Bettina Hoerlin, “The Past Is So Present: Reflections on Writing About My Parents and Their Escape from Nazi German ,” Mar 10 at the Philadelphia Ethical Society
When Bettina Hoerlin discovered a treasure trove of her parents’ love letters written during the rise of Hitler, she knew she needed to tell their story. In her subsequent memoir, Steps of Courage: My Parents’ Journey from Nazi Germany to America, she relates a chilling tale that blends personal and historical facts. Hoerlin will raise issues she grappled with as she uncovered secrets of her parents’ lives, choices they made, and ultimately how we all seek to integrate our heritage with the present in her address at 11:00AM, Mar 10, at the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square. Light refreshments and discussion follow. Her book will be available for purchase. All are welcome. Child care available through advance registration. For further information contact the Society at [email protected]  or 215-735-3456 or visit the EHSoP website at www.phillyethics.org .
When her parents first met in 1934, Dr. Hoerlin’s mother was a beautiful doyenne of the Munich intelligentsia and her father, finishing his PhD in physics at Stuttgart University, was a mountain climbing hero with world-record conquests. Their lives, however, were changed cruelly as Hitler’s reign of terror took hold. Multiple obstacles lay in their path, including that their romance, between a Jew and an Aryan, was forbidden by racial laws. Their universal tale of courage and love is shaped by some of the most profound markers of the 20th century: Hitler’s Germany, the American immigrant experience and the threats of nuclear annihilation during the Cold War.
Bettina Hoerlin, a graduate of “The Atomic City” High School (Los Alamos), holds a Ph.D. in Policy Sciences from the State University of New York. She served as Health Commissioner of Philadelphia and taught at the University of Pennsylvania and Haverford College.. The Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia (formerly the Philadelphia Ethical Society)
Philadelphia Ethical Society (now the EHSoP), organized in 1885 as the third society established by Ethical Culture founder Felix Adler, is a religious and educational community of individuals and families who enjoy working together to celebrate and support each other in searching for meaning through creative ethical action and human relationships. EHSoP programs reflect belief in the individual's capacity to make a difference in both personal life and in the larger world.