This is my story - my life from the horrors of war and slaughter to the travails of change and atonement. For much of my life I lived in fear that my past would catch up to me. I hid my beliefs and prejudices and walked among the gentle, unsuspecting people of a small American town. I am, or was, an embodiment of madness, atrocity, cruelty and horror.
Read alsoThe Harvey Girls
From the 1880s to the 1950s, the Harvey Girls went west to work in Fred Harvey's restaurants along the Santa Fe railway. At a time when there were "no ladies west of Dodge City and no women west of Albuquerque," they came as waitresses, but many stayed and settled, founding the struggling cattle and mining towns that dotted the…
I had to remind myself how to behave, react and interact with those around me. I could not pick my friends, neighbors or the people I would like to associate with. I could not express my desires and thoughts. I could not do what I wanted to do. I was locked inside a mad world without the ability to make any contribution, as I used to do - during the war and before it.
Friends and neighbors? I shunned them. Social groups and religious organizations? I shunned them as well. Often I thought it better to turn myself in or die one way or another - just to get everything over with.
That changed one day - a miraculous day when a young child came into my life and helped me back into life, reappraisal, and a quest for atonement.
That young child was Jewish.
And I am a former SS officer.