Shiny & Free
In the midst of all the articles about Debbie Cook, we shouldn't overlook this amazing article on Paulette Cooper from a few days ago. I've pasted in the first part here, it's well worth the click through for this one.
Paulette Cooper, With Help From the Voice, Discovers Her Heartrending Past
By Tony Ortega Mon., Mar. 5 2012 at 8:00 AM
In December, I finally got the chance to meet Paulette Cooper when we had breakfast near the offices of the Voice. For many of us who toil in this business of reporting on Scientology, we have no greater hero. Paulette's 1971 book, The Scandal of Scientology, was one of the first exposes of the church and remains one of the best. And no other writer who revealed Scientology's secrets paid a higher price: As we told in new detail on Thanksgiving Day, Paulette was framed by Scientology operatives who were determined to get her imprisoned. She faced 15 years in prison at one point, indicted for sending bomb threats that had actually been faked by the church. She lived with extreme harassment from 1969 to 1985, when the last of 19 church lawsuits against her were finally settled.
Even today, 35 years after an FBI raid on the church turned up documents revealing that Scientology had set out to frame Paulette, there are still mysteries about the plot against her, which church operatives called Operation PC Freakout -- we are making progress even today filling in those details, the subject of a future story.
But there was another, unpredictable outcome from that December breakfast, another part of Paulette's story that suddenly opened up to her in dramatic fashion. And today, we have those details.
You might remember from that earlier piece that Paulette had been in town to see her sister, Suzy, and we casually mentioned what she said the two had been talking about...
...the two of them are still trying to piece together exactly what happened when, as young children, they were rescued from a Nazi camp in Belgium, sparing them the fate of their parents, who were shipped to Auschwitz for extermination. A Belgian man rescued the girls by paying the equivalent of what today would be about $2 million to save 22 children from the camp, and to this day Paulette would like to learn his identity.
Within two days of us mentioning that, Paulette tells me, she had heard from people in three different countries -- Belgium, Israel, and the Netherlands -- and newspapers in both Belgium and Holland had picked up the story.
Since then, we've worked with Paulette to piece together information from people who knew her parents, as well as newspaper archives and other official sources of historical data. Over Presidents' Day weekend, I visited with Paulette at her home in Palm Beach, Florida, and we went over some new photographs and information she'd gathered. We're still hoping to fill in a few gaps, but today we have a much clearer picture of her origins.
This is what we were able to put together.