I recently spoke at the Germania Singing and Sports Society in Columbus, Ohio.
As usual, at the book signing afterward, I met and spoke with people who told me their own personal stories. One elderly gentleman could easily relate to the bombings we endured in Weimar, Germany. The reason? He lived near Weimar during WWII. His first name is Gerhart!
I had a long conversation with a woman whose father (a doctor) had treated Holocaust survivors. She had previously attended a presentation by Holocaust survivor Murray Ebner’s daughter. She was kind enough to give me a copy of Mr. Ebner’s book which she signed. A first for me.
Another elderly survivor of WWII spoke to me about how terribly skinny and ill her father looked after he came home from Russian captivity. She was in tears as she talked.
At least as meaningful to me as the above comments were the comments by Americans who had no direct tie to WWII, including a few twenty-somethings. My family’s story touches multiple generations and people from different backgrounds.
On June 8th I spoke for the 2nd time at Bethany Lutheran Village, a retirement community in Dayton, Ohio. This time I spoke to the women’s group.
After most presentations a few individuals speak to me relating their own similar experiences. Two elderly ladies told me about their lives. One elderly lady called herself a “war bride.” She understood what we went through when we were bombed. Her city had been 70% destroyed during WWII.
Another attendee spoke of her father who was Jewish. My father’s special relationship with his Jewish friend in Transylvania touched her. She said she had letters (in English) her father had written about his WWII experiences. She was hoping I knew who might want them. Unfortunately I could not help her. As expected, a number of ladies spoke about their visits to Rothenburg o/d Tauber, Germany as tourists. Rothenburg o/d Tauber was the city where our family was reunited in September 1946.
This morning I had an enjoyable breakfast with an eclectic breakfast group, four of whom have read my book. They meet regularly at Abner’s in Hilliard.
We had a great Q & A session and good discussion. The meeting was organized by Gabe Kovacs who also came to the USA on the USS General Ballou – the same ship my family came over on. The string of surprises encountered as I market the book continues!
A second guest was invited because she was also a refugee and immigrant. It turns out she was also born in Transylvania and we are related. Amazing!