Hagerman, Other US, United States
Heroes from the Attic:
A Gripping True Story of Triumph
Before Herman was twenty years old, he had endured war, killer illnesses, starvation, homelessness, floggings, abandonment, exile and slavery. One of the illnesses destroyed the hearing in his right ear. However, by the time he was thirty, he had stubbornly worked his way through college, married, and become an American citizen and world traveler.
Herman was born in Nazi Germany in October 1939, near Basel, Switzerland. After World War II, his successful architect father filed for divorce from his destitute mother. By the end of more than twenty court processes, which continued for more than a dozen years and involved more than two dozen lawyers and judges, his family had lost everything. When Herman was thirteen years old, his father had him, his brother, Siggi, and their mother thrown out of their luxury home. On Christmas Eve day. For one year they were forced to be squatters in a tiny room in the attic of a three-story apartment building. All the while the brothers attended an elite and purely academic school, and since they had no utilities they often had to study by candlelight.
In 1957 their mother sent Herman and Siggi to her relatives in the United States, who promptly enslaved them on separate dairy farms in western Washington. Two years later Herman was forced to live in abject and isolated poverty by a huge tide flat. His only friends were field mice, and he did not even have an outhouse. Herman managed to escape by taking the “toughest job in town,” working nights as a mindless robot pulling tons of lumber from conveyor chains and stacking it into piles by length and grade. Intermittently he continued working in the lumber mill until 1966, when he earned a five-year B. Arch. Eng. degree from Washington State University.
After their graduation, Herman and his wife worked for only eighteen months to save enough of their income to travel around the world for six months for the adventure of a lifetime. Since then they have repeatedly traveled the United States and abroad.
Published writer: Yes