In beautiful rural Westphallen lies the ancient village of Marsberg. There, my paternal grandfather was rabbi and cantor for the Jews of the town and the many Jewish families scattered around the countryside. Daddy told me when his father sand on the Sabbath, Christian villagers would dally on the street outside the synagogue just to hear his voice. This was the tranquil setting where the Meyehoffs, my father’s large and close knit family were born and raised and lived for generations in peace with their neighbors.

Grandfather died during the early 1930s and was spared the indignities which were to come. My grandmother, Anna Meyerhoff had saved enough money to send my father to Berlin to further his education. There, he studied under Professor Wachsner who often took students home for a good dinner. That is how he met my mother. In the pressure cooker for Jews that was Berlin in 1936, they fell in love. The professor had the money and the Meyerhoffs had relatives in America who agreed to sponsor them. That’s how they escaped just before the doors slammed shut. Before they left, the whole family gathered in Marsberg to say farewell. This was the last time my father saw his mother, older sister, and two little brothers and his aunts, uncles, and cousins of the extended Meyerhoff clan.

Anna Meyerhoff, age 46, her minor sons, Helmut, age 13, and Ernst, age 15, my father’s mother and little brothers, were arrested at their home and sent to Auschwitz. My father’s older sister, Elizabeth, age 19, was not at home at the time and was spared a short while until she was captured trying to escape. She was sent to Stutthof. As far as I know, none of the Meyerhoffs survived.