Friday, October 19, 2018

"She was mine, and I was hers."

What's the secret to lasting love? Is it her hourglass figure, or his fancy car? Is it a shared interest in art or music? Or can love be born from agony?  In his book, "My Germany," Lev Raphael remembers April, 1945, when his dad and 2,500 other prisoners from the Nazi Bergen-Belsen death camp were packed into a train without food or water to prevent Allied forces from setting them free. The train cars (like the one shown here) remained sealed shut as the train wandered aimlessly for a week.

On April 13, two American tanks appeared and the Nazi guards fled. When the locked cattle cars were opened, the stench was so bad that many in the 30th infantry division vomited. American troops took the starving Jews from the train and cared for them at a former Wehrmacht base, now a Displaced Persons Camp. The clean, heated quarters were paradise for Jews who had been treated like animals for years. Lev's mother had escaped from a slave labor camp 16 miles away and was already on the base when his dad arrived. They had lost everything -- home, family, country. There was no time for courting. His dad simply asked her, "Do you like me?" She answered "yes" and his dad later recalled that, from that moment on, "she was mine and I was hers." Their marriage lasted 54 years.

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