Discover more from WOID
With her Bones: Eva Kollisch, 1925-2023
The good that radical feminists do lives after them, I trust. The bullshit is on record in the New York Times. Eva Kollisch has died at age 98, and I wish I could remember her as she's remembered in the Times, which I do, except more so:
“She found few recruits for the Trotskyist movement she had joined in high school, and she then soured on it herself because of its domineering, misogynistic male leadership.”1
My memory is of coming back from Sarah Lawrence: myself, Kollisch, Grace Paley and a constitutional scholar, all crammed into Paley's Volkswagen. The subject was a group of Marxist men at Sarah Lawrence. Kollisch and Paley planning to have them all expelled; and the constitutional scholar, who was a model of graciousness, objecting there were no legal grounds for doing so, and Kollisch and Paley screaming at him to SHUT UP.
That was a thing with Kollisch: men didn't belong at Sarah Lawrence; especially Jewish men. I still have somewhere the end of year evaluation she gave me. Eva had just realized my German was inadequate, after I'd majored in German and was about to graduate. As she claimed, my German wasn't really German, it was a mix of German and French words.
It wasn't until much later, after I'd moved to Vienna, that I understood where Eva came from. We were having the apartment painted, trying to communicate with the workers, and my partner, pointing at the ceiling, said “plafond!” and everybody burst out laughing. The Hapsburg Court spoke French, so French expressions floated down to working men and women, and into Wienerisch, the language of the Vienna working class, which by the way, is close to Yiddish, both in structure and vocabulary.
I guess I should be pleased it wasn't just man-hating from Eva, it was class hatred as well: Jewish class hatred from one Jew down to another, which from Eva as from so many others was tangible in their hatred and rejection of Yiddish and their blind adherence to the pure German of their masters. I got a lot of that at Sarah Lawrence.
If, as Che said, the first duty of the revolutionary is love, then the base impulse of the fake radical is that raw resentment that, to Nietzche, drove the anarchist and the anti-Semite, and sometimes both in one.
October 20, 2023
Sam Roberts, “Eva Kollisch, Lesbian Rights Advocate and Memoirist, Dies at 98,” New York Times, October 20, 2023. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/20/us/eva-kollisch-dead.html; accessed October 20, 2023.