Friday, 27 February 2009

Ben Weider - "Death of a Giant"

My researches on Julio Lobo in my last blog, reminded me of another great Jewish admirer of Napoleon, the Canadian businessman, Napoleonic scholar, founder and President of the International Napoleonic Society, Ben Weider. Ben was one of the most indefatigable proponents of the theory that Napoleon was poisoned.

In my original planning of a trip to St Helena I came across some web pages describing his trip in 1975. I remember being slightly amused by the fact that, unable to get enough passages for all his family on the freighter "Good Hope Castle", he left his wife behind in Cape Town!

His account of his trip to St Helena, with a number of pictures and photos, including one of him and a youthful looking Gilbert Martineau is still well worth looking at.

Ben Weider's Journey to St Helena 1975

Anyway, my trawl of the net revealed that Ben died last October. I should have known, but didn't.

Aside from his Napoleonic scholarship he was a remarkable man. With his brother he founded a body building empire after the second world war. It was he who in 1969 encouraged the young Arnold Schwarzenegger to emigrate to the US. From what I read about the problems of the current Governor of California, some Californian Republicans probably think that that was a mixed blessing!

Anyway I attach a few web references for anyone interested.

Weider Obituary

Napoleonic Society

Just before he died he made a gift of a large collection of Napoleonic memorabilia to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

No comments: