July 18, 2024
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July 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

With this issue today, I have come to the end of sharing from the printed version of “My Stories.” To avoid confusion, I indicated on each part the date it had been written.

Preparing each article was also for me a reliving of happenings of the past—some sad, but mostly happy memories. I hope the reader, throughout these months, has enjoyed my presentations as much as I have enjoyed rereading and editing. Trying to make the understanding a bit easier, I included some photographs in most of the articles although, unfortunately, they were not always of the best quality.

Of major importance since completing the bulk of my writings was my getting married again in 2013. In late 2012 two cupids by the name of Esther Perl (my daughter) and her friend Shaindy Ziegelman of Fort Lee, with the help of Hashem, introduced me to Dorothy Knapp, also a friend of Shaindy and also living in Fort Lee.

We hit it off immediately and we had the chuppah on January 6, 2013. We had had the legal marriage already on December 13, 2012. Why the two dates? We were going to Israel right after the chuppah and it would take two weeks to have Dorothy’s passport changed to her married name. I was not willing to check into a hotel as “Dorothy Knapp and Norbert Strauss.”

Dorothy (or DD as I now call her) has a beautiful family. Her two sons are Rabbis Jonathan and Stephen Knapp, both principals of yeshivas in this area, whose respective wives have given DD nine grandchildren.

DD’s parents are the product of a typical Holocaust story. Dorothy’s mother had written her family history before her death and Dorothy has edited and completed it. Suffice it to say at this point that DD’s mother, Ita, and family fled before the invading Nazi Army from Poland into the USSR. After the war, her mother married Alexander Karpov, who after having been an officer in the Russian Army was then working in the Russian passport office.

Ita, who was pregnant at the time, left the USSR with other members of her family to return to their hometown, but after getting there realized that there was nothing to return to. Alexander was supposed to follow them as soon as he could leave his job without creating suspicion. Ita and the other family members ended up in a DP camp in Germany from where they were rescued when Rabbi Aaron Kottler, a relative of Ita, found out their whereabouts. They were taken to Paris, where Ita gave birth to DD. In the meantime, Alexander, who had been issuing illegal Russian passports to Jews from Russian-occupied Poland who wanted to go to Palestine, was arrested by Stalin’s NKVD and executed in 1947. DD never knew her father, has no picture of him and knows nothing of his background.

DD is everything that a husband could expect. She is warm, loving and caring, and also a wonderful mother and grandmother. She also has a fabulous memory for people and dates. She is an expert on ballet and dancers, loves photography (when she moved into my house I first had to build about 45 feet of shelving in the basement to accommodate her albums), loves castles and travelling and much more.

“A rose must remain

with the sun and the rain

Or its lovely promise

won’t come true

To each his own,

I’ve found my own

One and only you”

This is the last stanza of the song “To Each His Own” (1946), lyrics by Jay Livingston-Ray Evans. The music I heard first in Korea, played as a trumpet solo by the conductor of the US Army Orchestra of USAMGIK.

So, what now?

I will continue to write still for a little while covering subjects that I think might be of interest to the reader, subjects that happened or will happen after the closing of “My Stories.”

Dear reader, thank you for honoring me by being a “reader” and thank you for the many nice compliments I have received from you.

By Norbert Strauss

Norbert Strauss is a Teaneck resident and Englewood Hospital volunteer. He frequently speaks to groups to relay his family’s escape from Nazi Germany in 1941.

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