We Were Europeans is the extraordinary autobiography written by Werner (Loebl) Loval a Jewish German citizen from an upper middle-class family, just 7 years old when Hitler gained power as chancellor of Germany. His childhood began like any other young child of that era with memories of family gatherings, Jewish festivals and rituals, parties, and school activities. The horror of Nazism descended on Germany like a black cloud and by the time most Jewish people realized the dire consequences it was too late. It was like Hitler dropped a bomb in the middle of every Jewish home. Those who survived were stripped of family, cherished friends, successful businesses, professional jobs, good incomes, all assets, continued education, life long traditions, and ultimately German citizenship. Werner miraculously survived with his sister and both parents.
He tells a story of endurance from within the confines of the Third Reich, escape from sure death through the assistance of caring friends and relatives, and a lifetime of achievement and dedicated service to defeating the ultimate goals of the Nazi’s anti-Semitism and the Final Solution.
Werner got out of Germany early enough to avoid severe emotional scars and shares his story of a happy, healthy, productive life. His sincere warmth and charismatic personality seep out of every page. Dropping back to the story of his great-grandparents, he tells the history of his ancestors: the family business, serving in World War I, and taking pride in being German citizens.
Werner peppers his own personal memoirs with descriptions of people, places, and events that helped shape his life and the world around him:
– The Holocaust
– His parents 3 month journey to escape Germany after the borders were sealed
– Facts about immigration and how other nations around the globe dealt with the Jewish catastrophe
– Jewish state history, Zionism, and the Arab conflict.
– The birth of a Jewish homeland, Jerusalem, and the 6 Day War
– The development and growth of Reform Judaism
He lived in Germany, England, Ecuador, the United States, Guatemala, Mexico, and Israel. Werner’s first jobs were in a pharmaceutical company factory and a metal foundry tool shed. He became a correspondent (writer) for Time Magazine, served in the U.S. army, and from there began his diplomatic career which culminated with the Foreign Ministry in Israel, and in real estate development. He humbly admits he could never have achieved such heights on his own and is quick to give credit to everyone who helped him along the way; his childhood nanny/housekeeper, distant relatives, renowned leaders, his parents, sister, and wife.
We Were Europeans includes copies of documents, diary entries, photographs, newspaper articles, and maps. Werner emphatically states that his autobiography is not a reference book. But I must congratulate Gefen Publishers for the formidable textbook quality given to this beautiful presentation.
Rated 4 Stars. I use a rating scale of 1 to 5. Books rated 1, I seldom finish; books rated 2, I usually finish but would never recommend to anyone. 5 is the highest rating.