Madoff’s List

The story that Westporter Rhea Schindler has lost everything — her husband entrusted his life savings to Bernie Madoff — devastated me like no other economic news, in this year of devastating economic news.

I know Rhea Schindler.

 According to the New York Daily News, as relayed by, Rhea — whose late husband Alex was a rabbi, and former head of the world’s largest wing of Reform Judaism — is selling her most beloved possessions.  Included is a silver Torah crown, an antique Torah pointer from the 1700s — and the home where the couple lived for decades, and raised five children.

I’d heard similar stories, of course — some tied to Westport National Bank. But those tales involved boldface names like John Denver, Katherine Thalberg and John Malkovich. Their personal accounts or estates were managed by Harold Thau, whose company’s investments were unwittingly entangled in the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

Rhea and Alex were my parents’ friends.  I know their kids.  I’ve been to Rhea’s home — the one she must now sell.

The news that Rhea Schindler is a victim of Bernie Madoff is profoundly, achingly upsetting.  It puts a vivid human face on what had been to me an enormous, yet still abstract, tragedy.

I hope there will be no more news like this, in our town or our country.

But I know there will be.

2 responses to “Madoff’s List

  1. Unfortunately Dan, there is more. I have heard that Elie Wiesel’s foundation lost large sums of money to the devil, I mean Madoff. Did I mention Wiessel is a holocaust survivor? Minor detail. His foundation for Humanity lost over $15 million. In addition, I was told the Fairfield Firefighters’ pention funds were placed in Madoffs’ care. This is truly a tragedy and I hope Madoff gets what’s coming to him two-fold….in hell. He earned it. This man disgusts me. His name will be thrown around with the likes of Hitler and Nero.

  2. Dont want to say

    We too are from Westport and in the same boat!