TIME conflict

The Death of Klinghoffer and What Actually Happened on the Achille Lauro

Achille Lauro
Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro leaves Port Said harbor on Oct. 10, 1985 after Egyptian authorities stopped it from sailing to the Israeli port of Ashdod. Mike Nelson — AFP/Getty Images

A controversial opera is based on the events of a 1985 terrorist attack

For New York City’s Metropolitan Opera, this week has been one in which the relationship between art and history got a little bit more complicated, as Monday’s opening night of the John Adams opera The Death of Klinghoffer provoked protests. Those opposed to the production, who included former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, believe that the opera glorifies terrorism in the way it presents the story of those who caused the titular death; those who support it say that the opera, though about the 1985 murder of Leon Klinghoffer, does not celebrate the people who killed him. At its heart, the controversy is about the difficult distinctions between expression and endorsement–and perhaps even the very purpose of art.

But it’s also bound to raise a much more easily answered question, at least among younger observers of the debate: who was Leon Klinghoffer and what happened to him? Some hecklers reportedly yelled during the performance that his murder should never be forgotten, and there’s no sign that the opera’s supporters would disagree with that statement.

TIME covered the murder in the Oct. 21, 1985, issue, as a key element in a cover story about terrorism. As the magazine reported, the Achille Lauro was an Italian cruise liner taking about 750 passengers around the Mediterranean; those on board included 11 friends from New York and New Jersey, brought together by Marilyn Klinghoffer, who celebrated her 59th birthday during the trip. Leon Klinghoffer, Marilyn’s husband, was confined to a wheelchair after having had two strokes.

The ship also carried four other passengers, terrorists from the Palestine Liberation Front who supposedly planned to attack when the ship reached the city of Ashdod in Israel. But according to an Italian report at the time, after a waiter saw them with their guns they decided to launch their attack early, hijacking the ship and ordering the captain to steer the ship toward Syria. If their demands — for the release of 50 prisoners being held in Israel — were not met, they would begin to kill their hostages.

Leon Klinghoffer, tragically, was first. Here’s how TIME reported what happened:

At exactly what point these sadistic threats became reality is not known. But in a now familiar ritual of terrorism, the hijackers had decided to underscore their seriousness by taking a sacrifice. First they separated Leon Klinghoffer from his wife. “No,” said one gunman to the wheelchair-bound passenger. “You stay. She goes.” Marilyn Klinghoffer never saw her husband again. For the next 24 hours she and her friends were consumed by anxiety. When the hijacking was finally over, they looked all through the ship for him, though they expected the worst. Some passengers had noted that the trousers and shoes of one of the hijackers had been covered with blood. And besides, as one recalled, “We had heard gunshots and a splash.” Giovanni Migliuolo, the Italian Ambassador to Egypt, later chillingly reconstructed the event: “The hijackers pushed [Klinghoffer] in his chair and dragged him to the side of the ship, where, in cold blood, they fired a shot to the forehead. Then they dumped the body into the sea, together with the wheelchair.”

After it became clear that no nation would allow the hijacked ship to dock and the PLF negotiated for the hijackers to leave the ship, the Klinghoffers’ children were told that all of the passengers were safe. Hours passed before the State Department informed them that their father had not been found. About two days passed before the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt announced that Leon Klinghoffer had been murdered.

Marilyn Klinghoffer — who reportedly told President Reagan that she spat in the terrorists’ faces when asked to identify them in a line-up, to which he responded “You did? God bless you.” — died of cancer the following year. The opera The Death of Klinghoffer premiered a few years later, in 1991, in Belgium. Though it was controversial then as well, TIME’s critic Michael Walsh wrote that fears over the subject matter should not keep it from the ranks of operatic greatness. “Just as the lyrical and deeply humanistic [Nixon in China, an opera by the same creative team] confounded many who had expected a leftist demonization of the old unindicted co-conspirator,” he wrote, “so has this sweet, sorrowful Klinghoffer upended everyone’s expectations.”

Read the full story of the hijacking of the Achille Lauro, here in TIME’s archives: The Voyage of the Achille Lauro

Read TIME’s review of the premiere performance of The Death of Klinghoffer, here in the archives: Art and Terror in the Same Boat

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Watchdog Group Says ISIS Has Warplanes

Ex-Iraqi army officials are reportedly training ISIS fighters to fly them

Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) have acquired three “warplanes that can fly and maneuver,” a watchdog Syrian opposition group said in a new report.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said former Iraqi army officials who have joined ISIS are training militants to operate the planes at an airbase near the contested Syrian city of Aleppo. The report, which has not been verified, cites anonymous “reliable” sources. The U.S. military said it’s not aware of ISIS gaining air capability.

“We’re not aware of [ISIS] conducting any flight operations in Syria or elsewhere,” U.S. Central Command spokesman Colonel Patrick Ryder told Reuters.

TIME Syria

Syria Border City Kobani ‘Holding Off’ ISIS Militants

A member loyal to the ISIL waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa
A fighter from the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) waves a flag in Raqqa, Syria on June 29, 2014. Reuters

"Our fighters are still heroically resisting [ISIS],” says Anwar Muslim, the top Kurdish official inside Kobani

Kobani is still holding out against ISIS, the top Kurdish official in the besieged Syria border city said Monday—but a senior U.S. defense official warned that American air strikes may not be enough to save it from falling to militants.

Fighter jets are unable to launch strikes at potential targets inside Kobani because it is difficult to differentiate between ISIS or Kurdish fighters and because of the potential for the killing of innocent civilians, the U.S. official said, adding that “there is concern that Kobani could still fall” to ISIS.

U.S. military forces launched eight air strikes against…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME conflict

ISIS Defends Enslaving Women in New Magazine

A member loyal to the ISIL waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa
A fighter from the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) waves a flag in Raqqa, Syria on June 29, 2014. Reuters

Article appears in the latest edition of its English-language online magazine

The militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) appeared to defend its enslavement of women on Sunday in the latest edition of its English-language online magazine.

An article in the fourth issue of Dabiq said the practice of taking women and girls of the enemy is firmly established in the Quran and allowed under the strict laws by which they claim to abide. Anyone who criticized the group’s taking of women and girls as sex slaves, the article continued, would be criticizing Islam and mocking the Prophet Muhammed. Analysts and journalists, among others, began to parse out its contents on Twitter.

The publication came as Human Rights Watch (HRW) published an extensive report on ISIS’s sexual enslavement of women, specifically of the Yezidi minority in Iraq. The organization interviewed 76 Yezidis displaced in Duhok, Zakho, Erbil and other areas of Iraqi Kurdistan. They reported that ISIS was holding 366 of their relatives.

One 17-year old girl who escaped told HRW that a “big bearded man” picked her out from a group of detainees in Mosul. “You are mine,” he said.

TIME Syria

Battle Rages for Syria Town Under ISIS Assault

SURUC, Turkey — The shells were already roaring down on the Kurdish fighters from the hill above Kobani when more than 30 Islamic State militants backed by snipers and pickups mounted with heavy machine guns began their assault across the dusty fields.

Holed up in an industrial area of squat, concrete buildings on Kobani’s eastern edges, the outgunned Kurds could do little to repel the attack, recalled Dalil Boras, one of the defenders during the Oct. 6 assault. The Islamic State group’s firepower proved too much, so the Kurds withdrew through the gray streets to a tree-lined park, ceding a foothold in the town to the extremist fighters, who promptly raised two black flags over their newly conquered territory.

A week later, the Kurdish men and women of the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, are still holding out, if barely, with a helping hand from more than 20 airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State positions.

They have been battered by tanks shells and mortars, and picked off by snipers using American-made rifles. They have no answer for the heavy weapons that Islamic State fighters have looted from Iraqi and Syrian army bases. And while they are slowly yielding ground, they so far have prevented the town from being overrun, defending it zealously with little more than light weapons, booby-traps and a fervent belief in their cause.

Along the way, the predominantly Kurdish town along Syria’s border with Turkey has been transformed from a dusty backwater into a symbol of resistance for Kurds around the world. It also has grabbed the international media spotlight, which has helped turn the defense of Kobani into a very public test for the American-led international effort to roll back and ultimately destroy the Islamic State group.

The battle itself is now playing out in Kobani’s streets and alleyways — a fight being watched by scores of Syrian and Turkish Kurds, as well as dozens of journalists, through binoculars from hilltops and farms just across the border in Turkey.

From that vantage point, the town spreads out among the rocky hills and brown fields just beyond the frontier. Plumes of black smoke billow over the low-slung skyline. The occasional thud of mortar shells mixes with the clatter of heavy machine guns and assault rifles.

Kurdish fighters and civilians who have recently fled describe a much grittier scene inside the town. Both of the warring sides have knocked holes in walls to move between buildings — a tactic employed in urban fighting for decades. On cross streets, blankets have been hung to limit exposure to snipers. Rubble litters the streets. Smoke hangs in the air. The few remaining civilians have sought shelter in basements.

Boras, a short and stocky 19-year-old dressed in dusty black jeans and a black T-shirt, explained how Kurdish fighters are organized into small groups of sometimes as few as five or six people, who stake out positions on the front lines. Teams with rocket-propelled grenades and Russian-designed machine guns known here as “Doshkas” have taken up positions in the upper stories of some buildings to maximize the Kurds’ limited firepower.

“We are communicating with walkie-talkies,” Boras said recently during a three-day break from the fight. “We tell them on our walkie-talkie that they’re attacking and we throw a red smoke bomb to show the position of the attack, and then the machine guns and RPGs provide support.”

Kurdish men and women fighters spread out on the various fronts are mainly armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and grenades. They carry backpacks with ammunition, biscuits and canned beans and hummus, and when they run low they call into headquarters.

“We have special words for martyrs, wounded, ammunition and food on the walkie-talkie,” Boras said. They frequently switch frequencies to avoid being spied on over the airwaves.

Since the Islamic State group first moved into Kobani’s eastern districts on Oct. 6, the fighting has developed a familiar rhythm, the Kurds say: The extremists own the day, while the Kurdish forces rule after sundown when the Islamic State’s heavy weapons can’t effectively target Kurdish positions.

“At night, we go out on missions to hunt them down. During the day they put pressure on us,” said Boras. “We watch during the day to see where they are. And then if there’s a street that needs it, we plant roadside bombs to hit them with during the day.”

With limited resources, the Kurds have had to improvise. Boras recalled on one occasion packing a truck tire with explosives and then rolling it down the hill toward Islamic State fighters, destroying a machine gun post.

As the fighting has ground down in the thick of the town, the front lines in some places have narrowed to just a few meters (yards), said Aladeen Ali Kor, a Kobani policeman now volunteering in a refugee camp in the Turkish town of Suruc while he recovers from a shrapnel wound to the back of his neck.

“There are some places where you’re basically across the street from them. Like from here to the back of the gas station there,” he said, pointing across the busy main road in Suruc. “Fighters on both sides yell and taunt each other. We say we’ll never let you in. They yell at us that they’ll never let us out alive.”

Kor, a stout 36-year-old with a tightly-cropped brown beard flecked with gray, said most of the Islamic State fighters captured by the YPG are Syrian, although there are also many Turks, Chechens and Yemenis mixed in among them.

At one point, he pulled back the white hand towel rolled up on his neck to show the three stitches and swollen wound. He was out on a patrol, he said, when a mortar round slammed into a building nearby, followed by a second that hit the street.

“Another guy was wounded in the leg and belly, and two guys were killed,” he said. “I didn’t pass out, but I was dazed. Friends took me to an ambulance. There was blood everywhere.”

Most of Kobani’s wounded are brought to the hospital in Suruc. Two emergency room nurses taking a short break recounted the chaos of the past few weeks.

“We usually see 25-30 wounded a day. They are serious injuries. Mostly from gunshots and shrapnel,” said one of the nurses who only identified himself as Mehmet. The nurses estimated that 70 percent of the wounded are fighters, while the rest are civilians.

For now at least, the heart of Kobani remains in Kurdish hands, although their grip appears tenuous at best. With so much attention on the town, neither side can relent. Activists say the Islamic State group has rushed in reinforcements, while small numbers of Kurds continue to sneak across the border to join the fight.

One of them is Boras. Reached by telephone late Saturday night, he said he had slipped back into Kobani and returned to the front. Having already lost his father and a brother fighting the Islamic State, he said he sees no alternative but to make his stand there.

“Either Kobani will fall and I will die, or we will win,” he said.

TIME conflict

See a Rare Civil War-Era Photo of a Slave from Robert E. Lee’s Household

Selina Gray Robert E. Lee Civil War Slaves Arlington Cemetary
National Park Service curator Kim Robinson holds the photo of Selina Gray, right, who was in charge to care for Arlington House where Gen. Robert E. Lee had lived in for 30 years, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va on Oct. 9, 2014. Jose Luis Magana—AP

The image depicts Lee's head housekeeper

The American Civil War was a remarkable conflict for many reasons — not least of which is that it’s widely considered to be the first photographed war. Never before had those removed from the battlefield by geography or by time been able to see up close what it looked like.

But, compared to photographs of soldiers and generals, photographs of those over whom they fought — the slaves of that era — are much rarer, which is part of the reason why the image above is so noteworthy.

On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that the National Park Service had revealed the image, which shows Selina Gray and two younger girls. Gray was head housekeeper at the Arlington, Va., home of General Robert E. Lee. It bears the inscription “Gen Lees Slaves Arlington Va.” A Park Service spokeswoman told the AP that such portrait-style photography of slaves was extremely unusual because they were thought of as property.

According to Arlington House’s official website, when the Union army seized Lee’s home, Gray helped protect many Lee family heirlooms that had once belonged to George Washington. And now another artifact of the past will join Arlington House’s history: this photo will go on display to the public on Saturday.

See more photographs from the Civil War era here on TIME.com: Faces of the Civil War

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The Tragic Nobel Peace Prize Story You’ve Probably Never Heard

Carl Von Ossietzky
German pacifist writer Carl Von Ossietzky, circa 1933 Hulton Archive / Getty Images

This is the story of the "long-ailing, wornout, beaten Nobelman" Carl von Ossietzky

In some years, and this year was no exception, there is no obvious choice for the Nobel Peace Prize. Speculators can guess, pundits can argue, but ultimately the Norwegian committee’s decision — if there is one — comes as a surprise to many.

In 1935, however, the choice seemed obvious. The plight of Carl von Ossietzky, a journalist and socialist activist held in a Nazi concentration camp, had drawn international attention. After serving during the First World War, von Ossietzky became a staunch pacifist and decried German rearmament, facing persecution under successive German governments but refusing to flee despite the threat to his safety. He had been put in a Nazi camp in 1933.

Albert Einstein and French author Romain Rolland were among the period’s celebrity activists who supported Ossietzky’s nomination for the peace prize. Wrote TIME that year:

If ever a man worked, fought & suffered for Peace, it is the sickly little German, Carl von Ossietzky. For nearly a year the Nobel Peace Prize Committee has been swamped with petitions from all shades of Socialists, Liberals and literary folk generally, nominating Carl von Ossietzky for the 1935 Peace Prize. Their slogan: “Send the Peace Prize into the Concentration Camp.”

But the Third Reich was anything but pleased that one of its prisoners might receive the high profile award. The Germans pressured the committee against choosing him, with one Nazi state newspaper warning the Committee “not to provoke the German people by rewarding this traitor to our nation. We hope that the Norwegian Government is sufficiently familiar with the ways of the world to prevent what would be a slap in the face of the German people.” Under this Nazi pushback, the Committee announced it would not award anyone the prize that year–citing violence in Africa and political instability in Asia. “The time seems inappropriate for such a peace gesture,” the Committee said in a statement.

The Committee would redeem itself a year later, retroactively awarding von Ossietzky the 1935 prize, worth $40,000. The move infuriated Hitler. German media called von Ossietzky a “traitor” and the award an “insult” to Germany. The Führer threatened to cut off relations with Norway, even after the Foreign Minister resigned from the Committee over the decision, and declared that Germans would never again be allowed to receive Nobel Prizes. (Several German scientists who were subsequently awarded Nobel Prizes were unable to accept the award until after World War II.)

But by the time the award was announced, von Ossietzky’s health had worsened. The Germans had already moved him from the prison camp to a hospital in Berlin, perhaps aware of the impending international attention that would soon befall him. When they unexpectedly allowed journalists to meet with him, he was “looking thin and sounding tired,” TIME wrote after an interview with him:

But in high spirits, Herr von Ossietzky chirped, ‘I count myself as belonging to a party of sensible Europeans who regard the armaments race as insanity. If the German Government will permit, I will be only too pleased to go to Norway to receive the Prize and in my acceptance speech I will not dig up the past or say anything which might result in discord between Germany and Norway.’

Von Ossietzky was never allowed to accept his prize in Norway, and his tortuous saga continued. Though he was eventually released from prison supervision, it was widely assumed that the release was on the condition that he refrain from activism. In an eerie TIME interview in 1937, von Ossietzky praised the Nazi government and announced that he had been allowed to accept the prize money. But the TIME article also made clear that von Ossietzky’s words were not entirely freely spoken. “Hollow-eyed and pale, Ossietzky knew that if he got himself imprisoned again, it would be his death,” the article noted.

Still, the sickly Nobel Laureate’s troubles continued. A swindler claiming to be a lawyer proposed to collect von Ossietzky’s prize money for him, only to launder the funds and keep them for himself. Almost all of the money was recovered by May of 1938 when von Ossietzky died at 48 of, according to the official death record, meningitis — but by then he was, as TIME wrote, a “long-ailing, wornout, beaten Nobelman.”

Read the 1935 story about the Nobel Peace Prize Committee passing over von Ossietzky: Way of the World

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There’s a Nazi Buried on Mount Zion in Israel — For a Good Reason

Oskar Schindler's Grave
Visitors honor hero Oskar Schindler by placing stones on his grave in Jerusalem Ed Kashi—National Geographic/Getty Images

Oct. 9, 1974: Oskar Schindler, the inspiration for 'Schindler's List,' dies

Oskar Schindler, the real man who inspired Schindler’s List, got off to a less-than-heroic start. Taking advantage of the Nazis’ ouster of a Polish factory’s original owner, a Jew, he exploited the cheap Jewish labor of the Krakow ghetto to turn a massive profit, which he used to fund his playboy lifestyle.

But witnessing the horrors of war changed him, as is explained by Yad Vashem’s profile of the man whose gravestone — after his death 40 years ago today, on Oct. 9, 1974 — would note that he rescued 1,200 Jews. The profits he had once funneled into his own pleasure or used for bribes that advanced his business interests were soon reserved for hiding and feeding hundreds of Jews, forging identification papers for them and bribing Nazi officers into releasing prisoners from concentration camps. The one-time gambler staked his life on the decision, as well as his money; he was arrested twice by the Gestapo but freed with the help of well-connected — and presumably well-paid — friends in the German army, according to his obituary in the New York Times.

He survived the war, but his money did not.

The former war profiteer and onetime Nazi spy who became known as one of history’s greatest humanitarians found himself penniless after World War II, when Soviet troops commandeered the factory where he had made a fortune manufacturing enamelware, then ammunition. A handout from an American Jewish organization helped finance his move to Argentina, where he bred nutria for fur. That venture failed, as did a second enterprise he undertook upon relocating to Germany. There he bought a concrete factory, which went bankrupt, as recounted in the book Oskar Schindler: The Untold Account of His Life, Wartime Activities and the True Story Behind the List.

After Oskar Schindler sacrificed his livelihood to save more than 1,000 Jews from World War II death camps, he came to rely on Jewish charity for his own survival. For much of the rest of his life, Schindler lived meagerly in Frankfurt, in a one-room apartment financed by donations from those around the world who were grateful for his wartime sacrifice.

Even after his death, Schindler was looked after. He was interred in the Catholic cemetery on Mount Zion in Jerusalem — and is, according to Thomas Keneally, the author of Schindler’s List, the only member of the Nazi Party ever to have been buried there.

Read TIME’s review of Schindler’s List, here in the archives: Heart of Darkness

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India and Pakistan Clash Over Kashmir After Peace Talks Falter

Relatives of Rajesh Kumar, who was killed in mortar shell firing allegedly from the Pakistan's side, weep inside their residential house at Masha da kothe village, in Arnia Sector near the India-Pakistan international border, about 30 miles)from Jammu, India, on Monday.
Relatives of Rajesh Kumar, who was killed in mortar shell firing allegedly from Pakistan's side, weep inside their house at Masha Da Kothe village, near the India-Pakistan border, about 30 miles from Jammu, India, on Oct. 6, 2014 Channi Anand—AP

Hope for long-term peace unraveled after India called off a round of talks last month

Tens of thousands of villagers have fled their homes in Kashmir amid some of the worst violence between India and Pakistan since a 2003 cease-fire agreement.

Shelling from both sides that began on Friday has killed at least nine civilians, Reuters reports. Both sides have accused each other of starting the clashes, which coincide with the Eid al-Adha festival for Muslims in both countries.

Newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised expectations for a warming of ties between the two countries when he invited Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his inauguration in May. But Modi called off peace talks last month because Pakistan planned to meet with Kashmiri separatists.

The two countries have fought three wars over the disputed region, and Muslim separatists have targeted Indian forces since 1989.

Thousands of people from Indian villages along the border have been evacuated to government shelters and underground bunkers, the Associated Press reports. Authorities in Pakistan say four civilians, including two children and a woman, have been killed in the clashes. An Indian official said five people were killed by Pakistani shelling.

[Reuters]

TIME conflict

75 Years Ago: Hitler’s Phony Plea for Peace

Peace Speech
From the Oct. 16, 1939, issue of TIME TIME

How TIME covered the "bare-faced lies" of the Oct. 6, 1939, speech

On Oct. 6, 1939, Adolf Hitler returned from touring the trampled city of Warsaw to address the Reichstag. He was ready to do something surprising: ask the world for peace.

Except that his peace speech — delivered 75 years ago on Monday — was far from peaceful. As TIME noted in its coverage of the event, Hitler spent about 60 of the 80 minutes speaking about other things. And, when he finally moved on to the subject, the oratory was, unsurprisingly, full of untruths.

Here’s what TIME reported in the Oct. 16 issue:

The Polish victory came first on Speaker Hitler’s list, accompanied by three bare-faced lies. Lie No. 1: “A state of no less than 36,000,000 inhabitants took up arms against us. Their arms were far-reaching, and their confidence in their ability to crush Germany knew no bounds.” Lie No. 2: In spite of the “violations and insults which Germany and her armed forces had to put up with from these military dilettantes,” the First Soldier of the Reich claimed that he “endeavored to restrict aerial warfare to objectives of so-called military importance, or only to employ it to combat active resistance at a given point.” (For photographs and an accompanying eyewitness account of German restricted aerial warfare see p. 45.) Lie No. 3: All objective reports of the last days of besieged Warsaw agree that the Germans refused point-blank to allow the garrison to evacuate non-combatants from the city. Herr Hitler’s variorum: “Sheer sympathy for women and children caused me to make an offer to those in command of Warsaw at least to let civilian inhabitants leave the city. . . . The proud Polish commander of the city did not even condescend to reply.”

The German victory, though it had to be won at times over odds of 6-to-1, was not only sweet but cheap in casualties, said the Führer (see p. 44). And now “German soldiers have once more firmly established the right to wear the laurel wreath of which they were meanly deprived in 1918.”

If TIME readers flipped to page 45, as suggested by the parenthetical about “restricted aerial warfare,” they would find a tale of the slaughter of Polish civilians.

The speech continued, this magazine reported, with a discussion of good relations with Britain and France, and Hitler’s hope that the nations of Europe could settle on a peace — but only a peace in which German demands would be met.

And, despite the ostensibly peaceful nature of the speech, Hitler couldn’t resist ending on an ultimatum: “If, however, the opinions of Messrs. Churchill and his followers should prevail,” TIME reported him saying, “this statement will have been my last.”

Read the full report on Hitler’s Oct. 6, 1939, speech here, in TIME‘s archives: The Last Statement

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