It is September 1970 and the Cold War is in full swing.
American military troops and their families have been occupying West Germany and West Berlin for 25 years, since the end of World War II, to prevent the Soviets from expanding their sphere of Communism into Western Europe. Into this alien world my husband of one year and I arrived at the Munich train station amidst drunken crowds of guest workers celebrating the annual Oktoberfest.
I have written this memoir to preserve an account of U.S. military personnel and their families as an occupation force in West Germany during the Cold War, specifically the time from September 1970 to May 1972 when my husband and I were stationed in Munich.
Besides giving an account of military occupation life, I also want to share what it was like for my husband and me – a young newly married Jewish couple – to live in post-Holocaust Germany only 25 years after the Nazis murdered six million Jews.
In this memoir I have endeavored to be as accurate as possible. When I quote from military manuals, military memos, and newspaper articles, I am quoting exactly from the source material.
Yet on other matters of accuracy I must be allowed a certain leeway. In my memory, for example, the buildings of McGraw Kaserne in Munich are gray stone. It may be that they were actually gray concrete.
Each chapter will begin with a news brief from the time period followed by information – such as that from the Customs & Courtesies booklet given out by the U.S. Army at the time my husband Mitch and I were stationed in Munich. The news brief is to place what we were experiencing in Germany within the context of the larger world, while the second information snippet provides a feel for our lives in Germany with the U.S. Army.
As this is a memoir, while many of the names of people will be their actual names, for various reasons the names of some people may be changed.