Today in honour of Gerda Wiseman, recipient of the Presidential Medal of honour, and Holocaust survivor, we're going to tell her incredible love story. Gerda passed away just a few weeks ago and throughout her life, she was a beacon of hope for millions of people. Today we celebrate her life and her love. I'm Alisha Rai.
And I'm Sarah Wendell. Welcome to lovestruck daily, where we bring love story to your earbuds each and every weekday. With that I'm in love with you, Alicia, happy Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Thank you and also happy Jewish American Heritage Month to you
highest of fives we're just going to celebrate ourselves all
month. Yeah, we're sharing a month here
and then next month is our birthday month will the party ever song? Yeah.
Oh my god. This is like a this is like a just Kismet all over?
This is just back to back celebration. Like think about it. So this month, we look at our respective cultural Heritage's. Yeah. And then next month, we celebrate the anniversary of our birth and the future of our lives.
Yeah, that's amazing. That is it's past and the future. Exactly. All altogether.
There is a wonderful podcast and treasure trove of information from Layla, EFSA odd whose whole creative work is housed under the idea of being a good ancestor. You can't fix the past, but you can be a good ancestor to him.
Yeah, I've been thinking about it actually a lot since hopefully enough, since I got my engagement ring. And I've been thinking about if we have kids, and I leave it to the kids, will it get passed out, it's gonna get torn apart, you know, whatever, whatever might happen to it after I go. And, and I think about that is like sort of a, because, you know, i Mom has my grandmother's rings. And you know, someday we'll get my mom's rings. And it is like an unbroken sort of chain, you know, from mother to daughter or mother to child. And it's odd to think about that. Like, it's odd to think that there will be a time when I'm not around. And someone hopefully will remember me whether they have something tangible of mine in their hands or not.
Do you know what a high is? No, it's a Jewish letter, it kind of looks like a table top from the side, a little comma off the side. It is it has a numerical value. And it has a meaning it's it's actually a word. It's not a letter, but you can see it in one shape if you don't use the vowels, and it means life. Okay. And Adams grandfather, Alex emigrated to the United States when he was three. And he had a gold high on a chain. And when Adam was born, he's the oldest and he's the only boy. So I think he got the chain from his grandfather and the high on his bar mitzvah when he turned 13. So when my kids turned 13, my older son got the high on a new chain. And the my younger son got the chain and a new high for his bar mitzvah. And so we have this piece of jewellery that goes back to generations. Oh, they were very, very moved when they received it from Adam, even though my younger child knew what was what was coming. Yeah. And I could tell because they just couldn't think of anything to say it was too big to figure out words. So I think that eventually, the things that you love, and that are part of you every day will be very treasured by the people who come after you. I
hope so. Yeah, I think that's the dream, right?
Yeah. Well, since we're talking love and generations and memories, sometimes when you read a love story, and it's beautiful and sad, and it's difficult to find all the right words to express it fully, but we're going to try today. This is the story of Gerda Weissmann and Kurt Klein, Holocaust survivor, American soldier who met in May of 1945. May 1945. Gerda Weissmann is 21 years old, and she is standing outside of a factory. She is leaning up against a wall and she weighs 68 pounds. And she has been through so much in the Holocaust that her hair has turned white to American soldiers drive up because they had been told that there were survivors hiding in this factory. And one of the soldiers got out and spoke to her in German and in English and asked if she spoke either language and they began talking in German. And she did not know that the Germans had been defeated. She did not know that it was done. It was over and they were liberated. She had no idea. The first thing she said had was already Jewish, you know. And he paused. And she thought it was whether or not to decide if it was wise to help her because again, she didn't know the war was over. And she thinks is this guy going thinking about whether or not he should help me whether it's safe. And then he spoke, and she realised that the reason he couldn't speak is because he had been trying not to cry. He informs her that he is also Jewish. His name is Kurt. And he introduces himself. Now he held the door for her to show him where the other survivors were. And she led him into this room full of people who were all too sick to stand up. They had been forced on a death march three months earlier, and they had been hiding since them. And if you think about it's May, it's just now stopped being cold, these people are not in good shape. And Klein remembers her sweeping her arm across the room, and saying, quote, noble, be man, merciful and good. He could not believe that she was quoting good at such a moment. I like a sarcastic, dry woman, all stories. It's the most gutting way of saying look at what humans have done. She was taken to a field hospital because she also was not well, and she was slowly nursed back to health and a week into her recuperation climb came to her bedside. And because he's a decent chap, he brought magazines. No, which I mean, think about it. There are so few magazines. Now if you go visit someone in the hospital, yeah, what are you going to bring them Candy Crush? Magazine, I read magazines from the library constantly. But
oh, I don't remove things at all anymore.
Let me tell you digital magazines. They don't weigh more than the shoe that you just flip through them. I read like four issues of real simple and the relaxation just washes over all these beautiful people with organised homes. So publishing industry, not withstanding, he brought our magazines because he's a decent kind of dude. And this was the first of many, many visits, they would talk for hours. And soon he was reserving all of his free time to go see her. He would bring her flowers, and he would bring her books. And he would listen to her as she talked about what had happened and how she was mourning everyone who she had lost. He had been born in Germany, but emigrated in 1937. And he did not know at that time that his parents had died in Auschwitz. And in June, he was sent to another post. And so they started writing letters, continued theme of the show. Despite what she felt was a real connection with him. She was very worried that he was just pitying her. So every time she hesitated to accept gifts or offers of help, Kurt started to believe that she wasn't that interested in him, and that she was rejecting him. But despite his lack of certainty, he made sure that she was moved to an area in Germany under American control, so that he could still see her at least once a week from his new post. And then he helped her get a job there. In September, the war came to an end. And that meant Klein will be heading back to the US and Wiseman just said, Okay, bye. She just told him goodbye. And she wished him well. And that was when he decided it was time to lay everything on the line. And he said, Don't you understand, I love you, and I want to marry you.
And now we're going to take a quick break, but don't go anywhere, because the story will continue.
Well, that was a tricky proposition, nationally speaking, because if they married in Germany, he would have to sign up for another two years in the Army. And it was not a good option for Wiseman to be in Germany for that long. But if he went back to the US, they would be separated while he figured out how to get her into the United States. By currying favour with different diplomatic channels. She urged him to take the second option, and they started writing letters again. And now of course, they were both, you know, on the same page, emotionally speaking, and if you're thinking I want to read more love letters, yes, yes, you do. They have been published in a book titled, The hours after letters of love and longing and Wars Aftermath. And an excerpt from one of his letters reads, let me bridge time and space to be with you. I let my thoughts of the joy that lies ahead Envelop me, I'm not nice. Nearly a year later in June of 1946. In Paris just a little bit over a year after they met, they are reunited. And on their way to city hall they stop in a synagogue that still had rubble from airstrikes in it to light a candle for their parents by them. They knew that all of their parents had perished. And then once all the paperwork was said As five which is the real hurdle here. The pair move
to Buffalo little hometown connection
where they live for many years before retiring to Arizona as it is written in Jewish law. Yeah, when you achieve your great majority, you shall move to where it is warm so it is written. They had three children, eight grandchildren and 18 high grandchildren. 18 is the numerical value assigned to the word high, and they were married for over 50 years, only ending on his death. At June 2002. Wiseman Klein wrote a book about her experiences in the Holocaust having an astounding memory for details about her life in the camps and it's called all but my life a memoir. And there's a documentary called one survivor remembers that won the Oscar in 1996. And in her speech, she said in my mind's eye I see those years and days, and those who never lived to see the magic of a boring evening at home. I love a good boring evening. Yeah,
yeah, no, they're fantastic. Gerda Weissmann
Klein was honoured with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2011. And she recalled her beloved husband then and he was the very first Americans she had ever met. That night, I prayed for him, even though I didn't know his name or his country. Isn't that lovely? Lovely. That's beautiful. Well, I think when you've got heritage months, where you look back at all of the things that shaped who you are, it's absolutely essential to remember the love stories that shape who we are. Yeah. 100% So that I think is my love to go for this episode. Treasure, the heritage of the love stories that came before you, especially the ones in your family. We've said this before, but go be Nebby ask your relatives to tell you their stories.
Yeah, and they'll happily tell you anything like my relatives.
I want to hear all the love stories. You should send me your family's love story. Shouldn't people send us their families love stories? Yeah, please. We would love to hear them.
You can send an email to lovestruck daily at frolic dot media. And please, please, please leave us a review if you're at all able to and we will happily read that you can put your love stories in the review and we'll read those on the air. Yeah. And you can also follow us on Instagram or Twitter at lovestruck daily, please double check that you're following us on Instagram. Because we also have extra content on there with photos of the people that we talk about. And it's
really nice, and they're really cute. Sometimes there's dogs. Our researcher is Jesse Epstein. Our editor is Jen Jacobs. We are produced by Abigail steckler and little Scorpion studios with executive producer frolic media. This is an iHeartRadio podcast. We wish you a very happy ever after. I'm in love with love with you. I'm in love with you