Thursday, July 3, 2014

Schlesinger Twins: Michael cancels visits to prevent them seeing grandparents

Guest Post: Beth Alexander

Battling for my children on foreign soil in a foreign community - alone - without any family here is challenging, to say the least.

My parents thankfully came to visit this June and as much as they came to see me and support me, they were of course so much looking forward to seeing their beloved grandsons, Sammy and Benji again. They don't want to see museums or galleries - my visits with the children are what they so eagerly wait for and these precious days are always the highlight of their trips.

The boys saw them on my Tuesday visit - June 17th and were ecstatic! They ran into their arms delightedly and clung to them the entire visit. 'Bobby! Zaidy!' they kept exclaiming, scrambling onto their knees and throwing their arms around them! We had one more brilliant day together on Sunday 22nd June when we went boating along the Danube in the dazzling sunshine. Sammy and Benji's little faces beamed with excitement and pure delight. None of us will ever forget that precious day. My parents have watched our memories published on youtube over a hundred times so far with tears, a combination of anguish and joy in their eyes.

Just as we prepared for the next visit - my dad bought little fishing rods for them since the twins were so fascinated by the fish in the water and my mum was all geared up to cook up another delicious feast, the father dropped the bombshell. He had 'spontaneously' decided to take the children away on a week's holiday and the remainder of visits during my parents' stay were cancelled. I was informed by phone on Tuesday afternoon by the visiting centre and this was later confirmed by email by the Tuesday handover lady.

The kindergarten doesn't break up until the end of July and it must be very unusual for a doctor to suddenly take a week off work without giving notice to his boss and staff in the hospital. However, there was absolutely nothing we could do about the painful news.

Denying contact is a familiar pattern. My visits are regularly cancelled and Mr Schlesinger also ensured that the paternal grandfather - his own father - was also denied access to his grandchildren. In 2011, just after he was awarded sole custody, he forced me to sign a declaration in court banning me from allowing all further contact between the twins and their grandfather during my visits with the threat of losing my own precious visits if I refused.

This week, through his actions, he also prevented my doting parents from seeing their grandchildren.

This means the only grandparent with whom the children have contact is their paternal grandmother, Tamar: the same woman who fought for ten years in the courts to deny her ex husband all contact with his own children, Michael and his sister Tina. Tamar: The same woman who was an accomplice in trying to have me committed to a mental hospital on fabricated grounds and the same woman who didn't even apply for visitation to Sammy and Benji until 12 months after her son was evicted and could only have supervised access to the twins. Once she did, I immediately granted her request because I felt it is so important for the children to have family in their lives.

While my parents were always kind and generous to us during our short-lived marriage, Mr Schlesinger repaid them by taking them to court in Vienna and attempting to sue them for 15,000 Euros. He had to pay rent for me and the children while they lived with me and tried to extort that money from my parents who had flown over to Vienna to support me in 2010. Of course his case couldn't hold up and the court rejected his outrageous claim.

Children need role models to teach them love, trust, tolerance and cooperation in order to become decent, caring and sensitive adults.

Just what lessons will Sammy and Benji learn from the example set by their father?


  1. If you think that Michael Schlesinger has a manipulative and controlling personality - and therefore you help Beth - I don't think that Yoel Weiss is any less controlling and manipulative. Yoel Weiss, too, claims that he wants SOLE custody of his children (and he did not even bother to marry the mother legally), Yoel WEiss has ordered and obtained a psychological evaluation of his non-wife.

    Beth Schlesinger, too, claimed violence on her husband's part, and court did not believe her...

    You are helping Yoel Weiss create a new Beth Schlesinger...

  2. Now we can understand how being part of a tragically dysfunctional family becomes a hereditary trait - when victims become perpetrators and try so hard to replicate their own shattered and lonely childhood in the lives of their own children.

  3. How cruel can Dr Schlesinger get? This man is sick. How can a monster like this hold down a job at the Otto Wagner Hospital in Vienna, where he is treating addicts on a daily basis and requires compassion to deal with their internal medical problems? He is the one who needs therapy himself!

  4. Alice Miller writes that abused kids have an inner need to justify their parents abuse as acts of love - ' Beaten children very early on assimilate the violence they endured, which they may glorify and apply later as parents, in believing that they deserved the punishment and were beaten out of love. They don't know that the only reason for the punishments they have ( or in retrospect, had) to endure is the fact that their parents themselves endured and learned violence without being able to question it. Later, the adults, once abused children, beat their own children and often feel grateful to their parents who mistreated them when they were small and defenseless.'

  5. On the one hand, the blog author claims to help a woman who lost custody to an ex-husband she claims is controlling and manipulative.
    On the other hand, he is helping a controlling and manipulative husband gain sole custody of his children.
    How is this compatible?
    How can he not see that his helping a controlling and manipulative husband gain sole custody will lead to a similar situation as the one described by Beth Alexander?

  6. We don't need cliches here, Mick. If you're interested in this shocking story of fatherly sadism and biased court cases in Vienna, you can trace it back by searching for postings on this blog over the past couple of years. The character of Sammy and Benji's abuser has been crystal clear from the beginning - when he made the mistake of getting married and became a father. There is no question of this happening "eventually".

  7. Hypothetical question: if Michael Schlesinger had refused to give a get, would the blog author and his brother uphold his right to refuse a get?

  8. Hypothetical question:

    1) If Michael Schlesinger had refused to give Beth a get, claiming she is moredet, would you have backed him as you backed weiss, friedman and weiss?
    (He could have argued that he never was violent, and that he really thought it was best for her to be committed back in that night.)

    2) If Michael Schlesinger had agreed to give a get only on condition that he will obtain sole custody of the children - would you have backed him? Would you have helped him like you help Weiss, Friedman and Weiss if Beth had launched a media campaign because she wanted a get without leaving him sole custody?

    3) What is really the difference between a beith din that backs up a man in his claim for sole custody - otherwise he will not give a get - and an austrian secular court that attributes sole custody to the father on wrong premises?

  9. I wonder which authority in Austria carries out regular checks to find out whether custodial parents are maintaining the standards expected of them.

    The judge apparently decided (on what basis?) the father would be a better parent (how could she possibly have "known"?) and awarded custody of the boys to him, rather than to the mother, who is not a criminal, drug-user, alcoholic or mental hospital patient.

    It now seems pretty obvious that the father is bringing his kids up to be liars, deceivers and victimizers because these are the things he's teaching them. Why are the Austrian youth authorities not watching this? Why are they not acting? Does Judge Göttlicher, who I believe to be a woman, want members of the next generation of Austrians to become like those who were Eichmann etc's accomplices back in 1938-1945?

  10. There seem to be very few posters interested in discussing the fate of the sadly deliberately deprived English-Austrian twins in Vienna at the moment. However, there are other postings on Daas Torah indicating that interest has not altogether flagged, for instance this one by a chewy, peppermint-flavoured poster actually commenting on the Chabad movement:

    "When we look at Chabad in Austria (Biderman) or Chabad in Australia, we
    don't see a small number of individuals behaving badly, we see a whole
    Chabad infrastructure geared up towards the coverup of malpractice. This
    coverup continues on a global scale, as "most shluchum / rabbis are
    mostly autonomous". Why don't we go a step further and give these Rabbis
    an award for their coverups? When will you admit there is a problem

    I think the author has started a very important discussion although I
    don't agree with everything in the blog post. I would argue that it is
    about time Chabad was declared to be outside of Judaism by the leading
    Rabbis of our generation.

    It is hardly a surprise to see Chabad up to their eyeballs in the horrific scandal of the Schlesinger Twins too:

    ................................... (DT links)

    It seems that this Biderman guy can do what he likes without any other
    Chabad Rabbi around the world saying a word. Why aren't Chabad UK
    speaking out? We have recently seen Bnei Akiva speaking out against the
    behavior of their Israeli colleague/leader. Are Chabad happy to be
    silently complicit in the face of injustice?"

    I hope "Minty" doesn't mind being quoted here but he or she reminds us that nothing has changed in recent months as far as the rabbi responsible for the kindergarten the twins attend is concerned. He who failed to give personal evidence to the court in Vienna but merely reported meaningless hearsay. He who refuses to attempt to have any mediatory effect on the inhumane father. He who has never met the boys to see the traumatic effects of court-licenced abuse on children who had not yet begun to speak when they were ripped from their mother's arms.

    Not having good "Motherese" has been shown to significantly affect communication skills development. "Motherese" = the skills a caregiver uses to help a child develop communication such as repetition, questioning, expanding and modelling etc to develop the child's language. Rabbi Biderman's staff must have noticed that the twins' speech is at the level of years' younger children and that they will therefore not be able to commence school in one year, at the age of 6. The father is supposed by law to have informed the mother about their diagnosis and therapy, for these are "life events" which have to be reported to the non-custodial parent, who then has the right to comment, if agreement between the parents cannot be achieved, to the court.

    Rabbi Biderman should be instructing his staff to ask the courts to order a speech and language evaluation in their native language, which to all intents and purposes is German. Not developing their skills at this age will affect their long-term learning and success. Pity these poor children, who are being maltreated by those who do know better ......

  11. The blog author favors get extortion and therefore attracts a crowd that think it is perfectly normal that a father will obtain full custody of children, have the wife pay child support and not cooperate with visitation.

    If Michael Schlesinger, instead of manipulating the courts, had withheld a get until Beth gives him full custody of the children, he could have counted on the blog author's support, just like Yoel Weiss can count on the blog author's support while making the same demands.

    The blog author thinks that no-one should believe a woman she was abused until she can prove it, and that no woman should raise a media campaign to obtain a get, because it might give the jewish community a bad name.

    So Beth's fate does not really interest the blog author or the majority of the commentators here.

    this comment will most probably be censored.

  12. I feel very strongly about the corruption in Vienna that has prevented these twins from growing up without proper access to their mother. This corruption, which we have seen Rabbi Biderman voluntarily participate in, should be objected to by all corners of the globe.

    I am not a lone voice in this matter. Thousands of people across multiple countries find this situation totally unacceptable and will not tolerate anyone who is complicit in this despicable injustice.

    My message is simple: Either chuck Biderman out of Chabad or chuck Chabad out of Judaism.

    Which is it to be?

  13. Eve, your little sketch is emotional and very scary. You know what? It makes me wonder whether the father even took the boys anywhere while their grandparents were here. I remember how their mother once found them in the apartment - in grubby, badly fitting clothes in the darkness. Could the father who must have been regarded by the judge as a perfect carer possibly have locked them up with the Filipino nannies as long as their grandparents were in Vienna? Did the kindergarten director get evidence that they were "on holiday"? Or is she in cahoots with the father and Rabbi Biderman? How did their father, the man who claims to be a "specialist" doctor but is in fact not, manage to get time off work to go "on holiday"? Medicos in hospitals have to plan their schedules months, not hours, in advance. ????

  14. Isn't Biderman autonomous in Vienna and so allowed free reign for good or evil? Who's gonna chuck him out Monty? Rabbi Eisenberg won't have the authority to do that and it doesn't look like anyone from Chabad in Brooklyn is going to either. Biderman doesn't give a damn about the Schlesinger twins yet he's responsible legally for the kindergarten they attend. A little dictator on a solid throne. A true scandal that doesn't seem to have hit local headlines yet.

  15. Chucking Biderman out of Chabad was only one of the two possible solutions I suggested!

    In practice, this scandal has isolated Biderman so much in Chabad circles, that he has effectively been chucked out in all but name. However, this still has not gone far enough by any means.

    As we have seen from other posts on Daas Torah and social media, the blogosphere is awash with Orthodox Jews who are sick of Chabad for many different reasons. You can tell Chabad are hurting because they are stepping up the number of positive press articles they are paying for in the mainstream media. This pathetic response fools no one and only reiterates how Chabad are irreversibly leaving accepted Judaism very quickly.

    Good riddance!


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