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Victor Navasky, Journalist, b. 1932

“He yelled ‘Heil Hitler!’ and threw a pencil at her.”


We lived down the street from the Ansonia Hotel. Babe Ruth was a hero of mine, and he would get a shave everyday at the Ansonia barbershop. I would wait outside and wave to him when he came out. I’d say, “Hi, Babe,” and he’d say, “Hi, kid,” and then he would get into his car and take off. After many years I got up the courage to ask for his autograph.

When I got to the Little Red Schoolhouse, everyone knew what communism was—at the age of 11. It was a very political place. Even at that age, there were kids who knew all these things. I wasn’t even one of the really politically active kids; there were others who really knew their stuff. On my first day, the teachers started giving one kid a hard time, and he yelled “Heil Hitler!” and threw a pencil at her.


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