a Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other
The Third Reich is rising. The creeping madness in the heart of Germany will soon stain the entire world. This is the chilling account of one family as they flee for their lives.
The Wobsers are prosperous, churchgoing, patriotic Germans living in a small East Prussian town. When Hitler seizes power, their comfortable family life is destroyed by a horrifying Nazi regime. Baptized and confirmed as Lutherans, they are told they are Jewish, a past always respected but rarely considered. This distinction makes a life-and-death difference. Suddenly, it is no longer a matter of faith or religion; their lives are defined by race. It is a matter of bloodlines. And, in Nazi Germany, they have the wrong blood.
Genres: Memoir; Historical Novel; Biography
Page Count: 372 Pages
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Paperback: $15.95 Kindle: $9.99
ISBN: 1533656924 (ISBN13: 978-1533656926)
About the Author
Ralph Webster is retired and lives with his wife Ginger on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. An enthusiastic world traveler, he is the son of immigrant parents; refugees who were forced to leave their homelands and families for reasons that defy comprehension. Through this prism, he has a profound respect for those who must leave their lives behind, and whose only dream is to journey to a welcoming land where there is freedom and opportunity to create a better life. This is his first book.
We had no idea, no reason to expect that Father’s business would become a target, too. There was no forewarning. That morning, along the front of his building, in large red letters, was the message, “Udo Wobser is a Jew!”
I speak as an adult now, with the collected wisdom of age and hindsight. I will always remember that Saturday through the eyes and mind of a ten-year-old boy. That was the day Father became known as Udo Wobser, the Jew, no longer simply as Udo Wobser. That was the day I learned that I could be both a Jew and a Lutheran at the same time, that being a Jew was about bloodlines and ancestors, that it was about race, not only religion. That was the day I learned I was still a German, but now I was a German Jew. That was the day I learned that my family was a member of a much larger family, a family that ran generations deep, a family that was viewed with disdain and contempt.
From that date forward, a line had been drawn. It wouldn’t matter what we thought, how we had lived, what we believed. Please don’t misunderstand. We had never rejected the notion. We simply had never been taught to embrace it. Before April 1, 1933, I never entertained the idea that our family was Jewish, that I was a Jew. It meant nothing to me. If asked the question, I would have answered, “No, I am Lutheran.”
Ultimately, the answer was not ours to give. Others told us who we were. Both Mother and Father were descendants of Jews. There was no denying. There was no appeal.
At times, I wonder what Mother and Father really felt that day. Given the choice, how would have they answered the question. Did they consider themselves Jews? Now I know their answer was obvious. Our opinion did not matter. There was no choice. No one asked. The question was not needed; the answer was evident.