Lone Alaska Jewish Fisherman Never Before Heard of Hitler
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Lone Alaska Jewish Fisherman Never Before Heard of Hitler

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The strange tale of a meeting with Alaska’s only Jewish fisherman and the somewhat amazing discovery that he had never heard of Adolf Hitler was unfolded here today by Dr. Frederick Falk.

Dr. Falk, recently back from a trip to Bristol Bay, in the Bering Sea, on the cannery tender Otsego, met the phenomenon at Koggiung, a former Indian settlement in the Bay. In the Summer, Koggiung is a fish cannery and the gathering spot of about 100 Alaskan fishermen, most of whom are Norsemen.

It was at this place, 350 miles south of Nome and within the Arctic Circle, Dr. Falk relates, that he met this lonesome Jew.

“I think there is a ### of drama,” Dr. Falk said, “in how, after seventeen years of living in a little house he had built himself against the storms and icy blasts of the Arctic, he met his first fellow Jew—me.”

The fisherman’s real name, the doctor learned, is Jacob Offendahl, although he is known to his companions as John Oat. He is blue-eyed, nearly six feet tall, muscular, hardy and weather-beaten of face. He hasn’t seen another Jew in seventeen years and hasn’t been in a synagogue in much longer than that. Born in Russia, he was brought to New York at four, after which his parents moved to the Argentine. From there he took to the sea, which he has followed for thirty of his fifty years of life.

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