Here is a song from my Girl Guide “chansonnier” (song book) with the title: “Let our voices unite before we part ways.” The third and last verse translates to:
And if I should meet death on my way
Mowing down among us poor tramps
Yes, I’ll be ready for my last journey
I will say my very last adieu
I wander in the world with joy in my heart
And with my songs as baggage
I am singing of love and I am singing of faith
I am leaving for my ultimate voyage
I have lived sixty years with my husband Manfred. In all those years his strong support of any of my endeavors has never failed. For this third edition he did more than just wash a lot of dishes while I sat in front of the computer.
My thanks go to our computer and Microsoft Word. While I am only familiar with some features, altogether it was helpful to see green or red under lining for spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors.
For this edition, I found a proofreader and part editor par excellence in Joshua. I never thought that my grandchildren would turn out so helpful in many ways. Many thanks to Joshua and Evan and the other family members who helped me! Our granddaughter Mira was the first reader of the complete text of my stories. She gave me thumbs up which encouraged me to persist in working on the production of this book. In many respects this book became a family project with most family members making a contribution to it. Also nobody else who read the second edition discouraged me from proceeding, so here is the 3rd edition.
Mostly my gratitude goes to my parents who are no longer with us. They had the fortitude to find hiding places for me and for my brother, also for themselves. Thanks to that and a lot of luck we survived the Holocaust as the complete Birnbaum family after Liberation, a rare feat.
A word of thanks to my first cousins Evelyn Spiegler and David Weiser! They tore out many Birnbaum photographs from their parents’ photo albums, so that I could have them. As I mentioned elsewhere in this book, all our pictures stayed in our apartment in Leipzig which we had to abandon to the Nazis. I also slipped in a few pictures garnered from the Internet, as pertinent illustrations.
My counselors in the various hiding places were kind enough to provide me with photographs of myself to mail to my parents at a time when film was expensive and hard to find during the Nazi Occupation years.
Last but not least, I want to express my gratitude to the Belgian people. Many of them were directly involved in hiding me and other Jewish children at the risk of their own life. There were also many neighbors in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode and Cul-des-Sarts who knew that we were Jewish, but who did not denounce us to the Gestapo for a bounty. To all of them I owe my life.
Menlo Park, 2014
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