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Claim: Sexpert Dr. Ruth Westheimer served as a sniper in Israel.
Origins: Diminutive Dr. Ruth Westheimer
The odd juxtaposition of her appearance and professional calling is not the only surprise to
The future Dr. Ruth was born Karola Ruth Siegel in Germany in 1928, the only child of an Orthodox Jewish couple. In 1939, after young Karola's father had been taken by the Nazis, her mother and grandmother sent her to Switzerland to get her out of harm's way. She did not see her family again, as her mother and grandmother lost their lives in the Holocaust.
At 16, the orphaned girl moved to Israel and joined Haganah, an underground Jewish military organization. She served as a lookout and sniper but never killed anyone. Says Dr. Ruth of that interval:
"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, even though I was tiny and not even much of an athlete, I was incredibly accurate throwing hand grenades too. Even today I can load a Sten automatic rifle in a single minute, blindfolded."Her military career was cut short when she was seriously injured:
"My legs were almost ripped off on myRuth later moved to Paris, where she studied psychology at the Sorbonne and taught kindergarten, then immigrated to the U.S. in 1956 and obtained a Master's degree in Sociology and a Ph.D. in Education from Columbia University. A job with Planned Parenthood spurred her to study human sexuality.
Barbara "footloose" Mikkelson
Last updated: 1 March 2007
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