Beautiful Sunset

     It is 1956, and I am sixteen years old. It is a beautiful spring evening. I am walking in downtown Frankfurt, Germany . It is rush hour and the streets are mobbed. People are rushing everywhere, some to catch the streetcar home, others to make a last minute shopping trip, still others to take care of an errand that did not get done during the day.      The church bells of the Paulskirche start their daily evening ringing. They bellow over the whole area. Traffic is bumper to bumper. Impatient drivers honk their horns. It is getting dark....

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Visiting Ohlsdorf

     I don’t visit cemeteries any more than necessity, or convention, demands. I go to occasional funerals of people close to me, but visiting an established grave to pay, as we say, my respects is not my practice. Still, given the rare opportunity to visit for the first and probably only time the grave of my great-grandfather, I utilized it. I had to. Missing a chance like this would have been heartless, and I am not altogether callous. After all, I still carry around memories of him alive and perky during my childhood, and I might...

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Hilda Prays at Birkenau

I’d die a thousand deaths for you, dear God. I am twenty and quite fair enough to look at but that’s no help to me while I am being thrashed. They strap my fragile body to a chair; my head hangs almost to the floor, the cold and black cemented floor. I’d die a thousand deaths for you, dear God. I’d die a thousand deaths. I hear the whooshing sound of the leather belt before it hits my naked bony back and coils itself against my skin. Tight, tight, I grasp the chair’s thin legs and squeeze my nails into the wood....

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My Father’s Foresight

     After seeing the movie Into the Arms of Strangers, which dealt with the Kindertransport, I realized that, had it not been for my Father’s foresight, I could have been one of those children. I regret not having asked more questions while my parents were alive. I now want to put together the bits and pieces of my family history that I can recall, or for which I have documentation, so that my children and grandchildren will know something about their background.      My father was a physician in Nürnberg, Germany. When Hitler came into...

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Getting Started in the United States

     My parents’ passports, or immigration Visas, were issued in Stuttgart, Germany. They left Hamburg on the S.S. Albert Ballin on November 8, 1934, and arrived in New York on November 16, 1934. The ship’s manifest shows that my father was forty-four years old and my mother was thirty years old. Since my father always wore glasses, the manifest listed him as having “defective vision”. It also lists my uncle, Fritz Ehrman, who lived at Sultzbacherst. 80 in Nürnberg, as a close relative in Germany.      After they arrived in New...

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