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rathauscharlottenburgOne of the nice things about living in Berlin is that ordinary events tend to be held in extraordinary places. When I was asked by AVIVA-Berlin to give a brief presentation about my great-aunt Meta Adler who was a Holocaust victim, I had no idea I would be delivering my remarks in Rathaus Charlottenburg. Like many parts of Berlin, Charlottenburg was formerly an independent city in the Prussian province of Brandenburg. Construction of this ornate town hall took place while Meta was a young girl, but the building suffered severe damage during World War II. Rebuilt after the war, the Rathaus seemed a fitting place to share Meta’s story with a small audience that came to learn about AVIVA’s “Writing Girls” project.

Black forest-2This year I didn’t uncover any family secrets on a par with my 2011 discovery of my aunt who was left behind when my father’s family fled Germany. Things seem to be in a state of harmony in my family for the time being. Of course that could change at the end of the month when I make a quick trip to visit my mother in her new assisted living home in California. But for now I feel a sense of peace as the year draws to a close and we are firmly settled back in Berlin.  That sense of peace is reflected in this photo taken in the Black Forest by my friend and Fellow Traveler Michael Staubes.