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!
It was a successful and enjoyable book signing! Aside from meeting and talking to interesting people, Gerhard donated $5 for each book that he sold to the Wagnalls Memorial Library, so everyone got something good from the day!
On Thursday, May 25, Gerhard gave a talk at Bethany Lutheran Village, in Dayton, Ohio.
During the question and answer time, a gentleman born in 1931 stood up and talked about how he had lived in Romania right after the war. He had been in a concentration camp and lived in Transylvania from 1945 to 1947 after he was released. He described Transylvania as a beautiful country with good soil and bountiful harvests. In those two years he went from near starvation to having normal weight.
As I was packing up, he talked to me in perfect German. I wish we had had the time for me to learn more about his background. Was he Jewish, Romanian, a German minority who ran afoul of the Nazis?? In 1947, after the Soviets got rid of King Michael and exercised total control, he fled to the West. Eventually he made it to America. An interesting story for sure.
Gerhard will be selling and signing copies of his book at the Wagnalls Memorial Library on Memorial Day from 11am to 1pm.
Aside from the chance to meet Gerhard and get a signed copy of his book, the library itself is a beautiful space to visit and explore. Gerhard is donating five dollars from each book sold to support the library!
Monday, May 29, 2017, 11am to 1pm
Wagnalls Memorial Library
150 East Columbus Street
Lithopolis OH 43136
Wagnalls Memorial Library is also on Facebook.
Gerhard (left) and Dan (right)
Gerhard and his brother visited Dan Rendleman, an amateur historian and Vietnam veteran. Dan enjoyed Gerhard’s book and had this to say about it:
This book was a great read for a history buff like me. I couldn’t put the book down. What the Maroscher family went through in the after math of war-torn Europe is heartbreaking and amazing. Every American should read this book. It is a true American success story. It’s a great history lesson and I highly recommend it.
Dan has studied the German military extensively, and over the years has collected actual uniforms that were worn by German soldiers.
Dan (actual human on the left) and Gus (actual human on the right) pose with German Imperial Army soldiers from Dan’s collection.
Das KaffeeHaus von Frau Burkhart, a new coffeeshop in German Village, is having their Grand Opening on Saturday, April 15th. Among many fun things and activities, Gerhard will be signing copies of his book from 3pm to 5pm!
Come get your book signed, taste some different coffee varieties, sample pastries, enjoy Bier specials, and listen to some yodeling!
New brochures and signage!
No, we haven’t invented time travel – these photos are not from the grand opening happening in a couple days. These are Gerhard’s test setup using some new signs and brochures he has made, to help draw attention to his display when in crowded and confusing spaces and events.
New brochure is in haus!
In addition to a brief synopsis of the book and Gerhard’s contact information, the brochure also has a blurb about the story behind the book’s title.
Mark Dawson had fun designing the signs and brochures!
Update after the Grand Opening: The event was fun, full of music (Alp horns, yodeling, singing) and visitors to talk about the book.
Lesson learned from doing a book signing at a cafe: discourage visitors from setting a full cup of coffee down on a wobbly table. In related news, there are now coffee-scented books available for purchase!