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Inside NCR

New board members; a word on cover photo

At its biennial meeting in April the board of the National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company welcomed two new members.

Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary Sr. Gretchen Hailer is currently vocation director of the order’s Western Province. She is also a catechist and a consultant in faith formation for Catholic publishers, producers, dioceses and parishes.

Born in Boston, Hailer grew up in Los Angeles. She has a degree in religious education from the University of San Francisco. She is author of "Eight Faces of Faith," an audio cassette program on multiple intelligences; "Believing in a Media Culture," on media literacy; and "Stewardship: Creating Our Future," a mini-course on vocation discernment.

She has been active in ecumenical and interfaith activities since 1965.

Bill Mitchell was recently named on-line editor and director of marketing at the Poynter Institute, a school for journalists in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Mitchell wrote his first story for NCR when he was a freshman at Notre Dame in 1967, on James Kavanaugh’s decision to leave the priesthood. A veteran reporter and editor, he has served in many capacities with the Detroit Free Press, Time, the San Jose Mercury News and elsewhere. More recently he has focused on emerging new media technologies and spent three years as director of development at Universal New Media, a division of Andrews McMeel Universal.

He is married to Carol A. Mitchell, a clinical psychologist and spiritual director who specializes in retreat work. They have three children and two grandchildren.

Our cover photo this week is lifted from a film shot by the Soviet army after the liberation of Auschwitz on Jan. 27, 1945. It shows the surviving Mengele twins being led out of the camp. The two girls in the foreground are Eva Mozes (now Kor), on the left, and her sister Miriam on the right. Eva Kor’s lawsuit against the Bayer corporation is at the heart of John Allen’s story on page 3.

In some ways the picture is misleading. The Mengele twins never wore striped camp uniforms. They were allowed to keep their own clothes. The Soviets wanted a more dramatic image for their film, however, and instructed them to put on uniforms; note how the shirts actually look like jackets on the girls.

Also, the twins had been eating nonstop since the SS fled Auschwitz in early January, and they had put on a good bit of weight by the time the Soviets arrived. They look far more robust in this picture than they did for most of their time in the camp. Of more than 3,000 twins selected for research by Mengele, fewer than 200 survived.

Don’t look now, but Steve Forbes, the rich, flat-tax guy who is running for president, attended the American Cardinals’ Dinner in Boston in late April. The purpose of the event was to raise money for The Catholic University of America, with the handy side effect of photo ops with the cardinals.

All this is, naturally, on the Forbes Web site, replete with tux-and-tie pics. The caption on one says "Steve Forbes is greeted by His Eminence John Cardinal O’Connor, archbishop of New York." The photo, though, shows him shaking hands with L.A. Cardinal Roger Mahony.

Maybe Forbes isn’t yet ready for prime time.

-- Michael Farrell

National Catholic Reporter, May 7, 1999