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The Wheel of Life

by Shelley M. Zeiger ©2012, Paperback, ISBN: , 246 pp
 

The Wheel of Life is a memoir not only about the Holocaust, our rescuer Anton, and our liberation by the Red Army but also about life after the Holocaust in Europe and the United States. My family and I eventually reached the shores of the United States where I was afforded the opportunity to enjoy a most exciting and productive life. Of first importance was to integrate into the educational and cultural system. After my education, I wanted to give something of myself and to serve my country by joining the U.S. Army and finally getting a most important document, my U.S. citizenship papers in Macon, Georgia.

 

After serving in the army, my brother, father, and I went into business, entering the open but competitive U.S. system with its challenges, hurdles, and rewards.

 

While in the business arena, the opportunity arose that enabled me to travel back to Europe and partake in the important global enterprise of detente. I firmly believed that the people of the Soviet Union and the people of the United States have the same needs and desires and are philosophically parallel.

 

My involvement in international business was gratifying for two reasons: 1) This gave me the opportunity to thank the Soviet Union for liberating me, making the rest of my life a possibility, and 2) this made it possible for me to find our rescuer, Anton, whom we thought lost, and to reciprocate the goodness and kindness he had shown us during the Holocaust.

 

I have continued this relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union by introducing Russian art to the American people and am in the process of exporting some of our culture to the Russians. This is an ongoing relationship, and I am sure that it will continue as long as life allows me. International business relationships are important. Our businesses advance the Russian economy as well as ours.

 

I am grateful for the support I have received from the U.S.

 

and U.S.S.R./Russian governments. Most important, I am grateful for the support that I have received from my family, especially from my wife, Marion.

 

My journey has been most exciting, sometimes turbulent, but never dull. I look forward to the challenges that await me.

Author’s Preface i

Editor’s Note iii

Marion’s Preface Golden Years vi

Prologue xi

Part I Family

Chapter One The Night the Bells Rang 1

Chapter Two My Mother and the “Fool” 3

Chapter Three The Soviets in Zborów 5

Chapter Four Blitzkrieg and Barbarossa 10

Chapter Five Summer 1941 13

Chapter Six Zborów Ghetto 16

Chapter Seven Anton’s Root Cellar 20

Chapter Eight Anton’s Courage 24

Chapter Nine Eva’s Testimony 27

Chapter Ten Outside the Shelter 31

Chapter Eleven To the West 38

Chapter Twelve Bavaria 42

Chapter Thirteen Sacred Ground 45

Chapter Fourteen Assimilating 48

Chapter Fifteen Circling Back 53

Chapter Sixteen Return to Zborów 56

Chapter Seventeen Reunited 59

Chapter Eighteen Unveiling the Monument 63

Chapter Nineteen A Moscow Menorah 65

Photographs Family 67

Table of Contents

The Wheel of Life

Part II Business Ventures

Chapter Twenty The Wine Business 85

Chapter Twenty-One The Fellowship Bank 89

Chapter Twenty-Two Taj Rum 92

Chapter Twenty-Three Capitol Plaza 95

Chapter Twenty-Four Détente 99

Chapter Twenty-Five Pan Am to Aeroflot 101

Chapter Twenty-Six Imports 105

Chapter Twenty-Seven Delegation 110

Chapter Twenty-Eight The Unbroken Circle 114

Chapter Twenty-Nine Dough Balls From Heaven 115

Chapter Thirty TrenMos 122

Chapter Thirty-One Cultural Exchanges 129

Chapter Thirty-Two Economic Exchanges 135

Chapter Thirty-Three Revitalization of Trenton, NJ 137

Chapter Thirty-Four Trenton Marriott Hotel 142

Chapter Thirty-Five Honors and Awards 145

Photographs Business Ventures 148

Part III The Present

Chapter Thirty-Six The Patriarch of Georgia 171

Chapter Thirty-Seven The Georgian Port 173

Chapter Thirty-Eight Development in Trenton, NJ 177

Chapter Thirty-Nine Republic of Turkmenistan 180

Chapter Forty Reflections 183

Postscripts 186

Photographs The Present 192

Appendix 198

Timeline 202

Maps 205

Works Cited 212

Endnotes 216

Index 240

When Shelley M. Zeiger conceptualizes his life, he sees a circle or a wheel. He sees points of his life as having come full circle from his past to his present to the future with the circle or wheel continuing to revolve as his life journey continues.

 

Circles are symbolic in many cultures. In the West, the circle is the symbol for infinity because the circle has neither a beginning nor an end.

 

The Shield of David (Magen David) or Star of David with a triangle pointing to heaven intertwined with another pointing to earth symbolizes the balancing of heaven and earth.

 

Connecting these points creates a circle. Also the inside of the triangles is a circle, the center of things.

 

Another symbol is the Ouroboros. Paul Calter, a mathematician and artist, explains that the Ouroboros, that is, the snake or dragon with its tail in its mouth continually devouring itself and being reborn from itself, is a “symbol of eternity and of the cyclic nature of the universe. It expresses the unity of all things, which never disappear but change form in a cycle of destruction and re-creation.” Yet another the circle can be seen in the Indian or Tibetan mandala. “In Sanskrit, Mandala literally means circle and center or Holy Circle, and is essentially a vehicle for concentrating the mind” (Calter).

 

A Buddhist circle, the Wheel of Life, illustrates and symbolizes the essentials of Buddhist teachings. The pictures on the Wheel of Life remind viewers that everyone is “responsible for his or her own fate, because, according to Karma, causes and their effects are the fruits of one’s own deeds” (“The Wheel of Life”).

 

As you read Shelley M. Zeiger’s memoir, bear in mind these symbols of the circle and the wheel, and you will understand his conceptualization of his life as circular, the wheel of life, a circular journey experiencing the consequences and fruits of deeds.

The Wheel of Life

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