Karl Hoffman

Karl Hoffman

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Karl Hoffman was born in Russia. He moved to London where he associated with a group of Russian revolutionaries that included Peter Piaktow (Peter the Painter), Yakov Peters, George Gardstein, Fritz Svaars, Max Smoller, John Rosen and William Sokolow. Hoffman rented a room at 36 Lindley Street.

On 21st November, 1910, Smoller, using the name, Joe Levi, he asked to rent a house, 11 Exchange Buildings. His rent was ten shillings a week, and he took possession on 2nd December. Fritz Svaars rented 9 Exchange Buildings on 12th December. He told the landlord that he wanted it for two or three weeks to store Christmas goods and paid five shillings deposit. Another friend, George Gardstein, borrowed money so that he could buy a quantity of chemicals, a a book on brazing metals and cutting metals with acid.

On 16th December 1910, a gang that is believed to included Smoller, Svaars, Gardstein, Hoffman, Peter Piaktow (Peter the Painter), Yakov Peters, Yourka Dubof, John Rosen and William Sokolow, attempted to break into the rear of Henry Harris's jeweller's shop in Houndsditch, from Exchange Buildings in the cul-de-sac behind. The Daily Telegraph reported: "Some two or three weeks ago this particular house in Exchange Buildings was rented and there went to live there two men and a woman. They were little known by neighbours, and kept very quiet, as if, indeed, to escape observation. They are said to have been foreigners in appearance, and the whole neighbourhood of Houndsditch containing a great number of aliens, and removal being not infrequent, the arrival of this new household created no comment. The police, however, evidently had some cause to suspect their intentions. The neighbourhood is always well patrolled. Shortly before 11.30 last night there were sounds either at the back of these newcomers' premises or at Mr Harris's shop that attracted the attention of the police."

A neighbouring shopkeeper, Max Weil, heard their hammering, informed the City of London Police, and nine unarmed officers arrived at the house. Sergeant Robert Bentley knocked on the door of 11 Exchange Buildings. The door was open by Gardstein and Bentley asked him: "Have you been working or knocking about inside?" Bentley did not answer him and withdrew inside the room. Bentley gently pushed open the door, and was followed by Sergeant Bryant. Constable Arthur Strongman was waiting outside. "The door was opened by some person whom I did not see. Police Sergeant Bentley appeared to have a conversation with the person, and the door was then partly closed, shortly afterwards Bentley pushed the door open and entered."

According to Donald Rumbelow, the author of The Siege of Sidney Street (1973): "Bentley stepped further into the room. As he did so the back door was flung open and a man, mistakenly identified as Gardstein, walked rapidly into the room. He was holding a pistol which he fired as he advanced with the barrel pointing towards the unarmed Bentley. As he opened fire so did the man on the stairs. The shot fired from the stairs went through the rim of Bentley's helmet, across his face and out through the shutter behind him... His first shot hit Bentley in the shoulder and the second went through his neck almost severing his spinal cord. Bentley staggered back against the half-open door and collapsed backwards over the doorstep so that he was lying half in and half out of the house."

Sergeant Bryant later recalled: "Immediately I saw a man coming from the back door of the room between Bentley and the table. On 6 January I went to the City of London Mortuary and there saw a dead body and I recognised the man. I noticed he had a pistol in his hand, and at once commenced to fire towards Bentley's right shoulder. He was just in the room. The shots were fired very rapidly. I distinctly heard 3 or 4. I at once put up my hands and I felt my left hand fall and I fell out on to the footway. Immediately the man commenced to fire Bentley staggered back against the door post of the opening into the room. The appearance of the pistol struck me as being a long one. I think I should know a similar one again if I saw it. Only one barrel, and it seemed to me to be a black one. I next remember getting up and staggered along by the wall for a few yards until I recovered myself. I was going away from Cutler Street. I must have been dazed as I have a very faint recollection of what happened then."

Constable Ernest Woodhams ran to help Bentley and Bryant. He was immediately shot by one of the gunman. The Mauser bullet shattered his thigh bone and he fell unconscious to the ground. Two men with guns came from inside the house. Strongman later recalled: "A man aged about 30, height 5 ft 6 or 7, pale thin face, dark curly hair and dark moustache, dress dark jacket suit, no hat, who pointed the revolver in the direction of Sergeant Tucker and myself, firing rapidly. Strongman was shot in the arm, but Sergeant Charles Tucker was shot twice, once in the hip and once in the heart. He died almost instantly.

As George Gardstein left the house he was tackled by Constable Walter Choat who grabbed him by the wrist and fought him for possession of his gun. Gardstein pulled the trigger repeatedly and the bullets entered his left leg. Choat, who was a big, muscular man, 6 feet 4 inches tall, managed to hold onto Gardstein. Other members of the gang rushed to his Gardstein's assistance and turned their guns on Choat and he was shot five more times. One of these bullets hit Gardstein in the back. The men pulled Choat from Gardstein and carried him from the scene of the crime.

Yakov Peters, Yourka Dubof, Peter Piaktow and Fritz Svaars, half dragged and half carried Gardstein along Cutler Street. Isaac Levy, a tobacconist, nearly collided with them. Peters and Dubof lifted their guns and pointed them at Levy's face and so he let them pass. For the next half-hour they were able to drag the badly wounded man through the East End back streets to 59 Grove Street. Max Smoller and Nina Vassilleva, went to a doctor who they thought might help. He refused and threatened to tell the police.

They eventually persuaded Dr. John Scanlon, to treat Gardstein. He discovered that Gardstein had a bullet lodged in the front of the chest. Scanlon asked Gardstein what had happened. He claimed that he had been shot by accident by a friend. However, he refused to be taken to hospital and so Scanlon, after giving him some medicine to deaden the pain and receiving his fee of ten shillings, he left, promising to return later. Despite being nursed by Sara Trassjonsky, Gardstein died later that night.

The following day Dr. Scanlon told the police about treating Gardstein for gun-shot wounds. Detective Inspector Frederick Wensley and Detective Sergeant Benjamin Leeson arrived to find Trassjonsky burning documents. Soon afterwards, a Daily Chronicle journalist arrived: "The room itself is about ten feet by nine, and about seven feet high. A gaudy paper decorates the walls and two or three cheap theatrical prints are pinned up. A narrow iron bedstead painted green, with a peculiarly shaped head and foot faces the door. On the bedstead was a torn and dirty woollen mattress, a quantity of blood-stained clothing, a blood-stained pillow and several towels also saturated with blood. Under the window stood a string sewing machine, and a rickety table, covered with a piece of mole cloth, occupied the centre of the room. On it stood a cup and plate, a broken glass, a knife and fork, and a couple of bottles and a medicine bottle. Strangely contrasting with the dirt and squalor, a painted wooden sword lay on the table, and another, to which was attached a belt of silver paper, lay on a broken desk supported on a stool. On the mantelpiece and on a cheap whatnot stood tawdry ornaments. In an open cupboard beside the fireplace were a few more pieces of crockery, a tin or two, and a small piece of bread. A mean and torn blind and a strip of curtain protected the window, and a roll of surgeon's lint on the desk. The floor was bare and dirty, and, like the fireplace, littered with burnt matches and cigarette ends - altogether a dismal and wretched place to which the wounded desperado had been carried to die." Another journalist described the dead man "as handsome as Adonis - a very beautiful corpse."

John Rosen went to visit Nina Vassilleva on the 18th December, 1910. She asked him "have you brought trouble". He gave a slight shrug and said "I don't know". Nina refused to let him in and he left the building. Rosen went into hiding but in early January 1911 he told his girlfriend, Rose Campbell, that he had been involved with the Peter the Painter gang. She in turn confided in her mother, who told her son-in-law Edward Humphreys, who went to the police. Rose denied the story and on 31st January, she married Rosen.

Rosen was arrested on 2nd February. His first words were "I know you have come to arrest me." Rosen admitted visiting 59 Grove Street on the day of the murders but said that he had spent the evening with Karl Hoffman at the pictures, and later in his room, before going home. The following day he met Hoffman again but he said he knew nothing about the murders. However, Rosen did tell the police "I could show you where a man and a woman live, or were living, who are concerned in it, but I don't know if they have moved since I have been here."

On 15th February, 1911, Karl Hoffman was charged with conspiracy to break and enter into the Henry Harris's jeweller's shop. When questioned he refused to admit that he knew George Gardstein, Peter Piaktow (Peter the Painter), Yakov Peters, Max Smoller, Fritz Svaars, Yourka Dubof, John Rosen and William Sokolow. Hoffman claimed that on 16th December he had gone to bed at midnight and nobody had visited his room. The only witnesses against Hoffman were Nicholas Tomacoff and the landlady at 35 Newcastle Place, who both seen him, on separate occasions, in Svaars' lodgings.

Theodore Janson, a Russian immigrant and a police informer, claimed that he had asked Hoffman on Christmas Day if Peters and Dubof, who had been arrested, were guilty of the murders. Hoffman had apparently laughed and replied: "No, there were nine men in the plot, none of them are yet arrested. It's a pity the man is dead (meaning George Gardstein), he was the ablest of the lot and leader of the gang. He also managed it that some members of the gang didn't know the others."

The trial of the Houndsditch murders opened at the Old Bailey on 1st May. Yakov Peters and Yourka Dubof were charged with murder. Hoffman, Peters, Dubof, Max Smoller and John Rosen were charged with attempting to rob Henry Harris's jeweller's shop. Sara Trassjonsky and Nina Vassilleva, were charged with harbouring a felon guilty of murder.

The opening speech of A. H. Bodkin lasted two and a quarter hours. He argued that George Gardstein killed Robert Bentley, Charles Tucker and Walter Choat and Smoller shot Gardstein by mistake. Justice William Grantham was unimpressed with the evidence presented and directed the jury to say that the two men, against whom there was no evidence of shooting, were not guilty of murder. Grantham added that he believed that the policeman were killed by George Gardstein, Fritz Svaars and William Sokolow. "There were three men firing shots and I think they are dead."

The prosecution's principal witness that linked Peters and Dubof to Gardstein was Isaac Levy, who saw the men drag him along Cutler Street. Levy came under a fierce attack from defence counsel. After his testimony, Justice Grantham said that if there was no other evidence of identification he could not allow any jury to find a verdict of guilty on Levy's uncorroborated statement. After Grantham's summing-up made it clear that none of the men should be convicted of breaking and entering, the jury found them all not guilty and they were set free.

Karl Hoffmann

"Just think if we were asked to observe a minute of silence for all the people we've slaughtered and all the people our friends in the SS have slaughtered. Why, we'd be spending the rest of our lives in total silence!"

Karl Hoffmann in 1931 is an unemployed mechanic between 18 and 20 years old. It is stated that Karl has a high school education from the Realschule and, during his youth, was a serious football player. Karl is quick to join the Nazi Party in the fall of 1931, drawn by the appeals of a better life for the German working class. At the same time Karl joins the Sturmabteilung (SA) as a rank and file stormtrooper.

Karl is shown to be a part-time member of a local SA unit in Stuttgart (known in the SA as a Trupp or a Sturm) and makes one reference to being subordinate to a Scharführer, which Karl calls his "section leader". Because of his motor mechanic skills, Karl is appointed to the SA transportation section sometime before May 1933. It is in this capacity that Karl witnesses the crushing of Germany's unions on May Day. Shortly thereafter, Karl becomes attached to the SA Supreme Headquarters in Stuttgart and begins working for an SA-Gruppenführer named Josef Biegler. Biegler comments that Karl (who is still only a simple SA-Trooper), is not getting promoted since he is viewed somewhat as a troublemaker.

Karl is working as Biegler's driver when the Night of the Long Knives occurs and Karl witnesses the execution of SA Chief Ernst Röhm, Biegler and other SA leaders. Karl is then thrown into Dachau Concentration Camp and it is at this point that his SA career appears to end. The film incorrectly states that the SA was disbanded, when in fact the SA continued to exist until 1945. Karl appears to be finished with his Nazi affiliation after 1934.

Just four years later, Karl is again arrested, this time by the Gestapo for making inquiries in the SA crushing of the trade unions in 1933. During the union actions, Karl's former employer and family friend Rudolf Longner was seriously paralyzed and used a wheelchair. After Longner's death, Karl seeks justice against the original SA soldiers who caused the injuries. However, when Karl attempts to make a statement at a local Ordnungspolizei police station, he is told that he will be reported to the Gestapo and "They won't like your story, they won't like you either." Karl insists on making his statement anyway, and is subsequently arrested.

To avoid a return trip to a Concentration Camp, Karl is drafted into the Wehrmacht and serves as an ordinary Soldat in the German Army. After service in Poland, Karl participates in Operation Barbarossa, shortly after which he is commissioned as a Leutnant and later receives a further promotion to Oberleutnant. This is the extent of Karl's military career, as he deserts shortly after the Third Battle of Kharkov. From this point on, Karl moves about Germany on false travel papers, narrowly avoiding arrest after the July 20th plot. Karl is the only member of his family to survive the war in 1945.

Karl-Heinz Hoffmann's Secret History Links the Violent Far Right With Middle Eastern Terror.

Last month, one of Germany's most notorious neofascists, Karl-Heinz Hoffmann, made what he said would be his final public appearances, to discuss, "Judaism on German Soil Since Roman Times to the Enlightenment," "The Anti-Jewish Jews" and/or "The Political Meaning of Islam." Hoffmann is often portrayed in feature stories as something of a retired eccentric, residing with his wife, Franziska Birkmann, in Bavaria's Ermreuth Castle, where he holds court and offers his perspective on a variety of issues, including social media, the abolition of churches and unions, and the "complete transformation of the economy."

Rarely discussed outside German media is the neofascist group that Hoffman foundedthe Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann (Hoffmann Sports Group). While the group's possible connection to the Oktoberfest bombing of 1980 is common knowledge in German political circles, recent publications rarely reference Hoffmann's more notorious activities, including his alleged facilitation of a working relationship with a group of Palestinian terrorists in Lebanonpart of a network that terrorized Western Europe throughout the 1970s and '80s. A review of Hoffmann's activities and associates reveals a tangled web in which violent neo-Nazi organizations on the far right made common cause with Palestinian liberation groups who were heroes of the far left.

Continue reading "Karl-Heinz Hoffmann's Secret History Links the Violent Far Right With Middle Eastern Terror" at.

The Real Abbie Hoffman

At the end of his autobiography, Soon to be a Major Motion Picture, 60s radical activist Abbie Hoffman includes a sarcastic epilogue retracting everything he has ever believed. At the time he wrote the book, Hoffman was living underground, on the run from the law on drug charges, and he offered to give the following &ldquoconfession&rdquo in exchange for readmission into respectable society:

You know, I&rsquom really sorry and I wanna come home. I love the flag, blue for truth. White for right. Red for blood our boys shed in war. I love my mother. I was wrong to tell kids to kill their parents&hellip Spoiled, selfish brats made the sixties. Forgive me, Mother. I love Jesus, the smooth arch of his back, his long blond curls. Jesus died for all of us, even us Jews. Thank you, Lord. &hellip I love Israel as protector of Western civilization. Most of my thinking was the result of brainwashing by KGB agents&hellip I hate drugs. They are bad for you. Marijuana has a terrible effect on the brain. It makes you forget everything you learned in school&hellip I only used it to lure young virgins into bed. I&rsquom very ashamed of this. Cocaine is murderous. It makes you sex crazy and gets uneducated people all worked up. Friends are kidding themselves when they say it&rsquos nonaddictive. The nose knows, and the nose says no&hellip Once I burned money at the stock exchange. This was way out of line. People work hard to make money. Even stockbrokers work hard. No one works hard in Bangladesh&mdashthat&rsquos why they are starving today and we are not. &hellip Communism is evil incarnate. You can see it in Karl Marx&rsquos beady eyes, long nose, and the sneering smile behind his beard&hellip.Our artists are all perverts except, of course, for the late Norman Rockwell. &hellipOur system of democracy is the best in the world&hellip Now can I come back?

Part of Hoffman&rsquos life is now indeed a major motion picture, Netflix&rsquos The Trial of the Chicago 7, written and directed by The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin is an unfortunate choice to bring Abbie Hoffman to the screen, since Sorkin&rsquos basic worldview is one Hoffman completely rejected. The West Wing is known for showing a faith in good liberal technocrats to govern wisely, yet Hoffman was a &ldquoburn down the system&rdquo anarchistic radical. Sure enough, Sorkin&rsquos Hoffman is almost the Jesus-loving patriot of the actual Hoffman&rsquos biting satire.

The story of the Chicago 7 is one that needs to be remembered, so we can be glad that Netflix chose to bring it to the screen. After the 1968 Democratic convention, at which antiwar protesters clashed with Chicago police and were savagely beaten, shocking the country, the Nixon administration brought charges against a number of the event organizers. Nixon&rsquos justice department wanted to teach the New Left a lesson in order to demonstrate it was serious about &ldquorestoring law and order,&rdquo and the charges against the defendants were flimsy. The trial itself was a farce, thanks in part to a biased judge who saw conviction as a foregone conclusion. But the defendants, instead of accepting their fate, decided to use the media attention being paid to the trial to publicize the cause of the antiwar movement, and called an array of celebrity witnesses (Dick Gregory, Allen Ginsberg, Jesse Jackson, Judy Collins, Norman Mailer, Arlo Guthrie, and even former attorney general Ramsey Clark) to &ldquoput the government on trial&rdquo and turn a political persecution into a media event that would keep the left&rsquos message on the national agenda. Ultimately, while most of the defendants were convicted of conspiracy to riot, the convictions were overturned on appeal and the government dropped the case. The Chicago 7 trial&rsquos historical significance is (1) as an example of the American government trying to criminalize dissent and intimidate the political left through selective prosecution and (2) as an example of how defendants can successfully fight back through turning a trial into a media spectacle and winning in the &ldquocourt of public opinion.&rdquo

Abbie Hoffman, the most charismatic and media-savvy defendant, was one of the most colorful figures of the &lsquo60s left. Coming from a serious activist background as part of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Hoffman&rsquos Youth International Party (Yippies) engaged in attention-grabbing stunts to publicize left causes. Infamously, Hoffman sneaked into the New York Stock Exchange and dumped dollar bills onto the trading floor, sending brokers scrambling for cash. In a giant antiwar march, he led a group trying to perform an &ldquoexorcism&rdquo of the Pentagon and send it off into space. At Woodstock, Hoffman scuffled with Pete Townshend of The Who when Hoffman stormed the stage to give a political speech. Hoffman&rsquos Steal This Book gives advice on how to shoplift, deal drugs, and live free through all manner of scams.

Yet while The Trial of the Chicago 7 is sympathetic to Hoffman, it also softens him in a way that ultimately amounts to historical fabrication. In the climax of Sorkin&rsquos film, Hoffman takes to the stand and defends the protesters actions by invoking Lincoln and Jesus, and gives a tribute to democracy that could have come from The West Wing. &ldquoI think our institutions of democracy are a wonderful thing that right now are populated by some terrible people,&rdquo he tells the court. In the film, Hoffman is a relatively benign spokesman for the basic right of dissent.

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Heroin: Acetylated Morphine

Heroin is another story. Dreser, while still a professor in Göttingen, had worked on the effect of codeine—a weaker derivative of opium than morphine—on breathing. He instructed Hoffmann to acetylate morphine with the objective of producing codeine the result instead was a substance that was named heroin. But the same compound had already been discovered in 1874 by an English chemist and so was not patentable. Before the extreme addictiveness of heroin was recognized, however, it was widely sold by Bayer and other companies to suppress heavy coughs, to relieve the pain of childbirth and of serious war injuries, to prepare patients for anesthesia, and to control certain mental disorders. Since the 1930s it has been banned in most countries.

The information contained in this biography was last updated on December 8, 2017.

William Hoffman’s Encounters with History

Originally published in Special Edition 2016 in the Surgeon’s Call

William Hoffman was a 19 th century U.S. Army officer well known to his contemporaries, but his eventful 40 year military career was forgotten by subsequent generations–until recently. He had many dramatic and sometimes dangerous encounters with history without ever being at the center. He came to the attention of many still-familiar figures of his generation without acquiring equivalent fame. With growing interest in social, administrative and humanitarian dimensions of Civil War history, his name has returned from obscurity, though not necessarily to the benefit of his re-remembered reputation. With the opening of the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum, one brief chapter in his story does take on new meaning and importance. His collaboration with Clara Barton illustrates how effective she was in building a network of support among people who were only briefly associated with her, and no longer remembered in connection with her name and story.

Gen. William Hoffman (at right), Commissary General of Prisons, and staff on the steps of his office, F Street at 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC, 1865.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Hoffman was born in New York City in 1807, grew up in military garrisons where his father served as an Army officer, and secured an appointment to West Point where he began his own long and eventful military career.[i] Among other cadets that he came to know from his class of 1829 were Virginians Joseph E. Johnston and Robert E. Lee. He served in the Black Hawk War and was brevetted twice for distinguished combat service in the Mexican War.[ii] He was a blunt, tenacious officer willing to incur the ire of the military establishment. This gained him some national attention following the Grattan Massacre.

In August 1854, Lieutenant John Grattan impulsively led 29 soldiers from Fort Laramie into an unnecessary confrontation with Sioux warriors in a dispute over compensation for a stolen cow. Grattan and his men were all killed in the ensuring fight, and Major Hoffman was sent to assume command of Laramie following this disastrous event. While others argued that the massacre proved the Army needed to expand, Hoffman sent a stream of correspondence back to Washington insisting it actually demonstrated the need to place more experienced and senior officers in command on the frontier. His persistence earned the ire of senior Army leaders and even came to the personal, disapproving attention of Secretary of War Jefferson Davis. In the end, though, Davis and Hoffman’s superior officers in Washington backed down.[iii] Hoffman went on to play an active role in military operations in the Southwest until the eve of the Civil War, when he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and assigned to command the 8 th U.S. Infantry in Texas.[iv]

He arrived at his duty station just as U.S. forces in Texas surrendered. He spent the opening months of the war sidelined and unable to command his regiment while they waited to secure parole and leave Texas.[v] The regimental Sergeant-Major later wrote approvingly that “Although not being permitted to exercise any authority over his old command, he nevertheless gave us many words of encouragement to remain steadfast to the flag…”[vi]

Following his release, Hoffman was promoted to Colonel in April 1862 but not formally exchanged until August.[vii] He was then tapped to serve as Commissary-General of Prisoners, a daunting assignment which made him responsible for oversight of all prisons run by the Army during the Civil War.[viii] Colonel Hoffman recognized the unique logistical and managerial challenges he faced, and the lack of guidance to go with them. “My duties are entirely unique to the service,” he wrote, “and I have at no time received special instructions.”[ix] Though an able officer, he never seemed to grasp the extent to which the health, well-being, and ultimate survival of Confederate prisoners held by the Union relied on his determination to enforce humane living conditions and ensure that adequate provisions reached them. Hoffman is returning to historical memory as a controversial figure, sometimes blamed for much unnecessary suffering and mortality in Union prisons.[x]

Clerks in front of the Commissary General of Prisons building, F Street at 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC, 1865.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

By late 1864, he had been promoted to the rank of Brevet Brigadier General in recognition of his vast responsibilities. In late February of 1865, Clara Barton approached him about her plan to begin work among the emaciated Federal troops being brought to Annapolis for care after their release from Confederate prisons. She wanted to go to Annapolis, conduct inquiries among them about missing soldiers, and deliver any news of the missing men to their anxious families. Brevet Brigadier General Hoffman did not offer to endorse her plan initially, though she may have been reassured when he told her that he did not oppose her pursuing the idea with other officials.[xi]

Meanwhile, he did offer some important practical support for her efforts. On February 24, 1865, Hoffman wrote to Colonel F. D. Sewall, Commander at Camp Parole in Annapolis, with the following instructions:

“Miss Clara Barton, who will hand this to you, desires to be the means of informing the friends of prisoners who have been in the hands of the enemy of their fate, as far as it can be learned by inquiries of those who are now arriving in Annapolis on the parole from the South. Please permit her to post notices in the barracks asking for information concerning such prisoners as she may have occasion to inquire for, and if it is practicable to give her any information from your records without interfering with the necessary course of business, I request that you will communicate such as she may desire in general terms, not giving particulars on which to base a claim for pay or allowances. Report after trial of a few days how far these instructions can be carried out without inconvenience and wait for final approval.”[xii]

Barton’s persistence paid off, and eventually Hoffman endorsed her plan along with other senior officers including General Grant.[xiii] His role in establishing the Missing Soldiers Office and brief association with Clara Barton was over, but he deserves credit for being the official who first facilitated her work on behalf of missing soldiers. After the war Hoffman returned west to serve as regimental and garrison commander at Fort Leavenworth.

During his tenure at that post, he served on the famous Court Martial Board that tried and convicted George Custer,[xiv] and then ended his long career on a sour note. Colonel Benjamin Grierson was forming one of the newly authorized regiments of African-American soldiers at Fort Leavenworth (now immortalized as the Buffalo Soldiers.) Hoffman held deep racial prejudices that over-rode his usual sense of duty. Rather than accept that social transformation required him to adjust to new realities, Hoffman balked at his responsibility to help ensure efficient incorporation of Grierson’s regiment into the Army. Hoffman harried Grierson and his regiment with endless complaints and criticism. This culminated in a confrontation between Hoffman and Grierson on the parade fields at Fort Leavenworth.[xv] Fortunately Grierson prevailed in establishing his soon-to-be-famous unit in the Army, and Colonel Hoffman retired from the service in 1870, holding the additional rank (attained towards the end of the Civil War) of Brevet Major General.[xvi]

Hoffman settled quietly into civilian life in Rock Island, IL,[xvii] and remained there until his death on August 12, 1884.[xviii] He had been a good fit for the small pre-Civil War Regular Army. However, he didn’t fully adjust to the logistical and operational demands of the Civil War. He failed, completely, when it came to overcoming his prejudices and adjusting to new professional responsibilities and relationships following the end of slavery. His support for Clara Barton’s initiative on behalf of missing soldiers and their families does deserve to be remembered as an important humanitarian contribution. It carries new relevance in light of modern interest in humanitarian dimensions of the Civil War and the recent reopening of the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office, almost precisely 150 years after he lent his crucial support to her work.


[i] Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. June 17, 1885. (Evening News, Printers and Binders, 1885), “Necrology of William Hoffman,” pp. 36-37.

[ii]George W. Cullum, Biographical Register Of The Officers and Graduates Of The U.S. Military Academy At West Point From Its Establishment In 1802, To 1890. Third Edition, Vol. 1, Nos. 1-1000. (Houghton, Mifflin and Co. The Riverside Press, 1891) p.433. This biography available online at http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924092703929view=1upseq=442 , last accessed February 28, 2016.

[iii] Paul Norman Beck, The First Sioux War: The Grattan Fight and Blue Water Creek, 1854-1856 (University Press of America, Inc. 2004) pp. 71-72, 76-78.

[iv] For a readily accessible summary of his career and promotion history, see Hoffman biography on the website of the Military Society of the Mexican War, http://www.aztecclub.com/bios/hoffman.htm, last accessed February 28, 2016.

[v] Id, note ii, Cullum, at p.433.

[vi] Id, note i, Annual Reunion, p. 38.

[vii] Id, note iv, Hoffman biography on the website of the Military Society of the Mexican War.

[viii] David Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler, editors, Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History, (ABC-Clio, Inc. 2001), Vol. 2, P. 981.

[ix] Id, note 1, Annual Reunion, p.38.

[x] For a summary of the controversy surrounding Hoffman’s work as Commissary General of Prisoners, see James M. Gillispie, Andersonvilles of the North: Myths and Realities of Northern Treatment of Civil War Confederate Prisoners, (University of North Texas Press, 2008), pp. 75-76.

[xi] Stephen B. Oates, A Woman of Valor: Clara Barton and the Civil War, (The Free Press 1995), pp. 298-299.

[xii] The War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Series 2-Volume 8, at pp. 301-302.

[xiii] Id, note xi, Oates, at p. 311.

[xiv] George Armstrong Custer (with an introduction by Edgar I. Stewart), My Life on the Plains OR, Personal Experiences with Indians, (University of Oklahoma Press, 1962), p.xiii.

[xv] William H. Leckie and Shirley A. Leckie, Unlikely Warriors: Benjamin Grierson and His Family, (University of Oklahoma Press, 1984), p. 143.

[xvi] Id, note ii, Cullum, p. 434.

[xvii] Id, note i, Annual Reunion, p. 39.

[xviii] Id, note ii, Cullum, p. 433.

About the Author

Michael H. Hoffman, JD, is an educator and attorney with over 35 years of experience in the field of international humanitarian law. He serves as a volunteer advisor to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, where he is assisting with the development of exhibits and programs for the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum. He has no known family ties to William Hoffman.

Hawks Prairie Dental Center’s Dr. Karl Hoffman Puts Family First at Home, On The Job and in the Community

Dr. Karl Hoffman has been practicing dentistry for 25 years, 20 of which have been spent at his Lacey dental practice, Hawks Prairie Dental Center.

Family first is a phrase we hear often, but what does it really mean? For some, family first means looking out for a little sister or doing something thoughtful for a parent. For others, it means making sacrifices and putting someone else’s needs before your own. At the heart of it all, family first is about taking care of one another and always having your loved one’s best interest at heart.

Dr. Karl Hoffman understands this notion well, as he has many families throughout the community. From his own family at home to his family of patients at Hawks Prairie Dental Center in Lacey , his church family, his colleagues in study club or fellow dads that support the high school track team, Dr. Hoffman is always putting family first, no matter which fam ily it is.

After graduating from the University of Washington School of Dentistry 25 years ago, Dr. Hoffman has spent the past 20 years serving the community at his private practice in Lacey. Over the years, Dr. Hoffman has cultivated a staff and clientele that — to him — is like a second family, and he treats them as such. Providing top-notc h personalized an d conservative care to each and every patient that walks through his door, Dr. Hoffman’s patients trust in him and the care of his talented team of dental technicians.

For Dr. Hoffman, this is his greatest accomplishment. It is, after all, a testament to his expertise and caring approach to dentistry. From reversing dental issues on adults to ensuring healthy dental development in his younger patients, Dr. Hoffman says nothing makes him more proud than providing positive experiences and quality care to his patients.

Dr. Karl Hoffman gives back to his community one day each month, providing free dental services to low-income members of the community.

And he always goes the extra mile to make sure his patients are comfortable. For some patients, comfort comes in the form of getting dental work in Dr. Hoffman’s colorful “Husky room,” a purple and gold painted office decked out with the memorabilia of his alma mater. For others, comfort comes in the form of clear communication. Dr. Hoffman is fluent in Spanish, a skill he picked up while living in Costa Rica as a child.

Dr. Hoffman says he has a lot of patients who were once in “dental trouble,” but now, many years after comprehensive care, these patients now enjoy healthy, comfortable smiles. But Dr. Hoffman doesn’t only provide quality care to the patients he serves at his dental practice in Lacey, he extends these services at no charge to his third family: the community. For more than a decade, Dr. Hoffman has been volunteering at the Olympia Union Gospel Mission where he provides free dental care to community members who can’t afford to pay for dental services out of pocket.

“Volunteering at the Olympia Union Gospel Mission has been very satisfying for me because I not only believe in their mission, but I think their system is extremely effective at helping people,” explains Dr. Hoffman.

Dr. Karl Hoffman says he has a relationship-based practice. For Dr. Hoffman, the relationships he has with his patients are a top priority.

Giving back to the community is important to Dr. Hoffman, and it’s also an extension of the work he started straight out of dental school serving in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps . “I was already public health minded due to my background and felt a strong urge to help [the Olympia Union Gospel Mission’s] program,” he says. Dr. Hoffman has been volunteering (and recruiting other volunteers) with the Olympia Union G ospel Mission for 11 years.

Of course, when he’s not working at his dental clinic or volunteering his services to the community, Dr. Hoffman is putting family first with his first family: his wife and two ki ds. He has sponsored numerous youth projects and sports team locally. With a son at Saint Martin’s University and a daughter at Northwest Christian High School, Dr. Hoffman stays busy. Between taking pictures as the “unofficial” photographer for his daughter’s track team and volunteering with friends and family at several of his church’s charities, Dr . Hoffman is always finding ways positive ways to impact the community he lives in and loves.

Dr. Karl Hoffman enjoys a Husky game — the team of his alma mater — with his wife, son and daughter.

You can learn more about Dr. Hoffman and his Lacey dental practice, Hawks Prairie Dental Center, by visiting Hawks Prairie Dental Center online , or by calling Hawks Prairie Dental Center at 360-456-7070.

Todd Hoffman left the show to pursue a singing career

Clearly, Hoffman's got a lot of irons in the fire, but perhaps most surprisingly, the former miner revealed in 2018 his intention to pursue a singing career. His YouTube channel is home to numerous videos of his performances — and they're pretty good! There he is, pictured above, recording his own take on a '60s folk classic, which we super encourage you to watch. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel are great and all, but "Sound of Silence" just hits different when you know the beardy guy performing it spent the last eight years of his life actually digging in the actual dirt for actual gold.

"Who knows?" Hoffman said of his new career choice, according to The Oregonian. "Stranger things have happened. I want to break it big. I want to hit it out of the park."

In addition to "Sound of Silence" (which has over 13 million views and counting), Hoffman's actually posted a few originals, including this banger called "Jealous Friend." Hoffman might just be onto something here with the new career moves. As commenter MadM_MegN put it, "Dude. you went looking for gold. but you had it with you the whole time. "

Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Scripture

Since the reformation the Christian Church, in its many forms, has argued about where the foundation of the knowledge of God was to be found. For the Catholics it was the Pope and the Church, for the Romantics it was the experience of divine dependence, for the Liberal Protestants it was a critical- rationalistic reading of the Scriptures, and for the Fundamentalist Protestants it was in the inerrant Scriptures. Karl Barth hit this theological scene like a bomb shell. ‘Nine’, he said, theology was to be grounded on the gracious act of revelation by the free triune God revelation which could not be controlled by human beings[1]. Barth’s doctrine of Scripture takes form around this doctrine of revelation emphasising that Scripture is not direct revelation given to us but an inspired witness in human words to revelation which only becomes the Word of God, by the work of the Holy Spirit. This short essay will systematically analyse Karl Barth’s radical doctrine of Scripture as well as critically engaging him by demonstrating some of the positive and negative points of his doctrine. It will then assess Mount Pleasant Baptist Church’s use of Scripture in light of the study.

Barth based his theological assumptions on Kantian metaphysics. He believed in the reality of the ontological gap and the necessity of revelation. Indeed, Barth affirmed that we know God by his gracious acts of revelation and by nothing else[2]. The guiding motif in Karl Barth’s doctrine of revelation is that man can never control God or else he would make him in his own image. Barth asserted that both Protestants and Catholics had attempted to pervert the creation/creator relationship of man to God by setting up a false basis of knowledge and power[3]. In the case of the Catholic Church this took the form of a statement about the Church and subsequently the Pope which placed them in the position of ultimate authority[4]. Whereas in the case of the Protestants this took the form of a statement about the Bible, which allowed them to have access to an assured knowledge of God apart from the grace of God[5]. Barth’s view is well summarised in the following quote[6].As we can see Barth rebelled against the attempts of modern Protestantism to ground the bible upon itself, thereby bequeathing themselves control over revelation. He saw this as highly sinful because in doing this they began to interpret the Scriptures in a way that fulfilled their presuppositions and created God in their own image. In contrast to this Barth believed that the Bible was meant to be a free and spiritual force through which God could speak afresh to each new generation.

The Threefold Forms of God’s Word

For Barth revelation begins and ends with the self revealing triune God. In Barth’s words “the same God who is unimpaired unity is revealer, revelation, and revealedness”[7] What Barth is saying is that revelation is an act of God by which God reveals God[8]. This revealed God is what scripture calls the Word of God. It is this Trinitarian understanding of revelation which underlies Barth’s doctrine of Scripture.

Barth identifies three forms of God’s word in the Scriptures[9]. They are the man Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:1-14), the text of Scripture (2Timothy 3:16), and Christian preaching (2 Peter 1) although only the first two are dealt with in this essay[10]. On the Word of God and the Scriptures Barth writes[11]. For Barth the Bible is a witness to revelation, which has been written down in the words of man, it becomes the Word of God in a derivative sense as God works through it in an act of revelation. For Barth the bible has provisional authority over the Church, which is grounded in its being a witness to revelation[12].

Barth believed with other orthodox Christian’s that in the incarnation there is a hypostatic union between the divine Word of God and the man Jesus. Therefore Jesus Christ is the absolute Word of God and revelation itself. On the other hand, the Bible is not the Word of God in the same sense[13]. On this Barth says[14]. Barth’s point is that unlike Jesus the Bible is not the Word of God in an absolute sense in that it is not an incarnation of the Word of God in human writings[15]. Barth used the image of John the Baptist to communicate this point. John always pointed away from himself to Jesus to bear witness to his hidden identity[16]. This is the job of Scripture in Barth’s theology, to point to Christ as a witness to his true identity[17]. For Barth there is no inherent presence of God or impartation of divine attributes in the Bible[18]. Rather God reveals himself through the human vehicle of Scripture indirectly. This takes place as a personal encounter in which the Holy Spirit graciously reveals God in his judgment and mercy to the human agent[19].

Barth on the Biblical cannon

For Barth the determination of the Canon of Scripture is always an act of witness in accordance with the revelation that has been received by the Church at that moment in time it is not an arbitrary human decision but a response to the Word of God’s testimony that the text is Scripture[20]. He believed that the early Church received the writings that God revealed to be a true witness of revelation. However, Barth asserts that fallible humans may have miss-heard God and therefore improving the Canon in response to further revelation is possible[21]. Barth conditions this statement by asserting that this is to be done in the context of the Church rather than at an individual level and that individual’s should approach the canonized Scriptures of the Church as Holy Scriptures[22] .

The Bible as Inspired and Human

Up to this point it may appear that for Barth there was no part for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to play in the writing of Scripture, but this is not true. Although he did not see the writings themselves as inherently inspired he did believe in the inspiring work of the Holy Spirit. For Barth inspiration took the form of a special activity of the Holy Spirit in commissioning the apostles and prophets for their task of witnessing in the form of the written word[23]. Although this activity did not bypass their human limitations, Barth asserted that this activity of the Holy Spirit on the writers made the words of Scripture theologically reliable[24]. But for Barth this is not the end of inspiration in that that God also does this inspiring work in us so that we can see and hear what the authors saw and heard[25].

Barth’s doctrine of Scripture welcomes the human part of the bible. For Barth revelation always comes to us in a fallible human vehicle. To communicate why we should not seek to de-humanize the Bible by way of a doctrine of inerrancy Barth used the analogy of the many people over time who have stumbled over Christ’s humanity[26]. Barth asserted that as orthodox Christians have embraced Christ in all his humanness so we must also embrace the Bible in all its humanness[27]. Barth calls this humanness of Scripture a scandal and offence. Hart sums up Barth’s view well when he says[28] To Barth the Word of God always comes to us as a scandal. Jesus the man is not the medium of revelation but the veil[29]. The same is true of the Bible. The Bible is veiled by fallible human words and can only be unveiled by a revelatory act of God. Barth had no time for any doctrine of Scripture which attempted to remove the offence of the humanness of the biblical text by denying or qualifying its human side[30]. Barth proposed that the text is both fully divine and fully human[31]. He insisted that the Bible contained scientific, historical and religious error but instead of paling over this as most theologians would Barth insisted that the fallibility of the Bible is essential to its intended theological function, namely, preventing humans from setting it up as a false absolute and leaving revelation under the control of God[32].

There are several positives to Barth’s doctrine of Scripture. Firstly, Barth’s doctrine of Word of God makes sense of the biblical use of the phrase[33]. Secondly, Barth highlights the necessity of the work of the Holy Spirit in the act of revelation[34]. This backs up the reformed emphasis that man cannot make his way to his own salvation and allows Gods Word to function in its life giving power[35].In Barth’s view the Bible is not longer static but is alive[36].Thirdly, Barth’s view makes sense of the humanity of the Bible with its significant historical and scientific errors[37].Fourthly, his doctrine allows one to have a high view of scripture while also recognizing its limits as a human vehicle. Fifthly, if his view of Scripture is implemented Barth successfully takes revelation out of our hands while giving it back to us in its proper place, with us standing under, rather than above it.

There are also several criticm’s that have been made regarding Barth’s doctrine of scripture. Firstly, Barth has been criticized by conservatives who assert that his doctrine of scripture if poorly implemented will lead to a radical subjectivism in which orthodoxy will be compromised[38]. However this charge does not stick for these three reasons[39]. Secondly, Many Liberal Protestants have suggested that Barth did not take historical criticism seriously enough[40]. However, on a reading of the twelve theses it becomes clear that Barth believed in the usefulness of sound exegesis and historical criticism and only wished exegetical work to take its proper place as inferior to the revelation brought by the Holy Spirit[41]. Thirdly, if the material authority of the Bible is surrendered as Barth asserts then doesn’t this raise doubts as to the reliability of its witness to say, the resurrection and other events crucial to Christian faith[42].

Mount Pleasant Baptist Church’s Doctrine of scripture

Mount Pleasant Baptist Church has a small statement of faith in which one sentence is devoted to the doctrine of Scripture. This document states[43]. This doctrine of Scripture affirms the inerrancy of the Scriptures instead of recognizing that they are a human vehicle as Barth suggests. For Mount Pleasant the Scriptures are revelation in themselves rather than a witness to revelation as Barth thinks they are. Because the Bible is the supreme authority in matters of faith Mount Pleasants doctrine and preaching are formed around the careful exegesis of biblical passages, considering the cultural context, translation, the meaning of the author, and comparison to other biblical sources. Although the statement of faith suggests that the Holy Spirit plays no part in revelation, in practice Mount Pleasant believes that the Holy Spirit plays a primary role in all revelation and believes that Scripture cannot be correctly understood apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. Mount Pleasant seeks to frame all areas of faith and practice around that outlined in the biblical text while also looking to the Holy Spirit for his ultimate guidance. Barth would agree with this use of the Scriptures because it seeks out what the Bible says while also waiting on the revelation from the Holy Spirit as the ultimate authority. In practice Mount Pleasants use of Scripture is very close to that outlined by Barth in that there is a Barthian emphasis on the place of the Holy Spirit’s work of revelation through the Bible, rather than revelation coming from study of the text alone.