Israeli police are in the midst of a campaign encouraging citizens to hand in their unregistered weapons, with no fear of prosecution and no questions asked.
One person they likely didn’t expect to show up was a 78-year-old grandmother who arrived at the police station in Kiryat Gat with a virtual arsenal in tow -- four crates worth.
According to Ynet, the woman is the widow of a Holocaust survivor who collected a variety of weapons, so traumatized was he by his experience during World War II and the fear someone might confiscate his belongings.
The police did not provide the names of the woman or her daughter, but Ynet offers these details and photos of the retro weapons they handed in, courtesy of the Israel Police [emphasis added]:
The woman, who was accompanied by her daughter, brought in four crates filled with firearms including an Uzi machine gun, a 38 mm Colt handgun as well as numerous cartridges and flares. These belonged to the woman's late husband, a Holocaust survivor who hoarded weapons obsessively throughout his life.
The woman's daughter told police "My father was a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Israel as a child. Ever fearful of another war, he had been especially afraid assailants might confiscate his possessions, thus he hoarded weapons. For 40 years he was the moshav's [agricultural community] security coordinator, responsible for its armory."
The daughter added that when the State decided to terminate local armories, her father collected some of his neighbors' weapons, intending to ultimately hand them over to the military; however the opportunity never arose as he became gravely ill.
The man’s daughter further recounted to Ynet, “My father was opposed to the idea of returning the weapons himself.”
“He came from another generation, a generation where everyone sought to possess arms to safeguard laws and community regulations. For today's generation this might seem weird, as we concentrate on taking care of ourselves,” she added.
The description of the Holocaust survivor’s outlook is particularly noteworthy as some American gun rights proponents have made the case that if only Jews during World War II had been armed, they might have been able to resist the Nazi genocide.
Just days after the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting in December, Tablet magazine examined the issue in an article titled “Gun Control and the Holocaust” in which the article’s author Michael Moynihan asked gun rights proponents to “leave Hitler out of it [the gun control debate].”
At the same time, Moynihan wrote, “Still, it is indeed true that in 1938, the Nazis expanded upon Germany’s already restrictive gun laws, most of which were established during the Weimar Republic.”
Moynihan quoted from Germany’s Regulations Against Jews’ Possession of Weapons which stated that “Jews are prohibited from acquiring, possessing, and carrying firearms and ammunition, as well as cutting or stabbing weapons. Those now having in their possession weapons and ammunition must at once surrender them to the local police authority.”