Jewish and was born in Germany in 1934 in a small village at the southern end
of the black forest about 35 miles southwest of Stuttgart. I was very fortunate
to have been able to leave Germany in March 1941. My sister I traveled alone from
Germany to the US; we went by train from Stuttgart to Paris, where we changed
trains. We stayed overnight at a hotel in Spain. We arrived in Lisbon where we
stayed in a rooming house till our ship was ready, I was 6 years old and my
sister was 9. We arrived at pier 3 in Brooklyn on April 3rd 1941.
village in Germany is Rexingen; the population has always been a bit below 1000
persons. Due to the Chelmnitsky pogrom Jews left Austro Hungary (the capital was
Pressburg, today it is known as Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia). They
traveled along the Danube river and arrived in Rexingen in 1650. By 1850 there
were 400 Jews in Rexingen. They lived separate but integrated lives and got
along well with their neigbors. Many served in the German Army in WW I. After
that some of the young men moved to the cities. By 1933 there were 262 Jews in
1935 the young married persons realized that they needed to get out of Germany.
They came up with a plan to relocate as a group to Palestine. This was achieved
in 1938 by a group of 41 persons. They founded a Moshav about 1 mile south of
Naharia. They called it Shave Zion (return to Zion). It was the only occasion
during the Holocaust that a group from a village in Europe relocated and
founded a new settlement in Palestine.
total of 128 persons were deported from Rexingen to concentration camps in
1942. Only 3 persons survived.
books have been written about Rexingen and there are several Web Sites. Today
there is a relationship between the people of Rexingen and Shave Zion. Exhibits
were held in 2008 on the 70th anniversary of the founding of Shave Zion: in
Rexingen, Shave Zion, Jerusalem, Berlin and Stuttgart. I attended the one in
Stuttgart and went on to Berlin to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht.
arriving in the US, I attended New York City schools and graduated as an
Electrical Engineer. I worked in the Aerospace defense industry. In my first
job I worked on the guidance system of the Redstone missile. This was the follow-on
of the German V2. It was headed by Dr. Werner von Braun. Ironically I worked
with a German who served on a submarine. He was trying to sink ships in the
Atlantic ocean such as the one that I was traveling on to get to the US.
I worked on the inertial guidance system for the Space Shuttle. I got married
1n 1961. My wife was Jewish; we were married in the Young Israel in Montreal.
We lived in New Jersey and had two daughters. Tragically my wife died in an
auto accident in 1984. I got married a second time in 1999. My second wife also
has two daughters. All our children are married and we have 8 grandchildren
aged 2 to 10 years old. My wife grew up on the lower east side of New York. She
is a retired teacher. I had a good career as an engineer and program manager.
I do online teaching for DeVry University and the University of Phoenix. There
is of course more to my story. In summary I was very fortunate to escape
Germany. My best friends were not as fortunate and were shot shortly after they
arrived at the concentration camp. My mother's brother, her parents, my father's
mother, my father’s sister and her husband all died in concentration camps. An
aunt committed suicide in Rexingen to avoid being deported.
relative fell off the wagon as she was being deported. They took her to a
hospital and as a result she survived and died a natural death in 1952.
of my relatives who came to America have been successful. The Rexingen
Jews in NYC formed a Rexingen Benevolent Association. They met a few times a year for coffee, cake
and to talk to each other. Dues were $10 per year. The money was not needed for
operation of the association. The money from the dues was to be used if any
Rexingen Jew was in financial need. These people were a hard working frugal
group, some did very well and no one ever came to the Association to ask for
most grateful to America for the chance to come here and contribute. I have a
good can do attitude and have achieved a successful life. Thank you America!