To my mother, who, although petrified by the intrusion of the Gestapo in our home on the fateful day, still had the courage to take matters into her own hands. Without her stoicism, presence of mind and trigger rapid follow-through action, we (my mother, father and I) would not have survived.
To my aunt Erna, who, with unrelenting tenacity, enormous sacrifice and against all odds, undeterred as she overcame hurdle after hurdle strewn in her path, ultimately overcame the powers that be in her unceasing quest to bring me to America.
To my son Leonard who over the years has been deeply moved by what had befallen his family, the Jews throughout history, and the jews of the holocaust. His empathy has been a positive force for me in this undertaking.
To my sister, Sonja, born in America, who suffered the loss of family members whom she was never to know. She became a founding member of the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center in Westchester County, New York. Supporting this organization has been an important mission in her life.
To my friend Edith (whose own hell-bent experience on the ship, the St. Louis is recalled in the book) who never gave up on me over the many long years of my struggles with the manuscript. Edith via phone conversations from Florida always had a kind word/positive reinforcement for me re: her conviction that I could ultimately complete the book. Her concern and patient urging over the years motivated me to keep on.
To Gabriela, the beautiful young German born Christian woman who forged a lasting friendship with my mother during her later years. She radiated joy, kindness and generosity toward my mother. Gabriela helped her at every turn. She visited her, invited her to her home, took her shopping and on outings. With two young children and taking courses, she always made time for my mother. She enhanced my mother's life. My mother literally sang Gabriela's name when she spoke it. Gabriela was instrumental in blotting out some of the memory from my mother's youth of the sudden alienation of her best friend from her when the Nazis came to power.
Gabriela was my friend too, and I am so fortunate to be able to call her my friend still today even with a 3,000 mile distance between us.