Sep 20, 11:08 AM (ET)
By SAM DOLNICK
CALCUTTA, India (AP) - The stooped man in the yarmulke fights his way through this chaotic city, the weight of generations heavy upon his shoulders.
He squeezes past tea stalls and sidewalk electricians, past idle rickshaws and honking cars. He edges through rows of vendors selling sparkly hair clips and, finally, pushes open a rusty gate hidden from the street.
Today is the Sabbath, and Shalom Israel, one of the last Jews of Calcutta, has reached a cobwebbed synagogue, a once-grand building with imposing doors that nearly always stay shuttered, and spires that soar up toward the monsoon clouds.
Israel comes every Friday to light a candle, say a prayer, and check on the three synagogues still standing, however precariously, as relics of a passed era of plenty. Most weeks, he is the only visitor.
There were once 5,000 Jews living in this teeming port city, but today, as the Jewish New Year approaches, there are fewer than 35. Israel, 38 with a thin beard, is the youngest by nearly 25 years.
Israel lives inside the only place left where Jews aren't a minority - the Jewish cemetery. He cares for the graves of his father, his great-grandparents, his uncles and his aunts, along with more than 2,000 other Jewish tombs.
He also tends to the two dozen Jewish elders still living, handles the last rites when they die, and, to stay kosher, butchers his own meat.
It's not easy being the last of your people.
"It's only a matter of time before people die or leave," said Israel. "There is no future ... The inevitable, I can't fight."
He is weary from Calcutta's midsummer heat, and from the responsibility of caring for his ancestors' legacy. He's well aware that a centuries-old community will likely die with him, but he sees nothing to do but tend to its remnants and blow on the fading embers.
"I've seen what the community was. To see the way it is now..." He trails off mid-sentence.
Israel survives on a combination of odd jobs, but his health is poor, his nerves frayed by his multiple responsibilities. He usually keeps his skullcap in his pocket because he tires of explaining its significance, but at the end of the day, when he's in a taxi heading back to his solitary shed inside the cemetery, he takes it out and puts it on, exhaling for what seems like the first time all day.
In this country of 1.1 billion people, there are believed to be roughly 5,000 Jews - not enough to be counted as a distinct group in the Indian census. Jews first came to India as traders some 250 years ago, and today their largest community is in Mumbai, the country's most cosmopolitan city.
The Jewish community built at least five synagogues and two schools. Today, there are 700 students at the Elias Meyer Free School and Talmud Torah. Not one is Jewish, and nothing particularly Jewish is taught there.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Calcutta was a bustling, raucous hub, and Jews formed a solid minority, their wedding parties and religious feasts flowing down the temple steps. Jews were players at the popular horse track - Israel remembers his father's racehorses, Onslaught, War Dance and Black Toy - and they were regulars at the fashionable restaurants. Jews rarely faced discrimination, mainly because "no one knew who we were," said Ian Zackariah, 64.
As a community, "We were too small to bully," he said. "There were so many other people to beat up - Hindus vs. Muslims, high castes vs. lower castes. Who's going to pick on us?"
The birth of independent India in 1947, and the creation of Israel the following year, marked the beginning of the end for Calcutta's Jews. Many left for the new Jewish state; others moved to Europe or the United States in search of better business opportunities.
The stalwarts stayed to care for their aging parents, to raise their children or simply because Calcutta was home.
Aline Cohen, 62 was born after the community's heyday, but she still remembers rowdy festivals and packed synagogues. Now, there aren't enough able-bodied men to form a minyan, the quorum necessary for services, and no one but Israel regularly visits the temples. The Jews rarely get together except at funerals, and sometimes not even then.
"It is lonely," said Cohen, whose three children were raised in Calcutta but have since left. "We all have non-Jewish friends, but ... there's a spiritual loneliness. You miss Sabbath services... You miss the feeling of community."
Shalom Israel never really knew what it was to be part of a community. His only Jewish peers are his younger brother, who is preparing to move to Israel, and his younger sister.
"I find the living more dangerous to deal with than the dead," he jokes. "I have very easy neighbors."
Cohen worries about Shalom Israel and what will happen to him after the elders are gone. She says he should move to Israel, but he won't.
"If I go to Israel when I'm 40 or 50, what's the point?" he said.
Besides, he says, the Jews of Calcutta need him.
He ticks off his to-do list: take several elders to the doctor, take others to the dentist, take another to a hearing test; check on the temples, trim the overgrown cemetery foliage, visit the infirm living alone.
He gets paid by the community for all this, but he says the work is important not because of the money but because "it gives me meaning, a matter of belonging."
"The community is dwindling to almost nothing," he said. "I am trying to keep it surviving as much as I can."
A blast from the past - the archived QuickSilver Wiki
Rabbi Marvin Hier's Museum of Tolerance which is part of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Though with Avi's assessment of the Spanish being better than the Aztecs - we need to also examine the avoidance mechanisms - arming yourself. Appalachian Hillbilly might be one aspect of the Shaftoe's American experience. Though Homer Hickam shows that one can transcend humble roots. I think most of us agree that education also implies vigilance and defense of one's family from thuggery. Doug tried to explain to Avi that homebrew rifling can be trickier than it seems.
- Stephenson:Neal:Cryptonomicon:1:Shanghai…(Alan Sinder)
- Stephenson:Neal:Cryptonomicon:30:the real Philippines. Randy pays no attention to it…(Alan Sinder)
- Stephenson:Neal:Cryptonomicon:73:outbreak of war with Nippon(Alan Sinder)
- AK-47 - this will be authored soon ...
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is an international Jewish human rights organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust by fostering tolerance and understanding through community involvement, educational outreach and social action. The Center confronts important contemporary issues including racism, antisemitism, terrorism and genocide and is accredited as an NGO both at the United Nations and UNESCO. With a membership of over 400,000 families, the Center is headquartered in Los Angeles and maintains offices in New York, Toronto, Miami, Jerusalem, Paris and Buenos Aires.
Established in 1977, the Center closely interacts on an ongoing basis with a variety of public and private agencies, meeting with elected officials, the U.S. and foreign governments, diplomats and heads of state. Other issues that the Center deals with include: the prosecution of Nazi war criminals; Holocaust and tolerance education; Middle East Affairs; and extremist groups, neo-Nazism, and hate on the Internet.
The Center is headed by Rabbi Marvin Hier, its Dean and Founder. Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the Associate Dean and Rabbi Meyer May is the Executive Director.
Rabbi Marvin Hier is the dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its acclaimed Museum of Tolerance. In 1977, following a visit to Holocaust sites in Europe, Rabbi Hier came to Los Angeles to create the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Under his leadership, the Center has become one of the foremost Jewish human rights agencies in the world, with a constituency of more than 400,000 families. The Center maintains offices throughout the United States, and in Canada, Europe, Israel and Argentina.
Noted for his powerful oratory, his views on issues of the day are regularly sought by the international media and his editorials have appeared in newspapers across the United States. In 1990, a Los Angeles Times Magazine cover story on Rabbi Hier noted that he has made the Simon Wiesenthal, "the most visible Jewish organization in the world".
Rabbi Hier meets regularly with world leaders to discuss the Center's agenda -- a wide range of issues including worldwide antisemitism, the resurgence of neo-Nazism and international terrorism. Among those with whom he has dialogued are U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Bill Clinton; His Royal Majesty, King Hussein I of Jordan; Israeli Prime Ministers Menachem Begin, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Shamir, Yitzhak Rabin and Benjamin Netanyahu; Pope John Paul II; French Presidents Francois Mitterand and Jacques Chirac; Czech President Vaclav Havel; and United Nations Secretary Generals Perez de Guellar and Boutros Boutros Ghali. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, his dialogue with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl led to a critical debate on German reunification and the need for 'deutsche memory'.
Rabbi Hier is the founder of Moriah, the Center's film division, and is the recipient of two Academy Awards - in 1997, as co-producer of THE LONG WAY HOME, which offers new insights into the critical post WWII period between 1945 and 1948 and the plight of the tens of thousands of refugees who survived the Holocaust, and in 1981 as co-producer and co-writer for GENOCIDE, a documentary on the Holocaust. In 1990, he wrote and co-produced the award-winning ECHOES THAT REMAIN, a documentary on pre-world War II European Jewish life, and in 1994, Hier produced and co-wrote, LIBERATION, the first production of Moriah Films. Under Rabbi Hier's direction, the Wiesenthal Center has served as consultant to Steven Spielberg's epic Schindler's List, and ABC Television's miniseries adaptation of Herman Wouk's novel, War and Remembrance.
Several years ago Rabbi Hier keynoted an historic conference on antisemitism and the struggle for tolerance which was co-sponsored by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, convened at UNESCO's international headquarters in Paris. He is the recipient of an honorary degree and many awards, in 1993 was made a Cheval
Wiesenthal himself is a survivor of the Holocaust: He was interned in several concentration camps, but was liberated by American forces in 1945. In 1977, he established the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Holocaust memorial agency named after himself, as well as a documentation center dedicated to tracking down Nazi war criminals.
He and his Vienna-based Jewish Documentation Center were instrumental in the capture and conviction of the main engineer of the Endlösung, Adolf Eichmann. Wiesenthal also helped find Karl Silberbauer, the Gestapo officer responsible for the arrest of Anne Frank: his confession helped falsify claims that the Anne Frank diary was a forgery.
In the 1970s he got caught up in Austrian politics when he pointed out that several ministers in Bruno Kreisky's newly formed Socialist government had been Nazis while Austria was part of the Third Reich. Kreisky, himself Jewish, attacked Wiesenthal as a Nestbeschmutzer (someone who dirties their own nest).
In April 2003, Wiesenthal announced his retirement, saying that he had found the mass murderers he had been looking for: "I have survived them all. If there were any left, they'd be too old and weak to stand trial today. My work is done." According to Wiesenthal, the only Austrian war criminal still alive is Alois Brunner, Eichmann's right-hand man, who is said to be hiding in Syria.
In February 2004 Britain decided to award an honorary knighthood to Wiesenthal in recognition of a "lifetime of service to humanity." The knighthood also recognized the work of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The character of Yakov Liebermann in Ira Levin's novel The Boys from Brazil is modelled on Wiesenthal, and Wiesenthal makes an appearance as a minor character in Frederick Forsyth's The Odessa File, providing information to a German journalist attempting to track down a Nazi war criminal.
WARNING: if not done well, this can result in bullets lodging within the barrel without the knowledge of the shooter. The next round could kill the shooter if the obstruction is not noticed and cleared.
The process of hillbilly rifling is well established:
- first you need to create a screw with the proper rifling. With such imprecise machining, too tight a rifling will be more prone to bullets hanging and becoming obstructions.
- take a length of wood dowel made from a hardwood, but which is green, at least 1-2" dia and at least 6" longer than the length of your intended barrel.
- take 4 lengths of twine and attach them to one end of the dowel, wrapping them around the dowel at 90 degree intervals in a screw pattern down the length of the dowel. This screw pattern should have as many inches per turn as the intended rifling of your barrel. For home-made arms, this should be at most 1 turn in 20 inches if not more inches. Kentucky rifles generally ranged in turn ratios of between 1:24 up to 1:40.
- anchor the twine to the opposite end such very taughtly, such there is very little slack.
- burn the twine off evenly, such that when it is gone, a soot pattern remains on the dowel marking the desired screw ratio.
- it is now a matter of patient hand whittling grooves into the dowel where those marks are. I've seen old time photos of appalachian grannies on their porch, in rocking chairs, smoking a pipe, and whittling grooves into a dowel to make a rifling screw.
- you then use heat to harden the wood of this screw. Keep in mind that lengths of wood dowel will shorten by 1-5% when dried and hardened in this manner, so plan accordingly.
- now that you have your rifling screw, you need your scoring bit. This can be a jig that is attached to the end of the dowel which holds on it several bits of hardened carbide steel. For the skilled gunsmith machinist, these can be made by filing pieces of heat softened steel of the desired shape, then putting them through a hardening process.
- the jig should be a block that the carbide bits are bolted to, attached to a cable or steel rod that is small enough to fit inside the barrel you intend to rifle (the jig should be that small as well).
- you need to build a rack that will hold your barrel stable and secure, while being able to use the screw to either push or pull the scoring jig through the barrel. The screw is to determine the rate at which the jig is turned as it passes through the barrel. To apply pressure to this screw, you should use another steel screw of very tight turn ratio on it to apply high mechanical advantage to the wood screw.
- use this rack to score the grooves into the smoothbore barrel. Grooves scored properly in this manner should have a very even turn pattern. Any jerks or jags in the turn pattern make the barrel useless, because bullets will lodge themselves at those points in the barrel.
If this process sounds like something you could do in your home workshop, have at it. CAVEAT EMPTOR. Don't say I didn't warn you that shoddy workmanship can get people killed. It can, it has, and it will. If you are dumb enough to think you can do this, I HIGHLY recommend you practice on at least a dozen or so barrels before actually firing a bullet from the best one.
FINAL WARNING: Kentucky rifles were muzzle loading weapons firing with black powder. Black powder burns differently than smokeless powder and is more forgiving of poor tolerances than modern ammo. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you restrict your rifling activities to black powder muzzle loading arms until you become expert in this technique. Rifling in the old days was a skill of immense value, not even a science, but a rare art. Don't die, or worse, cause others to die, for your art.
If the above sounds like a recipe for death and dismemberment, you can stock up on barrel blanks from any number of barrel manufacturers pretty cheaply, or else invest in a manufactured rifle turning press. Producing rifling to a precise degree of accuracy requires real machinery. If you have a home screw-making machine (these are available) such are a requirement for a HEAP if you intend on manufacturing rifled weapons.
Gale McMillan says the following about the three methods of rifling a barrel:
- "There are three basic types of barrels. The oldest in use today is the cut rifle barrel. It is made by pulling a cutter through the barrel scraping metal away from the bore in a spiral. The uniformity of dimension depends on the even homogenization of the alloys and the uniformity of the hardness of the steel. This method does not make as dimensionally uniform barrels as the other methods. Buttoned barrels are made by pulling a carbide button which is several thousands of an inch larger than the diameter of the bore. This button is shaped like a football with groves cut into it on a helix of the twist desired. The button expands the bore out to grove diameter but leaves the area under the groves at bore diameter. This forms the rifling. This type of rifle barrel has held most of the national and world records over the past 40 years. Although most high power shooters will argue, you can't change the records. I saw button tooling in the barrel shop at Parker Hale that dated back to the mid 30s, but it didn't get popular here until after the second war. The third method is hammer forging that came along when the large manufacturers decided to sacrifice quality for speed and cost. This method pounds a piece of steel that has a hole in it over a mandrel that has the rifling cut into it. It swages the barrel down to the desired measurement in a very short time. There is 2 types of hammer machines, one starts with the barrel blank at finished length and hammers straight down as the blank is pulled under the hammer. The other type starts with a billet 8 or 10 inches in length and kneads the steel over the mandrel in the final shape. This method sometimes forges the chamber at the same time. When you hammer a barrel over a mandrel it has a certain amount of spring back. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to get the mandrel out. This also causes it to be dimensionally inaccurate.Of all the methods used today Hammer forging makes barrels faster and cheaper but of poorer quality. There are barrels being made by electro discharge (EDM) and a few pistol barrels are made this way but for the present time it isn't used enough to consider it a method."
- A cold/hot metal rolling press
- A forge
- An anvil and blacksmiths tools
- A hydraulic press or a manual screw press with high mechanical advantage
- A milling machine
- A metal lathe
Don't got this stuff? Oh, well, time to make some new friends.
Step 1: Once you have this equipment available/on hand, you want to obtain some lengths of square, cold rolled, steel bar stock. The square dimension should be pretty damn close to the desired caliber barrel you wish to rifle (i.e. 1/4" for .25 caliber, .30 inch for .30 caliber, .45 inch for .45 caliber, 9mm for 9mm, .40" for .40 caliber, etc). You can obtain this sort of thing at any steel supply company.
Step 2: You want an octogon: if your steel supply company cannot supply you with octagonal hot rolled steel, you need to make your own. This is what the rolling press is for. For you non-engineer she-male types it is essentially like a pasta rolling press, only a lot more manly (hoo-raw). The press needs an octagonal die that will take your square rolled barstock and produce octagonal barstock. Once you have it set up, first take your barstock over to your forge (assuming you've got the forge going and its HOT) and heat it up so its a dull red hot (not bright red or yellow or white hot). We are gonna be hot rolling this puppy. Cold rolling is when they roll out barstock cold to touch (it comes out pretty hot from this process), relying on pressure instead of heat to do the work.
Step 3: Roll it: Now that it is hot, run it through the roller. It should come out octagonal. It should not be so hot that your bar stock droops at all, as you don't want this getting out of alignment, as this is going to be the mandril for imposing rifling on your barrel. After it has cooled, make sure that your barstock still has the desired caliber dimensions on its cross section, measured flat to flat.
Step 4: Round it: Now that your octagonal barstock has cooled down, you need to lathe off the sharp edges. Mount this barstock into the lathe and use the autolathing fuctions to 1/4 of each face at each edge. This will produce a 16 sided cross section where every other face is rounded. The resulting proper width of each face should be determined by applying the desired caliber to the following equation:
If you want to determine how much metal to remove to reach this point, apply the desired caliber to the following equation to determine the proper finished radius at the edge of each flat and rounded face:
NOTE: This equation can also be used to calculate the proper exact dimensions of your octagonal bar stock. Mandril Radius should be maybe 5 thousandths or so larger than the actual radius of the bullet diameter.
Step 5: Twister: Now you are probably wondering, "Where is the twist?" Well, that's what we are going to do right now. Put the mandril back in the forge and heat up to a dull red heat. Now place one end in a vice, the other in a pair of locking pliers, and twist it to the proper turn ratio. This is the method used to twist bar stock that you see in wrought iron gates and rails. An average pistol ammunition like 9mm or .40 S&W should have a turn ratio of 1:10", while higher power rounds like .357 Magnum should have longer twist rates, like 1:16". These twist ratios are nearly identical to those used in current Glock semi-auto handguns for these calibers.
Step 6: Get to the point: You are probably wondering how you are going to jam this mandril down the bore of a barrel. Firstly, you need to make part of your mandril a starter ramp, so go back to the lathe, and lathe a pencil point (but not quite all the way through) near one end of the mandril. Give it an easy ramp of 2-4".
Step 7: Make it hard: You are also wondering how you are going to force the cross section of your mandril into the bore of the barrel. You need to harden your mandril. Studying some basic metallurgy will help with this, but simple hardening, called case hardening, is possible simply by heating your mandril up and packing it in black carbon ash until it cools. This will harden the surface of the mandril enough to be useful.
Step 8: Drive it home: Now that your mandril is prepared, you want to take your barrel blank and heat it up till it is a dull red. Then place the barrel in the press, and after dipping your cooled mandril in oil, liquid graphite or teflon, drive the mandril through the bore of the barrel with the press. This will force the slighly larger impression of the mandril rifling pattern on the barrel bore, and because it is a constant twist, it will make that impression precise and steady. Use a punch to drive the mandril out of the barrel and let the barrel cool. After cooling, clean the barrel well and you should see that the rifling has become embedded in the barrel bore.
You should optimally wind up with a mandril such that the center of the flat faces are a few thousanths smaller than the bullet diameter while the peaks of the rounded faces are a few thousandths larger than the bullet diameter. This will cause the bullet to deform to the shape of the polygon.
Finally: you need to mill out the proper chamber dimensions. The SAAMI manual linked to below has proper dimensional information for every registered cartridge on the planet. You may also want to countersink the muzzle bore end, as this protects the end rifling against dings. You can lathe the barrel blank down to the desired dimensions, thread the receiver end, and perform whatever hardening heating, or cryogenic destressing, you wish. I recommend against tapering your barrel down too much without really consulting some engineering equations regarding the chamber pressures and wall thickness needed. When you finish building your gun, you should be able to 'proof' test the barrel by shooting 2-5 cartridges loaded with 150% of a standard load without damaging the barrel at all. Proof testing should be performed in a rig, pulling the trigger via string, and standing well back of the gun, with nobody else on the range.
Gyrojet pistol had its' 15 minutes of fame in the James Bond film - You Only Live Twice. It was a 10mm pistol produced in the 60's which did not fire bullets, it fired 10mm rockets. Ammo was pricey ($2.50 per rocket when that was real money) and less accurate than conventional ammo (due to, I think, poor tolerances in manufacturing the ammo). I highly recommend this sort of weapon as an alternative to rifling barrels until you are an expert rifler with established facilities.
- The Liberator, a single shot, unrifled handgun produced by US toy manufacturers for less than a buck during WWII, these were airdropped to resistance fighters to use against Axis soldiers in order to take their weapons from them. The Liberator has been known to fire as many as a dozen rounds before becoming non-functional. It is a poor military cousin of the elegant blued pre-war Colt M1911A1 .45 caliber pistols.
- Recoilless Rifle, also know as a Bazooka, this is a tube launched shoulder fired missile used against vehicles and armor, while specialized anti-aircraft versions, like the Stinger and the Kestrel are also popular with infantry units.
- Gabriel Goto / Talk page
- Yamamoto Isoroku
- Stephenson:Neal:Cryptonomicon:Avi Halaby
- Ultima Ratio Regum
- You Only Live Twice
- List of James Bond gadgets
- Gun safety
- assault rifle
- firearm action
- Winchester rifle
- Springfield rifle
- Marlin rifle
- Baker rifle
- Brunswick rifle
- M1 Garand
- M1 Carbine
- sniper rifle
- bullpup rifle
- repeating rifle
- Mark 11 Mod 0
- Mark 12 Mod 0
- Long rifle
- Principles of Firearms
- Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI) Publications Directory
- The Free Arms Project
- Submachine Gun Designers Handbook Store listing, highly recommended purchase.
- MILITARY HANDBOOK, DESIGN GUIDELINES FOR PHYSICAL SECURITY OF FACILITIES
- Andromeda Strain
The point is to educate potential victims of future holocausts. Ask me to solve Dafur?