How does one capsulate a life? I was born in the former West Prussian city of Elbing, Germany which was founded by the Teutonic Knights and merchants from Lübeck back in 1237 or 800 years before my birth. We left our home as the Russians were surrounding the city in 1945 and I did not get back there until 1995. Neither of my parents ever wanted to go back. It was too painful for them. I figured I owed it to them though. We came to America under the Displaced Persons Act which allowed people born east of the Oder and Neisse rivers to immigrate to the US as long as one had a sponsor. Partially this was to make up for American complicity in the ethnic cleansing of 12 million Germans from their homes which resulted in a western shift of Poland into Germany and a shift of the Soviet Union into former Polish lands. Here in the states I went to high school, the army and then worked my way through college at night while raising a family. My strategy was to build some kind of business as I had read a number of Horachio Alger succes stories in Germany. I never planned to be rich but only have a comfortable retirement while making sure my kids would have a good start in life via a college education.
My desire to record my life comes from my love of history. Genealogy is one of my main passions. Another is gardening and orchids.