First of all I have to confess that the book is currently not available in English. However, if all my American friends would ask the R.G. Fischer Publishing House for an English version chances are that my publisher would copmply with the request. Folks, the ball is in your court!
The genesis of my book began long before I ever contemplated to write one. It all started back in the summer of 1975 when Inge Heiser neé Nussbaum and her husband Fred visited with the Ross family in Burghaun, County of Huenfeld, State of Hesse. Burghaun was Inge's hometown, and it is mine. It was here in Burghaun where Inge, her family, and all the other Jewish families had to suffer from the Nazis' persecution which climaxed in a vicious Antisemitism, the likes of which had never been experienced in the civilized world, leading to and ending with the extermination of SIX MILLION precious Jewish lives mainly during the so called Final Solution of the Holocaust. All the members of Inge's family who were caught in this monstrous juggernaut perished, Inge was the sole survivor. Her brother Samuel managed to flee to England shortly before WW II. A couple of months after the defeat of Nazi Germany in May of 1945 Inge came back to what once was her hometown. It was the Ross family who took her in, nursed her back to health, and treated her like a daughter of their own. In 1946 Inge emigrated to the USA to join relatives in New York. Now in the summer of 1975 she and her husband came back to visit with the Ross family. At the time of their visit I was the protestant pastor in Burghaun ministring to the church in which I grew up, and where I was confirmed by my father who was the pastor from 1931 to 1950. I do mention this because it shows that I lived the entire duration of the Thousand Year Reich - I was born in 1933 - and five years beyond in the community of Burghaun where I received the basics of my Christian education in family and church just as Inge had received her basics of Jewish education in her family and the local Synagogue. Who could ever have anticipated that being born into a Christian or a Jewish family would one of these days become a matter of life and death? We had to find out sooner or later as we grew up in our respective families in that quaint town of Burghaun. I shared my memories with my wife Heide when we invited Inge and Fred to have coffee with us at our parsonage. During that brief time over coffee Inge and Fred shared some of their harrowing experiences under Nazi persecution, and it was there and then that I decided to delve into the history of Antisemitism with all its ramifications, beginning almost 2000 yeras ago, and not ending with the defeat of Nazi Germany in May of 1945. A rather short meeting with two survivors of the malicious consequences of Antisemitism turned out to be a profound inspiration for me. This inspiration resulted in my almost forty year occupation with the subject in question and its preliminary conclusion in a 500 page book titled "Bitte schreib das auf, Opi!" ( "Please write that down, Grandpa!" ). It was a rather long period of time until it came to fruition!
Neither at home nor at school or at university let alone during my nine year service with the German Army (Bundeswehr) did I receive sufficient information and education about Antisemitism and its horrendous consequences. Slowly and gingerly I began to concern myself with the topic. In the spring of 1977 I accepted a call from German United Church of Christ in Seattle, WA. At that time I had aquired some basic knowledge and understanding of what Antisemitism was all about. Since I did remember Jewish families, mainly children of my age group, the destruction of the Jewish Synagogue on November 10, 1938 - it was my father's and my birthday -, and the appalling deportation of the last Jewish family of my hometown in September of 1942, the occupation with the topic Antisemitism had always personal points of reference within my very own vicinity. All those murdered men, women, and children came alive in my memory, and I saw them with the eyes of one who had known them.
In Seattle where for the first time in my life I encountered a variety of lively Jewish congregations I established rather early good contact with some of their members. My recollections of the Jewish community of my hometown, painful as they were, caused an emotional bond with them. Consequently I began to include my very own experiences, especially those between 1938 and 1942, in sermons, study groups, and my radio program with KMO Tacoma. Twice a month I broadcasted a radio service on Sunday mornings; altogether 83 services between 1977 and the fall of 1980. I also communicated my position on Antisemitism and the Holocaust in the Continental Reporter (German newspaper) and during two radio interviews, which made some hostility, nasty calls, and critical statements by certain church members inevitable, it just came with the bargain. I considered that an encouragement, which strengthened my resolve to work even harder on the topic.
In the fall of 1982 I was asked to become a member of the steering committee organizing the International Scholars' Conference on the Holocaust, which was to take place in Seattle in the spring of 1983. Thus I enjoyed more and more friendly relations with people of the Jewish faith, which in accord with my memories of my hometown and her Jewish families became a serious commitment and encouragement for my Judaism studies.
As one of the prominent speakers at the Holocaust Conference we invited Prof. Dr. Eberhard Bethge, personal friend of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's and editor of his collected works. My wife Heide and I had the privilege to be Eberhard Bethge's hosts during the conference. It was a rare and awesome opportunity for us to converse with such an authority on Dietrich Bonhoefer, his life, and his theology. These conversations with Eberhard Bethge gave me the final impetus to make Judaism with all its ramifications the main topic of my life. He graciously thanked me for being one of his partners attempting to work on and articulate a post Auschwitz theology.
The years in Big Timber, Montana (1983-2001), where I had accepted a call from First Congregational Church - UCC, were in every respect the most precious, most rewarding, most challenging, and most memorable years of our lives. We had a wonderful church family in a unique community; we started out with 5 acres and a brandnew house; pretty soon we owned 76 acres of deeded land, horses, sheep, barns, and a log cabin. All this was located in the foothills of the majestic Crazy Mountains. My church family gave me all the leeway for my continued studies, and I shared my insights in sermons, study grooups, meetings of the Montana Northern Wyoming Conference of the UCC, the college in Billings, and with the members of Congregation Beth Aaron in Billings to name just a few activities.
When I officially retired in the fall of 1996 quite a few of my friends asked me to turn all my written material on Antisemitism into a book, however at that time I did not feel up to it. I had published a small book titled "Hitler Kaput ... speaking up for America", and a detailed treatise on Joel Carmichael's book "The Satanizing of the Jews" in Volume 14 Number 1 of Prism, a theological forum for the United Church of Christ, but the book on Antisemitism etc. I put off.
In 2001 Heide and I moved to the town of Peine in the northern part of Germany in order to be close to our daughter Margret and her family, and the book idea, too, did move. It's now almost four years ago that my granddaughter Anna said to me after a conversation about the Holocaust: "Please write that down, Grandpa!" I asked her to come up with twelve pertinent questions, and I would try to weave my answers around them hoping it would make an interesting and challenging book in popular scientific terms. My critics confirm that I achieved my primary objective although a 500 page tome was not anticipated, yet that's what it turned out to be. I dedicated my book to some Jewish friends with whom I share more then just the same place of birth in the County of Huenfeld, State of Hesse. These friends are the late Fred Browning of Scarsdale, NY, Alfred Strauss of Cliffside Park, NJ, Inge Heiser neè Nussbaum of New York, and Alfred Braunschweiger of Scottsdale, AZ. Their painfully awesome life stories, and their remarkable stories as survivors of the Holocaust are one of the valid reasons why my book is worth reading!!! Again, if all who read this will ask my publisher for an English version it might come true. The ball is in your court!
Hey folks, nice writing to you!
Info about my Publisher: www.edition-fischer.com ISBN 978-3-89950-780-5