In the spring of 1988 I met Pastor Berndt for the first time in answer to a small notice that I saw in the Jerusalem Post: “Will be visiting the Rutenberg House in Haifa with a youth group from Germany and would like to meet with someone who remembers the “Kristall Nacht” – the pogrom night of November 1938”.
1988 was a general awakening in Germany to pay attention to what happened fifty years earlier. I got an invitation from several cities to speak in schools and tell the story of a Jewish Family - my family.
Pastor Berndt invited me to stay with his family in his home for the duration while I was talking in schools and in the community. A deep friendship developed and I called him my Pastor. On my annual lecture tours to Germany it became a regular stopover for me. He visited Israel with different groups over the years. His younger son who studied Theology spent a term to study in Israel.
A couple of weeks ago I received a mail from Pastor Berndt that he will be touring Israel with his wife, hid elder son, daughter in law and their 4 children aged 12, 10, 6,and 4. They would like to visit me. He wanted his grandchildren to hear me tell the story of my family in my home. While I gave the younger children paper and colors to paint, I used my picture book that I specially made for such a time when I can’t use my computer power point presentations.
Pastor Berndt recalled our first meeting 21 years ago and his amazement at that time when he met an old lady who greeted this group of young Germans boys and girls with a bunch of spring flowers.
Twenty years of friendship, covering three generations, was crowned with the present visit. Everybody showed great interest, hugged me, thanked me warmly and promised to return.