My writing explores the impact of history on our lives as we search for identity and a home. One reason for my fascination how the past impacts us in the present stems from my own experience. Born in Berlin in 1942, my family fled the city in 1945. This was for me the beginning of a string of migrations, boarding schools in Vienna and on the Baltic, a small town near Hamburg, a move to the US, first Urbana, Illinois, then New York and London where I earned a PhD in Modern Drama. I taught at the University of Illinois, where my only son was born, Indiana University South Bend, and abroad. I am now settled in South Bend, Indiana with my husband Mike, and cat Max. Api's Berlin Diaries. My Quest to Understand my Grandfather's Nazi Past, winner of five book awards After my mother’s death, I found diaries my grandfather had kept while serving as doctor in the ruins of Berlin 1945. Api, as I affectionately called him, worked in medical cellars without water and even light. But then the diaries revealed something that had never been mentioned in my family. Api had been a member of the Nazi party. Shocked and ashamed, I continued my family’s silence. Months later, I happened to read Slaves in the Family where Edward Ball declares that he may not be responsible for what his family did, but he is accountable. So I confronted a past I had evaded all my life. I have come to understand the need to account for our pasts in order to live together with compassion and tolerance, and that, perhaps, a story like this can help us.Read more Read less
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