About this Site
It is not what they built. It
is what they knocked down.
It is not the houses. It is the space between the houses.
It is not the streets that exist. It is the streets that no longer
It is not your memories which haunt you.
It is not what you have written down.
It is what you have forgotten, what you must forget.
What you must go on forgetting all your life.
It is not what they say.
It is what they do not say.
Fenton, A German Requiem
I was born in
1936 in Germany and came to the United States with my mother in 1946.
There on a hot August day in New York City on a West Side dock, I was
reunited with my older sister and father, whom I had not seen since
1940. I returned to Germany in 1959, and after a long hiatus returned
again several times in the 1990s, for personal and business reasons.
This web site also signals a partial return in spirit, as for the first
time, almost 60 years after I left, I'm trying to understand more
deeply something about my time in Frankfurt (and a small town called
Driedorf), a time that shaped who I became. It is a counter to the
"evasiveness" of the narrator in James Fenton's Requiem.
The story told in this web site is a mix of history and of what I can
remember, which, to my deepening frustration, isn't much. However, I
hope, however modest, what I've offered here it will be a contribution
to others trying to understand that terrible time that also shaped
their lives. And hewing to the principle to "Only Connect," I
hope that this web site will serve as a start of dialogue with others -
to share experiences, to add to what I have here, to suggest other
sources, and not least to deal with mistakes in fact and judgment I've
The story is inescapably serial one. However, as I often do, browsing
randomly may bring its own rewards - or frustrations. Unsurprisingly,
W.G. Sebald, explained to me what I am trying to do in "Reflections"
published posthumously, in The New Yorker, in
explaining that created his powerfully
evocative writings by "adhering to an exact historical perspective, in
patiently engraving and linking together apparently disparate things in
the manner of a still life. I have kept asking myself what the
invisible connections that determine our lives are, and how the threads
In several of
the links, you'll find additional place to go to. Best, though, to
at least start with Beginnings. Please
get in touch. This web site will change, as I learn more, from you and
from my continuing effort to understand my past.