29 November 2010

Miami: Sharing two life stories, Dec, 5

There are always two sides of a story.

The next program of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Miami - on Sunday, December 5 - will demonstrate this old adage.

The meeting begins at 10am at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, 4200 Biscayne Boulevard. There is free, secure parking.

Speaker Dr. Bernd Wolschlaeger's autobiography, "A German Life," demonstrates his two life stories and how history can both impact and devastate a family.

His first story tells of his life as the Christian son of a WWII German highly decorated tank commander who fought in Poland, France, and Russia and who received the Iron Cross personally from Adolf Hitler.

His second story is of becoming an officer in the Israeli Defense Forces, converting to Judaism, moving to Israel, marrying a Jewish woman and having two children.

In his quest to find answers to questions about his parents and his nation's past, Bernd set out to find the truth and, in doing so, found a new life.
His attraction to Judaism created a turmoil within him that centered somewhere between personal guilt for what had taken place and a true sense of belonging to a people and their beliefs. When his children began asking about his parents and his past, he made the decision to tell them the truth about his family and his upbringing. He wanted them to understand what so dramatically changed his life, to give them a sense of knowing their family history in a way that was different from his own experience.
Sharing with them in this way caused him to explore his relationship with his father, and how that relationship was overshadowed by the Holocaust and everything associated with it.

Today, he is a family physician in North Miami Beach, Florida, and was past president of the Dade County Medical Association. A question and answer session will follow.

The society's annual Hanukah celebration and gift exchange follows. Guests and friends are always welcome. There is no admission fee.

For more information, see the JGS Greater Miami website.

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