TO WAR IN A RED SUBARU: A MEMOIR A Volunteer’s Chronicle of the Yom Kippur War Between Stories and Dreams
By Adolfo Neufeld
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On October 6 1973, the day of Yom Kippur --Jewish most sacred day— the 25 year old State of Israel is about to be erased from the Middle East map by a surprise massive attack of the Arab armies. Three-and-a-half decades later a compulsive volunteer writes this chronicle of the Yom Kippur War, sprinkled with stories and snapshots. Adolfo Neufeld, an immigrant from Argentina, fears Israel’s doom. He hesitates but his inner voice prevails: ‘Another Holocaust? Never again! I’m going.’ He puts on hold his budding business enterprise in N.Y.—which eventually makes him one more example of “the American dream”. He abandons Columbia University, Spanish Writing clases under the inspiring guidance of Manuel Puig. (The kiss of the spider woman). In Kennedy Airport he boards a plane to the Israel at war. He ducks death driving his sister’s sports car to the front lines. He emerges unharmed from the shrapnel rain of a dismembered tank. A shot blinds his headlights. He is wounded rolling down a hill into a God sent bunker. In danger, his imagination flies him to his personal bunker, his past. Driving between firing canons, he recalls his infancy’s revelation of death. While he fears for Israel’s future, he re-lives his earlier visit to Israel: an adolescent stowaway under a bunk in the female’s dormitory of a Jewish ship--which lands him eventually in a Jewish jail. Meandering between tanks and canons his mind jumps to his brake-away from Argentina or his scraping escape from the Las Vegas mafia. Crossing devastated Syrian towns, ferrying officers to the front line with sacs of mail and secret envelops, he recalls his search for handicrafts in the mountain villages between Bolivia and Peru. While Israel is running out of ammunition, he chronicles the story of a Syrian hero.
But his attention lands him over and over, to this reality of mutilation and senseless death; of young men trying to kill young men they never met; of patriotic Jewish and Arab mothers sending their children to kill for ‘The Nation’, getting back a hero inside a wooden box.
Yet, this is not a book about adventure; it is about Adolfo’s chase of a chimera that may still be going on.
Adolfo Neufeld was born in Argentina. He aborted a medical and, penniless, he ventured wayward to see the world. For three years he traveled around the world hitchhiking across Europe, Brazil, or Israel, moving between continents as a sailor or a fisherman.
He returned to Argentina to cultivate his writing passion. He tried to study Philosophy and Literature but Universities were corrupted by a military dictatorship. In his second departure his objective was financial independence.
With ten borrowed dollars he jumped ship in New York City. He worked as a bus boy, delivery boy, sandwich man, and door-to-door salesman in Spanish Harlem. He tried his hand as a language teacher, retailer, wholesaler of handicrafts, importer and designer of leather goods. He finally founded his own enterprise gradually clawing his ascent to become another example of the achievers called “The American Dream”.
Reviving his early ideals, in 1973 he volunteered to the Yom Kippur War. Thirty-five years later he wrote what he remembered: his take of the war, published by Pinto Books: To War in a Red Subaru
In 1995 he retired to Switzerland to center on his youth’s ambition: to write. He joined the Geneva Writers Group and formed part of their Steering Committee.
He wrote a ‘cybernetic story’, “Love@first-site”, now in the publication process.
He is now polishing “The Admiral Made a Deal”, an extended historical novel, a fifty year saga of an idealist starting in Argentina and ending in Fidel’s Cuba and New York.