being in this foreign country, surviving World War II and witnessing too many deaths of family members by the Americans during the war, he managed to persuade investors to his idea in re-creating Germany in the 1960s at the Alpine Village in Torrance. He did so very successfully, providing hundreds of job opportunities.

He made his ideas come true again in the 1970s when building Old World Village, again providing many jobs to people of all different descents—Jewish, Armenian, Russian, Mexican, Hungarian, Lebanese, etc.

Yes, my father has just as many friends as he does enemies; however, this does not make him a bad person. Many people who are well-liked also have the same amount of enemies, for example, President Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., even our current president.

In reference to the sign placed on the property of Santa Barbara, yes, he knew exactly how to push the buttons of many which continue to touch the nerves of discriminative thinking. [Editor's note: Bischof's sign read, "Aust these no good supervisors. They deprived me of my property rights! They deserve the Auschwitz treatments."] He probably would have been better off saying, "The Santa Barbara County Supervisors should be sent to Siberia"—maybe then he wouldn't have been such a "Bad Guy." If you know your history, Stalin was just as evil as Hitler, and during WWII, people were deathly afraid of being sent to Siberia. However, the remark about Russia would not have pushed the buttons of so many, nor will Stalin ever be as memorable to the American public because of the significant amount of Jews in this country. The reason of my father's anger at the county board of supervisors was because he purchased land 15 years ago with certain zoning; now, after so many years and high taxes which were paid annually, the board of supervisors STOLE his property rights by down zoning the land and cutting its value to one-half of its original value, and still he continues to pay the high property taxes to our so-called wonderful and fair government. Being so angry that our government stole from him, he decided to make a remark he knew would get the message across drastically.

In regard to the birthday celebration of Hitler and the Historical Society conference under the church, Josef Bischof did not participate in any such events. Yes, these events took place at our establishment by promoters we do not even know personally. You see, we have four banquet facilities, which we rent out weekly to business conferences, weddings, birthdays, reunions, etc. While we do not ask specifics because we are not in any way racial, someone or a group of people decided to throw a party and conference, and because it took place at Josef Bischof's establishment, of course the public wants to blame it on Josef because he is German and all. This is discrimination, for he did not even participate in these events.

I guarantee you visit the village on any given weekend, you will find Latinos, Hindus, Samoans, Caucasians and Asians, etc. You will also find very well-respected black and Latino security guards.

Old World still remains a positive place to enjoy European heritage. Unfortunately, the village is not run by my family; in fact, in 1977, Josef Bischof immediately sold the buildings for dirt-cheap. If my father had not made the mistake of selling to individual owners, I guarantee Old World would not be where it is today. In fact, I would love to see the village become a modern-day Europe—not changing the nostalgic buildings, but filling the empty shops with shops such as: fine modern European shoes, clothing, cookware, a head shop, hemp clothing, vintage, Latin jazz lounge, Amsterdam cafés, Ambient dinner clubs and lounges, and most of all, an Independent European digital-film theater. I would have festivals happening at least once a month with bands and street performers throughout the streets of the village just like in Paris, Rome and Amsterdam. We would celebrate each and every European country, as well as America and Mexico. In fact, if the public is interested in the New Old World project, please call Cyndie at (714) 895-8020. By the way, the beautiful "Lana" featured on the Oktoberfest flier did boost attendance this year—by far.

Cyndie Bischof Huntington Beach

DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS

Last week's cover incorrectly identified actor Mark Harelik. He plays Samuel Hayes in South Coast Repertory's premiere The Hollow Lands. Michael Stuhlbarg stars as James Newman.