Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day 24, January 24

On January 24, 1962, twenty-eight refugees escaped from East to West Germany. 

Why am I writing about a seemingly obscure and probably long-forgotten event?  The answer is simple.  It reminds me of some special people in my life.

In the mid fifties, Helmut and Gerta Berger, with their small son Rolf fled East Germany.  They made their escape before the erecting of the Berlin Wall.  They arrived in the United States with little money but rich in faith and determination.  They settled in Manti, Utah.

Helmut found a job as a machinist.  In addition to caring for Rolf, Gerta cleaned houses for others, grew a garden, and served in her church.  They did their best to fit in to their adopted country.  Most of all, they worked.  And worked some more.  Helmut and Gerta never thought to ask for handouts, for entitlements, for special consideration.  They simply got on with the business of supporting themselves and raising their child in righteousness.  A few years after arriving in Manti, they moved to Salt Lake City.

At little less than twenty years later, Rolf was called to serve a mission to Switzerland, where he put his language skills to good use.  There, he met my (not yet) husband Larry.  A year after returning from his mission, Rolf married my sister Carla.  Together they reared a righteous family, mirroring Gerta and Helmut's example.

So, for today, I am grateful for those who search for freedom.


  1. Not obscure to God, and not easily forgotten. Thank you for sharing this story. I'm grateful to have heard it, and to be reminded of the full and rich value of work.

  2. What a wonderful couple they were. I do wish I could remember them when they were younger.