Who Is This Veteran?

Karola Ruth (nee: Seigel) Westheimer
  Reading time 3 minutes

Who Is This Veteran?

This is a photo of Karola Ruth (nee: Seigel) Westheimer, better known as Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the sex therapist. In the 80s and early 90s she was extremely popular and was on just about every talk show and even had her own talk show “Dr. Ruth”. But this post is about her being a successful sex therapist, this is about the 4′ 7″ sniper for the Haganah Jewish Zionist underground paramilitary organization (later known as the Israel Defense Forces).

Karola Ruth Westheimer was born in 1928 in the German village of Weisenfeld and raised in Frankfort. Her parents were Orthodox Jewish, and sadly both lost their lives in concentration camps during the mass genocide of the Holocaust. The story of her childhood and being a Holocaust survivor is very interesting and the Jewish National Fund USA website has all the details.

At the age of 16, she joined up with the Haganah and was trained to be a scout and a sniper. She claims that she never had to shoot anyone, but she was very proficient and was an ace sniper.

“When I was in my routine training for the Israeli army as a teenager, they discovered completely by chance that I was a lethal sniper. I could hit the target smack in the center further away than anyone could believe. Not just that, but even though I was tiny and not even much of an athlete, I was incredibly accurate at throwing hand grenades too. Even today I can load a Sten automatic rifle in a single minute, blindfolded.”

At the age of 20, her military career was cut short when a mortar exploded and nearly killed her.

“My legs were almost ripped off on my 20th birthday in 1948 in Jerusalem from cannonball shrapnel which exploded in the student’s residence where I was living. Three other students were killed instantly and many more were wounded. The metal pierced both my legs, and there was blood everywhere. A cannonball from Jordan had smashed through the window. I was thrown 20 feet. The strangest thing was that all I could think about was whether there might be some blood on the brand-new shoes I had just gotten for my birthday, and amazingly there wasn’t even a drop on them, which was all I cared about in some kind of strange denial.” 

She later migrated to the United States and eventually became a well-known sex therapist.

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